These tools include things such as Google Desktop Search (which is just out of beta), the MSN Search Toolbar, Yahoo Desktop Search, X1, and the Copernic Desktop Search. I have done a lot of research since this tool was mentioned at the IT Management Day (I chaired the day in Brisbane, at least partly because I chair the COE - oh, and I happen to live in Brisbane, so that may have helped) by Rob Roe of KAZ Technologies, and from the reviews I have read on the internet and my own experience, I think Copernic is a winner.
X1 costs - and since I am an accountant (there is a time-delay lock on my wallet), and the other tools are free and of great quality, it was never going to get a look in.
The MSN Search toolbar - well, apparently it doesn't play nice with Mozilla Firefox (my preferred browser). It's also from Microsoft (I like a lot of Microsoft products - they often just work without ten years geek experience), but the tendency I have seen is to bloatware and security issues. I was unable to confirm this, however, because the real killer for this product is it needs Windows XP to run, and like 40% or so of the business world, I still run Windows 2000 on my laptop.
The Yahoo search bar remains way too close to the beta program for me, so I didn't really look at it too much. From reviews I've read, it seems to be a bit of a resource hog when indexing (even when you're working).
Normally, Google would have been my tool of choice (what can I say - I already have one new verb "to Google", meaning to thrash about and find stuff), but although it had a nice and simple interface, and the results were available in a browser, the Google tool is pretty much brain-dead in indexing just my local hard drive. There is a plug-in (too close to the old word, "hack", for me) to search network drives, but it's primogeniture is a little hard to determine and it comes with now arranties. Besides, this tool is only just out of beta.
Feeling a bit frantic, I downloaded and installed the Copernic deskbar, and it works for me. Although it doesn't work with Groupwise (our email system of choice), that's probably not a problem since neither do any of the other tools
Some problems I did have with Copernic were when I tried to run it with Groupwise (I have Outlooked installed, so it tried to index Groupwise with somewhat disastrous results - the indexing essentially kept freezing my computer). It isn't rated for Groupwise, so that's probably not a surprise.
Also, I found that when I had the preview pane on, a couple of spreadsheets (I think with macros in them perhaps) caused a lovely blue screen of death - so I turned that off. I do suspect that may be a Novell incompatibility.
Finally, because the taskbar takes up some acreage, I decided to turn that off. Which I did. When I went to turn it back on - no luck. I racked my brains about it for 20 minutes how to resolve it and then decided the simple approach was best - I uninstalled the thing and re-installed, and then allowed it to reindex it. It took about half an hour of my life - and I won't try turning off the taskbar again. The reindexing was unobtrusive (and continues to be) and I have 12,775 documents indexed fairly quickly, I thought, while I zapped out for a coffee.
So in summary, I am using Copernic on my laptop, and I have been very impressed so far (speed is excellent!). A side benefit is that if you show results by date, you can quickly see those files you have been working on recently (presuming, of course, the documents you have indexed are your documents - this will depend on how you work with a team). A tool like this raises issues for IT Governance, desktop stability, and IT installation policies, but that's a topic for a different post.