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Poll

Which Desktop Search Tool(s) do you use? (Choose up to 2)

Google Desktop Search
15 (6.4%)
Copernic Desktop Search
36 (15.3%)
MSN Windows Desktop Search
15 (6.4%)
Yahoo Desktop Search
4 (1.7%)
X1 Desktop Search
24 (10.2%)
Locate
40 (16.9%)
Archivarius
14 (5.9%)
other...
57 (24.2%)
none / no comment
31 (13.1%)

Total Members Voted: 194

Last post Author Topic: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?  (Read 404086 times)

J-Mac

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #575 on: February 08, 2009, 03:23:03 PM »
qforce,

What difference does it make to you what others prefer to use? Who made you the arbiter of what is right and what is not WRT search engines? Sounds like a personal problem...

All these various search facilities in photo apps, music apps, etc. utilize different search methods - some use Regexp, some do not, some search filenames only, some search text within documents. I find it much easier to use a desktop search engine and become very familiar with its search features. For many users, trying to become adept at so many different search methods is a bother that they do not wish to do.

Most users here are a little more savvy than what you seem to think.

Jim

Shades

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #576 on: February 08, 2009, 05:10:30 PM »
@ qforce:
Nice piece of software. Looks like it is based on the Eclipse IDE (which is something I appreciate).

Too bad about the need for indexing (a personal distaste), but that is something I can get over it since it can also search through *.doc files.

With Foxit Reader it is possible to search through multiple PDF files, so I used to convert any of my *.doc files to PDF format (with OpenOffice). Your software eliminates that need, at the cost of indexing. Well, I can get around my distaste.

Thanks again. :) 

About the user preferences:
Google search is dead simple, which is why it is so popular and used so much by everyone and their grandma. Savvy users know about its filters and are even more productive.

That kind of thinking should also apply to applications. Dead simple so it can be used by everyone, while in the right hands the same software becomes a productive power tool.

When you make such software, how long will it then take for the big software players to gobble up your talent? So let them buy you out after some, enjoy life from the interest those millions generate. By know you are in the ideal position to not care about who prefers whatever.

Your mind is too many steps ahead at this moment  ;)

sgtevmckay

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #577 on: February 08, 2009, 08:06:01 PM »
I think that Launchy got missed in the mix here

justice

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #578 on: February 09, 2009, 03:24:11 AM »
Launchy does not search contents, it's a program launcher :)

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #579 on: February 09, 2009, 05:00:25 AM »
qforce,

What difference does it make to you what others prefer to use? Who made you the arbiter of what is right and what is not WRT search engines? Sounds like a personal problem...

I do not intend to be an "arbiter" or anything, I was just giving my opinion and wanted to see the opinion of others, in the hope that it will give me some important clues about the direction in which I should move with the future releases of my program. No personal issue here...

All these various search facilities in photo apps, music apps, etc. utilize different search methods - some use Regexp, some do not, some search filenames only, some search text within documents. I find it much easier to use a desktop search engine and become very familiar with its search features. For many users, trying to become adept at so many different search methods is a bother that they do not wish to do.

Most users here are a little more savvy than what you seem to think.

Jim
I still don't get it. Let me explain it with this example: Say, I get tired of my current wallpaper and I want to replace it with another, which had this cool sports car on it. So what do I do? Fire up my all-powerful desktop search app and type the name of that file? Well, no. I open my picture browser and click my way down the folder hierarchy to a folder named "Wallpapers", then I browse all the pictures in it until I find the image with the sports car. Why didn't I use a desktop search program? Because I didn't know the filename ("ColinMcRAE_xxx.jpg" or something), and when I saved the file, I didn't bother adding meta data to it (e.g. keywords like "sports car").

It would be very cool if the computer was able to run an image analysis on files like that in order to automatically extract keywords, e.g. "car", "sports car", "mud", "street", "race", etc. If that were possible, I could've typed "sports car" into a desktop search program.

So my point is this: I think (and this is really just an opinion), in the case of images and other media a hierarchical management system makes more sense.

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #580 on: February 09, 2009, 05:28:24 AM »
@ qforce:
Nice piece of software. Looks like it is based on the Eclipse IDE (which is something I appreciate).
Yes, you are right. DocFetcher and Eclipse are based on the same GUI toolkit (named SWT), and DocFetcher is being developed in the Eclipse IDE.

When you make such software, how long will it then take for the big software players to gobble up your talent? So let them buy you out after some, enjoy life from the interest those millions generate. By know you are in the ideal position to not care about who prefers whatever.

Your mind is too many steps ahead at this moment  ;)
I never wanted to work in a big software company. I'm basically a (would-be) scientist who just wrote an utility to better manage his science-related resources and who then decided to share his work with others. And I do care about the needs of my users, because for me, Open Source is basically some sort of "charity".

Lashiec

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #581 on: February 09, 2009, 06:42:46 AM »
So my point is this: I think (and this is really just an opinion), in the case of images and other media a hierarchical management system makes more sense.

Considering that you can assign tags (apart from other info) to several media formats and save them within the file, I don't think it does really make more sense. What's more, several apps used to view or manipulate media can parse that data and save it in a local database (only accessible by that app, though). Whether you bother to use those methods is another story.

Both methods are not mutually exclusive, and I use them without problems. Depending of the moment, it makes more sense to use one or another, but I don't think there's an optimal solution.

aenache36

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #582 on: February 09, 2009, 08:33:45 AM »
Hi,

I'm the project admin of DocFetcher, an Open Source desktop search app. I've noticed in several posts in this thread that there seems to be a real need for e-mail indexing and the likes, which puzzles me a bit. More precisely: Why do you guys need an additional program to search your local e-mails when you could use the search feature of your respective e-mail client instead?

I agree with you when e-mails are involved but their respective attachments are completely different thing, in this case you do need a DtS software.

On a more general note, are there any people out there who definitely need a desktop search app to locate images, music, videos, etc.? If so, then why don't you use your picture managers, media players, etc. to do that? Wouldn't that be a much more efficient and appropriate way to organize images, music, etc.?

I'd be thankful for any enlightenment about this issue.

Creating and maintaining hierachies takes time, that'a a fact and probably the most important reason for using DtS. Because I don't want to spend time for that  the rest my answers follow:

a.Images - can be found in many places therefore I use DtS to find them all and then I view them as thumbnails...and thus the decision is easiest
b. Music - here you can, generally search by filename...or metadata/tags. Or, can be leftovers(.ac3 files) from video conversions(DVD->.avi) that, in time, can stack up heavily...
c. Videos - when you use several sources for getting them on your computer they can also get lost in various places, especially when you have more than 1 HDD. For now I have more than 60 movies on my computer...mpeg/avi/iso/vob, you name it.

I also do not think that the typical savvy DtS user is searching mainly for the above but rather for documents with a certain content, at least this is my case. My search ratio is 95%/5% for content/a,v,p.

Btw, DocFetcher 1.0 is (probably) about to be released this month and adds support for MS Office 2007 and WordPerfect.

I gave it a try for a folder with less than 500 indexable documents and I got 2 messages:
Needed 19 bytes to create the next chunk header, but only found 4 bytes, ignoring rest of data
### Skipped: Not enough memory left in the Java Virtual Machine.
Also I didn't get what I was expecting from a Boolean search:

search:"word1 word2"
returned a diffent set(number) of documents compared to
search:word1 word2
but in preview in both cases I saw enlightened both search terms(???).

So, for now I wish you all the best but I stick to Autofocus
"Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups" - Travis Dane, Under Siege 2

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #583 on: February 09, 2009, 12:41:06 PM »
Considering that you can assign tags (apart from other info) to several media formats and save them within the file, I don't think it does really make more sense. What's more, several apps used to view or manipulate media can parse that data and save it in a local database (only accessible by that app, though). Whether you bother to use those methods is another story.

Both methods are not mutually exclusive, and I use them without problems. Depending of the moment, it makes more sense to use one or another, but I don't think there's an optimal solution.
Considering that you can assign tags (apart from other info) to several media formats and save them within the file, I don't think it does really make more sense. What's more, several apps used to view or manipulate media can parse that data and save it in a local database (only accessible by that app, though). Whether you bother to use those methods is another story.

Both methods are not mutually exclusive, and I use them without problems. Depending of the moment, it makes more sense to use one or another, but I don't think there's an optimal solution.
Okay, good point. Thanks for your answer.

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #584 on: February 09, 2009, 01:08:21 PM »
I agree with you when e-mails are involved but their respective attachments are completely different thing, in this case you do need a DtS software.
Now I understand :)

Creating and maintaining hierachies takes time, that'a a fact and probably the most important reason for using DtS. Because I don't want to spend time for that  the rest my answers follow:

a.Images - can be found in many places therefore I use DtS to find them all and then I view them as thumbnails...and thus the decision is easiest
b. Music - here you can, generally search by filename...or metadata/tags. Or, can be leftovers(.ac3 files) from video conversions(DVD->.avi) that, in time, can stack up heavily...
c. Videos - when you use several sources for getting them on your computer they can also get lost in various places, especially when you have more than 1 HDD. For now I have more than 60 movies on my computer...mpeg/avi/iso/vob, you name it.

I also do not think that the typical savvy DtS user is searching mainly for the above but rather for documents with a certain content, at least this is my case. My search ratio is 95%/5% for content/a,v,p.
You seem to be the kind of user who doesn't clean up his folders very often and who then uses full hard drive desktop search to keep that mess under control. Don't get me wrong though, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it this way. (I'm the kind of user who's folders are highly organized and who only uses desktop search to access stuff where the hierarchical system doesn't help much, i.e. documents.)

I gave it a try for a folder with less than 500 indexable documents and I got 2 messages:
Needed 19 bytes to create the next chunk header, but only found 4 bytes, ignoring rest of data
### Skipped: Not enough memory left in the Java Virtual Machine.
The Java Virtual Machine in which DocFetcher is running has a memory cap, and your file was too big for that. The manual explains how to raise that cap. However, I admit that this error message should've been more helpful.

Also I didn't get what I was expecting from a Boolean search:

search:"word1 word2"
returned a diffent set(number) of documents compared to
search:word1 word2
but in preview in both cases I saw enlightened both search terms(???).
The first case is AND, the second one is OR. Well, the preview highlighting wasn't fully implemented... :-[ Thanks for pointing this out.

So, for now I wish you all the best but I stick to Autofocus

To each his own.  :Thmbsup:

gorinw13

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #585 on: February 09, 2009, 02:03:38 PM »
the poll seems to be outdated. Is the Copernic Desktop Search really good? or the information is obsolete?

CWuestefeld

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #586 on: February 09, 2009, 03:38:16 PM »
You seem to be the kind of user who doesn't clean up his folders very often and who then uses full hard drive desktop search to keep that mess under control. Don't get me wrong though, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it this way. (I'm the kind of user who's folders are highly organized and who only uses desktop search to access stuff where the hierarchical system doesn't help much, i.e. documents.)

I've tried to organize my stuff (email, documents, and photos) hierarchically through folders in the filesystem. But it just doesn't work. The problem is that even in the most vanilla cases, a given object falls into multiple buckets. A given photo might belong in "Photos of Cathy", "Mexico 2008 Vacation" and "Sunsets". A given document here at work might be related to both the customer that instigated the work as well as the subsystem that needs to be customized.

Keeping multiple copies, one in each applicable bucket, won't work. You wind up changing alternate copies and creating multiple divergent versions, rather than a single version that contains all updates. In theory you might use links within the filesystem, but I don't know of any tools for any OS that makes this manageable.

The only alternative is to search the objects themselves, whether that means a full content search or just a search of tags in the objects' metadata. And I've found that, while I'm always wishing for better tools, I am able to accomplish my needs successfully with what's available today.

J-Mac

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #587 on: February 10, 2009, 01:55:59 AM »
You seem to be the kind of user who doesn't clean up his folders very often and who then uses full hard drive desktop search to keep that mess under control. Don't get me wrong though, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing it this way. (I'm the kind of user who's folders are highly organized and who only uses desktop search to access stuff where the hierarchical system doesn't help much, i.e. documents.)

I've tried to organize my stuff (email, documents, and photos) hierarchically through folders in the filesystem. But it just doesn't work. The problem is that even in the most vanilla cases, a given object falls into multiple buckets. A given photo might belong in "Photos of Cathy", "Mexico 2008 Vacation" and "Sunsets". A given document here at work might be related to both the customer that instigated the work as well as the subsystem that needs to be customized.

Keeping multiple copies, one in each applicable bucket, won't work. You wind up changing alternate copies and creating multiple divergent versions, rather than a single version that contains all updates. In theory you might use links within the filesystem, but I don't know of any tools for any OS that makes this manageable.

The only alternative is to search the objects themselves, whether that means a full content search or just a search of tags in the objects' metadata. And I've found that, while I'm always wishing for better tools, I am able to accomplish my needs successfully with what's available today.

Well put, CW. I agree to an extent with qforce's comments about creating a good folder hierarchy. I am pretty fanatical with my folders - and I have a heck of a lot of them! I currently have my system and programs on a WD 80 GB drive, my data on two 500 GB internal SATA drives, and backups on two external drives: a 500 GB USB Seagate and a 250 GB firewire Maxtor drive. But I run into problems exactly like you described. Many files fall into multiple categories and I start to get lost looking for them.

Thanks!

Jim

aenache36

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #588 on: February 10, 2009, 02:56:28 AM »

The first case is AND, the second one is OR.

Greetings.

What would be the required syntax if one tries to find documents that contain certain strings?
As much as I knew
"word1 word2"
was suppose to that job whereas
word1 word2
is the equivalent of AND, do please correct me if I am wrong.

Regarding creating and maintaining hierarchies I must admit that somehow I always knew that this isn't for me, I simply don't have the patience for that. In my particular case I have thousands of documents that have a meaningful description at the folder level only and filenames like: Part1.doc, Part2.doc, etc OR complex documents that contain multiple subjects (and that's where proximity search comes very usefull for narrowing down the big initial list...) so it's not even worth trying...

All the best.
"Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups" - Travis Dane, Under Siege 2

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #589 on: February 10, 2009, 08:18:24 AM »
Greetings.

What would be the required syntax if one tries to find documents that contain certain strings?
As much as I knew
"word1 word2"
was suppose to that job whereas
word1 word2
is the equivalent of AND, do please correct me if I am wrong.
Just give me a second to check the Lucene documentation... ah, here it is: http://lucene.apache...eryparsersyntax.html
DocFetcher is based on Apache Lucene, and therefore supports all operators described on that page. As for the AND operator, yes, there is one. Example: "some string" AND "some other string"

As for the problems with the hierarchical file system, have you guys considered "albums" and similar features which are provided by decent picture managers and media players these days? This is basically a way to put files into multiple categories. I never used that sort of thing, though, because of the potential risk of vendor lock-in (meaning that all that categorization data is lost when I move to another program).

CWuestefeld

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #590 on: February 10, 2009, 08:46:09 AM »
As for the problems with the hierarchical file system, have you guys considered "albums" and similar features which are provided by decent picture managers and media players these days? This is basically a way to put files into multiple categories.

That's exactly what I'm getting at. I don't know of any other tool that can search through, e.g., ACDSee's database. However, any photo album app will allow you to save tags into EXIF or IPTC metadata in the images themselves. And since this is a standard, any desktop search app worth its salt can access it.

Having done that, now I can use my search app to find, say, "Mexico 2008" and get all my related photos, emails exchanged with the travel agent, and the AVI of the time-lapse sunset I made. Sure, all of these things are handled through different apps. But the ability to search like this allows me to have all of the materials related to a given project in front of me at once. (Which is why I also think that the Windows way of organizing files under "My Documents" in app-centric folders is idiotic)

I never used that sort of thing, though, because of the potential risk of vendor lock-in (meaning that all that categorization data is lost when I move to another program).
Open source people sometimes amaze me. You refuse to use any such program (even though, as I noted, there's a standard way for them to store their data in most cases), despite how much good it might do you.

aenache36

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #591 on: February 10, 2009, 09:14:42 AM »
Greetings.

What would be the required syntax if one tries to find documents that contain certain strings?
As much as I knew
"word1 word2"
was suppose to that job whereas
word1 word2
is the equivalent of AND, do please correct me if I am wrong.

Just give me a second to check the Lucene documentation...

My question was about syntax needed to search for strings... but anyway, I understood that DocFetcer's problem is related to unfinished preview implementation...I checked that against strings and it's OK.
BTW, AutoFocus is also base partially on Lucene so that should make it quite familiar to you...

All the best.
"Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups" - Travis Dane, Under Siege 2

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #592 on: February 10, 2009, 10:40:50 AM »
That's exactly what I'm getting at. I don't know of any other tool that can search through, e.g., ACDSee's database. However, any photo album app will allow you to save tags into EXIF or IPTC metadata in the images themselves. And since this is a standard, any desktop search app worth its salt can access it.

Having done that, now I can use my search app to find, say, "Mexico 2008" and get all my related photos, emails exchanged with the travel agent, and the AVI of the time-lapse sunset I made. Sure, all of these things are handled through different apps. But the ability to search like this allows me to have all of the materials related to a given project in front of me at once. (Which is why I also think that the Windows way of organizing files under "My Documents" in app-centric folders is idiotic)
Some people are just too lazy to add half a dozen tags to each and every image they store on their computer. Do you really do that? :o
On a related note I'd like to mention delicious.com, a social bookmarking site. This site allows you to assign multiple tags to a bookmark. which sounds awesome in theory (multiple categorization, yay!), but after a while I stopped bothering with all this tagging. Not sure why, but it felt like "too much work"... It seems there's a subtle, but significant difference between tagging and the capability to put a file in more than one folder.

Open source people sometimes amaze me. You refuse to use any such program (even though, as I noted, there's a standard way for them to store their data in most cases), despite how much good it might do you.
Maybe I should also mention the second reason why I don't use albums and the likes: I don't have too many pictures on my computer (a few hundred or so, rarely updated), and I stopped collecting music a long time ago (last.fm anyone?), so there's not much to organize here. This is not too amazing an explanation, is it?

superboyac

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #593 on: February 10, 2009, 10:43:09 AM »
Quote
but after a while I stopped bothering with all this tagging. Not sure why, but it felt like "too much work"...
Which is exactly why I'm obsessed with Powermarks and related bookmark managers like Linkman.  I just want to dump everything in a container and find it almost instantly.  No tagging or organizing.

qforce

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #594 on: February 10, 2009, 10:51:22 AM »
BTW, AutoFocus is also base partially on Lucene so that should make it quite familiar to you...
All the best.
It looked fairly interesting until I read the hardware requirements section...

Darwin

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #595 on: February 10, 2009, 11:37:18 AM »
BTW, AutoFocus is also base partially on Lucene so that should make it quite familiar to you...
All the best.
It looked fairly interesting until I read the hardware requirements section...

Quote
Hardware requirements

    * CPU: the absolute minimum is a Pentium II at 400 MHz, a Pentium III at 1 GHz or better is recommended.
    * main memory: minimally 128 MB, 256 MB is recommended.
    * disk space requirements: 100 MB + 2 MB per 1000 scanned items.

They don't seem that bad to me...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cyberdiva

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #596 on: February 10, 2009, 12:40:32 PM »
Which is exactly why I'm obsessed with Powermarks and related bookmark managers like Linkman.  I just want to dump everything in a container and find it almost instantly.  No tagging or organizing.
For the same reason, I too was a big fan of Powermarks and am now an even bigger fan of Linkman.  But that still leaves me with thousands of digital photos on my computer.  I wish I could locate individual photos as easily as I can my  bookmarks in Linkman.  In theory, metadata tags would probably do what I need, but I can't imagine trying to retro-tag thousands of photos.   :(

superboyac

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #597 on: February 10, 2009, 12:56:16 PM »
Which is exactly why I'm obsessed with Powermarks and related bookmark managers like Linkman.  I just want to dump everything in a container and find it almost instantly.  No tagging or organizing.
For the same reason, I too was a big fan of Powermarks and am now an even bigger fan of Linkman.  But that still leaves me with thousands of digital photos on my computer.  I wish I could locate individual photos as easily as I can my  bookmarks in Linkman.  In theory, metadata tags would probably do what I need, but I can't imagine trying to retro-tag thousands of photos.   :(
Yeah, I don't know how professional photographers deal with all their photos.  Especially when they come back with hundreds of photos per session.  I'm sure someone has figured out a way of doing it.  I don't have that many photos, but if I did, I would almost have to use some kind of tagging system that had thumbnails in the cache so I can see a group of pictures very quickly.

J-Mac

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #598 on: February 10, 2009, 05:04:01 PM »
Some people are just too lazy to add half a dozen tags to each and every image they store on their computer. Do you really do that? :o

Actually ACDSee Photo Manager makes adding tags/categories very simple and easy to do for entire folders very quickly. I upgraded recently to their 2009 version and started a new database fresh, so I had to tag them all again. Since I have a good folder hierarchy already built I was able to tag more than 6,000 photos in less than an hour. Still have a ways to go though - I have a total of just under 20,000 photos!

Jim

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Re: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?
« Reply #599 on: February 10, 2009, 05:18:05 PM »
I upgraded recently to their 2009 version and started a new database fresh, so I had to tag them all again.

Doesn't ACDSee let you save your tags into EXIF or IPTC, so that they never need to be re-entered (even if you switched over to a competing product)?