Start by launching a web browser and visiting the Void Tools website. When the website loads, click the latest download link at the foot of the page (called ‘Everything-184.108.40.2061.exe’ when we visited). If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should select Save File to save the download to Firefox’s default download folder. Now locate and double-click the downloaded file, ignore any security warnings and click Run – if Windows asks for permission to continue, that’s OK. Follow the installation wizard to install Everything. Leave the default settings as they are (unless there is a specific reason for changing them) and click the Finish button when you’re done.
After a moment, Everything will launch. At first the program window will be blank. Look carefully and at the bottom left it will display a status message indicating that it’s scanning the drive or drives. One of the beauties of Everything is that it’s quick at this stuff, so scanning even a large drive takes no time at all. When it’s finished, Everything displays the files and folders it has found on any attached drives and gives a summary count at the bottom left – more than 200,000 items on our test PC.
Try searching for something. We typed in Computeractive and Everything found 14 different objects – some are folders, others Word files, and still more are pictures. We find it useful to organise results like this into types so all the pictures or documents are grouped together. To do this, first right-click on an empty space where the column names are (Path, Size and so on) and choose Type from the pop-up list. Then, when the Type heading appears, click it to sort the results into their respective file types.
Everything makes it easy to find individual files if you know their name but just can’t remember where they’re stored. Use the Backspace key to delete the previous search and type in the name of a file. Here, for example, we’re looking for a Word document that we know is a job sheet relating to an arts centre in Havant – so we can just type in the four words Havant, job, sheet and arts in any order and Everything will track down the file. Once you’ve found a particular file, right-click it to see a range of commands appear on a pop-up menu.
Alternatively, Everything can find files by type rather than by name. For example, to find all the photos stored on the hard disk in the JPEG format (the type used by most consumer digital cameras) type .jpg. Everything will find and list all the JPEG pictures on the disk. If you’re having a clear-out, remember results can be sorted by size, date or any other column type by clicking the relevant heading – sorting results by size to list the largest first can be useful when trying to free up hard disk space.
Everything can use sophisticated search techniques to find specific files and folders. Here’s an example. Delete the previous search and this time, type .tif | .bmp – on most keyboards the line character in the middle (|) is above the backslash character(\), to the left of the Z). This will search for pictures that have been stored as TIFF or BMP files – such as the ‘Spray’ picture shown here. This technique is good for finding and removing duplicate files after they’ve been converted from one format into another.
There is no need to launch Everything each time you wish to execute a search because it’s also available from inside Windows Explorer. Open the My Documents folder and then open another folder inside that – ours is a folder called Computeractive. Right-click on that folder and choose Search Everything from the pop-up menu. Everything loads and displays the entire contents of that folder – folders, subfolders and individual files. Here we’ve kept the Windows Explorer folder open and right-clicked the folder again to show the pop-up menu and result.
So far we’ve been searching only the computer’s hard disk (drive C) but as soon as another disk is plugged in – an external USB drive, say – Everything will index it and start adding its own files and folders to your search results. To see this in action right-click on the Everything icon in the Taskbar (it looks like a sheet of paper with a magnifying glass over it – if you can’t see it, click the Show Hidden Icons button first) and choose Options from the menu. When the dialogue box appears, click the Volumes tab and you will see any additional disks listed there.
After plugging in a second disk, we’ve opened Everything again and this time searched for an old article about online encyclopaedia Wikipedia by typing editing Wikipedia into the search box. Check out the results list and you’ll see that Everything has found matches both on the main drive C and on the secondary disk – drive D. Besides right-clicking on anything in the results list you can also open individual files as long as you have the appropriate program – double-clicking the first result for example, opens the document in Microsoft Word.
It’s also possible to exclude drives from individual searches. Let’s say you’re using drives C and D – clear the search box at the top, open the Search menu and choose Match Path. Type the name of the drive to search (in this example it’s drive D) followed by a colon and a backslash (so you’d type D:\). Now type in your search. This time, Everything will search only drive D and ignore any other attached disks. Remember to turn off the Match Path feature when you want to include all the drives again.