There’s a new utility being developed that might be your new best friend.

X1 indexes Outlook e-mail and contacts, as well as all your files, and does lightning-fast searches for words in them.

Some of you have just had adrenaline shoot into your body. I did when I read about it. This fills a huge hole in our toolbox. As Outlook becomes the focal point of our business and personal lives and our folders fill with thousands of e-mail messages, it becomes ever more frustrating that it has no effective way to find things.

X1 is simple and easy to use. It automatically compiles its indices. It can be set to index files on a network as well as on your local hard drive. The default settings caused it to update its index a bit too frequently, but it was the work of a moment to change that. It’s extraordinary to use it – type a word or two and it instantly displays all messages with those words, displaying a preview of each item with the search terms highlighted. Play the demo to get a look at how it works. Here’s a review with more information.

Computer nostalgia buffs will recall Lotus Magellan, an unparalleled program for searching for files in the days of DOS. Some of Magellan’s developers are being funded by IdeaLab to develop X1. The current version is reasonably stable, and the program is simple and easy to use. I get the impression from looking at their forum that it is still in that very active phase of development when bugs are still being stamped out and features are being added – this might not be a good choice for someone craving stability. And it’s currently priced at $99, which will turn some people away. Personally, if it continues to work as advertised, it’s such an essential tool that it’s worth any price to me.

There are other programs on the market claiming to index Outlook folders, but I’m not aware of anything that looks remotely as appealing as X1. I had previously been using 80-20 Retriever, but its developer has decided to discontinue it in favor of enterprise products. X1 looks like a winner. I’m going to be using it and I’m rooting for it to succeed.

Visit the X1 web site here. If you’re the kind of person who would appreciate this, you’ll know right away. If so, download a free 15-day trial.

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