Effective File Search is a free Windows search tool which comes packed with features and functionality.
The tabbed interface looks very similar to many other search programs, and is very straightforward to use. At a minimum you might give the program a file specification (*.PDF, say), and point it at a particular folder, before simply clicking Search and waiting for the results to appear.
And just as you'd expect, you can also filter the results by file size or date, as well as searching only for files which contain specific text.
What's more surprising, though, is the depth you get with each of these operations. So the program doesn't just support a simple plain text search, for instance: it can also do a case-sensitive check, search for Unicode text, hex code ("1A FF D0"), even regular expressions.
The date filter is similarly flexible. Effective File Search can look for files according to their creation, modification or last access date, for example, and you can specify this as within any given date range, or just the previous few seconds/ minutes/ hours/ days (and so on).
There's support for building up some quite complex logical expressions, too. You don't just have to search for "accounts*.pdf", for instance; you can also search for "business*.pdf", and "business*.doc", while excluding file names containing "August", and Effective File Search will find all the matches for you.
And the program even includes a scripting element to automate particular file management tasks. So you might create a script to search your Documents folder for .DOCX and .PDF files created in the last 7 days, perhaps, before copying them to a backup folder on another drive.
One issue with all of this is that Effective File Search doesn't have an indexing component, so it's never going to deliver the best performance.
And it could also take a while to learn how everything works, because there's a stack of options here, and the Help file explaining them is a little on the basic side.
If you could use more search flexibility, though, there's no doubt that Effective File Search has a great deal to offer, and it's definitely worth a closer look.
Effective File Search certainly lives up to its name, being a very capable and effective search tool with plenty of powerful filters and options