It’s a hard thing to admit, but there are times when I remember features I had on Windows and wish I could use them on my Mac. These are very, very rare times, mind you, but they do exist. One of them is the search in Windows XP. Though it is slow, it can be much more precise than Spotlight when it comes to finding that one little lost file. The good news is that the freeware app Spotlaser exists to bring this kind of focused search and the speed of Spotlight together.
The Spotlaser interface is very friendly and intuitive, giving you every option Spotlight does, and many more. Those that are annoyed by Spotlight’s lack of boolean operators and custom options will certainly be happy with Spotlaser, which allows you to search for items that match any terms, all terms, or exact phrases with no trouble at all. In addition, you can search within specific parts of the file (filename, content, metadata, etc.) or for specific types of files or file sizes.
Spotlight does offer a bit of control over a search time frame, but Spotlaser reigns supreme here, too. Say you know you were writing a document sometime between Christmas and the middle of January. Spotlight can only search either the past month, which won’t find your document, or the past year, which might give you tons more than you want to sort through. With Spotlaser, you can search by those specific dates and precisely find that document.
Finally, delivering the knockout to Spotlight, Spotlaser can save any searches you make with it as smart folders, allowing you to go back and view your results over and over again. The one downside I found to Spotlaser, though, is that it doesn’t currently search mail messages. I imagine this feature will be added in the future, and it’s only a minor flaw in an otherwise great little app. I also wished Spotlaser could replace Spotlight completely in OS X, but I imagine that would be quite an undertaking, so I can see why the feature’s not there.
Spotlaser is available here for the low, low price of completley free!