Software Windows

Agent Ransack – Grep for Windows

Agent Ransack is not malware.

I know. It sounds like a virus. It’s name is reminiscent of a time where encryption was a novel concept and viruses popped up on your screen as a means to annoy you rather than steal your bank information. A fitting feel considering this software has been around a long time, since the year 2000 to be exact.

For those that prefer politically correct language or for those that need to talk down your IT department for installing this software it is also called File Locator Pro or File Locator Lite for the free version.

So what is it? Well anyone that’s used windows for any amount of time may have noticed… windows search features SUCK! If you come from a Unix or Linux background you’ve probably been spoiled by the sheer power of grep or the flexibility of the find command.

That’s where Agent Ransack comes in! To put it simply, it is the Linux find command and the Linux grep command combined into one tool for windows with a GUI interface. It allows you to search through files by file name or contents of files using various filters, searches, and/or regex.

Don’t let the design fool you, this software is SUPERB!

Below is an example of me using it to search 4.3 GB of log files for the name ‘Ashlynne’ across a network share inside the contents of the log files. If you look in the bottom right the search completed in 59 seconds!

Windows search will not do this. Not this easily. The program has loads of features such as filters based on file types and dates included even in the free version. For 95% of users the free version is more than enough.

A nice feature is that while searching inside of files it will show the detected lines on the right so you are not forced to manually open each file to look inside.

Many years ago while I was working at a note investment company we paid for the pro version of this software and used it to search across 25 tb of mixed text files. As I recall the pro version had the ability to build an index of metadata to search quickly across loads of files.

It won’t be often that I will cover windows only software on here but over the years this has been one of the most useful pieces of software I’ve had the pleasure of using on Windows. I use it often at work to search through windows logs and I think it deserves more attention.

If you’d like to install it you can use the following command in choco:

choco install agentransack

You can see a comparison of the free version and the pro version here.

You can also download it from Mythicsoft here or purchase the pro version if you really need to search tons of files!

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