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On the command line I regularly use locate, or more often a locate x | grep y pattern to find a file I know exists but can't find!

I'd like something that did this quickly in the GUI. Can't find it if it's there.

Here's my confusion

  • In the applications/overview I can see Search and Indexing. This seems to be a configuration tool. But if this is a server, I can't find a client.

  • In applications I find Nepomuk File Indexing -- I think this is a KDE thing? Ditto, no client?

  • I've installed tracker. This is a strange mix of powerful and unreliable/limited. e.g. it doesn't find files like locate does (returns no results where locate returns 96 results), but is will unpack every tag I've added to my photos! And you can't limit by folder for a quick search within a folder.

  • The old Gnome 2 Search for files... thing is not in the Accessories menu anymore.

I feel that this is basic/core-level functionality and I can't help feeling I'm missing something obvious.

share|improve this question
I think you are looking for gnome-search-tool which was removed in 12.04 unfortunately for the price of integrated Tracker, AFAIK. I guess you can access it from Nautilus and Dash, but I'm not sure. Not great decision, as search syntax for Tracker is awful, IMHO. Try searching repository for gnome-search-tool – zetah Mar 9 '12 at 20:12
How is tracker integrated? into what? Overview? How to use it? – artfulrobot Mar 9 '12 at 22:50
I don't know the details. If you want to know tracker syntax google for tracker sparql, which I have no idea if you can use in 12.04 (Nautilus/Dash where this feature is implemented). Better download gnome-search-tool and do your searches like you are used to. – zetah Mar 10 '12 at 0:01
up vote 8 down vote accepted

There are several ways you can do this.

  1. Open Files and click the Search button. This is the easiest and recommended choice since it's installed by default.
  2. Or you can install gnome-search-tool Install gnome-search-tool
  3. Or you can install tracker-gui Install tracker-gui
share|improve this answer
Thanks for answering. 1 works for filenames but does not appear to be using an index. 2 works but does not appear to be using an index (at least not for content searches, based on a 15 minute search I just did!) but has a lot of filter options. 3 doesn't work - fails to find basic filename substring matches. – artfulrobot Mar 11 '12 at 7:36
+1 for the gnome-search-tool, a very intuitive way to search for a novice in linux(ubuntu). The 1-st (default) option is awful. – Nikolay Ivanov Oct 24 '14 at 6:53

I was also looking for this myself as I find Unity too slow (Ubuntu 12.10). Best thing I've found so far is Synapse. Ctrl + Spacebar to activate once installed.

share|improve this answer
I think This only searches recent documents by name as it used Zeitgeist. – artfulrobot Nov 9 '12 at 7:06
No Synapse searches everything. Really good, works a bit odd in Kubuntu, but fine in Ubuntu... – pst007x Oct 19 '13 at 12:18

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