The Good Well-crafted interface; fast performance.
The Bad Needs more file viewers; doesn't display graphics in PowerPoint files; doesn't search the entire Web.
The Bottom Line While it doesn't search the Internet, Copernic Desktop Search locates all file types on your hard drive and offers a pleasing interface.
Copernic Desktop Search
Copernicus may have searched for truth in the heavens, but his 21st century namesake, Copernic Desktop Search, available as a free download, ferrets out facts in the digital world. This free utility from Copernic Technologies hunts down files and e-mail on local drives. It has some flaws--for one, it doesn't search the entire Web as competing product HotBot Desktop does--but it's fast and easy to navigate, and best of all, it won't cost you a dime.
Like its competitors, Copernic Desktop Search installs in less than five minutes and requires only 7.1MB of disk space. It uses a configuration wizard to lead you through the basics, such as which file and e-mail folders to index. Once setup is complete, Copernic creates a searchable index of your data, a speedy process that took roughly 15 minutes on our 10GB test drive, then updates the index every time you add or a remove files.
Copernic's interface is the best of the desktop search engines'. A left-side search column allows simple keyword queries or more refined sleuthing based on file size, date, type, or folder. A row of easy-to-read icons at the top of the screen allows you to limit searches by category: stored HTML pages, e-mail, pictures, videos, and so on. Like X1, Copernic is lightning quick, displaying search results as fast as you can type. We also liked the Copernic Deskbar, a search window that integrates with the Windows Taskbar and is handy for quick queries.