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How do I ... use Tag2Find for better Windows searches?

You know how difficult it can be some times to locate that one specific file on your Microsoft Windows PC. An application like Tag2Find enables you to tag files with a system similar to the already familiar Web-site tagging systems like Flickr and Delicious.

Do you have a PC full of files that you are often scrambling to locate? Are you not the most organized of users? If either is the case, then you know how difficult it can be sometimes to locate that one specific file. Sure Microsoft Windows Vista has indexed searching, but if you are not careful, indexing can eat up too many precious system resources. An application like Tag2Find enables you to tag files with a system similar to the already familiar Web-site tagging systems like Flickr and Delicious. With this system you can include files, drives, and/or directories to be tagged.

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Getting and installing

Installing is as simple as you would expect. Download the correct file for your system and run the .exe file. When you start the installation process, you will be greeted with a setup wizard (Figure A) that will help you configure Tag2Find. This setup will create a database that the system will use for searching purposes.

Figure A

The installation wizard will walk you through three simple steps.
From the greeting window, click the Next button to continue. This initial step (Figure B) wants to know where to place the database. The defaults should be OK on most systems, so you can just click the Next button to continue.

Figure B

I wouldn't suggest checking to ignore file system permissions.
The next window sums up what the installer is about to do (Figure C). If all is correct, you can click the Next button. If you're interested in knowing why certain devices cannot be used, click the Details link to find out why.

Figure C

Hopefully more devices and drives will be supported in the future.
The next window shows you the progress as the settings are applied (Figure D). Once this is finished, the user interface will have to be started.

Figure D

The installation is near completion.

The final window of the wizard congratulates you on your installation and gives an animated instructional video on how to use Tag2Find from the Taskbar and Explorer.

Managing and starting Tag2Find

Once the installation has completed, you will notice a new entry in the Start menu. The Tag2Find menu contains four entries:

  • Configure Tag2Find
  • Manage Tag2Find
  • Start Tag2Find
  • Uninstall
These menu entries should be fairly self explanatory. The first entry you should click is the Manage Tag2Find. This will open a window that allows you to select files to tag (Figure E). Once you have selected the files you want to tag (I chose all the contents of my Documents directory), click the Next button to continue.

Figure E

It makes the most sense to select the directory(s) that contain the file(s) you work with most.

The next window will ask you the type of extensions you want to import into Tag2Find. You have two options: Import All or Import Selected. If you choose Import Selected, you will have to check every type of extension you want to import. Make your choice and click Next.

Now Tag2Find will make suggestions on tag mode. There are three types of tag modes:

  • Based on Parent Folders
  • Based on Extensions
  • Based on File Metadata

The default is Based on Parent Folders. This could be a problem if, say, you use the Documents folder as a catch all for various types of files. If you are good at organizing your files into predefined folders (such as Pictures, Music, Video, etc), you should stick with the default. If your saving methods are more haphazard, you should probably select Based on Extensions. Make your choice and click Next.

Depending on the amount of files you have on your system, the tagging could take quite some time.

Once all your files have been tagged, you will see the main window (Figure F) where you can search, edit tags, add new tags, and add new files.

Figure F

You can see the ghost of the floating search window behind the main window.

Using Tag2Find

You will notice two means of using Tag2Find on your desktop. The first allows you to include recently added files for tagging, and the second allows you to search files via tags.

In order to include files, there is a small icon in the Notification area (Figure G), which you click to open the Include window. In the Include window, you will see a list of new files that can be added for tagging.

Figure G

You can select individual files or select all.
The second method of interacting with Tag2Find is via the floating window (Figure H). In the text area you can either enter a string to search for or click on the empty area to open up the window revealing all the available tags. Click on a tag that most likely will be associated with your file, and a listing of tagged files will appear. From that list you will find the file you are searching for. Double-clicking that listing will open the associated application to that file type.

Figure H

This is the foating window method of tagging.

Final thoughts

Tag2Find is a great way to index your files so they are quick to find and easy to open. If you are used to tagging via Web-based applications, then Tag2Find will be second nature to you.

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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

3 comments
k5baa
k5baa

This might have been interesting but there has been no activity on the forum or blog since sometime last year and not really much since 2007. It's looking kind of 'dead in the water'. Regarding cost, etc. I had to dig around in the license agreement to find anything about that. Seems that they are offering this early (now a little old and moldy) beta version for free. The wording implies a paid version if it ever goes anywhere. But it doesn't seem as though it is. All in all, it seems like the road to nowhere.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

Is it free but not fully featured? Or is it a limited time trial version? I'll download it later and try it. The only problem with the new Windows Search is the folders I want to search are never indexed. Yet Windows starts me in the Windows Search window. Then it tells me this and that I have to use the Search "Companion" which is nothing more than the familiar "older" Search window. Is there really a case for installing Windows Search? If so I would like to hear opinions on it.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you happy with the Windows Vista indexed searching system? Have you been looking for a third-party searching application for your PC?