2017 Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2017-03-03

These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter, and are posted on where there may be corrections or updates.

EVERYTHING is a Windows computer utility program available free from .  If in doubt as to which Windows version you need, try the top one since that works for most of us.  This program finds all files anywhere on your computer with any characters or words
in the titles that you search for and allows you to launch, rename, copy, move, work with, or delete them.  Because it searches your entire hard drive it finds files that you have forgotten or thought were lost on your computer, or files of which you only remember a few characters in the name, no matter what folders they are in.  It is a program that I use many times every day.  Two things to mention at the start:  first, it is a Windows program, but there is probably something similar for Mac; and second, it will only search NTSF-formatted drives and flash drives, not FAT nor FAT32 drives.  These are computer jargon terms for the way the flash drives are formatted and most of us don't need to know what they mean.  We seldom have to search flash drives, but if you do, just copy them to a temporary folder on the desktop and all the files will be included in the EVERYTHING search results.

When you run EVERYTHING, across the top you see 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.  They include things like Installing, Using, Customizing, Updating, Keyboard Shortcuts, Options, Searching, Other Languages, and What's New.  The Installing section shows how to install it on various computer operating system types and even how to use it portably, so it can be run from a flash drive and doesn't need to be installed on the computer that it is searching.  The Using Everything section gives you a quick run-through of how to use it.  The Searching section gives all the search syntax including the Boolean operators and wildcards, modifiers, function syntax and attributes so you can search for files created or updated on, before, or after dates you specify or sizes of files, and other options.  There really is a complete set of search parameters.  I also turn on the "Show Search Terms Bold" so each search character or term is bolded in the results lists.  In the Helps 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 EVERYTHING for searching and showing the results the way you want.  The ETP section shows how to set up your computer so you can search it from another computer, which sounds helpful, but I don't know how to do that yet.  In the Help section under Customizing, it says there is a way to change the date format so the results are in any date format you want, e.g. International Date Format with YYYY-MM-DD, but I haven't been able to get it to do that.  In the Options, under the Tools tab, you can set which drives you want it to search and display, how to change the colors, etc.  If you have folders or drives that you use for backups and you don't want those searched, so you don't inadvertently delete or move those backup files, tell EVERYTHING not search those.  I usually set it to run when my computer boots up, so it's available whenever I want to use it.  It will rescan your hard drive periodically and when you tell it to by pressing the F5 (Refresh) key.  It will also tell me if there is a new version of EVERYTHING, so I can download it. 
The program has many options, but most of us just need the basic parts and there is an option to Restore Defaults when you want. 

The basic search syntax is  space = AND, ! = NOT, | = OR, " " = exact phrase, <  > = grouping, and * = wildcard for one or more characters.  There are several search examples on the Help > Searching menu that you can look at.  Note that all folders with the search criteria show up first in the results list and then the files.  To search for just files include file: in the search box.  For just folders include folder:.  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.  If you search for  .jpg .tif .png , you probably won't get anything, since there probably are no files that contain all of these.  In searching for other things I have been finding files on my computer that I had forgotten about with names like "our report to the HC", so when I come across such, I rename them to something like SnowDonaldRay(1931-)-2000-01-05-LDS-Mission-ReportToMorningsideStakeHighCouncil.txt  so they will show up where they belong later.  My naming process is explained in detail elsewhere, but is a system I have worked out over several years so that by using EVERYTHING, all files related to a person alphabetize in chronological order for the person.  Some of you remember when file names could only be 8 characters long, plus 3 for the extension, so we worked out codes to name things in those days.  Now I'm finding lots of those old files that I had forgotten about.  They turn up when I try old short names or partial names or nicknames.  I also find that there are misspellings in file names, so I try things like Staf*rd to find Stafford, Staford, Staferd, etc.  The numbers you see in the lower left-hand corner of a results screen is the number of results with that search criteria.  You will be interested to note the total number of all files and folders on your computer by using nothing in the search box.  That number may be in the millions.  For example, on my desktop computer right now, EVERYTHNG says I have more than 2,800,000 files and folders!

As in FILE EXPLORER, EVERYTHING now has a Preview Pane so you can see what's in the file without having to open it in its default program and this is extremely helpful.  To turn on the Preview Pane go to View and click on Preview.  You now see a large area to the right where the file content will be shown in place of the file data such as the date created, file size, etc.  Now, as you highlight a file, you see its contents in the Preview Pane to the right and you can work with it without having to open it in a program.  For example, seeing what's inside the file, you can rename it.  Of, if you find files with the same name and content, but in different folders, you can immediately delete one or more of them.  To see examples of this do searches for things like .jpg or .doc or .txt and as you highlight a file title, you'll see the contents.  You can even use this as a slideshow of a collection of photos by arrowing down to highlight the names of files in the collection and watching the Preview Pane.  The Preview Pane can be widened by moving the vertical bar by clicking on it and moving right or left.  This feature will save many clicks when doing file maintenance.

Once you have found a file with EVERYTHING, just click on it to open it in the default rogram you have set for that extension on your computer.  No matter where the file is on your computer, once you find it, clicking on it will run it or open it in its appropriate program.  To rename a file just highlight it in EVERYTHING, click Rename, and rename it right there.  If there are several files you want to rename, you can do them one at a time in EVERYTHING, but if there are many, it might be easier to highlight them all, drag-and-drop them to a new temporary folder on your desktop, and use something like BULK RENAME UTILITY to rename them all at once.  I haven't found a way to rename whole blocks of files in EVERYTHING all at once, but there may be a way.

EVERYTHING now has an Advanced Search page that has boxes to fill in for various kinds of searches, so you can do more than with just the original search box.  It allows you to enter all the terms you want in the ways you want them searched.

I use EVERYTHING to work on groups of files by finding the group with the search criteria, highlighting them all by clicking the first file in the list, holding down the Shift key and clicking on the bottom one (This is a Windows property.), then draging-and-droping the collection to the folder I want in FILE EXPLORER or Q-DIR or other file management program.  For people with the same surname I usually move the files to a surname folder with that name.  As these files come into the new folder I can eliminate duplicates since, if there is already a file with that name in the folder, it will stop and ask if I want to replace or rename the new file coming in.  If I choose rename, it adds a number at the end, e.g. _2 or _3.  I have found this very helpful since many times I have copied an entire set of files somewhere to use them and then forgotten to delete the copied files and they are all just duplicates.  As I move them to the same folder, when it stops on a file with duplicate name, I can check the properties to see if it is the same file or maybe an updated version of it, and decide which or both to save.

These are just a few of the ways I have learned to use EVERYTHING and I'm sure there are many more.  But with just this you can see the uses of it, and not just for family history.  I have been surprised at how many files I have found with EVERYTHING on my computer that I had forgotten about, but that I have now renamed, so I can find them easily, and they all sort in chronological order where they belong.  I find that I use EVERYTHING everyday to run, copy, move, delete, or rename files.  Many times I have created the same file at different times so they have slightly different names and I can delete one.  I hope you find the program as helpful as I do and it's completely free.