If you’ve ever used a Mac, you know what it feels like to use Spotlight search. It makes searching for apps and files much easier. Not only does Spotlight launch apps and search for files in no time, but it also works as a calculator, currency converter, weather calculator, and more.
But, Spotlight comes bundled with MacOS and I really miss the fast file search on my Windows 10 laptop. The problem is that Windows works with NTFS and the Apple File System (APFS) indexing is much better. Therefore, it is not possible to get a perfect replacement for Spotlight. But that doesn’t stop me and it doesn’t stop me from getting Spotlight for Windows 10. Here are some solid Spotlight alternative apps.
Read: Smart Ways to Use Spotlight
Spotlight for Windows 10
Wox is the closest thing to Spotlight Search on Windows 10. The user interface is minimal and ideal for launching applications and searching for files. By default, the application is activated by pressing Atl + Space. A Spotlight-like launcher appears for you to enter your search string, and the results appear as a drop-down menu.
The application is highly customizable and allows you to change themes, reassign hotkeys, install plugins, etc. By default Wox only provides 5 search results and even this can be customized from Wox settings. The highlight of Wox is the lots of plugin support. For example, YouTube Query, Clipboard History, Google Translate, etc.
Wox is an open source application and the forum is quite active in terms of updates and query resolution. The only problem I discovered is that the launcher loses focus when the mouse moves out of the search bar. So every time I have to click on the search bar to start typing, even though it is present on the screen. Also, Wox doesn’t remember your search preferences.
- Find files
- Open URL
- Display color with hexadecimal number
- Run shell commands
Download Wox (free)
2. PowerToys Run
PowerToys Run is part of Microsoft’s experimental project called PowerToys. It consists of some additional tools like Image Resizer, ColorPicker, Keyboard Manager, etc. for advanced Windows 10 users and PowerToys Run is part of it. Now in terms of performance and design, PowerToys Run is almost similar to Wox because Wox is a major contributor to this project.
Once you have PowerToys installed, press Alt + Enter to start PowerToys Run. Like Wox, you can search for files, launch applications, and perform calculations. The only thing missing are plugins like Everything, currency converter, etc.
Download Microsoft PowerToys
3. Search everything
Search Everything may not be the ideal replacement for Spotlight Search, but what the app offers cannot be ignored. The the app is built just to search for files in your local storage and does an amazing job. The user interface is quite traditional and will instantly remind you of Windows 7, but keeping the user interface simple makes it snappy.
In my tests, the results turned out to be accurate every time and performed much better than searching for native files. The application accepts search queries and regular expressions. It also allows you to export the search result to a text file. That is useful if you are using it with a macro and will certainly help if you are in development.
The only downside I could find is that the application is CPU intensive if the search string points to a large number of files.
- Find files
- Shell commands
- Regular expressions.
Download Search all (free)
KeyPirinha It turned out to be my favorite application because of its simplicity and speed of response. It is a portable application and you have the source code available on the website. The app is pretty simple and you don’t get any plugins or themes with it.
Compared to Wox, customizing KeyPirinha is a bit tricky as you have to make changes to the configuration files. It can be dangerous if you are not good at coding. For example, just to change the hotkey to Ctrl + Space, I had to add the following lines in the config file.
[app] hotkey_run = Ctrl + Space
The most unique feature in the application is the action step which makes it an application emulator. Once your search results appear, you can hit the tab and now you can run the command for that particular app from the search bar. If you give it another tab, it opens additional options for the application that is similar to a right-click on that application.
The problem with KeyPirinha that bothers me the most is that you can’t select the search results with your mouse. To enable this, you have to make a lot of changes to the configuration file. Also, the application almost recognizes Windows shortcuts, except for Control Panel ones.
Characteristics: Search files, calculator, regular expressions.
Download KeyPirinha (free)
Launchy is another open source launcher and has separate variants for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The app is minimal in design but stands out in terms of customizations and web searches. In terms of customizations, in addition to the normal ones, you get additional options like automatically opening the application, delay in response, etc.
Launchy comes with a set of plugins installed, but unlike Wox, there isn’t a huge library of plugins. It also supports file search, but you must specify the search directories on the Catalog tab in Settings. Keep in mind that when adding directories be careful because entering a generic path like “C: //” will lead to thousands of files being indexed and bog down your PC.
Launchy appears to be search accurate, but this comes with a slight delay. Sometimes the delay is so long that I thought the search string itself is invalid. You also search the web, but the response is so slow that it is not convenient.
- Find files
- web search
- Regular expressions and shell commands
Download Launchy (free)
6. Brain Pro
Cerebro Pro’s perspective is similar to Spotlight search and even replicates the functionality. Search results are displayed below the search bar and the layout is exactly like Spotlight Search. The highlight of the app is that it even displays results from the web. This is an additional advantage, since it is not necessary to open the browser window to enter the search string.
Since you have so many web suggestions in the app, a small misspelling makes the whole search irrelevant. There is no option to disable web search.
- Find files
- Search and web suggestions
Download Brain Pro (free)
The best app to get Spotlight for Windows 10?
Wox is the one that comes closest and is the ideal option. They have an extremely active update system and a great plugin support set. If you don’t have a high spec system and can get creative enough with encoding then you should give KeyPirinha a try.
In case most of your searches are from the web, you can give Cerebro Pro a try. For more problems or inquiries, please let me know in the comments below.
Also Read: 15 Best Start Menu Customizations For Windows 10