Modern operating systems are all including advanced search capabilities that make it easy to find files and folders within seconds of whatever you type. They are able to do this by indexing all of the files on your machine as they are created, and store them in a way that makes it incredibly fast to search. This technology has also been brought back to older operating systems like XP through the use of tools like Google Desktop Search or Windows Desktop Search.

As it turns out that’s not the only way to quickly find the files you’re looking for. A freeware app called UltraSearch doesn’t use any sort of index and never runs in the background. Instead it uses the Master File Table (MFT) found on NTFS drive partitions, which Windows uses to store information about all of the files and directories on a computer. In some sense you can look at the MFT as a table of contents for your computer, and UltraSearch is just there to take full advantage of it.

UltraSearch is a no-frills app, and doesn’t really have any advanced search capabilities. You can use wildcard characters, but you can’t restrict results to a particular folder without explicitly typing the path in the search box. You can, however, right-click on any of the results and you’ll get the same context menu that you’d see in Windows Explorer.

The only downside to UltraSearch is that it’s not offered as a portable download. This app just screams portable since there aren’t any settings to configure, but it may be possible to take the EXE from the install directory and use it wherever you’d like (at least my initial tests seem to indicate that doing this works just fine). As Conchur pointed out in the comments, when prompted with the download page you can grab a portable/zipped version from the drop-down menu. Nice catch!

The search functionality is fast, really fast. I’d say as fast if not faster than the built-in Vista/Windows 7 search capabilities. So this is no slouch by any means, and works for all NTFS drives on any 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.

UltraSearch Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)