Whoever decided to cripple the default search (mate-search-tool) should be shot out of a cannon.
The default search searched through a database which was only update once a day via cron. This can be evidenced by performing a seach and noticing that little in the way of HDD access is occuring (it not really searching). Also there is not ovbious way to change the search preferences like in MS windows.
Why perform a search when it does not turn up 100% correct results. The trade over speed and accuracy is idiotic and pathetic, even the MS file search provides better results.
Here’s how to fix it.
open mateconf-editor and navigate to /apps/mate-search-tool/
check off; disable_quick_search, show_additional_options
now open mate-search-tool and take a look! Looks nice and actually works, searches attached usb drives and the lot.