The painful speed of Windows searches is something that seems a relic from the days when computers were as big as rooms and ran on magnetic tape. As any Apple user will tell you, it shouldn't be that way in the 21st century.
Locate32 is a great little freeware app that makes searching your PC fast and easy. Setup of the program is easier than it first appears - the zip folder has four different .exe files in it, and the readme instructions are probably over complicated. However, it's actually simple! Just extract the zip file then double click 'locate32.exe' and it will run. To get it working, open File and click the 'Update Databases' option. Locate32 will then scan the hard drive, making a database to search from. This is remarkably quick - it won't take more than a few seconds.
Once your database it updated, searching is easy, super fast and completely flexible. Locate32 is both easy to use for the general user, and deep and complex for the power user. As well as file name, you can refine your search by extension, where to look (although it's so fast there's no point usually), date added and size and so on.
There are an intimidating number of settings, although most people won't need to fear them, as they won't be necessary. One nice option is 'Delete Private Data', which makes it easy to search without leaving a trace. Locate32 can also function as a portable app, as it doesn't require installation
While some users might be scared by the number of options available in Locate 32, it really is a simple and efficient search app that you will quickly learn to rely on.