Locate32 and Dropbox – offline indexes of remote PCs

I regularly use Locate32 for my fast indexing – and searching – of PC files.  Plus I use Dropbox to store my shared files. So why not see if the two can work together?  A bit of experimenting showed the answer was yes.  Here’s one way to have an Index of one computer’s My Documents folder available on the other. And vice versa. 

I know that Locate32 can support remote shares (aka  \\server\share\) directly, but that has some considerations, not least of which is sharing  out My Documents. So I thought of putting the Locate32 index for one computer (Notebook) on Dropbox and having it used in another (Desktop). The steps, all done using Locate32 3.1 RC3 build 10.5090 :

On your first PC

  1. On the first PC (Notebook), create the new Locate32 index database file. Call it Notebook Docs, with a similar Description. Have it index My Documents or equivalent
  2. Save the index (say notebook.docs.dbs) to your My Dropbox folder
  3. Update the Locate32 index and test that it works locally

These are standard steps for Locate32. Nothing extra is required on this ‘source’ PC.  You can shutdown the Notebook now as we are finished. It is not needed for the following steps, including Searching its contents.

On your other PC

Now, on the other PC (Desktop) do this:

Start Locate32 and set it up to use the above index.

  1. Tools –> Settings –> Database
  2. Click on the Import button
  3. Navigate to My Dropbox and select the above index file (notebook.docs.dbs) and Open it
  4. On the Database options screen make two changes
  1. UncheckUpdate Globally
  2. CheckDo not overwrite existing data (e.g…”

Your screen should look a bit like this:


  1. Click OK a few times to exit

Make the results display more friendly and obvious

Now you can search this Index (and others).  A tip that helps further is to add the Database (name) or Database Description as a column on the main display/results screen. Just Right-Mouse on the column headings and select either the Database or Database Description. Makes it more obvious where the file really lives as can been seen below.

So, I was wondering where my document on my Grampians Trip in 2010 was. I was on the Desktop PC, so did a quick search.


There it is!  Note that the Database of Notebook Docs reminds me it’s on the other system – the Notebook.

Of course you can now do the vice-versa and create an Index for the Desktop and have it (read only) available via Dropbox on the Notebook. Or any other suitable computer.

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