Desktop Search, OpenOffice and Thunderbird (IMAP)

Assume you have a lot of documents and data. Further you use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Work and Thunderbird instead of Outlook. And you use an IMAP Email Account instead of a POP3 one.

Since you have so much documents you decide to use one of these fancy Desktop Searches to find things you need faster (and they are definitely very helpful). Then you stumble into problems, since only one of these various Desktop Searches is up to the task. I tried them all – here are my considerations:

  1. Google Desktop Search: It’s from Google but definitely not the best. Many things you can’t configure easily (not you should not index my whole hard disc) and OpenOffice support is very bad (only beta plugin from March 2005 or so), though I have to admit I checked out GDS 2 and there is alread GDS 3 – but from the homepage it seems, that OpenOffice support is still shaky.
  2. Windows Desktop Search: better than GDS (better to configure) and also searches the applications, but no support for OpenOffice and Thunderbird. You have to install third party add-ins(OO, TB), which are not up to the task.
  3. Yahoo Desktop Search: much better results, but doesn’t index OpenOffice 2.0 documents. WTF! Hey, OpenDocument is an open standard. Can’t be that difficult.
  4. Copernic Desktop Search: After waisting a lot of time with the three programs above (and with this, I admit), I finally found THE desktop search which is up to the (my) tasks: it nicely indexes OpenOffice documents and also indexes Thunderbird mailboxes. But beware, that you have to use at least version 1.7, I had some problems with 1.63.

I also should mention that none of the desktop search programs above (even CDS) could index an IMAP account with Thunderbird. But there is a solution. You make the folders you are interested in available for offline reading. You than regularily go into offline mode and tell Thunderbird (popup message) to download all emails which are not already on the hard disk. At least CDS and YDS are than able to index your emails.

So, if you have a lot of OpenOffice programs and read your emails with Thunderbird there is only one solution Copernic Desktop Search. If you have an IMAP account make the folders available for download. Also watch out for the next version of CDS: 2.0 Beta looks very promising.

5 thoughts on “Desktop Search, OpenOffice and Thunderbird (IMAP)

  1. I am curious if you are still using Copernic successfully with Thunderbird. While it seems able to index my IMAP mail (available for offline reading), it can not show it on the preview pane, and can’t see the body of the messages. Do you see the same thing?


  2. Hi Ale,

    no I don’t since although I still regards Copernic Desktop Search as one of the better Desktop Search programs, it was a resource hog on my old laptop and had severe problems with Thunderbird and/or IMAP as you have. I suggest you try out Mailstore home: . This program you can use to download/synchronize you IMAP mails to a local database. You hit two flies at once – you can search through your emails if you need and can also make a backup of all your emails. This works quite well for my 6GB/50000 emails IMAP account.

    HTH, Werner

  3. Thanks for your reply Werner. Mailstore does look very promising. Imported my 2GB/2000 emails IMAP account from Thunderbird, and was impressed at the speed of searches. After fiddling with Copernic, I realized that all I really wanted was a tool to search my mail, after all, I do keep the rest of my files neatly organized and have specific purpose cataloguing tools for my pictures and music. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. That’s true. My main concern is also searching the mail. Finding something in files is nice, but these Desktop search programs are not up to the task at least for older systems. I found a nice alternativ, locate32 ( which indexes only the filenames of all you drives and this very fast (less than 1 min for 50GB (small files) or so). You can then look for files using the filenames, which also happens very fast. This is good enough for me at the moment.

  5. Opera as an email does a good job of IMAP and of email search.
    Alas, it does a terrible job of email composition (it used not to support html at all, and still very limited), so I still use Thunderbird. But it would be nice if Copernic could preview Thunderbird IMAP data ….

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