“Everything”: small, lightning fast desktop search for NTFS drives


“Everything” is a free, lightning fast file and folder name search program that offers right-click context menu integration.

It works with NTFS filesystem hard drives only because it does not scan your hard drive but rather uses the Master File Table of the NTFS volume to build its database.

If your hard drive(s) is NTFS formatted and if you are looking for a super-fast program for searching file and folder names that beats the pants off of Windows’ default search function, this program may be it. It may be, in fact, the fastest desktop search program (for files and folder names) that I have ever seen

I will admit that before I encountered this program I thought that desktop search programs were of two types: the kind that scans your hard drive on demand on the one hand, and “indexing” search programs on the other that scan your hard drive, store the result in a database, and then use various methods to keep that database updated with subsequent changes. And although “Everything” is in fact similar to the aforementioned “indexing” desktop search programs (it does indeed build an index), there is a difference in that it doesn’t do this by actual, time consuming scanning of the hard drive.

The way “Everything” works is by accessing the NTFS USN Change Journal maintained by the NTFS drivers, which logs all changes made on the NTFS drive. It uses the raw Master File Table for building its database, which is very fast (1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute), but it only works with NTFS drives. More info on this program:

  • Updating the database: aside from the initial indexing (which is superfast) you do not need to worry about this. You never need to reindex manually, and the program does not need to be running in memory at all times. All files are monitored, including system files.
  • Search results: right click “Search Everything ..” on a folder or drive and you get a “flattened” list of results that include all files and folders inside recursively (hence the name “Everything”). You can then type into the search box to filter the result or click on a column header to sort them.
  • Everything Screenshot Context MenuContext menu integration: is one of my favorite features; right click on a folder or drive and search on the spot. Also a great way to view a “flattened” folder with all files and subfolders displayed in one big list.
  • Filtering: can use boolean operators, wildcards, and (optionally) “regular expressions”. This means that the user has significant power/flexibility in terms of what they can search for. It will be worth your while to go here to get to grips with the search syntax, as it really is quite powerful.
  • Connecting to ETP/HTTP/FTP servers: an added option that seems a little out of place in a desktop search app. I have not explored this personally, but I will quote an email exchange with the author of this software: “the servers are there for remote access and searching. While the ETP/FTP/HTTP are probably not for general use… I use the ETP server on my fileserver, and connect to that from my TV computer. This allows me to quickly find TV-Series, music etc… from my TV computer that are on my fileserver. There is no remote indexing yet, only local NTFS volumes are indexed.”
  • Drive PropertiesNTFS: only files/folders that are on NTFS volumes will be indexed by “Everything”. To find out if you have an NTFS formatted drive/partition right click “properties” on the drive icon and go to the “general” tab (see image to the right). To convert your FAT32 formatted drive to NTFS see this Microsoft Help article or search Google.
  • Resource consumption: is supposed to be very low. To quote the program site “a fresh install of Windows XP SP2 (about 20,000 files) will use about 3-5mb of ram and less than 1mb of disk space. 1,000,000 files will use about 45mb of ram and 5mb of disk space”. A quick check of memory consumption on my machine showed “Everything” taking up approx. 11 megs, which is very little considering what this program does.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Filtering by files/folder/all: one thing I would like to see is a quick, radio-button style filter for viewing “files”, “folders” or “all”.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: needless to say I love this program (almost enough to consider it as yet another reason to have NTFS formatted drives rather than FAT32). If you (like me) are lucky enough to have NTFS formatted drives then you should definitely install it; the speed and flexibility that it provides is simply terrific. I love the context menu integration, I love the powerful search syntax (even as it is somewhat cumbersome at first), and I love the fact that I never need to re-index or worry about the file list being out of date. Highly recommended.

[Thanks go to reader Idodialog for letting me know about this program in the comments section of my DK Finder review].

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 293K).