Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review: AvaFind

I have used the free download of AvaFind for several years. It is one of the most useful and trouble-free programs I have ever used. Its purpose is very simple: it finds files on my computer. But it does so very easily and accurately. I hit Shift-Esc from anywhere, and its window pops up. I type in the name of the file I am looking for, and it finds it. I double-click on the file’s name, and it opens. Very easy!

The search feature allows me to use multiple wildcards. For example, a search for “simon*bridge*water” brings up the file that I have named “Simon & Garfunkel–Bridge Over Troubled Water.mp3.” The relevant webpage describes other advanced and wildcard search options.

The search engine does not search for file contents. For instance, a search for “Uncle Henry” will not bring up the file named “Letter to Aunt Sally.doc” in which the words “Uncle Henry” appear; that search will bring up only those files that have “Uncle Henry” in their filename. Thus, this search will not find files that Google Desktop would find.

One advantage of this approach is that AvaFind is updated much more quickly than Google Desktop (GD). If I have moved a bunch of files and now want to delete the empty folder, GD will not let me; it will have locked the folder until it can finish moving. GD is constantly improving, unlike AvaFind, which has not been updated since 2003. But GD still imposes a burden on my computer, as it does its searching, whereas I never notice any slowdowns from AvaFind as it indexes my files. Both programs’ indexes sometimes require a manual instruction compelling them to re-index the drive, but AvaFind’s simpler re-indexing is done within minutes, not hours. Usually, the filename contains the information I am searching for, so I rarely need GD; and AvaFind is much faster to call up and use, so I always prefer it over GD.

AvaFind allows me to block folders that I do not want to search. That can include program directories as well as folders in which, for some reason, I have temporarily stored backups or duplicates of the files that I want to use and update. The professional version of AvaFind ($39.95) lets you perform various Windows Explorer functions on the files you find. I just bought my professional subscription, after years of thinking that I should pay them something but being unwilling to pay so much. I once sent them an e-mail suggesting that they lower the price, because I did not think that I or other users would be prepared to spend so much for a single-purpose utility, but I never got a reply.

The freeware version of AvaFind is powerful and has been incredibly useful for me, right on up through Windows XP, my current operating system, and I highly recommend it. I also think the pro version will be worth my money.

Postscript: the Pro version does add some features and makes life easier. It would have paid for itself by now; I should have bought it a long time ago, despite its high price tag ($39.95 for a file-finding utility, unless you make what I consider the mistake of going for the $19.95 annual approach).



I had this originally posted in my other blog. There, someone named Donough posted this comment:

"I’ve been using AvaFind religiously since 2002, but I’ve been having licensing problems. I have a single user, single version license, but recently it just delicenses the application without warning. I even went as far as to buy another license in the hope of fixing the problem. No joy though!

I e-mailed the author directly from his domain whois, so I’m hoping he might have a fix, but it’s unlikely because he hasn’t updated it since 2003."


hi Ray,

Does Avafind detects hidden files too?