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Desktop search engine helps find files quickly

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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Somewhere on my 500-gigabyte hard drive is a column I wrote several years ago about a helpful uninstaller. It should be in a folder called "columns," but it's not. I checked my two online backup programs -- SugarSync and Carbonite -- and came up empty. I sifted through my Documents folder -- still no luck.
Chest aching in all the wrong places, I did what I should have done in the first place, and that is call up Copernic, a desktop search engine that, when I typed in two keywords -- "uninstaller" and "helpware" -- and found the file so fast, I hardly believed my good fortune. As a bonus, Copernic displayed the contents of the document in a little window on my desktop. My chest pains faded.
After installation, Copernic indexes your hard drive, and surprisingly quickly, it waits for your first search in a small, rectangular box on the task bar. Type a keyword into the Copernic box and a deeper box appears with the search results. Double-clicking on it will get you every file and email that matches your search. In the Professional version, which I installed, there are more search windows so that you can narrow your search. If Copernic can't find your file on your hard drive, it will offer to do a Web search of your keywords. You can even search for music and photos.
There are three versions of Copernic. (As far as I can tell, the name comes from the astronomer Copernicus, but I couldn't find an explanation on the Copernic website.) Each version can be downloaded from www.copernic.com. The free version, which I used to find my lost file, performs most of the tasks as the paid versions, but has ads and no tech support. If you want to pony up $50, you get the Professional version, which is faster, can search network drives, save searches and allows you to export the results of your searches. A Corporate version costs $60 and allows for more customization. The Professional and Corporate versions have a generous 30-day free trial, at the end of which you'll be thoroughly hooked. For most home users, the free version should do the job just fine.
Installation is straightforward, the icons and search functions are easy enough for newbies to understand, and the help files are well done.
Story tags » Software

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