Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Find that file!

If you boot to WinPE or WindowsToGo from E2B to try to fix a Windows system, it is really very useful to keep a copy of SwiftSearch.exe on the E2B USB drive.

SwiftSearch.exe is a standalone 32-bit Windows executable which will very quickly find any file (you can use wildcards in any combination) on any NTFS volume in the whole system (including NTFS USB drives). And when I say 'quick', I mean really quick, like a few seconds for a full 2TB drive, because it directly accesses the $MFT of the NTFS drive! It only works on NTFS volumes however and will not search FAT or exFAT volumes.

5 volumes (approx. 2TB) searched in 0.41 seconds (including my NTFS USB drives)!

I had already mentioned SwiftSearch in a previous blog post, but I just thought I would mention it again. Note that because it is only available as a 32-bit exe, it may not run under 64-bit WinPE's unless they have WoW64 support.

I have SwiftSearch on my Desktop and use it every day (e.g. to find win*64*.iso or a file that I just downloaded but haven't the faintest idea where the heck Windows has decided to put it!).

Once you see how fast it is, you will use it a lot because it is quicker than clicking through the folder structure in Windows Explorer to find a file, even if you know exactly where it is!

Graphical Tools

Another useful tool is WinDirStat, which you probably already know about. This can show you what large files you have on any drive but takes a while to scan the drive.


A similar program is Sequoiaview v1.3 which is quite old now (probably it is what WinDirStat is based on?) but still works well and in some ways is better!

Sequoiaview v1.3

Both of these utilities are useful for getting a quick idea of what has used up all your file storage space and they work on all types of Windows volumes (NTFS, FAT and exFAT).

P.S. Michael B just emailed me to say that Everything also uses similar $MFT scan technology and comes in 32-bit and 64-bit portable versions. I tried the Portable  English (US) versions and they seem to work under WinPE OK too. Although it is called 'Everything', like SwiftSearch, it does not look at FAT32 (or exFAT?) drives.