When you have a serious amount of documents on your computer, being able to search through it becomes more and more necessary. Windows' own search engine is somewhat inadequate - they promised Vista will be better. For now there is a point in getting third parties solutions.
Whatever the reason, a powerful search software can really make a difference.
Most of these are free, but a few are not. Prices are given "for information only". I do not own or sell these software, so make sure you get the latest data from the relevant companies by checking directly on their websites.
Editor Rating: 8/10 - Highly recommended!
You can't speak about search without speaking about Google, these days, even on you own desktop. Google Desktop automatically indexes the data in your computer's documents and allows you to search your whole computer for documents. Emails, office documents, chats records, internet browsing history,... all that can be accessed within a second, neatly presented in your web browser. On the downside, Google has to keep a pretty extensive index of everything that's on your computer, and that index can get a bit space consuming (about 1Gb on my machine). It also comes with a few optional toys too like calendars, clocks, email alert, stock alerts...stuff you may be interested to have on your desktop if you have enough place for it.
Agent Ransack is an old, odd looking piece of software, but it is also a powerful one. You can search through your files using regular expressions as well as other things like the modification date and the approximative size of the file. For instance you could look for a file whose name contains the letter h followed by the letter o and the word "george" or "jorge" in it. Not only that, but if you are not very familiar with regular expressions, Agent Ransack contains a regular expression wizard which can help you create the expression quite easily. You can even test run the expression in a special editor to make sure it finds exactly what you want and ignore what you don't want. It has 2 modes, normal and expert, making it relatively easy to use, even for complete beginners.
Please contact me if you wish to suggest another tool in this section.