Mighty Desktop

String Hunter™





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String Hunter™ is an ultra fast search engine that can search for a string inside text files and at the same time in file and folder names. It can also search on multiple drives at once. The search parameters of not only one but multiple searches can be stored as a `Search Instruction` and can be reused easily. As one more goodie String Hunter™ can also check whether a second string can be located on a line near the search string. Advantages are that it is very easy to specify search patterns and that is has a lot of history drop-downs to reuse previous inputs which are specific to each search instruction (as opposed to just one global history). The matching strings can then be replaced and files/folders renamed with the comfort of a multi-step undo and redo functionality.

  • You can enter multiple folders where to start with the search (branches), for example "C:\ + D:\ + E:\MyDocuments". Furthermore, you can also exclude directories by '-'. As with the File Expressions, you can still add a subdirectory of an excluded directory by adding it on the right side with '+'. This partial exclusion is especially useful for Linux directories, where sometimes device directories cause endless nesting. These can be skipped in String Hunter with "Z:\-Z:\dev-Z:\proc-Z:\run-Z:\sys" (where Z would be mapped to a Linux root).

  • Automatically limits the hunt to textual contents. Files with binary content are automatically skipped. You don't have to bother about how to skip them, String Hunter does this automatically by knowing all text extensions and at the same time recognizing binary content. For example, it does not unnecessarily search huge files such as archives, videos, audios and graphics. This makes it much easier to handle and much quicker than other search tools.

  • Search for a textual file or folder that has a certain name inside a drive/folder including subfolders, much quicker and more versatile than in Windows Desktop. It can search in multiple specified folders or also in all active drives. It's also possible to just search inside a folder without its subfolders or in all subfolders while excluding some specific subfolders. The resulting list shows length, modification and creation time of the file so it can also be used as an info tool to find the biggest, smallest, newest or oldest files. But it should be mentioned that there is a better suited function for especially this task called Folder Analyzer in the 'File Center'.

  • You can drop a file or folder either on the provided target button or on the horizontal tab "String Hunter™" in the main window. This will automatically switch to String Hunter, switch the instruction to 'File Explorer' (if not there it will be created) and the file/folder will be put into the corresponding boxes.

  • Can search both, the content and also the file resp. folder name. After the search it can replace the text in both, the content and the name of a file resp. folder (rename the element). Note: If you just want to rename files or folders it's better to use the specialized tab File Renamer.

  • Which type of files should be scanned can be specified by a so called File Expression of patterns containing '+' and '-', eg. "*.txt+*.nfo" or "*.xaml+*.cs-*.g.cs-*.g.i.cs" (see chapter). This will also help cut down search times dramatically. And there's one more bonus: Unlike usual Windows behavior the pattern matching of Mighty Desktop works flawlessly with double and triple extensions commonly known by Linux/Unix file systems (by the way all Atlas apps support triple extension handling especially well). You can use notations like "*.txt-C:\MyFolder\MySubfolder\*" to exclude subfolders which will once more speed up the search.

  • The search string supports plain text, Regular Expressions and also file system patterns '*' and '?' which makes it extremely versatile and easy to use at the same time. Regular Expressions are very powerful but hard to write, that's why you have also the option to use the Windows file patterns. In addition, finding and replacing whole lines or empty lines can be tricky in some applications while in Mighty Desktop this is done by just checking a box.

  • Sometimes you remember roughly the size of the file in which you saw the search string earlier, so a range can be entered for the size. Files outside the range will just be skipped which can speed up the hunt even more by a lot. Default for the maximum is about 10 MB. Much higher values are not recommended because the memory system of .NET can't handle more.

  • You can limit the number of results, the results per file and also the results in total. This can speed up the search even more.

  • Find Near Option: You can choose to find a string only if there's another one near it. It's basically an AND condition. I use this often if a have a log file and want to pull out something more precisely. For example I can search a log file for a specific operation that was done shortly after the login. Also useful to find something inside a multi-line SQL query resp. method/procedure/API call. It's also possible to do the opposite, which means, to only find a match if the near string is NOT there. That is very useful for searching for something that is missing, especially in program sources, where you could for example want to search for a missing parameter.

  • Optimized for speed by using a very quick search algorithm

  • Alphabetically sorted even in conjunction with non-Windows file systems like Linux and Unix

  • Multiple find runs can be used to build up a merged list which then can be manually trimmed down and used for a replace run. It's even possible to subtract results of a second search from the first one. In combination with the ‘Near string' this can be very useful for finding API calls resp. method calls where a parameter was missed to be handed over.

  • The list of finds can be copied to the clipboard for documentation purposes simply by pressing a button. Both the finds and the performed replacements can be listed in the Log panel.

  • Tolerant in dealing with forbidden directories: Unlike other programs it will just skip over these and issue a warning in the log which will specify the cause of the skipping. No annoying dialog boxes.

  • Also searches very deep directories, i.e. also those that have a so-called "Long Path", with more than 260 characters. Many common Windows programs and even Windows itself can't do this or can do it only partially. All functions in Mighty Desktop are Long Path capable (see General Features).

  • You can use this function to just search for file and folder names by switching off the checkbox 'Find in Content'. This runs much quicker than the similar functionality in Windows Desktop and you can specify easier and more precisely what to search for. Tip: Setting 'Lines Below' to a bigger value will give you a quick peek into each file. And last but not least you can also do mass file and folder renamings using these results. However, Mighty Desktop features a much better, more specialized mass replacement function for file and folder names called the File Renamer in the 'File Center'.

  • Multidimensional find configurations: Mighty Desktop saves the details of your search parameters including the folder to search as a Find Instruction. You can store an unlimited number of such Find Instructions and reuse them just by selecting them. A plus is that the histories of all the entered strings are kept local per instruction, not just one globally. This includes also the history of the used replacement strings. You can also rename a find instruction or create a duplicate as a start for a similar one (many times you would like to search for a similar thing). In case you would like to search for the same string by another find instruction there is the possibility to carry over all find related input to the other instruction by holding [Alt] while selecting the other instruction.

  • A verbose mode can be activated which will log exactly what was done and why. For example you will see which files passed which filter criteria. This can help understanding unexplainable results.

Massive parallelism

String Hunter™ builds up the result list in the background. You can see a preview of the found text passage during the search by just pointing on the found filename or opening the file by double clicking on it. You don't have to wait for the final results.

As a second function, double-clicking the folder will show the file in a new File Explorer window. You can punctually remove items from the list with the eraser icon to exempt them from a replacement run, for example, also all finds within the same file or folder.

  • Preview of the found passage by just moving the mouse over the result, no click needed. The number of lines that are displayed can be chosen. A file or folder can also be directly opened by a double-click.

  • Opening of the found passage in your favorite plain text editor and positioning the cursor on the exact location. You can tailor the start parameters to your editor. Please note that versions of Notepad++ after 7.7 have a bug that doesn't position the view correctly. But if you press a cursor key it will reposition. We recommend to use the Version 7.7. This version can still be downloaded at present time.

  • Moving of all files of the selected findings to the trash

  • Limits can be specified for the number of requested results, for the total as well as for the matches inside one file

  • Individual choice of which matches should be replaced

  • The list of matches and also the statistics will be saved and reloaded if the application is reopened. This guarantees that you don't lose the time you invested in a long running search.

  • Desktop Automation: A union list of all files and folders can be built and copied as plain text to the clipboard. Such a list in textual form can be used as input to other functions in Mighty Desktop. For example you can first find all files containing a special word, copy the list to the clipboard, paste it in the File Copier grid and copy the corresponding files and folders to another drive.

  • Replacing: After you built the result list by searching with file patterns or Regular Expressions you can first scan through the findings and remove those that you don't want to replace. Hereby you can remove all findings inside the same file or even folder with a single click. Then you can insert string passages that matched placeholders into the replace string ($1 aso.). You have the option to get a listing of all locations where replacements were made. When executing the replacement all operations are saved in an undo list and multiple replacement runs can be undone even after closing and reentering Mighty Desktop. For supporting undos at a later time, after the files were already changed interactively in the meantime, each file will be checked whether the replaced passage is still there. In case of a mismatch you can choose to cancel the undo or continue with the next replacement. This will provide a good safety against losing modifications that were done after the replacement. Nevertheless it is advised to always make a backup of all involved files and/or folders before even starting a big replacement operation and also before starting an undo operation. This can easily be done by using the provided Desktop Automation functions mentioned above (using the "Copy Union" button at the bottom and pasting the list into File Copier, or using the Backup tab).

    If you are a programmer and use Visual Studio you probably know of the bugs in its global find and also in its global replace function. In some constellations some finds are just not listed. And for unknown reasons it can happen that the replace process restarts from the very beginning and you have to step through all of the already replaced locations a second time. In addition, the search can get extremely slow over time. Very nervy. This can not happen with Mighty Desktop's find & replace function.
  • For programmers: Renaming a string in an entire project or solution: Sometimes you have a file with the name of an object and a folder structure with many files which are named the same as the folder. You will know this from your software projects, eg. each class has a file with its name and the content contains that name too. If you would like to rename such directories, files and also the content of textual files (eg. solution files, project files, resources aso.) you can do this with this function in just one run. It's easy to enter and VERY quick. Windows can't help you with this but Mighty Desktop can.

  • For programmers: Duplicating a project or solution: Sometimes you have a folder with many files in it, which you would like to use as a template for a new project or solution because it's similar. For example I prefer this scheme for my Visual C# projects. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to do that with Mighty Desktop here.
  • You can switch to String Hunter quickly by pressing RightCtrl-F from any other application on your machine. See chapter Hotkeys.

  • You can also activate String Hunter by right-clicking some items in the File Explorer.


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