Frequently-asked questions:

(Or: "Ask Professor Filehand")
(Updated: June 28, 2005)

If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact support.

Is Filehand Search really free?  What's the catch?  Do I get what I pay for?

Filehand Search is really free.  There are no strings attached, no catches.  No ad-ware, no ads.  See here for an explanation.

We will support you, just as if you paid money for it.  We continue to develop Filehand Search and we are working on new features and new products.

If Filehand Search is free, why do I have to register?

For three reasons:

1) It allows up to track how many people are using Filehand Search

2) It makes it easy for us to not have to change the internals of Filehand Search to convert to a free version

3) We may decide in the future to not make it free anymore.

What is the difference between the evaluation version and the full version of Filehand Search?

The 30-day free evaluation is unlimited.  For 30 days, you can use all the features of Filehand Search.  That means you can index an unlimited number of files and search them instantly.

After 30 days, Filehand Search will continue to search files, but with the following restrictions:
- New files and changed files will not be indexed
- Only the first 10 results of a search are returned
- The extract browser is not functional

When you register (for free), these restrictions go away.

What makes Filehand Search so fast?

We use a technique called "indexing".  A quick description is on the Guided Tour page.  A more detailed description is in the manual.

Will indexing slow down my computer?

No.  That is, it will use whatever processing power you aren't using.  If you aren't using your computer at all, it will use 100% of the processing power.  If you are playing a game or doing something that requires all of the processing power of your computer, Filehand Search will use very little of the processor.

This is in contrast to the built-in Windows XP indexer which is not very friendly at all and will slow your computer to a crawl.

How do I turn off Windows indexing?

You should do this even if you decide not to use Filehand Search.

To disable Indexing Service, follow these steps:

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click the Drive icon (perhaps you call it "Local Disk") and select Properties.
  3. Remove the checkmark from "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching."
  4. Click Apply.
  5. Make certain to select "Apply changes to <driveletter>:, subfolders and files."
  6. Click OK in the new window.


  1. Click on Start
  2. Click on Search
  3. Click on "With Indexing Service"
  4. (If that is not there, click on "Change Preferences", then "With Indexing Service")
  5. Select "No, do not enable Indexing Service"

How much additional disk space does Filehand Search use?

Filehand Search requires about 20% additional disk space more than the files it can search.  If you have 100MB of files, Filehand Search will need about 20MB.

Why can't I run Filehand Search on Windows 98, ME, or NT?

Filehand Search uses some components of Windows not available on 98, ME or NT.  Specifically, Filehand Search uses something called Ifilters to help it index Office files such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Doesn't Windows already have a way to search?

Yes, but it is very slow.  Filehand Search is almost instant.

If you can figure out how to use it, you can use Indexing in Windows to make it fast, but the act of Indexing slows your computer to a crawl and many experts recommend disabling it.  Filehand Search is the best of both worlds, instant searching an friendly, unobtrusive indexing.

What file types can I search?

You can search files these types of files:

  • PDF

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • WordPerfect

  • text

  • HTML

  • MP3

  • Outlook items

You can selectively enable or disable each of these.

Can I search Network drives or removable media, such as a CD ROM?

You can search network drives, but not removable media.  But, we are considering adding those features in the future.

How can I search for text files that end in a suffix other than .txt.

Go into the Options|Select File types menu item.  Click on the Options button next to the text checkbox.  Enter any number of file extensions that you want Filehand Search to treat as searchable text files, including program source files, logs, scripts, and others.

Why does indexing take so long?  Product XYZ's indexing is a lot faster.

Filehand Search uses a more advanced searching engine than most other products.  Because of this, we have to save more information and therefore the indexing does take longer. For example, no other search utility can sort by relevance and display instant extracts.  We feel that both these feature are essential to fast information look-up.

The good news is that once you get past the initial indexing, all subsequent indexings look for only added and removed files.  So, only the initial indexing takes a long time.

Now that you support Outlook email, when can I expect to see XYZ email supported?

We are working to support other email types.  But here's an easy way to search Eudora and Netscape/Mozilla email now: allow Filehand to index the raw email files as text files.  Filehand Search jumps to the found term in the extract, and allows you to jump to the next found term.

Filehand Search returns a PDF document that I don't have!

Filehand Search displays the title of the PDF, in blue, as entered by the author.  This may not be the same as the PDF filename, which is displayed in green.

If the author did not enter a title, depending on the authoring tool, the title will be displayed as "Untitled" or as the the name of the file that was used to produce the PDF.

I did a search and a file that I know contained the search term wasn't found by Filehand Search.  How come?

There are two reasons why a file that you know contained the search term was not found by Filehand Search:

  1. The file is not in a directory that you have selected to be indexed.  Go into Options|Select Folders to choose the folders you want to be indexed.

  2. The file type was not selected.  Go into Options|Select File Types to choose the file types you want to be indexed.

I have some PDF files that aren't being indexed by Filehand Search.  How come?

A small percentage of PDF files are protected by the author and cannot be indexed.

Why doesn't the Filehand Search icon appear in the system tray on the lower-right-hand corner of my screen?

Windows XP hides icons in the system tray that have not been used for a long time.

You can make XP never hide some or all icons.  Right-click the Start button and select Properties.  Select the Taskbar tab.  If you want, you can un-check the Hide inactive buttons box.  Or, click on Customize, and you can select with icons you want XP to always show.

Should I index my entire hard disk?

You could, but we do not recommend this. A new computer right out of the box can have 50,000 to 100,000 files on its hard disk. Most of these are of very little use to you in terms of searching, because they do not contain any textual information. They are just files that are needed by the operating system and bundled applications.

It better to use the Filehand Search folder chooser to select only the folders that contain files you care about. You only need to select the top-most folder that matters to you, and Filehand Search will drill down to all of its subfolders. For most people, that's typically the My Documents folder on the desktop, as well as the Desktop.

Who is this Professor Filehand person, anyway?

Think Dr. Brown from Back to the Future ("1.21 Jigawatts!") meets Beakman from Beakman's World meets Bob's right hand.

 FAQ updated June 28, 2005


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