Don's Freeware Corner articles are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page where there may be corrections and updates.


2019 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2020-02-07


EVERYTHING is a WINDOWS computer utility program available free from . This program finds all files anywhere on your computer that match any search terms you look for in the titles. After finding the files, it allows you to launch, rename, copy, move, delete, or do other work with them. Because it searches your entire hard drive, it finds files that you have forgotten or files of which you remember only a few characters in the name, no matter what folders they are in. It is a WINDOWS program, but there is something equivalent for Mac. It will only search NTSF-formatted drives and flash drives, not FAT nor FAT32 drives. Those are computer jargon terms for the way the drives are formatted and most of us don't need to know what they mean.


When you run EVERYTHING, across the top are the words File, Edit, View, Search, Bookmarks, Tools, and Help. Some of these are standard for WINDOWS programs. Pressing Help (or F1) takes you to their website  which has 20-25 well-explained help topics. The Installing section shows how to install it on various computer operating systems and even how to use it as a portable program, so it can be run from a flash drive and doesn't need to be installed on the computer to be searched. The Using Everything section gives you a quick run-through. The Searching section shows the search syntax including the Boolean operators and wildcards, modifiers, and function syntax The program really has a complete set of search parameters. In the Helps menu, down at the bottom of the Searching section, are examples of how to do different kinds of searches. The Options Help section shows how to set the program for searching and showing the results the way you want. When running the program, I turn on the "Show Search Terms Bold" in Options, so each search character or term is bolded in the results list.


The basic search syntax is as follows. space = AND, ! = NOT, | = OR, " " = exact phrase, < > = grouping, and * = wildcard for one or more characters. There are several search examples on the Help > Searching menu. Note that first in the results list will be all folders that satisfy the search criteria, followed by all the files satisfying it. To search for just files include "file:" (without the quotes) in the search box. For just folders include "folder:" (without the quotes). As an example, to search for all jpg photos on your computer, enter .jpg . Or to find photos of several kinds, search for .jpg | .tif | .png , etc.

My naming process is explained in detail elsewhere, but is a system so that by using EVERYTHING, all files related to a person alphabetize in chronological order for the person. When I find a lost file on my computer that relates to someone, I name it with my system, or just give it a temporary name, so it will show up later near where it belongs next time I use EVERYTHING to work on that person. Then I can give it a full correct name.


EVERYTHING has a Preview Pane so you can see what's in the file without opening it in whatever its default program is. This is extremely helpful. To turn on the Preview Pane go to View and click Preview. You now see an area to the right where the file data used to be. You can make the panel larger or smaller by dragging the separator in the title bar. Now, when a file is highlighted, its contents are shown in the Preview Pane and you can work with it without having to open it in a program.


This is the feature that I recently discovered and that has been so helpful for me to find my scanned files. I scan documents, articles, and photos.  I frequently scan items at the Family History Center and then relabel them at home later. But, sometimes I don't get around to relabeling them and they are just in folders with names like "--scanned-2016-09-22...". Since the files don't have their correct names, they are essentially "lost" on my computer until I take time to go through the folders and label them. This is where the extra large thumbnails in EVERYTHING have helped so much. Turning on Extra Large Thumbnails, instead of Details, it shows the first page of each scan and I can recognize what they are. Here is a screenshot of some thumbnails in EVERYTHING using search terms "--scanned-2016" on my computer.

I first discovered this feature of EVERYTHING a few months ago when I was looking for a particular file that I knew I had scanned, but not relabeled. In the process I found several official certificates that I had scanned, but not renamed, so I put temporary names on them so they would show up when I was working on that person and can give them complete names then. I was also looking for several Lead Sheets (music "Fake Book" pages) that I remembered scanning for my accordion concerts and with the large thumbnails, I can see which scans are music. This has been a real help, but it shows how much work I still have to do to get all my scanned files relabeled. It's never-ending.


The free program EVERYTHING is extremely helpful and new things keep popping up that it will do. This thumbnail view is the latest. You might find it helpful in your computer work, too.
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