This week’s column – Hard-Disk Hunters

This week’s Loose Wire column is about hard disk indexers, a topic familiar to those of you reading this blog. 

CONSIDER THIS: Your hard drive probably contains more info than you could ever imagine. Say you’ve got a modest hard drive of 20 gigabytes. That’s the equivalent of about 20 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or 20,000 floppy disks. That’s a lot of stuff, and, chances are, you have little or no idea what’s actually on there or, if you do, how to find it. Be ignorant no more: Help is at hand.

Now, I know we’ve been here before. One of my bugbears has been the lack of a decent program to find files on your computer. By this I don’t mean looking for anything particularly obscure, just your last letter home, or the e-mail you got from the accounts department demanding your expense report from covering the Burma Campaign. Simple stuff, and it’s always annoyed me that Internet search engines do this so much better on the world wide Web than they do on our own Word files or e-mails. (Mac fans will chime in at this point and say they’ve always had this feature; Windows fans will say XP has its own search-and-index function. But, with respect to both groups, I’d say neither is particularly useful and, in the case of XP’s, practical. It’s clunky, hard to figure out, and slows your computer down to a snail’s pace.) But now sharp new programs promise to do something about this, and they are aimed directly at the casual user who just wants to find stuff, without a lot of fuss.

In the column I mention most of the indexers listed here. Full text at the Far Eastern Economic Review (subscription required, trial available) or at WSJ.com (subscription required). Old columns at feer.com here.

12. August 2004 by jeremy
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