A look at VX Search, a desktop search program for Windows

VX Search is a powerful desktop search program for Windows that is available as a free version and commercial versions.

Windows Search, the built-in search function of the Windows operating system, does not have the best of reputations. While it is good enough for launching programs, file searching is anything but enjoyable.

Third-party search programs offer a way out. All-time favorites like Everything or WizFile are lightning fast and very thorough when it comes to results.

VX Search

vx search

VX Search is not slow either but the program’s main strength is its functionality. Interested users can download the free (for home use) version of the search program from the developer website. The free version is limited to 500,000 file searches per search. Other features may also be limited, e.g. the number of search profiles that you may create.

The program is offered in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and it is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows XP.

The main program interface looks clean; you can start searches with a click on the button or open the options or layouts first to make adjustments before you start using it in earnest.

vx search options

The options list plenty of preferences that range from various logging and report options to enabling an ODBC interface and changing program shortcuts.

The Layouts and View buttons in the main interface change the look and feel of the program. Layouts switches between three different toolbar layouts that change the size of icons. View may be used to add or remove columns from file listings.

A click on Search options the search menu and you get an impression of the powerful features that VS Search offers right away. You may run one or multiple queries, select target locations that you want the program to search, and may set a number of rules, actions, and limits as well.

Search supports lots of parameters including searching by file name or extension, size, dates, text strings or hex code, or JPEG tags to name a few. These can be combined, e.g. to search for files with the .JPG extension that have “vacation” in the name and a size of at least 1 Megabyte.

Searches support single and multiple locations. You can run them on a single directory, a single hard drive, multiple folders, all hard drives, and even network locations.

The options list several interesting settings. You may use them to exclude directories from search, change the number of threads, and change the maximum number of search and display results. Actions allow you to create reports in various formats or to run custom commands.

VX Search lists all matching files and folders in the interface when you run searches. Each result is listed with its name, path, size, and modification date by default but you can add more columns or remove some to change the information.

Statistics offer an overview of the searched locations. VX Search displays the total number of directories and files of the selected locations, the total space, disk space of the found files, processing time, and information about errors.

file information

A double-click on a file opens a detailed view. There you find options to open it with the default application or another program, or to open its directory. You may right-click on files in the results listing to display additional actions such as copying or moving the selected file or files, deleting them, or compressing them before moving or copying.

VX Search may create several charts, e.g. search results by extension, location, or last access time.

Another useful feature is the program’s wizard as it makes available search profiles that you may run right away without configuration. You may use the wizard to find all files created or modified in the past week, files that were not accessed for a year, search large files used a long time ago, hidden files, or files with long file names.

VX Search supports the creation of custom search profiles that you can save to run them directly without any configuration.

Other features of interest are support for command line searches and regular expressions.

Closing Words

VX Search is a very powerful search program that you can automate to a degree. The free version is limited to 500,000 file searches per operation which limits its usefulness unfortunately. You cannot use it to search across an entire drive usually, e.g. C:, as you will run into the limit pretty quickly.

I’d give VX Search a five out of five it the limit would be higher or non-existent, but since it impacts searches significantly, I cannot give it more than 3 out of 5.

It is a great tool if you need to run searches that won’t hit the limit or if you don’t mind buying the Pro version as it raises the limit to 25 million files.

Now You: What is your favorite search program and why?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post A look at VX Search, a desktop search program for Windows appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Google changes layout of mobile Google Search pages

Google revealed a change to its mobile search results pages yesterday that is already being rolled out to all users of the search engine.

Google Search is the world’s most popular search engine and while it lags behind in some regions, it dominates most.

The design refresh of the mobile search results pages aims to better guide customers “through the information available on the web”. Google notes in the announcement that the new design puts a “website’s branding [..] front and center” so that customers “better understand where the information is coming from”.

Site names and icons are displayed on top of the page or site title in the new design. Previously, each entry started with the page title followed by the site icon and (part of its) URL. Now, entries start with the icon and URL, and then the actual page title.

google search mobile new design

Google believes that the new design makes it easier to scan the results page. Advertisement uses the same format but instead of an icon Ad is shown in its place.

It is hard to say if that makes it harder to spot advertisement; the old design draw borders around Ad which helped distinguish it from regular content. I’d say ads blend in even better than before, and that will surely drive more clicks to them.

Depending on your query, you may get several pages worth of advertisement and other Google-powered features before the first organic search result. The company plans to put even more features and services (that it controls) on search results pages in the future.

As we continue to make new content formats and useful actions available—from buying movie tickets to playing podcasts—this new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards [..]

Google is still not honoring its quality guidelines when it comes to advertisement (which it enforces on sites), and the injection of even more Google-powered snippets will will keep Internet users even longer on Google’s properties.

If you don’t like where this is heading, try Startpage Search or DuckDuckGo instead.

Tip: check out these five tips to get the most out of Startpage.

Now You: What is your take on the redesign? More money into Google’s pockets, more control, and more feature snippets, or beneficial to users (in short or long run)?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Google changes layout of mobile Google Search pages appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar

Google Chrome users who have updated the desktop version of the web browser to the latest version may have noticed a change in how Google Chrome responds to input in the browser’s address bar.

Chrome users who type characters into the address bar may notice that Google Chrome may prioritize searches over visited sites after the recent update is installed.

The screenshot below shows an example where Chrome makes Googles Search the default action when you hit the Enter-key and not one of the matching sites visited in the past.

chrome address bar search issue

Previous versions of the browser prioritized the first matching domain name instead so that you could load it quickly by typing the first few characters of the name and hitting the Enter-key.

The change appears to affect all search engines to a degree. While you may change the default search engine of the Chrome browser to address the issue somewhat (away from Google Search to another search provider), it won’t fix the issue completely.

Fixing the issue

There is only one real option at the time to revert the change and go back to the previous status quo.

Option 1: Disabling Omnibox Google Drive Document suggestions

chrome omnibox drive suggestions

The prioritization change of search suggestions in Google Chrome seems to be linked to a new experimental flag in Google Chrome. If you disable the feature in Chrome — it is enabled by default — you will notice that Chrome returns to the previous search behavior.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions in the Chrome address bar.
  2. Change the experimental flag to disabled by activating the menu next to the preference and selecting “Disabled” from the options.
  3. Restart the Chrome browser.

The description suggests that it adds Google Drive search options to Chrome’s address bar if Google Search is the default provider and if you are signed in to a Google account. Why that is affecting the priority of results is unclear.

Option 2: change the default search provider

chrome change search

It seems that you cannot resolve the issue completely when you switch search providers, but it may help.

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the Search Engine section.
  3. Either pick one of the available solutions under “Search engine used in the address bar”, or select “Manage search engines” if the search engine that you want to pick is not listed.
    1. Manage Search Engines lists all detected search engines. Chrome picks them up as you visit the websites of the search engines and run a search.
    2. My selected search engine is Startpage, but you can select any other search engine such as DuckDuckGo as well. (See: It may be time to switch to DuckDuckGo or Startpage for web search)
    3. Select the menu icon next to the search engine and there “make default” to make it the new default search engine in Google Chrome.

Now You: Which search provider do you use currently?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Google Images may soon feature "shoppable ads"

Google Images is a popular image search engine that returns images based on search terms that you enter into the search box on the site.

Advertisement may be displayed on Google Images depending on the search query and region of the searcher.

Google announced recently that it plans to extend advertising on Google Images by introducing what it calls “shoppable ads” to the supported ad formats.

The basic idea behind the new ad format is that advertisers may use it to highlight multiple items in a single image that are up for sale. Think of an interactive image that lets you interact with certain elements in it.

shoppable ads

A home office ideas advertisement might show an image of a home office. Upon user interaction with the element, it might highlight the desk and a bookshelf on the image, and display prices for each of the items.

Let’s say a shopper is searching for home office ideas on her mobile device or desktop and goes to Google Images to explore ideas around how to organize her room. She can scroll through the images, hover over any sponsored ad with the price tag, and see the items for sale in the image — along with prices, the brand, and more.

Google notes that it is testing the format currently “on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers” and on certain broad queries currently. The company plans to roll out the new ad format to more categories in the coming months.

Google Images will feature Showcase Shopping ads as well soon. The ad unit is also available on Google Search and provides advertisers with options to highlight products or their brand at the top of the search results.

The new ad formats will show up on mobile and desktop searches on Google Images.

Google Images alternatives

Using an ad-blocker may block the ads from showing up on Google Images. You may also use a different image search engine that uses less or even no ads at all.

Google has been criticized recently for removing the View Image button in image search. While you can restore it using extensions, you may also use different search engines altogether.

Here is a short list of image search engines that you may want to try out:

Now You: Which image search engine do you use, and why?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Google Images may soon feature “shoppable ads” appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Firefox 62: Google added to Top Sites

The next stable version of the web browser Firefox, Firefox 62, comes with a number of search related changes on the browser’s default New Tab page and Home page.

Users of the browser may notice that Google Search has been added to the list of Top Sites on these pages. I don’t know whether this will happen only for new Firefox installations or profiles, or whether the new Google icon will also be added to user modified Top Sites.

On Firefox Nightly, Google Search was added to the existing list of top sites. Google Search became the default Firefox search provider in 2017 for most regions after Mozilla decided to end the contract that it had with Yahoo.

The Google Search icon was placed at the very top of the listing as the first pinned item.

New search icons in Firefox 62

Firefox displays a search symbol on the icon to indicate that the particular icon is for search. Additionally, the Amazon icon was brought back from the dead and placed right next to the Google icon in Top Sites. Amazon is one of the default search engines that Firefox includes.

firefox 62 new search tab

Firefox users can unpin or dismiss the icons by moving the mouse cursor over them, selecting the menu icon that is displayed on hover, and selecting the unpin or dismiss option from the context menu.

What happens when you click on the icon? Is the search bar activated automatically so that searches can be run from it right away without additional clicks? No, that is not the case.

Mozilla added new keywords for each of the built-in search providers. Firefox displays @keyword in the address bar so that users can type the search term to run searches right away.

The keywords are available globally so that you may run searches typing  @google or  @amazon in the address bar followed by the desired search term. Existing keywords are untouched and work just like before.

firefox at search keywords

Firefox users can add other default search engines to the Top Sites listing as well. All that it takes is to hover the mouse over the Top Sites section on the New Tab page and select the menu that is displayed at the top right.

There you may select “add search engine” to do so. Firefox displays all default search engines and you may add any to the Top Sites listing by clicking on it. You can use the same menu to hide specific search engines from Top Sites.

add search engine firefox new tab

Note that you can use the new keywords automatically even if you don’t add the search engines to the Top Sites.

  • @google — Google search.
  • @bing — Bing search.
  • @amazon — Amazon search.
  • @duckduckgo — DuckDuckGo search.
  • @twitter — Twitter search.
  • @wikipedia — Wikipedia search.

The new feature is only available for default search engines and not for any other search engine that you have added manually to the browser.

Tip: You can add keywords to any search engine that you add to Firefox to run searches from Firefox’s address bar using those keywords.

Closing Words

The addition of search engine icons adds another search option to Firefox’s New Tab page. Firefox users can use the integrated search field on the New Tab page, the address bar, or the search bar if it is visible for searches already.

I don’t know why Mozilla felt the need to add yet another search option to the New Tab page of the Firefox browser. The focus on Google Search and Amazon provides a possible explanation: Google is the main revenue source for Mozilla; the more searches Firefox users make on Google Search the better for the next negotiations.

Amazon is simpler to explain as Mozilla is an Amazon affiliate partner; means, Mozilla is paid whenever Firefox users buy things on Amazon after having clicked on the Amazon link in Firefox.

Now You: Good addition or not? What is your opinion on the change? (via Sören Hentzschel)

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Firefox 62: Google added to Top Sites appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Firefox 61: add search engine in Page Actions menu

Mozilla removed the classic search bar from new Firefox installations with the release of Firefox 57 but did not touch the search bar in existing Firefox installations.

Mozilla added so-called one-off searches to the address bar which users of the browser can make use of to run searches on different search engines directly from the address bar.

Combined Firefox address bar and search bar experiments began in early 2016, and the future of Firefox’s search bar was uncertain in mid 2017.

The search bar is still included in the customization menu, but it seems likely that most new Firefox users won’t add it to the browser. Likely, because they would have to discover the option first to do so and would have to find the built-in address bar search lacking.

The removal of the search bar removed the option to add open search providers to Firefox. The search bar highlights open search providers when you visit pages in the Firefox browser and provides you with an option to add the search engine to the browser.

With the search bar no longer displayed, users were not informed anymore about open search providers found on a web page. While it is possible to add new search engines in the Firefox preferences, doing so is not nearly as comfortable as clicking the mouse twice to add a new search engine in the frontend of the browser.

Firefox 61: Page Action menu add search engine

add search engine to firefox

Mozilla is aware of the issue and plans to introduce a new option in the Page Actions menu to resolve it. The Page Actions menu was introduced recently in the browser. You activate it when you click or tap on the three dots in the Firefox address bar.

Starting in Firefox 61, a new Add “search engine” to One-Click Search action is available that Firefox users may use to add an open search engine to the browser.

The current version of the feature is already live in Firefox Nightly. Note that the Page Actions menu won’t highlight that a new Open Search provider was found on the active page; a core difference to the search bar which highlights found search providers.

Now You: how do you search in your browser?

Related articles

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Firefox 61: add search engine in Page Actions menu appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Mozilla drops Yahoo as Firefox’s default search provider

Mozilla released a major new version of the organization’s Firefox web browser on November 14, 2017. The new version of Firefox promises better performance and stability, came with a theme refresh, and dropped the legacy add-on system on top of all that.

Changes were made to the browser’s default search provider as well. Firefox ships with search engines preset, and options for users of the browser to switch to another search provider.

The organization changes its search strategy back in 2014 when it started to broker regional deals with search providers instead of relying on a deal with a single provider (Google). A consequence of the change in strategy was that Yahoo Search became the default search provider in the United States, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russia and some other countries.

Mozilla announced yesterday that Google Search is once again the default search provider for Firefox in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mozilla agreed to make Yahoo Search the default search provider in Firefox for the United States for five years in 2014, a period that is not over yet. TechCrunch managed to get a statement from Mozilla in which Denelle Dixon, the organization’s Chief Business and Legal Officer had this to say:

We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo! based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users.

The contract was favorable to Mozilla, judging from what has been reported in the past. Mozilla did have a clause in the contract for instance that Yahoo had to pay Mozilla even if another company bought Mozilla and if Mozilla did not want to work with that other company.

Another clause allowed Mozilla to move away from the deal, and it appears that this is what the organization has done.

Google is now the default search provider for most regions in Firefox. The only regions left with other default search providers are China, Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Neither Mozilla nor Google disclosed how much money Google agreed to pay to Mozilla to become the default search provider again.

firefox default search

Firefox users can change the default search provider in the following way:

  1. Load about:preferences#search in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Locate the “default search engine menu”, and select one of the providers from the listing. If your preferred search engine is not on that list, go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search/?type=search to install it from there.

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader.

The post Mozilla drops Yahoo as Firefox’s default search provider appeared first on gHacks Technology News.