Everything search will not index Dropbox files

Everything search will not index Dropbox files

by on 05/01/2013

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I noticed recently that Everything search, the superb utility which lets me find any file on my computer in seconds, was not working properly. On investigation, it turned out it was not indexing any files in the Dropbox folder: a big drawback as all my data files are in that folder!

I realised  long time ago that a “desktop search” programme would be hugely useful for me as I was spending more and more time looking for files on my folder system.

At first, this was easy. But as the number of files I had, and wanted to be able to find, went into hundreds and then thousands it became clear that I needed some sort of utility to find my files more easily.

Windows search has never been very good. At least it’s not complete rubbish now: but it’s still slow and ungainly.

First I tested out the major offering such as X1 and Google desktop search. I didn’t like the Google: and X1 was good, but it indexed so much (file contents) that it was slow.

Then I found Everything search utility.

In the video I briefly describe Everything and Dropbox, then show you the fix which forces Everything to index all the files in the Dropbox folder.

Resources

Dropbox

Dropbox is a fully features sharing utility which lets you sync your important documents up to the Dropbox cloud servers. Sync up to 2GB for the free account, and 100 GB or more with the paid account. Dropbox gives you a useful additional off site backup of your files and also lets you sync some or all of your data files to any other computer you use regularly – eg a laptop.

Everything

Fantastic and super-fast desktop search utility. In other words, Everything quickly indexes every file name and folder name on your hard drive then when you search for it, finds any one of them in seconds. You can set a hot key combination to bring it into action – I use Ctrl + 3. Two seconds later my file is found.

Next to Everything, Windows built-in search pales into insignificance. Do yourself a favour: install Everything and stop spending time searching for that lost file. After you get Everything – that doesn’t happen any more!

Everything download page

Filelocator Lite/Pro

Everything isn’t actively supported any more (not between around 2011 and 2013) so if it hits the dust at any time, FileLocator seems to be a good substitute. There is a free and a paid-for version.

For me, I’d get the Pro version for its ability to index inside .pst file: but that is only useful if you use Outlook.
(Note: just to confuse the issue, FileLocator have given a second different name to FileLocator Lite: Agent Ransack.

Text Version

Spoiler title
First, a quick look at Everything and Dropbox

Everything Search

Everything search utility is simply the best desktop search tool available for the PC. It beats Windows’ own search tool into a cocked hat – basically, because it is almost instant.

I don’t know about you, but I have thousands of files on my PC many of which I might want to find.

If I go back to a project I was working on three months ago, so much has happened since then I am very likely forget where I stored some of the project files.

In fact, with Everything you don’t even have to bother to remember when your files are stored, as Everything does the job for you. As long as you name your files fairly relevantly it’s pretty easy 99% of the time to guess the names you chose and Everything narrows down your search the more data you type.

You can also narrow things down by putting in file type and sorting by date accessed.

Dropbox file synchronisation utility

Dropbox is a way of mirroring all your data files up to the Dropbox servers online; a “cloud”.

This has four advantages.

  • First, it acts as one of your backups, or an extra backup, which also stores previous versions – occasionally a life-saver.
  • Secondly, you can log on to your Dropbox account from any computer anywhere and access your files.
  • Thirdly, you can install Dropbox on any other computer you own, such as your laptop, and automatically sync  all your files to that computer too.
  • Fourthly, you can choose any file or folder within your Dropbox folder and invite anybody by email to share it. This is useful, for example, when working on projects with other people and sharing documents; or if you want to allow someone to download a large amount of data, too big to send in an email. You simply give them access to the specified Dropbox folder and they can download it from there.

Dropbox broke Everything search

Following the last but one update to Dropbox, Everything search stopped indexing all the files within your Dropbox folder. Annoying to say the least!

This is probably an Everything error, but we can’t expect it to be corrected because, sadly, Everything has not been updated for a couple of years.

Happily, there are several fixes, including one quick fix which uses Everything’s own settings. However, this fix is well hidden and you’d be most unlikely to find it by yourself!

The fix is to go into Everything’s options and specifically include your Dropbox folder to index.

You might say: “That’s easy”.

But the complication is, the option to “Include” is only seen if you click on the “Exclude” tab, then go one level down in the menu. So it’s almost impossible to work out for yourself. In a way it’s sort of funny…

Once on the Exclude tab, and having ticked the “Exclude files and folder” tick box, and then clicked the “Add Folder”  button, only then are you are allowed to tick either “Include”, or “Exclude”.

Now, navigate to your Dropbox folder and add it.

One more thing. If you are indexing any other discs then you will probably need to add them here too. Otherwise, I don’t think they’ll get indexed. I added my own two external hard disks in here and everything works okay; but I haven’t tested not adding them.

So, that’s it! Two minutes after I’d done this good old faithful Dropbox came back to full power.

Phew!

By the way – just in case it’s ever needed, I found a substitute for Everything which everyone raves about. This is made by Mythicsoft.

There is a free version, FileLocator Lite, which does not include searching  Outlook .pst files (which Everything does), or a paid-for version, FileLocator Pro, which does do that, as well as having a number of other sophisticated options.

There is a Feature Comparison on their website.

It’s good to know there is an alternative to the brilliant Everything – which, as I said, is no longer developed and the developer is MIA when I last checked. So if it ever goes pear-shaped, remember about FileLocator.

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