As mentioned earlier, I have twice installed and twice removed versions of the much-touted Outlook indexer Xobni. In theory Xobni was great; in practice, for me, it was no good because it gobbled so much of my computer's memory and CPU that it paralyzed everything else on the machine. Details in previous posts.

Through controlled experiment I think I've established that my Xobni problem is a "scale" issue. I've tried it on a computer with only a few hundred emails to index; it worked like magic. On my real computer, with tens of thousands of emails in Outlook .PST files spanning the last decade, it broke down. (In its current version, Xobni does not allow you to choose which .PSTs you want it to handle; it tackles everything it finds. I understand that this may change -- and that other speed and scaling improvements are on their way.) This would explain why some people who've written in are so happy with it -- they don't have that many stored emails -- while others share my exact complaint.

An alternative to check out: the non-touted Lookeen, from a tiny little firm in Germany. The searches it runs are extremely fast, and it imposes no detectable burden on the computer's overall speed. It lets you choose which .PST files you want to include or omit -- though you might as well include everything, since it seems to handle a > 100,000-item index about as fast as a small one. Fourteen-day free trial available; after that, $39.80. Worth a look -- as is, of course, the long-time champ of very fast, very scalable PC search engines, X1.

(For those joining us late: the reason to bother with any of these is that the built-in Outlook search system is so clumsy and slow.)

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