Google Desktop is Google’s free search system for your own hard drive. Google Desktop is designed to run all the time, but to do its real work — indexing your hard drive to get the information for its search results — while your computer is idle.
Since Google Desktop only does its indexing while your computer is idle, you have to leave it running to get the best results. The initial indexing will probably require that you leave the computer running over night.
Your first step is to download and install the free Google Pack software package (the same one that includes Picasa). During this process, you select which optional programs you also want to download, if any. The program you’ll download is the Google Updater, which handles the rest of the process. The Google Updater is also the program you use to control the Google Pack later, including adding additional programs or uninstalling some of them.
Click on the Run link in the Google Updater screen (you can also open Google Desktop via the Start Menu, if you prefer.)
During the initial startup process, you’ll see the following screen for enabling (or disabling) advanced features.
Pay attention. As it says, "It’s not the usual yada yada." The arrow indicates my choice.
You’ll quickly see the Google Desktop screen — it will appear in your default Web Browser. In my case, my default web browser is Mozilla Firefox. You can also download Mozilla Firefox as part of downloading Google Pack, if you choose (it’s optional).
Now, click on the Desktop Preferences link in the Google Desktop browser page.
In the next two images, we see the various Local Indexing options. I’ve picked the defaults with the exception of "Don’t Search These Items" and "Remove Deleted Items" (which is unchecked by default).
Google Desktop is a free program that is available as part of the free collection of programs called Google Pack. With Google Pack, you can enjoy the easy, fast searching of your hard drive.