Ever wonder where you stored a certain file on your computer? If you have the new Windows 7 or even Windows Vista on your computer, you won't need any extra software to answer that question. The functionality already built into Windows 7 and Vista beats the performance offered by four free search programmes, the experts at Germany's Computer Bild magazine found.
Both Windows 7 and Vista scored above the best add-on programme. Windows 7 rated 2.84 on a scale of 1 to 5, with lower scores better than higher ones, and Vista rated 2.97. The best add-on programme was rated 3.03.
The search function on XP managed a 3.42 on average and as such was deemed more accomplished and convenient than the other three test candidates. Two earned grades of 4.08 and 4.30 ("acceptable") while the third was stamped "inadequate" (4.75) by the tests.
Windows 7's superior file search capabilities are based on its exceptional quickness in creating an index, which is the key preparatory step. Working with a test hard drive containing 22,000 files, the database required only twelve minutes to catalogue the files. The slowest test candidate - one of the free programs - required almost 45 minutes.
Once that index had been created, all of the solutions were fast: no file search lasted longer than one second. One of the four extra programmes received a demerit, though: prior to the start of a search an advertisement was shown in the results window. A click on the link led to a website that the browser classified as "unsafe."