Do you hate the search “feature” they put in Windows 7/8? I think it’s terrible and slow.¬†Since Google Desktop was discontinued–hold on, let me take a moment to grieve–it’s been a sad, slow, opaque world for me. While Outlook search has improved greatly, I think because they integrated LookOut, searching through Windows Explorer is painful. It takes too long, returns too many false positives and has a pointlessly complicated syntax for refined search.

I’ve looked around for a good free alternative, and I’ve come to rely on Agent Ransack. It’s zippy, bare bones ugly the way I like it, and has a great name to boot. Once installed, you can access it through the right-click menu.

Try it, I think you’ll like it.

Pro-tip: the hotkey is the letter “a” so you can right-click on a folder and type “a” to get to the search box fast. Or, if you’re in no-mouse/keyboard-only mode, hit the menu key to the left of the spacebar and tap “a.”

Here are some search alternatives, but I haven’t tried them myself.

And here’s the crazy syntax for making Windows search behave.

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For Windows users who have had the good fortune to work on Macs:

Ever wish you could drag a file onto an application to open it in said application? Or just wanted to move a file to a new folder that’s hidden under other folders? Frustrated that Windows thinks you’re trying to add a shortcut to the taskbar instead? Do this:

Drag the file to the taskbar (to the folder or application tab in the taskbar, specifically) and wait a second with the mouse button still down. The folder or app will come into focus, and you can drag the file there.

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Folder Menu 3 (Windows)

This is a huge timesaver. Free download lets you create a custom menu of folder and file locations, accessibly with a click of the middle mouse button. Works in explorer, of course, but also dialog boxes. Go get it.

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Do you work in an office that uses Windows? Often find yourself emailing people locations of files on a server? Try this shortcut:

  1. Open the folder that has the file you want.
  2. Start a new email.
  3. Use the right mouse button (not the usual left button) to drag the file to the email window.
  4. When you release the button you’ll see a contextual menu–choose “Create Hyperlink Here.”

The file path will paste into the email, and the recipient can click to open the file directly.

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