FileSeek is a powerful portable search tool which can locate files by name, or matching text.

The program's familiar interface means you'll be using it right away. Select a path to search and an "Include" pattern - like *.txt - to find files of a particular type, say, and optionally enter text to locate within those files.

You can then build on this to create more precise searches. You're able to specify multiple search paths and file names, for instance (*.txt and *.docx). You can exclude files by path or name. Regular expression support gives you even more control, and your searches can be further filtered by file size and date.

Text searches are just as flexible. You might start by just searching for a word (dog), but you can also look for phrases ("pet dog"), use logical operators (dog or cat), or again use regular expressions if you prefer.

This isn't just a binary search for text characters, either. FileSeek is able to use IFilters - file handlers - to locate the search terms you need in binary files, like PDFs.

Multithreading keeps search times to a minimum, and results are displayed in a table. Clicking any matching file displays a preview, where possible, along with the line of text which contains your search term.

Right-clicking any of the matching files displays some interesting further options, including the ability to permanently delete your selections so they can't be recovered.

The free FileSeek does have some notable restrictions. You can't have multiple searches running in separate tabs; there's no option to export your results as a CSV/ HTML report; you can't save your search settings as a profile for easy recall later, and it's strictly for personal use only.

None of these issues are critical, though - the free build is still very powerful. The premium features are highlighted in blue, too, a thoughtful touch as it means you're not forever selecting them by mistake (although if you do, there's still the usual "time to upgrade" dialog).

Version 4.5 changes:

  • The auto-updater now has an "Install on Exit" option
  • You can now use the text query engine in the Includes/Excludes Files fields
  • Fixed an issue where removing results from the list would mess the list up
  • Matches in the lines before/after are now also highlighted
  • Fixed some 32-bit Windows issues

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A fast and flexible search tool