neoSearch is a freeware desktop search engine for Windows

Finding a file using Windows Search can be painful if you have tons of data, especially if it is located in folders that are not indexed. This is why users rely on more efficient solutions such as the Everything search engine, WizFile, or FileSearchy. If for some reason, you want an alternative, there are many available like NeoSearch.

neoSearch is a freeware desktop search engine for Windows

NeoSearch isn’t a portable software. The installer is just over 1MB in size, and automatically detects the bit architecture of your computer.

Note: The program warns you that it collects anonymous data during installation. The disclaimer mentions an example, like determining whether the developer needs to support additional languages. Some users may stop the installation process right then and there, as it is not really clear what is collected.

When you install neoSearch, three windows will open: a help file, the interface and an indexing option. We’ll customize how the program from the options, so you can dismiss the window and the help contents. The application runs in the background from the system tray, you can double-click on the icon or use the hotkey Win + N to bring up the interface. You can also use Alt + F3, but for some reason there is a delay in calling the program this way. I couldn’t find a way to modify the keyboard shortcuts, even though the help file suggested that there is a way.

neoSearch desktop search engine

The GUI is pretty clean, semi-opaque and has a menu bar at the top right-hand corner and a search bar at the bottom. Type the name of the file that you want to find in the search bar, you will see the results appear on the main area of the window as you type. You can also enter a directory’s path to search inside the specific folder. E.g. C:UsersUSERNAMEDropbox. This method of searching is called Super Navigation, and does not require indexing.

Click on a result to open the folder or file (in its default handler). The default search only shows the top results, hit the Enter key and the interface switches to a different view that displays all results. It includes the name of the file/folder, the modified date, file size, and the full path. NeoSearch does not index all drives by default, but you can fix that.

Go back to the main screen of the program, and click on the Options menu. Select the Include tab, and add the drives you want to using the browse button followed by clicking on the Include button. To view a list of the included folders/drives click on the Edit Paths option, it opens a text document that contains the added directories.

neoSearch include and exclude

Similarly, you can also exclude specific folders from the search. By default, the program does not index the system folder. Head to the Index tab to set the automatic indexing behavior, neoSearch can be set to scan for files daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly. It also supports manual indexing, to use it either click on the Index option on the main screen, or the re-index button from the options window or the Start Indexing option tray menu. The indexing process is a little slow, a progress bar is displayed near the system tray to indicate scan’s status. You can view a summary of the database in the index tab.

neoSearch options basic

NeoSearch has an unusual setting in the Options window, there is an uninstall button which you can click on to remove the program from your computer. The Basics tab houses a few more options. You can set the program to run automatically when Windows starts, toggle scanning of ID3 tags for MP3 files, and a slower indexing method.

neoSearch index - slow processing

The search engine is light on resources and uses about 12MB of RAM and about 1-10% of CPU when not indexing, the rise in CPU usage happens when you search for content but reverts to minimal almost immediately. Indexing uses about 20-30% CPU, but since the program isn’t scanning for files continuously this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

neoSearch index default processing speed

The “Slower indexing method” on the other hand uses about 5% of the CPU, and less than 15MB of RAM, but the scanning process is significantly slower to complete at 5 minutes and 10 seconds, as compared to about 43 seconds for the default indexing process.

If you don’t want all the bells and whistles of Everything, I think neoSearch is a nice slimmed down, user-friendly alternative for users who don’t mind the anonymous data collecting and slower speed.

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