There are lots of ways to find your files on a Windows PC including Google Desktop, Copernic and of course the built in Windows Search. I found both Google Desktop (which is discontinued from 14th September 2011) and Copernic too heavy on resources and although Windows built-in search was improved in later versions to include advanced query syntax, I still prefer to use the excellent and lightweight, free file finder application Locate32.
Locate32 is a desktop search tool that lets you search for files and folders on your hard drive and other locations with amazing speed. It uses databases to store information about directory structures to speed up searches.
There are plenty of options for searching. You can specify file name with wildcards and extension or directory. You can also specify the minimum or the maximum file size and age of the file. In the advanced tab, you can specify whether you want to look for file names, folder names or both as well as specify from a whole range of file types e.g. archives, documents, image files, executables, sound files etc. If you need to, you can also search for text contained within a file from the advanced tab, although this will slow down your search.
The file to download and use is the Release Candidate (RC) version (32 bit or 64 bit), which is the newest, non-beta versions rather than one of the official releases which are, as the website states, rather old.
Many of us still carry around a USB memory stick to access regularly used files, whether for work or for personal use. I still do but these days only to simplfy instantly moving a file from one computer to another. The problem with a USB stick is that it can break, be lost, forgotten or stolen with a potential loss of important or sensitive information. A better way is to make your data mobile (in the cloud) by using one of the many free online storage services such as Dropbox or SugarSync.
Using Dropbox is as easy as creating an online account and then downloading and installing a small application on each of your computers. This creates a folder on each computer called by default ‘My Dropbox’ located in your documents folder (although you can change this if you wish). This folder behaves like any other folder whether you’re connected to the internet or not but when you are connected it automatically synchronises all the files in this folder with your online Dropbox account. So whenever you’re online your Dropbox folder on each of your other computers is then again synchronised. This is handy if you regularly work on different computers e.g. at work and at home.
For convenience, your Dropbox folder can of course be added as a Library folder in Windows 7. Alternatively, you can access all of your files by logging into the web interface where you will also find additional features for undeleting files and setting up file sharing.
Dropbox offers both paid and free accounts. The free account provides 2GB of storage that can be extended to 5GB by referring friends or colleagues to the system. So, case in point, if you feel inclined to sign up, please use this link to give us both an extra 250MB.