Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where *is* that file?!?!?!

One of the reasons I don't use an mp3 manager is that I don't think like an mp3 manager. I have lots of music files tucked away in all sorts of folders that make complete sense to me...or at least they did at the time I created them! Things get complicated further because not all of my mp3s are tagged properly or named in ways that suit mp3 managers. The same sort of thing applies to music lyrics and files for my professional work. Most files are stored under a person's name, but every so often I decide to store them under a project name.

This usually works fine. Colleague walk into my office and all of their projects and files are right there under their names. Except when they aren't. Maybe I created a folder for the project? Or, I put it under the lab chief's name? I sort of know what the file's called...

Enter the Everything Search Engine. It's a one trick pony, but, oh, what a trick, and, oh, how well it does it.

The trick is that Everything will locate a file by name (or fragments of a name!) faster than you can type it!

The way it works is simple. Most PCs today have hard drives that use the NTFS storage system, rather than the old FAT-32 or FAT-16. When Everything is first installed, it accesses and indexes the NTFS directory. When you type in the name of a file, Everything doesn't go searching the hard drive. It goes straight to its index. The downside is that since Everything looks only at the NTFS directory it does not have the capability to search by file content.

I've used Search Everything for years and recommended it to others. Lately, though, I'd become disenchanted. Everything seemed to be failing to locate files that I knew where there. In such cases, I'd go to the Everything directory in Program Files to erase the index (c:\Program Files\Everything\Everything.db). Everything would then recreate the index and things would be fine...until next time.

I began a search for a competing program and immediately noticed that Everything is being updated after a hiatus of 3 years and the developer is responding to questions in his web site's forum. I've loaded his latest beta version and have not had any trouble or missing files, so far.

Added in edit, January 23: Drat! The problem is still there. Recreating the database still fixes things, but the question is why it gets corrupted in the first place. I'm working through the forums to try to solve this. I'll report back as things develop.

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