You can find all the data with these free tools

Are you looking for a specific file on your computer, but can no longer find it? These search professionals will help you find. And best of all: you don’t charge a cent for it.

In the past, growing hard drives and ever faster internet lines meant that the average Windows user was collecting more and more data. Quite a few users put files “just quickly” on the desktop – only to leave them there for days or weeks. By no means all downloaded files migrate from the steadily growing download folder to correctly named and sorted folders. The chaos is perfect when the mountain of data is spread over several partitions and hard drives. If individual data is outsourced to USB sticks and other external data carriers, finding a file can take an eternity. Not so with these clever tools.

Desktop search engines such as Copernic Desktop Search help to search for files by allowing multiple search parameters and extensive sorting of the hits. Such desktop search engines are of course old hat for advanced PC users. If you want to find a certain file particularly quickly – be it an image, video or Word document – you can use the Freeware Everything. The tiny program creates an index of the selected hard drives in the background and then finds the file it is looking for in a flash. The developers claim that everything takes a minute to capture 1 million files.

If you want to sort your files but don’t spend a lot of time and don’t want to use the Windows folder system, you can simply add tags to the data. These are small information appendices that are taken into account by the desktop search and, for example, reveal more about the image than the file name alone does. If you tag your vacation photos with the tags “Vacation”, “2014” and “Italy”, you will find them much faster with these search terms than with the cryptic “DSC_00004.jpg”.

One tool in our gallery deserves special attention: VVV. This stands for Virtual Volumes View and makes it much easier to manage data that is scattered across multiple volumes. The tool saves the table of contents of all added data carriers so that, for example, you can find a specific file even if the CD with this file is not in the drive. Instead, the program tells you which CD the file you are looking for is on.

Reading tip: Search like the pros

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