Just moved to Ubuntu 12.04 from Windows 7.

Under Win 7 I use "Everything" to search files and directories, it can build the index database and update it once any file or directory changes. I'm very used to it so I want know if there is something similar under Ubuntu 12.04.

Now my workaround is updatedb and locate, but I have to updatedb every time I want to search something. Also, the results are the absolute file paths, what if I want to know the details of the files?(Say, what should I do if I want to sort the results by created_time?)

Is there any way that updatedb is automatically executed once I added a file on my disk? If not, are there any tools that can function like "Everything"?


There are 3 choices that I'm familiar with.

This tutorial titled, The best Linux desktop search tools discusses these and a couple of others.


Installation is a snap.

$ apt-get install tracker tracker-utils

After installation it should start indexing your drive automatically. You can peek inside to see what it's up to using tracker-control:

$ tracker-control 
Found 288 PIDs…
Found process ID 2611 for 'tracker-store'

17 Aug 2013, 11:57:51:  ✓     Store                 - Idle 

17 Aug 2013, 11:57:51:  ✗     Applications          - Not running or is a disabled plugin
17 Aug 2013, 11:57:51:  ✗     File System           - Not running or is a disabled plugin

Or you can use track-stats:

$ tracker-stats | head -10
  mfo:Action = 1
  mlo:LandmarkCategory = 15
  mto:State = 6
  mto:TransferMethod = 2
  mtp:ScanType = 6
  nao:Tag = 1
  nco:AuthorizationStatus = 3
  nco:Contact = 1
  nco:Gender = 3

You can reconfigure its preferences like so:

$ tracker-preferences

                  tracker prefs

You can manually start up the miners like so:

$ tracker-control -s
Starting miners…
  ✓ Applications
  ✓ File System

And then see what its up to:

$ tracker-control -F
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:29:  ✓     Store                 - Idle 

17 Aug 2013, 12:13:29:    0%  Applications          - Initializing 
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:29:    0%  File System           - Initializing 
Press Ctrl+C to end follow of Tracker state
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:29:  ✓     Store                 - Idle 
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:39:    1%  Applications          - Crawling recursively directory 'file:///usr/share/applications' 
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:39:    1%  Applications          - Crawling recursively directory 'file:///usr/share/desktop-directories' 
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:39:    1%  Applications          - Crawling recursively directory 'file:///home/tammy/.local/share/applications' 
17 Aug 2013, 12:13:39:    1%  Applications          - Crawling recursively directory 'file:///home/tammy/.local/share/desktop-directories' 

After content on the disk has been indexed you can search for it using either the GUI or the integrated search into Nautilus (Ctrl + f). It also provides a command line tool, tracker-search:

$ tracker-search art

A little more details:

$ tracker-search -d art

You can also invoke the GUI search tool, tracker-needle:

              ss of tracker-needle


I don't have an active setup of this one currently but there are screenshots on the website that show it in action. You can also peruse the online documentation for more information.

  • @AmareKnight - glad it solved your problem. Thanks for the question. – slm Aug 25 '13 at 14:51

If you run updatedb each time a file is created... you will have serious I/O overhead, since updatedb parse all your system looking for new files/directories. That said, Ubuntu can install several tools to index user files, the desision of what to use is up to you:

  • Tracker only indexing, you need integration with other tool for providing search results.
  • Strigi, nepomuk, and dolphin combination.
  • Recoll is based on the very strong Xapian search engine library.
  • Beagle searches the content of documents and associated metadata.
  • Namazu is a command-line indexing and search engine.

Most of them are included in the default Ubuntu repositories and can be installed using the Software Center.


Are you looking for something like beagle?

  • 1
    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – slm Aug 17 '13 at 19:13

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