Programs that will search multiple files for specific content, and return a list of those files that contain it. These will usually search text files, for specific text. Some will even replace some text with other text across several files. Many operating systems include a version of these tools built in, such as the Windows Find: All Files, or the Macintosh Finder. The classic Unix command line utility for this is called grep, an abbreviation for "global regular expression print".

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Active Logic Search
Searches local drives based on file names or content. Supports all boolean operations. Sorts, groups, and auto-copies results. Searches .DOC, .PDF, .ZIP files. Shareware. [Win2000/XP]
Advanced Find and Replace
Performs single or multiple search/replace operations on text and MS Office files in a single folder and optional subfolders. Uses Search-engine style interface, supports RegEx, filters by file size and access date. Shareware. [Win95/98/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP/Vista]
Agent Ransack
Non-indexed full text search of files in a single folder and optional subfolders. Advanced and Wizard interfaces. Supports RegEx, filters by file size and access date. Freeware. [Win95/98/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP/Vista]
AGREP, an approximate GREP
Fuzzy text search of files in a single folder and optional subfolders. Supports RegEx, wildcards, pattern sets, user-definable records, and most standard GREP options. Open Source. [OS2/DOS/Win3.x/95/NT]
AstroGrep v2.0
Windows grep. Searches files in a single folder and optional subfolders. Recalls paths and targets. Supports RegEx, printing, displays surrounding lines in results. Freeware. [Win95/98/NT/2000/XP]
Copernic Desktop Search
Indexed full text search of local and network drives. Searches MS Office, Open Office, PDF, archives, multimedia, email and attachments, browser bookmarks and history, and Lotus Notes. Filter by file type, date, and size. Includes desktop taskbar. Shareware. [XP/Vista]
Coveo Enterprise Search
Enterprise level indexed search of most forms of digital content, including speech recognition within A/V formats. Features distributed indexing, collaborative ranking, integrates with existing document security systems. Shareware.
Indexed full text search of local and network drives. Searches MS Office, PDF, archives, multimedia files. Supports boolean operators. Shareware. [Win95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP]
Full text, indexing document search. Supports TXT/DOC/RTF/PDF/HTM/XML/XLS/CHM/ZIP/RAR. Ranks results by relevance. Features query builder, keyword highlighting. [Win98/ME/NT/2000/2003/XP]
Actual Search and Replace is an easy to use utility to search and replace across multiple files. For the found files, it shows lines containing highlighted searched words and phrases.
Effective File Search
Search any files on your computer or local network with this effective shareware tool for Windows XP/2000/9X/NT. Windows Explorer functionality and many useful features for small business.
Text search utility for Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, supports zip archives and regular expressions. Shareware from Aquila Software.
File Substring Replacement Utility
Search and/or replace multiple substrings in multiple files. Windows shareware from Gammadyne Software.
Files Search Assistant
Search quick and efficient within text documents by using different file formats. Custom search options, generate reports, print or save to file.
Finders Keepers
Search files by exact match, grep, approximate, and sound-alike, built in or customizable viewers, replace text with backups, index files for quick retrieval. Windows 95/98/NT trial download.
FindInFilesX ActiveX Component
Instantly add sophisticated text searching (Grep) to your programs. Search MSWord and/or text documents. Great demo source code provided, by SoftInterface, Inc.
Google Desktop Search
Utility that indexes files on desktop PC and displays results in a Google search page, with some relevance ranking based on modified dates. [Windows]
Hurricane Software Inc.
WinGREP, real time search/replace, find unlimited files across multiple directories. Extended IDE configuration, history management, enhanced file mask management. Results pane displays results in context. Provides, company information, FAQs and download area.
StrongSearch, Windows utility for searching files on local area network (LAN). Filter by file size, and time. Export search results in HTML, XML file format.
NavSearch Offline Search Engine
Scans local or network drives or CD-ROM, using Netscape / MSIE, performs full text search on files, supports boolean operators. No winsock.dll required. English and French interface. Windows 16 or 32 bit shareware.
Nihuo Software
Cool Find is a powerful file search tool for Windows. Support Drag, Drop and Copy of files, even including those in ZIP file. With string search in files, including Unicode files and Microsoft Office files. Requirements: Internet Explorer 5.0 or better and Win 9x/NT/2000/Me.
Tool for searching groups of files, with regular expression and replace facility.
Search and Replace for Windows 95/98/NT 3x
Shareware utility for search and replace in multiple files, directories and zip archives. Supports egrep style regular expressions. Script language for webmasters and programmers. From Funduc Software.
Structured grep is a tool for searching and indexing text, SGML, XML and HTML files and filtering text streams using structural criteria. Win32 binary and binaries for HP-UX, Linux, OSF1 and Solaris.
Simple Search/Replace Software
A free replacement for the Windows "containing text" option found in their search window. Search plain-ASCII text files, such as source code, HTML, RTF and batch files. However it can also search binary files such as word processor documents, databases, spreadsheets and executables.
Indexes drives, files, CDs, and zip archives, accepts wildcards, OLE and command line integration, GPL for Win32 from RedTree Development.
Windows Grep
Graphical text search and replace tool for Win32, shareware.
Yahoo! Desktop Search
Indexes files on desktop machine and allows searching via software interface. Results not ranked by relevance, but it uses reductive queries that means the list of results narrows as you add additional keywords. [Windows]
Shareware archive search utility for Windows, that looks inside archive files. The program can search Zip, CAB, RAR and JAR files, including self-extracting archives.
Review of five Windows desktop search programs, covering what is indexed, mechanism used for search, how search results are displayed (interface quality) and how they are ranked for relevancy (if at all). (April 04, 2005)
Last update:
September 18, 2016 at 7:05:05 UTC
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