From the Engine Room

Copernic Desktop Search 3 – a nasty downgrade.

By 30th September 2008 21 Comments


I’ve used Copernic Desktop Search for years at home as my local search tool of choice. It’s always done well, and has the killer feature that it will search network drives, so my little NAS under the desk, where most of my letters and family snapshots live, can also be indexed. Fantastic. But then – along comes Copernic Desktop Search 3. A free downloadable update, and like a mug I just downloaded it. After installation, looking through the list of new features I was not actually finding any. About the most exciting was “Tweaked deskbar design for better usability”. A bit odd, I thought, why is this a whole version number different? This is hardly a new release… until we get to the end of the list. Then the reason for this upgrade is revealed. Here are the great new features…

Features now exclusive to Professional and Corporate versions: * Search Outlook appointments, tasks and notes * Display search results as you type * Index network drives

Bugger! No more network drive support! So well done, and thanks Copernic, for pretending that this nasty downgrade is actually a feature. It isn’t – it’s crippling an already perfectly good bit of software. Now, it’s only fair to point out that this isn’t freeware and Copernic are entitled to do this to their own product if they like. After all, they want to make money out of it. But surely, surely, they should have given users the option to make an informed choice. Either stick with the unsupported 2.x version, and keep the features thereof, or upgrade to 3.0 and ‘enjoy’ the new exciting nag screens telling you to upgrade at a cost of $49.95 if you want to use your own file index. Very poor service, and a big disappointment for a long-term fan of Copernic like me. I’m off to find an alternative.

UPDATE: Windows native file search from Windows 7 onwards is pretty much good enough these days. It’s not fast but it works on network drives, and if you use Windows you already have it. So you might have no need for a third-party search app.


  • Michael says:

    This royally pissed me off as well, and as I search around the web, hundreds (probably many more) users as well.

  • Kurik says:

    well it just happened to me yesterday…and as a result i promptly uninstalled it reinstalled the old version 2….that will work for me for now….or for a while..if you find a decent one let us know here….

  • fred says:

    if only the downgrade worked!
    now theres a constant reminder popup that informs you theres an upgrade available. even if you block it with a firewall.
    it seems copernic 3 leaves something in the registry that sets this off.

  • Chris says:

    This now-missing feature is truly annoying. So, have you found a decent alternative yet?

  • Matt says:

    Well at home I’m now using Google Desktop. It’s not bad, and has a great interface (entirely browser based) but nowhere near as good an index as Copernic. Also seems to scoff up the bandwidth between me and the network server. At work I’m still using Copernic and clicking through the warning every single flipping time. I guess I’ll get fed up with it eventually, but the index is still by far the best.

  • Donald says:

    After months of frustration and v3 not indexing properly, I un-installed and re-installed v2.3 (build 30) – much better!

    Matt – you can get rid of the irritating ‘upgrade’ reminder by playing with your clock and setting it forward a bit, choosing to not upgrade, and then setting the clock back again.

  • No Name but useful hack says:

    I am grateful for these postings and learning that I was not alone in noticing an awful downgrade delivered by Copernic 3 DTS.

    I had grown so dependend on the reliable Copernic 2.3, so was gutted when the dearch indexing failed under CDSv3, even re-installs did not bring back the CDS reliable performance.

    Was ready to chnage to another DTS program, but after reading this web page, I followed David’s suggestion, and reloaded CDS 2.3 (build 30)which I had kept.

    Here a hack that stops CDS phoning home to display ads:

    Close down CDS.

    Look in theC:Program FilesCopernic Desktop Search 2FileRepository50 directory

    Locate file:

    AdEnabled=”True” StartupAdEnabled=”True” AdOnSearchAsYouType=”False” AdOnCategories=”ALL,EMAILS,FILES,MUSIC,PICTURES,VIDEOS,CONTACTS,FAVORITES,HISTORY” AdUrl=”http://cdsweb.copernic.com/pp/pp.php?c=%CATEGORY%&w=%WIDTH%&h=%HEIGHT%&l=ENG”

    Line 1
    AdEnabled=”True” —> “False”

    Line 6
    —>   AdUrl=”False”

    Save the file. Restart CDS. No more ads or dial outs or reminders that a new version is out …

  • Michael says:

    There’s no “50” folder in my Copernic 3.2.0 installation directory.

    As Copernic tries to connect via URL (cdsweb.copernic.com) AND IP address ( for the current release it’s enough to create a “Local Security Policy” / IP security policy to block

    As soon as Copernic get’s an “destination host unreachable” for, ads and banners are stopped.

  • komrade says:

    Beautiful!!! I was able to get this running perfectly by doing what Donald suggested to get rid of the upgrade nags (putting the clock forward a few years, opening Copernic, clicking Cancel, then putting the clock back to today.)

    Also got rid of Ads with just changing line 1 of the config file as above.
    (it didn’t like it if I also changed line 6.)

    The best free version they made is available through a link from OldVersion: http://forum.oldversion.com/programs-support/5261-copernic-2-a.html

    It’s perfect now!!! Thanks everyone! 🙂

  • Phil - Melbourne says:

    I want to add to these comments that not only is 3.x not better than 2.3, but that it’s basic functionality of indexing things just doesn’t work as well. I used to rave about Copernic, but since I’ve been on 3.x, I could never demonstrate it to colleagues, since it just wouldn’t find the things I was trying to show.

    I finally gave up in disgust and just yesterday completely killed 3.x from my system and found an old 2.3 distribution on the Internet, and have installed that. The indexes now work PROPERLY. I’ve also done the clock-change thing to kill the annoying reminders, let’s hope that works.

    Advice to all: DO NOT GO TO COPERNIC 3.x, but 2.3 *is* the best thing since sliced bread!!!

  • Concerned Buddy says:

    Windows Firewall is your friend. There are 3 exe files in the root Copernic directory (v3). Set up both an outgoing and incoming rule for each of the three exe files, which kills the app’s ability to call out/in to the Web.

  • Charlie says:

    I’m a latecomer to this issue, but greatly appreciate all of your comments.

    I’ve been unable to find a download of v2.3. The link to forum.oldversion.com above is now dead. Anybody know of one that still works now (Sept., 2010)? Phil from Melbourne, you seem to have found one as recently as Feb., 2010.

  • Charlie says:

    I should add that there do exist downloadable files from pages that SAY it’s v2.3, and the file name may even be something like “copernicdesktopsearch2.exe”, but so far they have all turned out to actually be v3.

  • Rod says:

    You can find the version 3.2 build 30 here:


  • Phil - Melbourne says:

    Rod, you meant version 2.3, didn’t you?

    And sorry to Charlie that I couldn’t otherwise find a 2.x version, but Rod’s download looks to be OK.

    And 2.3 is still working fine for me. Not sure if it will still work in Win7, so am sticking with XP.

  • Rich says:

    Here’s another failure of Copernic 3.x.

    They had a half-price sale on the professional version (with network access) so I bought it.

    I use Thunderbird for my email and store the data on a networked disk. The free version 2.3 worked fine with it but the new version where you have to pay for network support won’t work.

    To make matters worse, Copernic support agreed that it was a bug, but said they didn’t know whether or not they were going to fix it!

    They offered no remedy or refund.

    It sounds to me like a company that is planning to go out of business.

  • DAT says:

    @ Rich

    When I tried Copernic Pro trial, it insisted on sending my search term out to its own web search sites, so I gave up on it. Did you find a way to block this breach of privacy?

    No-one answers when I email support or sales about this so I agree that all the signs indicate ‘beware of this company’ – except that when it worked Copernic was the best, and for me it’s become almost indispensible!

    I reverted to 2.3.30 (on XP) but it started crashing. What happens is, if I leave it running, after a few minutes I hear the fan running hard and Task Manager shows DESKTO~3.EXE is using 90% of cpu. The Tray icon stops working and the only way to stop it is to End the process.

    Then I reverted to 1.70.974 but got the same thing, except there the process is copernicdesktopsearch.exe.

    Someone else (http://forum.copernic.com/topic.php?id=37) reported a similar thing with 3.4.25.

    If I could stop it sending out my search terms to the web I’d use the half-price offer and buy the Pro version. Seems amazing that whoever now owns the company is allowing such a good product to go to waste.

  • Binkie says:

    I’ve been using it happily for years, got stung by the version 3 downgrade, nuked it, found a copy of version 2.3 and have been happy again ever since. I just blocked its Internet access via my firewall software, and it’s good to go. It was fine in Vista and now it’s fine in Windows 7 64-bit. I only use it to find e-mails in Outlook 2003, so I can’t say whether it would work in the newest Office versions.
    Today, Jan. 30 2013, they’re offering the Pro version for half price on bitsdujour.com (a daily deals page for junkware that doesn’t sell well enough otherwise), so I’d say they’re feeling the effects of their user-screwing, er, “market repositioning” idea.

  • LittleValley says:


    I’m running Windows8, 64 bit. I’ve used Donald’s trick (24/6/09) to get rid of the ‘upgrade’ message, and that’s fine.

    I then tried to use the hack of the config.ini file described by ‘visitor’ on 17/7/09, to stop the ad. display. However, though I can easily find the file and make the change that visitor describes, I can’t then get it to save; I get an ‘Access is denied’ message, even though I’m running as Administrator. Any ideas ?

  • wist says:

    To save into this folder you need admin rights. What I did is the following: Copy the .ini file to another folder and rename it, for example to .ininew. Do the content changes in this copy. Then you copy it back to the Copernic folder and do a double rename. With a right click on .ini file, you will be proposed to rename with admin rights, do that and rename to .iniold. Do the same with the .ininew and rename it to .ini. Et voilà.

  • DamianD says:

    I use the Outlook and Windows search solution Lookeen (www.lookeen.com). It is my favorite search tool for Windows.

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