How To: Find Files on your PC Instantly using Locate32
Whilst we wait for Windows 8 and its improved search capabilities, there is no avoiding the fact that it is necessary to turn to third-party solutions in order to quickly locate files on a large Windows 7 partition packed with lots of data.
Locate32 is one of the fastest desktop search tools available for Windows, allowing you to locate any file or folder in a split second - something that Windows 7 cannot realistically claim to do.
This portable, free application is easy to use and our guide shows you how to get started with it.
Locate32 is another one of those nifty, lightweight, portable apps that we love so much here at Chip. It downloads in seconds, needs only a quick extract and the executable can be launched with no lengthy installation required. This makes it perfect for both behemoth desktop machines and portable netbooks alike. The file archive is available on the Related Download link for this article, download it and extract the contents to a safe folder on your hard drive, then run the locate32.exe file to get started.
Locate32 uses a database to provide its super fast indexing functionality, so you must create this before you can use the application to search for files and folders. Click File and Update Databases to start the database creation process. This shouldn't take more than a minute or two, depending on the size of your hard drive and processing capabilities of your PC.
Once the database has been created, Locate32 is ready to use. To search for a file, enter a filename into the Named field, then click Find Now.
A list of possible matches is shown. If this list of results is too big, you can narrow down the search using Locate32's advanced search capabilities. Select an Extension using the dropdown menu that matches the file you are looking for, e.g. if you are searching for an image file then select the file type of the image, such as PNG, JPG, GIF, etc.
Narrow the search further by selecting a location in the Look In field.
If there are still too many results, switch to the Size and Date tab and specify Minimum and Maximum file sizes. You can also set Newer Than and Older Than date parameters to narrow the search even further.
Clicking any file in the list of results will open the containing folder for that file on your hard drive.
Tips & Advice
- Because Locate32 relies on its database to provide fast and efficient searching, it is important to update it once in a while. This ensures that any changed locations for existing files are recorded, as well as any new files that have been added to the hard drive. Click File and Update Databases to update the Locate32 database file at any time.
- Locate32 runs in the background and its search functionality can be accessed by double-clicking the small tray icon.