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Everything Search Engine Review

The Windows XP search function is good for basic files lookup. At the time Windows XP was released, the average hard drive size was about 40GB. Nowadays, large hard drives mean searching for a file using the built-in Windows XP search function can be slow. Microsoft offers Windows Desktop Search (built-in for Windows Vista; add-on for Windows XP or older) but the indexing process utilizes significant resources. For lighter solution, Everything Search Engine (“Everything”) is a great alternative.

Everything About Page

The install file (version is 293 KB. The Command-Line version is even smaller at 53 KB. On fresh install of Windows XP SP3, it only uses less than 6MB of memory. It is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista. Other requirement is the index drive needs to be formatted in NTFS.

According to the FAQ, the indexing process will take about 1 second on a fresh install Windows XP SP2 (with approximately 20,000 files). During testing, a Windows XP SP3 with 150 GB files (57,000 files and 8,400 folders) is used. It takes only few seconds to index the whole system.

The program interface is simple with search field at the top of the main window. There is also a system tray icon for quick access of the program. New Search Window, Start HTTP Server, Start ETP/FTP Server, Connect to ETP Server and Options are available by right clicking on the system tray icon.


“Everything” goes beyond standard Windows search. Boolean operators, wildcard and regex can be used. For example, search for .jpg and .bmp (for Boolean) and match grey and gray (for regex search). The FAQ has extensive examples on how to perform these type of searches.

HTTP Server

One of the features is the ability to serve files via HTTP for other computers in the network. To enable HTTP, right click on the “Everything” system tray icon and select Start HTTP Server. To access the files on PC that has “Everything” installed, just type in the PC’s name or IP address of the PC in the address bar of a browser (e.g. http://winxp or

The main screen of “Everything” via HTTP displays similar interface. It consists of drive available (with total and free size of the drives) and the search bar. To search, simply type a word (or words) in the search bar and press enter (or click the Search button). To start a new search, simply click on the Everything logo which is located at the top left hand corner. The advanced search operators also work with HTTP search.

The result of the HTTP search is a web address that can be bookmarked (for repeated search terms) or modify manually. For example, the search result for jpg file would create an HTML address of http://machine_name/?s=jpg

ETP/FTP Server

If all computers on the network have “Everything” installed, direct connection can be established via ETP. Once the ETP/FTP Server has been started, just right click on the “Everything” icon and select connect to ETP Server. When connected, browsing files on the remote computer is the same as browsing files on the local computer.

ETP Startup Options

HTTP or ETP/FTP Server

For accessing files on PC with “Everything” installed from non supported operating system, HTTP is a great option. Further, with HTTP a different files and folders access can be made available from the same computer by running two or more instances. This is well explained by the author, David Carpenter, when we e-mailed them about how to utilise multiple instances of HTTP. The information is available at the “Everything” Wiki page. The end result of this setup is default instance of “Everything” is available from http://winxp and the second instance (private files and folders) can be made available as http://winxp:85


Lightweight, configurable with advanced search features, “Everything” is great tool for searching today’s enormous hard drive. The interface is simple for novice user yet powerful enough for advance user who wants to do complex search query.

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