©2015 by Donald R. Snow

This page was last updated 2015-02-01
Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These note are posted on  along with the additional  Searching Your Computer - Supplementary Notes .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Easy to put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes or any URL; just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  How to find things on your own computer:  documents, scans, photos, names in genealogy databases, duplicate files, etc.

  6. Computers have hundreds of thousands of files and folders on them -- the way to search depends on the kind and purpose of your search
  7. Text files have extensions like  txt, rtf, doc, docx, pdf, odt, xls, ods, ppt, etc. -- types of searches 
    1. Files - knowing something in the title or date 
    2. Files - knowing some text in the file 
    3. In a known file - for text you know is there
    4. Genealogy databases - to find the one containing certain genealogy 
  8. Image files have extensions like  jpg, tif, png, bmp, etc. -- types of searches 
    1. Image files - knowing something in the name, date, or metadata of the file
    2. Image files - containing pictures of certain people
    3. To find duplicate image files to decide which to delete
  9. Duplicate or similar files to decide which to delete, text files or image files 

  11. EVERYTHING -- -- free program with installed and portable versions, extremely fast -- you enter any character of the file title or date and see a list of all such files, regardless of where they are on your computer; can use it to find files, launch, rename, or delete files; can use it in tandem with Windows Explorer to move and organize files; extremely useful
  12. If you use my system for naming files as on my  Searching Your Computer - Supplementary Notes , EVERYTHING will find the files and sort them into an interactive timeline for the person.
  13. NEMO-DOCS -- -- free program, shows names of documents, images, etc., on a calendar by the date they were produced or modified so you can find it by context, if you know about when you worked on it
  14. WIN7 SEARCH -- built into Windows 7; click on the Start/Stop button (lower left corner) and type search terms in the box -- finds files by name and by content and sorts them into type, e.g. documents, programs, music, etc.; searches inside text files, including emails, but is very slow and searches entire computer and you can't limit it to just certain folders; shows them in Windows Explorer so you can open the View Panel on the right to see what's in the file without opening it in a program 

  16. TEXT CRAWLER -- -- freeware, but be careful on the download and installation or you get extraneous stuff; find and replace across multiple files; you set the folder and/or subfolders and tell it what kind of files to examine, e.g. *.doc, or *.txt, or *.html, or set it as *.* to search through all file types in those folders; set the search terms and click Start; it first builds a list of all such files and then searches for the terms in those; scroll bar across the middle of the screen shows progress; when finished you see the file names in the top panel and by highlighting any file there, you see the lines with the search terms with a few words on each side in the bottom panel; replace feature has several options on the pick list (small downward pointing arrow at end of Replace box), items such as "Standard Replace", "Insert Before", "Insert After", and "Delete".  On the Settings Menu (the gear-like icon) there are several options such as "Prompt For Confirmation of Replace" since you may only want to replace some occurrences of the search terms; can reset the numbers of words to show around the search terms
  17. INFORAPID SEARCH AND REPLACE -- -- free for private use, find and replace text across multiple files, easy to use, select folders and type of files to search; results show file names in blue with search terms in red in the line where they occur, allows Boolean searches with  & (AND), | (OR), ! (NOT); clicking on the highlighted search term takes you to the document where you can edit it; right clicking takes you back to the results screen or to start another search; Can also start a new search by clicking on the Show Search Dialog bar at bottom; clicking on any other word in a line starts a search for that word in all the files; past searches are saved and shown in tabs at top so you can go back to any one; also has a replace function; website only mentions that it works on versions of Windows up through XP, but it seems to work fine on Windows 7; download page mentions that to search pdf's you need to install another free program first 
  18. FILELOCATOR LITE 2014 (same program as old AGENT RANSACK) -- -- freeware; after installing and restarting your computer it adds the option in your right click menu so right clicking on a file or folder gives option to search for words or phrases in it; allows Boolean searches using AND, OR, NOT; shows search results with files in one panel and search terms highlighted for that file in another panel; can go through the files in the left panel by using the up and down arrow keys and see the results in the right panel one file at a time; no replace nor editing feature
  19. pdf's need the text layer to be searchable -- freeware program PDF-XCHANGE VIEWER LITE now has built in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to form text layer on pdf's -- -- can also use free version of EVERNOTE to search pdf's since pdf's in notes in EVERNOTE are indexed overnight in free version and immediately in commercial version

  21. GENVIEWER -- -- freeware version will only search in one file; commercial version ($20) will search within all genealogy files in a folder for conditions you specify, e.g. "Given Name Contains John" and "Spouse Name Contains Margaret"; commercial version has a free 15 day trial; doesn't work on all types of databases yet; there is also a free FHC version and a CD version you can put on a CD with a database  
  22. Author (Luc Comeau) is working on new version now in beta; can be downloaded for free to try out -- -- doesn't have all features in it yet   

  24. If you use a naming system such as the one described in the  Searching Your Computer - Supplementary Notes , you can find easily all images of a person, location, event, type of event, date, year, etc. by using EVERYTHING --
  25. To find pictures of a person -- PICASA -- -- free from Google; has facial recognition that puts thumbnails around all faces in your pictures and organizes them in groups it thinks are the same person -- see details in my PHOTOS AND PICASA notes at ; before running PICASA, be sure to set which folders you want it to work on or it defaults to work on your entire hard drive and as it adds thumbnails, it thinks these are new images, and does these again, etc., so the results grow exponentially 

  27. GLARY UTILITIES -- good free file maintenance program; has good duplicate file finder -- -- go to Advanced Tools > Clean Up & Repair
  28. DUPLICATE CLEANER -- -- easy to use; finds groups of duplicates; has selection criteria to decide which dup to delete; has a button to make sure you don't inadvertently mark to delete all files in a group of duplicates
  29. AWESOME DUPLICATE PHOTO FINDER -- -- freeware, very helpful to find similar and exact duplicate images; shows the percentage it thinks the pictures are similar (100% for exactly the same and down to 1% for not very similar); shows images side-by-side to compare and you can save both or delete one 
  30. SIMILAR IMAGES -- -- freeware to search in folders you specify to find exact or similar images, shows them side-by-side and indicates whether identical or how close to identical so you can decide whether to keep both or delete one
  31. To find images on your computer similar to a particular one use one of these programs and search through the folders containing it and other images. 

  33. The  Searching Your Computer - Supplementary Notes  has additional information and programs, including my naming system for files.
  34. Our computers get loaded with information and file maintenance takes time, but is usually worth it; hopefully this gives you some tools to help.

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .