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I'm looking for a Linux application to catalog the files on my many external HDs and search them. I'm using Ubuntu, so i prefer a normal deb in the repositories but i can't find one. After some research by Google, I find no proper application - does any GUI exist ?

See this old forum entry : "printable file catalog or index for (external) USB and flash drives" ( https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/printable-file-catalog-or-index-for-external-usb-and-flash-drives-829171/ ) -- here are some key texts of this page :


I'm very surprised that there is no [relatively] mature application to address these issues ?! Like diskettes of years past, we now accumulate external drives that are USB, Firewire, e-SATA, or flash. Unlike diskettes, these new drives hold hundreds or thousands of files. It is so easy (and inexpensive) to grab a drive a copy files that it is trivial to accumulate duplicates or more instances of the same files. All of this makes a catalog very valuable AND makes duplicate identification all the more so.


It is possible that this (making a catalogue with find /media/Disk1 * > ~/Indices/Disk1_index ) and then searching for a filename in those catalogues with grep filename ~/Indices/* is so trivial from the command line, that no one has bothered to develop anything more complicated than gwhere (which seems to work, though I only used it the once). Duplicates are another matter altogether: Same filenames does not necessarily mean that the contents of those files are the same. Conversely, different filenames does not necessarily mean that the contents of the files are different.


There are several *nix utilities for dealing with this sort of problem, fdupes comes to mind, but there are others. No application could compete with the method "find for indexing, grep for search"

I tried "gwhere" but it's limited and slow and its last version is of 2007. Most file catalog utilities i find are for Windows ..

Must Linux users really learn to use command line functions like "find" and "grep" to do all kinds of queries ? Eg. in a search, we often want to exclude some file types or include only images, search by date / period, etc.

Someone must have created some nifty GUI which sets all proper find & grep parameters as our options ? Does anyne know of a good modern Linux GUI application to catalog and search files ? maybe using a DB, not some big CSV / XML file ?

marked as duplicate by muru, waltinator, Zanna, Eric Carvalho, Mark Kirby Sep 29 '17 at 20:21

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  • Do you mean something like Baloo for KDE? Have a look at tracker, catfish, recoll and DocFetcher! – dessert Sep 28 '17 at 13:00
  • How about Recoll? I use it, it works very well. – Redbob Sep 28 '17 at 13:04
  • Plus there's doodle! – dessert Sep 28 '17 at 13:06
  • The basic command-line commands find and grep are incredibly powerful, you'll get an idea by looking at the manpages. Because of that complexity I seriously doubt a GUI will ever be able to provide the full abilities of these commands. So in a way Yes indeed, you must learn to use these commands to really be able to do all kinds of queries, but on the other side of course there are some GUI solutions especially for simple queries. – dessert Sep 29 '17 at 8:33


enter image description here

Description from Tracker's Homepage

Tracker is a search engine, search tool and metadata storage system. It allows you to find the proverbial needle in your computer's haystack as well as providing a one stop solution to the organisation, storage and categorisation of your data. Some plugins allow you to use Tracker in GNOME applications, for example: Totem and Nautilus.


sudo apt install tracker-gui

Getting started

You can configure Tracker by running tracker-preferences and access the simple search GUI by running tracker-needle. To index files you need to start tracker daemon -s, I recommend adding this command to your Autostart Applications (SystemPreferencesStartup Applications). For more information browse the website and read tracker --help. An alternative GUI for Tracker is catfish, see this answer.

  • Tracker-gui doesn't seem to be available in Ubuntu 17.10 – lorenzo-bettini Oct 30 '17 at 17:30
  • You're right, although tracker is still available (see here), it's just the GUI they removed. – dessert Oct 30 '17 at 17:38

enter image description here Catfish

enter image description here

Description from Catfish's homepage and launchpad page

Catfish is a GTK+ search utility written in Python. Its search is powered by locate and find behind the scenes, with search suggestions provided by zeitgeist. The advanced options allow filtering by date and file type. The interface is intentionally lightweight and simple, using only GTK+. Catfish can be used as a GUI for tracker and doodle as well.


sudo apt install catfish

icon DocFetcher


Description from DocFetcher's homepage

DocFetcher is an Open Source desktop search application: It allows you to search the contents of files on your computer. — You can think of it as Google for your local files. The application runs in Java on Windows, Linux and OS X, and is made available under the Eclipse Public License. This way it's portable and can very well be stored externally.

For more information there's the homepage, the wiki and the forum.


  1. Install Java: How do I install Java?
  2. Download DocFetcher from sourceforge.net
  3. Unzip the archive using your archive manager or

    unzip docfetcher-*-portable.zip
  4. Navigate inside the extracted directory and run the program with


    or if DocFetcher doesn't start or the GUI behaves strangely:


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