September 17, 2004, 1:04 PM — In June, I wrote a short series on Microsoft's next major operating
system release, codenamed Longhorn. I raved about the much-anticipated
WinFS file system that was supposed to replace the existing file system
with a more robust SQL-based version.
Unfortunately, Microsoft announced that WinFS will not be included in
the Longhorn release. Bad news for those of us who were looking forward
to being able to more easily search our entire system for any file,
e-mail, contact and so on. The current Windows file system requires
that you open each application to search for different types of files -
Explorer for files, Outlook for e-mail and contacts. WinFS was going to
give us "googling"-like capabilities.
So what do we do now?
I found a product called X1 Search (http://www.x1.com). I've been
evaluating it for two weeks and it's one of the best utilities I've
used. Priced slightly higher than I would expect, the amount of time
saved searching for data has probably already paid for the cost of the
software. The product is functional and offers the ability to search
everything on your system.
After the product installation is complete, your entire system is
indexed. This includes every file with the exception of system files,
temporary files, and a few others. It then performs periodic scheduled
updates to the index files. After the initial index of your system, you
can search for almost anything. For example, you can search for a
string, contained in any cell within a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet even
if this spreadsheet is contained within a zip file somewhere on your
system. You can find any string within the name of a file, or contained
within the contents of a file. You can find an old e-mail that contains
a particular word, from a particular person on a particular date.
I don't have the space to go through all of the options, but I would
recommend that you take a look at X1 and download the trial to see if
you are as impressed as I am by the capabilities of this powerful
Too bad Microsoft didn't think of this!