It’s been a while since I wrote about desktop search programs.
I had been using Copernic, but stopped using it when the free version no longer applied to non-home users. (We’re a non-profit, but we are a commercial user.)
I then switched to Google desktop search (GDS), which worked very well, with one exception to be noted later, on both Windows and Linux. I’m now using Windows Desktop Search on the Windows machine. Because it’s fully integrated with Outlook 2007, it serves most of my needs.
My preference, however, is the Google search simply because I’m used to the Google syntax and logic.
(Windows) The problem is that the current version breaks the ability to open .msg attachments within Outlook. That is, if a message is forwarded to me as an attachment, Google Desktop Search makes it unreadable. After removing GDS, a message attachment behaves normally.
(Linux) Google provides a plugin for Thunderbird mail to allow it to index messages. The plugin causes Thunderbird to use 100% of the processor and, eventually, crash. The plugin has not been updated for quite a while.
As part of Office 2007 (Beta2TR), I’ve installed the latest beta of Windows Desktop Search. It seems to work reasonably well, but it can’t index network drives. We map “My Documents” out to a server, so Windows Desktop Search 3.0 Beta is more or less useless for anything other that acting as the search engine integrated into Outlook 2007.
I’ve upgraded Copernic to Version 2.0 and it’s doing a great job. PC Pro magazine seems to agree. Unfortunately, Version 2 still doesn’t search inside .zip files.
I’m back to Copernic from Google Desktop. As I wrote a few days ago, I like the Google Sidebar, but I ran into Outlook related problems. First, when the new GDS indexed mail, Outlook removed the little envelope icon in the system tray that indicates new mail has arrived. Second (and more important), our voicemail system is integrated with Outlook. As GDS indexed mail on this IMAP account, new voicemails were marked as read. I could live with this within Outlook, but the integration is such that it also turns off the red light on my phone that indicates I have voicemail. It was quite a surprise to find 10 unheard messages! (My apologies if one was yours.) So, my current personal recommendation for a desktop search tool is Copernic Desktop Search.
Since I wrote about Google Desktop and Copernic last week and since my side-by-side comparison a couple of months ago, there’s a new version of the Google Desktop. It’s been running on this machine for a few hours and has completed indexing. So far, it seems as complete as the Copernic index. The new Google Sidebar is like having a smarter version of the Google Personal Home Page up all the time. When, oh, when will there be a version of GDS for Linux?