Windows 7 File Search Indexing Options

The built-in search feature in Windows 7 is significantly better than the horrible search options in Windows XP. Instead of installing a third-party program like Google Desktop to search for files on inside files on your computer, you can now do it with easily from Windows 7.

For example, let’s say your a programmer or web developer and you want to be able to search your code files like .aspx, .html, .java, .php, etc. With Windows 7, you can configure the search indexer to not only index any file you want, but also to index the file contents.

By default, the Search Indexer in Windows 7 indexes the most common locations where your files would be stored, i.e. all libraries, everything in your User folder, and e-mail. If this is not enough, you can add or remove index location really easily.

That means you can tell Windows 7 to index and return results from files and folder on network drives or external hard drives. To get started , click on Start, then type in search into the search box.

indexing options windows 7

This will bring up the Indexing Options dialog. At the top, you’ll see the total number of items that have currently been indexed on your computer. Below that, you will see a list of all the locations that have been included for indexing.

windows 7 search indexer

To add a new location to the index, click on the Modify button. Any network drive or external hard drive will show up in the list of possible locations. You can check off any drive or folder that you would like to include in the index.

windows 7 search inside files

Depending on how many files and folders are in a location, it could take some time for search indexer to index everything. If you have noticed that certain files are not being indexed by search indexer even though they are included in the search locations, you may have to add the file type.

You can do this by clicking on the Advanced button on the main Indexing Options screen. Then click on the File Types tab.

windows 7 search in files

If the file extension is not in the list, go ahead and add it at the bottom. Then select it and choose whether you want to index just the properties or the properties and the file contents. If you know the file contains only text, make sure to select the second radio button.

You can also click on Index Settings to modify some of the settings for the Search Indexer.

windows 7 index settings

Here you can choose to index encrypted files and other options like treating similar words with diacritics as different words. If you are having problems with Windows search or something has become corrupted, you can rebuild the index by clicking the Rebuild button.

Lastly, you can completely move the search index to another disk or partition. If you have a faster hard drive that the OS is not running on, it might be a good idea to move it so that it performs faster.

Overall, the new search features in Windows 7 are greatly enhanced and let you customize most of the search options. Enjoy!

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  1. Scoffer says:

    You're joking? Right? Windows 7 file/folder search is, at least, the most useless bit of an underdeveloped search parameter engine since windows 3.1. Delete Nero and remove the shrapnel with windows 7? Absolutely never. Same with Adobe, Windows Live etc etc etc. YOU WILL NOT FIND ANY C**P WITH WINDOWS 7 SEARCH.

    You reckon XP search was useless? XP is probably the best and easiest and fullest configurable data searcher ever.

    Thank God I have Windows XP and Windows 7 on different hard drives so I can use XP to search the Windows 7 drive for what I need to find.

  2. DoINeedOne says:

    I'm having trouble getting Search to work in Win 7 as well as it worked for me in XP. (I don't need indexing or searching inside files; I merely want to search on file names.) I had a system of naming my files with a certain number of brace characters (ASCII 123, "{") to mean different things. But if I attempt to search on a brace in Win 7, it returns all files. In XP, if I wanted a list of all files with 3 braces in their names, I entered *{*{*{* in the search box. How do I get that same list in Win 7?

  3. Max says:

    I'm running Windows 7 64 bit and do not see how one can configure:

    1. Federated search to index network drives

    2. Index outlook 2007 email messages

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    thx!

  4. jeff says:

    Add me to the "you're joking?" list.

    I found this page while trying to find help using Windows 7 search. I really trying to get used to the new Windows Explorer, but I found the new search method to be very cumbersome and lacking in features.

    I'm trying to search by file type. I can type in the exact filename and it won't find the file, but enter one or two characters and it works. Arg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. bozo says:

    Scoffer you have nailed it. Windows 7 search is useless. After many hours of trying to find files with Windows 7 search I gave up – the only way to reliably find files in Win 7 is to manually look through all your files. I am going back to XP. XP search works, plain and simple.

  6. Mam'selle says:

    Add me to the "you're joking" bandwagon – what took a simple right click and search (and search remained open) has been replaced with another unfriendly series of strokes – Another RIBBON design by Real Idiocy By Bungling Obnoxious Nitwits

  7. Crow says:

    Firmly seated on the "You're Joking" bandwagon… Have you even *USED* the Win7 search function, or was this little article extolling the wonders of the microsoft machine just a cut-and-paste excerpt from their list of "features"?

    If I wanted to find something in XP, i typed in the name. If it couldn't find it in indexed files in Vista, I click a convenient button to search non-indexed files, for a small price in time spent. Win7 search can't find a file if I ask it to look for "*.*" and point out the folder it's in! At least not without digging through cumbersome setup menus to tell search how to function. How is that easier on the casual or confused user? What ever happened to simple first-page screening options – are you looking for a music file? photo? program or folder? modified today, yesterday, April of 2009? Those made things seem pretty simple.

    Oh yeah, and here's a delightful piece of news for you: XP could search any drive attached to your computer too. And they didn't even have to be pre-indexed.

    This, coupled with Win7 blocking me from modifying (even copying) a great number of files (after following Microsoft Help Desk's instructions to elevate my permissions as an administrator) are sending me running back to XP as fast as I can type C:format . If I wanted something to censor my searches for what it *THINKS* I should be allowed access, I'd move to China.

  8. StupidSwede says:

    I must be doing somthing wrong. Have had my Windows 7 PC now for 2 weeks and I just cant get it to find my files. I searched for the mail file *.ost and it only found the file if I did the search in the exact folder where file was. That was a very useful search…. nooot.

    I tried to find a tool used by vmware and searched for "vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" did the search in the search windows just abow the "start" button, searched on the "Computer" search window, searched in the saved search "Everywhere" nothing found.

    Searched in the exact folder where it was and presto it could be found. What do I have to do to just FIND a file? Lots of guides on how to filter your search nothing on how to actually find files. Skip all the content searches just find me the filename! Help?

  9. NetMage says:

    You do know the article is actually wrong, right?

    Windows 7 will not index networked locations directly…

  10. FrankO says:

    This optimistic article is absurd. Anyone who tries to find a file in Win 7 comes straight up against the plain fact that the search facility is total garbage compared with what was around in XP. It used to be easy, albeit slow, to search for a word inside a document. Now there seems to be no option for this at all. I indexed all the files on my hard drive the way your article says but it's still a matter of sheer chance whether or not the search window turns up a file.

    Aseem, please do a simple scientific test before you write articles telling us how great the Win 7 search facility is. Create a few MSWord files containing unique items of text and save them to various folders around your hard drive. Then see if the search facility can find the files based on a word within them. If I'm wrong that this will fail most times, please explain to me what I'm doing wrong myself since this test has failed many times in my hands.

    Windows 7 seems to be the most stable OS Microsoft has come up with yet. Sadly, it's also the most worthless to users. It offers endless features nobody wants or needs (e.g. glass, 3D displays of files, irritating snapping of windows to full screen if you dare to drag them anywhere near the top of your display) but falls down in a heap on so many elementary useful things (e.g. letting users choose where to put the taskbar, creating undockable toolbars), most particularly the utterly worthless search facility.

  11. Enrico says:

    This article is a sad joke. Windows 7 is by far the worst operating system ever conceived by Microsoft, at least from the usability point of view. The (horrible) new search feature is only one of the literally hundreds of things which worsened a lot since Widows XP.

    Windows 7 not only lacks many old time functions, which were disaled or modified, but it is also incredibly packed with absurd interdictions which cannot be switched off or which need system tweaking to get rid of. Microsoft, in your interest, please STOP shooting your own feet!

  12. rdwray says:

    I have used every version of Windows starting with 3.1 and 7 is the worst I have ever seen. Like many others, I have decided to dump Windows and move to MAC.

  13. Dwerg says:

    wow what a bunch of moaning martyrs.

    Despite the fact that all Windows OS's need to be patched (Service Packs), including Windows 7, it still is the best Windows so far.

    Don't forget XP – which you all seem to love – is on SP3

    Search Indexing is an added feature to Search function, which might very well be buggy, the first time it sees a user base, but it's innovative and smart, and it works on my system.

    Ever heard of the whole "GIGO" concept?

  14. PatrickMc says:

    I guess any operating system will have some limitations, and Microsoft can only go so far to provide every functionality. I guess they do their best in providing the most functionality at lowest cost.

    For finding and searching files, I have been using biterscripting for a long time (have used it on various Windows releases). Here are a couple of commands that you will find useful.

    lf -r -n "*.doc" "C:/somefolder" ($fmtime >= "20100201")

    Will find MS Word files whose modification time is at least Feb 1, 2010.

    scr ss_findstr.txt dir("C:/somefolder") str("search string")

    Will list all files that contain the search string "search string".

    The documentations for these are at http://www.biterscripting.com/helppages/lf.html and http://www.biterscripting.com/helppages/SS_FindSt… .

    There is also a good command SS_FindEmailStrs that will find emails containing all of the specified search terms.

    Hope this helps.

  15. KJ says:

    I have been using windows since 3.1 also, which likely explains my fondness of windows explorer. I just upgraded my PC, so I am now at Windows 7. I hate windows explorer. I hate the search function. I guess I am going to have to buy a file manager to obtain the functionality I need. Why does MS want everyone to be dependent idiots?

  16. Pete says:

    I've read the article and all the comments, but still can't find any info on searching for file contents. I've tried shutting off indexing and turning it on, including a index for C: with contents, but results still turn up empty when searching for text contents withing files that I know exist: ie. text within a PDF or DOC file.

    Can anyone help me here? Am I missing something? I had better search capabilities in the DOS days.

  17. jaY says:

    Unlike xp it does not index search network drives for. This search took a step backwards.

  18. jsps999 says:

    I'll consolidate MY Win7 experiences including Win7's (belch/spew) absolutely useless "Search" function by saying that overall Windows 7 is pure unadulterated CRAP!!! Too bad MS won't do refunds on software. It's back to WinXP SP3 for me. I will be doing the C:format routine….SOON !!!

  19. DJ says:

    Hi,

    I'm the same opinion, the Win7 search is even more bad than the search of XP. My computer stopps working while indexing which needs a very long time.
    I deleted all indexes yet and search "per hand" now, which I did my for whole windows life (that works perfect :)).

    For E-Mail search in Outlook I bought the searchtool Lookeen, which works perfect and fast. I can not understand why microsoft is not able to integrate a powerful search function in their OS?!?

  20. Marton says:

    Anyone who says that Windows 7 search is easy surely did not try to use it. I have a folder with nearly 2000 files, and I can't even find something in the file names. I have tried even searching a term that I was actually seeing on the screen and it keeps returning a "no result".

    I have found no way to actually index those files, altough they are in my library folder, which, from what I understand, should be indexed automatically.
    Unfortunatelly it's my computer PC, so I'll have to endure that, but I'll sure install any other search software to do it for me, as Windows seems to decided that searching is not important.

  21. Marikhen says:

    I'm not going to jump on the "you're joking" bandwagon. I'd rather start a new one, the "you're lying" bandwagon. I'm not joking, the first and last sentences in this article are utter lies.

    As one of the previous posters I found this article as a direct result of trying to find help for issues with Windows 7's search. My problem is simple. Windows 7's search is not functional. It will return no results whatsoever. I have a folder with 701 files of which over 400 contain the letter 'C' in the name and a search for that letter yields no results.

    Likewise I don't much care for the Indexing feature. I'd love to permanently disable it if I could, and I thought that at some point in the past I had, because regardless of how small the indexing file might be and how marginal the performance hit the indexing might cause I don't want either of them on my PC. Despite this Windows 7 still insists on indexing folders seemingly at random. Heck, while trying to solve my problem, again, tonight I noticed that a folder that had no business being indexed had been added to the index after I deleted all folders from the index a month ago.

    Other people may use it and not have any severe issues but I simply cannot get it to function. I never had that problem with Windows XP's search engine. The intent of this article, which admittedly contains several factual statements, is as I said earlier, a lie. It was apparently written up by someone who is no more than a "talking head" for Microsoft with no intention of bringing any impartiality to the topic at hand.

    What's more, the fact that it didn't cover the loss of a dedicated search window where you could tailer your searches via multiple combo boxes and were forced to use a text box in the upper right-hand corner of the window strikes me as proof that this article is also incomplete.

  22. Warbear says:

    Seriously though, how much did you get paid to write this drivel? Search in the old days, when you could right click a drive and tell it to find *.*mp3* and find EVERY mp3 on the drive quickly, and effectively was a GOOD search function.

    Having to spend DAYS training a search tool how to do something, that it MIGHT get right, and MIGHT find the things you want, while taking up more and more resources on your PC to sometimes work….well it's just plain stupid. As is the person it seems that wrote this article.

    MS should have made the search function SIMPLE, not complicated. Speed is worse now, unless I index EVERYTHING, CONSTANTLY, on all my PCs and servers, and even then searches take longer and yield results that make me cringe.

    So, how much DID you get paid for this 'article'?

  23. L Jay says:

    It appears that the bandwagon is getting pretty full. I just wish someone could answer the real question: HOW DO I SEARCH FOR A FILE?

    And why can't I just right click on a folder and select Search?

  24. dfghj says:

    it just cannot seem to search my hard drive for .jpeg. wtf? it will find some files in some random place without telling me why it wont look everywhere else. i only want to put all my pics together. how do you screw up a search function so badly?

  25. hobby16 says:

    Yeah, I concur with Scoffer : compared to XP, the W7 Search is not only useless, it's annoying beyond imagination: searchfilterhost.exe keeps eating CPU resource (just google it) and I bet most people don't even realise it !

    To search for text in files, I use an Editplus' "search in files" function, which WORKS, contrary to M$'s c**p.

  26. johnclin says:

    It's clear that Win7 search isn't as good as compared to WinXP, and from my few experiences, I concur.

    But if people want to stay with Win7, is there something I can recommend for them to try in terms of file search?

  27. Jason says:

    You can search network files and index network files without having to store it on your computer. This patch will allow you to add network files to the index without having to make them "always available offline".

    There will be a new tab in the Indexing Options menu called "Add UNC Location" and here you can add paths to network folders.

    UNCFATPHInstaller.msi
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?D

  28. JK says:

    I am joining the bandwagon. Windows 7 Search does not work with network drives, which is all I use. The writer of the article does seem to live in an alternate reality.

  29. flade says:

    i was afraid that i would read all of this. i cannot function without a search program. i was getting used to some of win7's features (and quirks) but this is the clincher. it lasted about as long as Vista – about 3 months. back to xp sp3.

  30. peewee says:

    Thank you guys for clarifying what a relatively unknowledgable computer operator like me was beginning to think was my stupidity. Very reassuraning to note that it isn't. As many have said, the search facility in 2000 and XP (and maybe even earlier ones…?) was a simple matter of pressing ctrl+F and typing in a suffix or even part of the filename, or text within in the file. And it worked, as far as I remember, without fail. It was one of the bits of the OS I used most often. We have all (maybe….) been parted from large amounts of money for an OS that got rid of a really reliable search facility and replaced it with a joke that cannot find anything at all, on which Outlook Express and even Windows Mail, doesn't work, and on which the taskbar is infinitely less useful. Oh and by the way, again perhaps it is my own slowness, but is anyone else having the same experience that I am having with Homegroups – to say nothing of all Windows networking since XP (which was no problem). OK I may not be an expert, but I had no trouble before Vista.

    What I also want to see is a further response from the joke who wrote the original article that included the phrase 'Overall, the new search features in Windows 7 are greatly enhanced and let you customize most of the search options. Enjoy!' Either he is talking crap or we are all stupid. I don't think we should have to read screenloads of instructions about how to get something to work that used to perfectly well, that we have paid a great deal of money for, and doesn't do what he says it does when you have turned on the sixpence that he recommends.

    I agree with Enrico, when he begs MS to stop shooting itself in the foot. I am not a Microsoft basher at all, and there are obviously many things about 7 that are great, but this is not one of them.

    I have a directory in which there is nothing but avis. If I use the search facility to search for avis which that directory actually open in front of me, it finds no avis. If I put a filename in in full, it finds nothing. Give me a break. I have just been examining Ubuntu for the first time, and it looks extremely attractive. Greatly enhanced my a***.

  31. zlerpster says:

    You're kidding me, right? I just got a new PC with Windows 7 and I'm trying to RIGHT click and select SEARCH to search an external drive. Windows 7 CAN'T DO THAT? There is no way to search an external or networked drive? Unbelievable.

  32. Blacklord81 says:

    windwos 7 search wasn't crippled or anything… you just have to now how to search… well yes is harder now in comparison… but anyway…

    for example… if you want to search for the content of a file, just add a "content:" (without quotes) before what to search… so if i want to search a "xxx" inside a file just put in teh search textbox "content:xxx".

    and so on… there are many filters, you just need to know them.

    Cheers

  33. cyrus says:

    Add me to the Train. They took something simple and have made it cryptic, cumbersome and plain faulty. I am amazed there are not people screaming in the media, on the web and on the streets about how terrible the win 7 search is. They were better off not having a search tool than have one that kills so much time.

  34. qdsys says:

    Windows 7 search is a scrap. I tried to index using index option on specified directories and later on try to search files on those specific directories with index turned on, Guess what ? no files appeared even that i tried to put every extension in the index. I tried to search files without index option and it all come out. Anybody has a suggestion? I lost too must time about figuring out how this search option would work

    Thank you

  35. brownce63 says:

    Windows 7 search is a joke!

  36. Bonesnap says:

    I've read all the comments and I've come to the conclusion you people don't know what you're doing. Any of you. Windows 7 search is amazing (as well as Vista's) and is the primary reason I left XP (not to mention it's nearly a decade old).

    Pretty simple. Hit the Windows Key on your keyboard. Then start typing. Wow, that was hard, wasn't it?

    The search has ALWAYS been able to find what I've been looking for. Yes, it returns extra results because it searches within files instead of exclusively file names (I believe there is an option to disable this, but I don't remember), but it always lists what I was looking for.

    I migrated my mother away from XP for this very reason. She doesn't understand folder structure, so when she needs a file, she has no idea where to find it. In Windows 7, you don't need to know. You just hit the Windows Key and start typing the file's name. Voila, it appears without fail every time. She's never had a problem finding a file and neither have I.

    As for you people who name your files cryptically with multiple braces, that's just stupid. Sorry, but it is.

    There's actually an entire API devoted to Windows Search and the customization is very powerful. Even simple things like putting quotes around your search or file: etc. makes it quite flexible, and for 99% of users, that's all they need.

    If you move from Windows 7 to Mac because of the search, then I can't help but laugh at you.

  37. UpsetwithWindows says:

    Bonesnap Said, for your simple requirements Windows 7 is all you need. Maybe there is something in that i.e. simple searching but some people want something capable of properly searching for complex matters which is what you use a computer for.

    Windows 7 cannot search within files for words or phrases whereas XP can. That is plain stupid. so you are left with a simple search for those who only do simple things. Unfortunately most of the world want to computer to do serious work. Get real Bonesnap Said.

  38. thunder says:

    The Windows 7 search sucks. I cannot believe it. XP is better.

  39. pristine2 says:

    There are a few people out there like "bonesnap" for whom Windows 7 search makes perfect sense. For them, obfuscating functionality simplifies the process. And to be fair, if you just type in a word, zillions of results appear. Scroll through them and you'll eventually find what you want.

    The problem comes if you are more organized and demand efficiency from your operating system. You wish to find files constrained by specific parameters — a particular extension, a date range, a location — in the fastest time possible.

    For such people, Windows 7 is a time-consuming nightmare. You have to go deep into the indexing control hierarchy every time to reset parameters that should be plainly visible at the first interface. The functionality has been painfully and deliberately obfuscated, unforgivably dumbing down the entire operating system.

    It's a disaster.

  40. fatima says:

    I used the «Find» in the folder containing my 64 books translated and other materials as a giant database for my work. But the Windows 7 on my new computer does not allow ANY find at all, not the names or the inside of folders or documents.

    Trying to contact Microsoft, or the manufacturer, or my friends! Has anyone discovered ANY solution other than reverting to XP? Or the way to contact Microsoft to report the problem?

  41. fatima says:

    I add that I've tried all the suggestions I could find in other forums and nothing worked: the boxes and selections, troubleshooting finds nothing, etc. The «find» function found everything for me, parts of the word, with wildcards, by date, etc.

    My main question is: has anyone at all solved this? And, how does one make oneself heard by Microsoft?

  42. rmoore says:

    Fatima,

    I am not sure exactly what it is that you're having trouble with but using the Search feature in Windows 7 is easy to do although a bit different than in the past.

    You mentioned having 64 books in a folder. I don't know the name of the folder but let's call it "Books". Go ahead and open Windows Explorer by either clicking on the Windows Explorer icon (often located right next to the Start button on the task bar or if your keyboards has a Windows button on it, you can just press the Windows button and the letter E at the same time). One Windows Explorer is open, go to the "Books" folder on the far left side of the screen or whatever the name of your folder containing all your books is called and highlight that folder by just clicking on the folder once. To make sure you're in the correct place, look at the top of your window and it should show you the full path. Might be something similar to Computer>My Documents>Books or whatever is appropriate for your situation. Once you verify that you are in the right folder, go to the upper right hand corner of the screen and type in a word or phrase that you want to search by. The search field where you'll be typing should already say "Search Books". You don't even have to press Enter. Just start typing and when you finish, Windows will display your search results in the windows on the right side of Windows explorer. If you want to filter your results a bit, the Search field where you type in your search has a drop down box that allows you to search on a date or between a 2 dates or by size. Finally, if this is a search you use often, you may want to save it. You can do this by going to the left side of the Explorer screen at the top of the window and you'll see Save Search. This allows you to save the search. Hope this helps. If this is not the problem you are having, let me know.

  43. n25philly says:

    I just don't get it. I've been loving Windows 7 and this doesn't change much since I don't really use search, but I do have co-workers I need to support that do. What I don't get is that I have a file "lm386.vnc" in a network drive. Why is it that if I type in the full name it finds the file, but if I just type in "386" it can only find one file that is 386 bytes in size?

    It sucks that they had to use such a bad naming convention, but we still have to work with it.

  44. rmoore says:

    Hey n25philly,

    1st, let me give you a link that will give you some insight into Windows 7 search features. The link is:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/

    This is a Microsoft site. The video is about 4 minutes long. Regardless of your experience, I bet you'll pick up something you didn't know. Be sure and watch the whole video. Another common way to search is to use wildcards. Wildcards have been around since the DOS days and were as handy back then as they are today. The most common wildcards are ? and *. If you do a search on Windows wildcards, you'll find lots of info on this but essentially, the ? can be used in the place of any single character and the * can take the place of many characters. The main difference between these two is the ? replaces one character only while the * can replace several characters at a time. Finally, Windows offers other search functions such as date, size, name of file, keyword search in the file, etc. When you jump over to email, you can also specify to look for emails with a subject of money from Joe Smith. The library feature of Windows 7 is nice too especially once you understand how it can work for you. Hope this helps.

  45. SirLegs says:

    Bonesnap: That W7 feature _is_ pretty cool for executable application files, but most of us here are not trying to find those types of files.

    I have 18,000+ files in my My Documents folder, fully indexed; just moments ago I tried to search for a *.doc file of a short story I had written. I knew it existed, and I knew a keyword it contained within the text. W7 search came back with 2 files (a .txt and a .html) – neither of which were the file I sought. Using the "content:" keyword (which I would not have known about until I read this forum) I still had no luck: "No items match your search."

    Of course, I briefly freaked out – that perhaps it has gotten deleted – but no: manually going through directory by directory, I recognize my file by its filename in my My DocumentsArchive1996 directory.

    Crow said it best. At least with XP search you could force it to crawl through the contents of files for a keyword search. W7's indexed search doesn't even seem like much of a performance improvement. Overall I like W7; it's much better than Vista, which I had finally gotten used to after making the leap from XP – but Vista/W7 search is terrible. XP's search a) worked and b) was intuitive. Maybe there's a way to configure W7 so that I can find my files, but even after reading everything above, I can't figure out what it could be.

    A wise man once said, "Don't fix nothin' that ain't broke." I'd have been a lot happier if their "fix" actually worked. I hope MS reads this overwhelming criticism and do something about it.

  46. REVIZORO says:

    Blah-Blah-Blah…

    Because of this stuped NEW option in Windows 7, I installed a third- party soft- "Agent Ransack". It is a lot better…

    I expected from Win 7 to be better then XP- in ANY part… Yes, but no!

    Dear rmoore!

    Let me tell you- I have a few files with the simple name 1.exe. Those files are in different location at my hard drive- C and D partitions, some of them are hiden, etc…

    Windows XP have an option- to find ALL of this files, iv I chose the option "Search in hiden and system files." All of them!!!

    Windows 7 shows me- no results!!! At the same time "Agent Ransack" shows me ALL of the files!!!

    I realy do not care about wildcards from DOS, Libraries from Microsoft, Indexing from Windows 7!

    I need the simple XP- option- just to find a file- simple!!!

  47. JYork says:

    I want to have Win-7 search ONLY file names. I do not wish it to search within any files at all. Is that doable??? And, if it is, how does one disable the entire contents-indexing operations???

  48. Red Flashlight says:

    Yuck. I have to use Windows 2007 at work. I think I like the changes to the MS Office applications (I think), but have *wasted* so *very* much of my employer's money sitting on my backside trying to make the "search" feature work, it's enough to make me heartily wish for a return to XP. Turns out, Windows 7 will only search within a document if the file is sitting there on your hard-drive. It doesn't work for files on memory sticks or on a remote server.

    I refused to trade my XP at home for Vista, and now I'm refusing to trade my XP at home for Windows 7, at least until they work out this obvious bug. Hello Microsoft? We need to be able to search within our files, even if they're on a memory stick, and even if they're stored on a server. Mmmmkay? Call me when this is fixed, please.

  49. Fred says:

    Unbelievable!

    Windows 7 Search useful? NOT! You have to index, but before that will work you must edit your registry to make indexing aproximately 35% functional. Can you search everywhere? not unless you set up search areas beforehand. So limited here I am wasting hours looking for information on how to locate something on my drive that would have taken the time to type in a box plus a couple of seconds for the search itself if I still had XP

    XP – search any disc, hidden files, compressed files, any file type, within files etc EASY!!

  50. mirosoran says:

    I've never seen such an idiotic software component like the Windows 7 search. It's crippled compared to Vista search (where are all the extended search options hidden), and it just doesn't work as it should, from the very beginning not.

    Shame on Microsoft

    Robert

  51. Ron Hunt says:

    I agree: Windows 7 search is useless. I have just wasted an hour – and finally had to copy a large folder to a flash drive and find what I wanted using XP on another laptop.

    My "particular" problem is that many of my files come from external environments – are "pure" ASCII text – and DO NOT HAVE ANY EXTENSIONS! The Win 7 indexing options will only index specified file extensions. How insane is that! But, then, I guess Microsoft don't recognise that anything exists outside their comfy little patch. Typical.

  52. Ron Hunt says:

    rmoore … you have gone to some trouble to post a detailed explanation of how to find a file by searching. BUT – it doesn't work for me. Occasionally I do want to find a file by bits of text in the file name – but mostly I am after files which CONTAIN a text string somewhere inside them. The search box drop-down allows me to refine a search by Kind, Date, Type or Name. But none of them is what I want. I just want files containing certain text. I can not find a way to do it.

  53. SarahC says:

    Hey, rmoore!

    >Go ahead and open Windows Explorer by either clicking on the Windows Explorer icon (often located right next to the Start button on the task bar or if your keyboards has a Windows button on it, you can just press the Windows button and the letter E at the same time)…

    Yeah, tried that – it brought up no results.

  54. VH says:

    Even if I can search faster. Indexing is something that I don’t want. I don’t want to have record of what my files even after I delete those.

    Also content search doesn’t work at all.

  55. StackOverflow says:

    Who on *earth* do you (few) morons think you're fooling? You're either part of the MS team yourselves, or everyday novice users who only have a need for PC's for mindless superficial tasks such as surfing the web, checking your email or sharing family photos. *Anyone* who has worked with PC's over the years and actually has to get into the guts of what MS puts out there is pulling their freaking hair out since this last release. I can hear the stampede on their way to Apple's doorstep as we speak! I have been working on customer's computers for over 15 years now, extolling MS over Mac all the while – and now.. I can't believe I'm saying this – but heck, I'm ready to buy a Mac myself.

    And you're entirely missing the POINT of what everyone is trying to say. You should not NEED a TUTORIAL on how to work a feature that was perfectly fine in XP – nor should it require over an hour to search for a file that would have taken less than 10 minutes in versions past. The same goes for their new half-cloaked registry, the 'library' system, junction points leading to junction points, continually having to grant yourself access to folders/registry keys in one's *own* system, and every other completely convoluted so-called 'improvement' they have decided to foist upon the masses in this *mess* they have the nerve to call an OS. The redundancy alone is enough to drive one mad.. and to be perfectly honest, I can't help but wonder if that's part of their intention. Make it so completely *impossible* to fix people's systems that they'll just go out and buy a new one out of sheer exasperation. Or better yet, make them fork over the bucks to pay MS support once they're so lost they will see no other choice.

    Would it of hurt either, to actually make sure the OS you put out in Windows 7 was actually *finished*?? Since when is it more important to release an OS just to say you did it than to actually make sure it's done right before you do so? And us, the fools that we are, actually accept this way of doing business by now. Half-written code and poorly executed ideas throughout. I can't tell you how many 'features' were broken or needing fixes straight out of the box.

    Ok, I'm done with my rant now.. the computers which need fixing are piling up by the day – time to get back to work!

  56. [...] Indexing the files on your computer enables Windows to perform very fast searches in the locations where the files have been indexed. For more information about Windows 7’s search indexing feature, see our previous post, Windows 7 File Search Indexing Options. [...]

  57. Johan says:

    Wow, content: was the command I was looking for. Such a relief that Win 7 search isn't total b-s =) Thanks a lot!

    The article writer ends up in a google killfilter though, total fanboy.

  58. cambridge says:

    I appreciate rmoore's reference to the Microsoft link http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/…. I did get some helpful information about searching through the Libraries. It does work the way I expect. However, the search box in the Start Menu, also accessible from the Windows key DOES NOT WORK for finding anything in Documents. All these posters are not delusional. I will use the Library search now that I know about it but what is the Start Menu search box for exactly?

  59. cambridge says:

    A follow up to my post. I just discovered something. Click on the Start Menu orb. Right click in grey area. Properties. Start Mene. Customize. Scroll to Search Other Files and Libraries. Click Search Within Public Folders. OK. Now searches include Documents, Outlook, etc. Why this is not the default I don't know. It seems that users are expecting this behavior from Windows Search.

  60. Hundbegraven says:

    Surprisingly, no-one seems to have mentioned a point that has been annoying me, so it may be, as others have said of themselves, that I’m doing something wrong.

    When Search has condescended to find a number of files that it thinks may contain the word or whatever it is that you’re looking for, your next response is then usually to size up which of them is probably the one that you want, and click on its name. Win 7 opens it up; you read it, and decide that it isn’t the one that you want. In XP Search, you simply closed or shrank the displayed file, and that brought you back to the search results, where you could then pick one of the other found files, click it, and see it that was the correct one. But in Windows 7? Very clever: try to go back to the list of found files, and it (the list) has gone. No list of results: you have to run the search over again.

    Now is this me – i.e. am I doing something wrong – or is this another bit of weirdness: that we’re allowed only one look at each list of results?

    I think that that bandwagon needs a couple of trailers. I join the group that misses the ability to search for files by extensions: i.e. to be able to enter “*.xyz” (where, for the purpose of these notes that you’re reading, “xyz” represents the particular type of file extension for which you’re looking, e.g. .jpg or .dot or .txt or so on.)

  61. Sterling says:

    Simply select Computer below the "Search again in:" option.

    The search bar probably says something like "Search Results in Libraries>" You want it to say "Search Results in Computer>"

    "Libraries" are completely useless!!!

  62. codewize says:

    I agree with Scoffer. The Win 7 search is either very difficult to understand or it just doesn't work. I go to a folder with 611 files, at least 15 of them have a "a" in the file name. If I search for a it shows me all 611 files in some convoluted order. Go figure.

    I've been discussing this with others who also think it's great. Maybe I'm missing something but I can't figure it out and I've been an IT professional for 20 years. What happened to find me *.jpg, Haha no files found. Yeah OK.

  63. garythomas says:

    I don't think the people who can use the search facility are getting it. It doesn't work. It doesn't even find file names. I have no idea what I am doing wrong, or what IT is doing wrong. There's no point in telling me all the wonderful things it can do if it won't even do the simplest thing that even ancient MS DOS programs could do, let alone XP.

  64. NadNoselrub says:

    There seems to be a lot of confusion here. For me the issue is that Windows 7 does not allow for searching networked drives and does not allow those drives to be added to the indexes.

    The Microsoft knowledge base article referenced (for adding networked drives) does not work for Windows 7 64-bit machines. Soon it will be difficult to find 32-bit machine. For these reason, I have to keep an XP box (Virtual Machine) around to do network wide searches on home network) :-(

  65. ricky says:

    Windows 7 search / find file utility is the worst part of Windows 7 – at least in my opinion!

  66. Jake says:

    Windows 7 search works. I like having it right there in the corner instead of having to right click and select search from the context menu. I have searched C: for *.mp3 and it listed all my mp3s just fine.

    I remove all directories from the indexed list, so it's slow like XP but it works just fine.

    But the windows key + F (F3) search window isn't very intuitive. You have to click the little drop down navigation list next to the magnifying glass in the address bar BEFORE you click anywhere else in the address bar or it will disappear until you give somewhere else in the window, outside of the address bar, focus. Then it comes back. Very odd to hide WHERE you want to search.

    That is why I use ctrl + F or E to quickly select the search field in Explorer. I use it all the time on directories of large mp3s to find a certain elusive track.

  67. Robert says:

    It suddenly started to work yesterday, with no obvious explanation. I too struggled and cursed for months, revisiting this post periodically. Yesterday, all I did was view the video as suggested above, see Cambridge August 12 above (no revelations there) and fool with some of the index settings, see Cambridge April 15 above (nothing to change there for me there although "Within" was misspelled), then I changed miscellaneous Search index settings back and forth (that I can't identify as an obvious solution to the problem and can't remember clearly enough to recount to you except on a related note, I expanded the view of all tree files to include the garbage bin).

    I then closed and opened the search window and it was now stuck on Libraries on the opening screen (despite my attempts to change it by repeated openings and looking for a setting). Ultimately, the Libraries search does not work but if I click directly on the drive (on the left side expanded folder view) FIRST, then start typing in the magic search box (top right) it works as promised; I did something but I don't know what. No idea if network searches works. Good luck to you all.

  68. bob says:

    BS! I don't want to "modify my search options" There should only one option "search the damn pc"!

  69. Irchr says:

    I too hate the new search features of WIndows 7. It is the worst one ever. I loved the older versions as they were user friendly and I didn't have to be a programmer to use it. But this one is like playing mind games you never win. I hate it and if I could I would dump 7 and go back to XP. But this computer won't let me do that, it is "too new". WHen will they get some real people on their planning committees instead of total "nerds" with no life?

    Put me down for HATE IT, you have to be kidding.

  70. beamer540 says:

    If you Mcafee VPS on your system uninstall and try rebuild this worked for me first time. There is a real issue with mcafee and windows 7.

    It still indexes after the re-install.

  71. Grant says:

    I'm glad I'm not the only one confused about file searching with windows 7. You'd reckon searching My Documents for *.doc would be easy, but no. Instead of returning hundreds of files I get just 48 randomly plucked from the directory structure! And even when the results are returned, column headers for ordering are absent. Give me back the infinitely superior XP search facility. Obviously microsoft didn't test this bit of windows 7 before release.

  72. Alamo says:

    Windows 7 search function. I want to do a search, but I don't remember the name of the file. But I do remember what day I created it. In XP – I could simply adjust the search parameter and specify the day. In Windows 7, I have no clue.

    Tell Bill Gates to quit working at his foundation and get back to running Microsoft. Did anyone in the real world look at Windows 7 before it was released?

    Tell the designers to go back and look at the XP search feature. You click on search, and a window opens with all the options. It was great. I know, Microsoft, you need to sell software, but if something isn't broken, don't fix it.

  73. MKA says:

    MS tried to dumb down the search so that any grandma could type something and have Windows spit it back at you. The built in Windows 7 search uses indexing to build up a 'quicklist' of files so that the search results are almost instantaneous.

    The problem with this is that

    1) Not every location is indexed by default, so you can't search your whole drive
    2) Network drives should be indexed. As an Admin I would have heart palpitations if 1,000 users were all indexing the same network drive.
    3) There is no way to verify the index is up to date and the results are correct. If you move files, add files, change files, and then search for it, the search may be incorrect.
    4) Searching within files just plain fails.

    In XP, you had the ability to download a 3rd party tool to do this type of indexed search, i.e., Google Desktop. And this type of solution solved many people's search requirements (search outlook emails, quick search results) such that Windows wanted to copy it in 7.

    But in XP, you also had the ability to right click on a folder, pull up search, give it a string, and search within all files for matches. This may seem unusable for 80% of the 'normal' people out there, but for the rest of us techs who keep your networks running, this feature was irreplaceable. Windows 7 just does not have this feature. And NO, adding the folder to search in the indexed list, then indexing, then search for questionable results does not do it. It takes double the time and keystrokes.

    So, now I use a 3rd party, open source search tool to give me back the XP-like search in windows 7.

    By the way, another reason indexed search results are not ideal, is that I have had so many questions on "Why is my hard drive spinning so much when I do nothing?". It's because of all the indexing that is being done to your machine by the 3 different search engines you downloaded and never removed. UGH!!!

    By the way, Fileseek is open source and free. I now have the search I want.

    And 1 more thing… Where's the little hand icon for a shared folder in server 2008 R2? Thanks again, Microsoft, for removing a useful feature.

  74. Me says:

    OK folks, you are hilarious. I came to this site hoping to find a way make search indexing scan and find LESS :-) So, a few quick tips:

    0 – Don't expect things to be devoid of bugs – ever. :-) But they do tend to work when you think a bit. By the way, barely 5-10% of what you paid for your laptop actually went to the OS and you got the one messed up by whoever made the laptop and bought the cheapest version.

    1 – Don't expect search from Start menu to find arbitrary files – it's not meant for that. It's meant for finding installed programs that are visible on your path (as a particular %USERNAME%). Doesn't matter what you dreamed it "should" be or what you were lead to believe by a little string – call it a doc bug :-)

    2 – Search from Start menu will have %USERPROFILE% as a root path if you are so lazy to do a wild search so yeah sure it won't find much – it's not meant to.

    3 – Remember that annoying "user access control" bugging you ever 5 sec that something needs to run as admin? Well turn it off and do your indexing setup and search as a proper, unrestricted admin. It can't and won't tell you, but when you are under UNC it affects everything. Change folder view settings so that you let yourself see hidden and system files and extensions.

    4 – Open the Explorer dude :-) and type in C: so that you have good search root. See how many files you now have that you didn't even want to see? :-)

    5 – Clean up (delete and rebuild) once in a while, especially if you changed drives or moved a lot of files around. If something got missed during initial scanning (say because you didn't have anything configured) it's not going to improve by magic.

    6 – Yeah it could use a better UI and to have some kind of advanced search button and tab on the spot, but on the other side that would make 99% of complainers more confused. If you can't mentally handle the need to open Explorer instead of sitting at Start menu and crying, you'd commit suicide if someone gave you advanced search button. So I'm actually suffering for your sake.

    Want better search? Learn what the current one actually has, and then go demanding full Advanced Search instead of "Start menu everything." Simple enough?

  75. Codewize says:

    As a Microsoft partner I worked with an MS tech on this for a while. The end result was no solution.

    Mine too started working correctly but then failed again the following day.

    I've since abandon Win 7 searching and have purchased and installed Directory Opus. It's an $85 file manager solution and it takes a little getting used to. However the options and customizations are endless.

    Anyone suffering from this ridiculous failure of the Windows 7 search, should look into this product. You can install as a 90 trial and check things out.

    What I can tell you is that the search in it works as expected. Until MS fixes this random silliness, Directory Opus is my solution of choice.

  76. ItzMe says:

    Anyone have an idea how to convert the following search from Windows XP into a search in Windows 7?

    filename: *.doc; *.txt (note, use multiple file types!)
    contains: blablablah
    date: less then one week
    size: < 5000

    Thank you!

  77. YOT says:

    I read most of the comments. While the article didn't explain anything answering the bulk of the complaints, someone did when they said you can just add content:string to find file contents. See article: computing-tips.net/Find_file_Windows_7/.

    Also, no one explained that the option to search file contents in non-indexed files is turned on and off at the search tab of folder options. If you are not familiar with folder options, and don't want to find it, you can type "search" in the startbutton/windows search bar and select the returned shortcut that says "change search options of files and folders." The other option that was mentioned is adding contents to the index. Go to Control Panel – Indexing option and select Advanced. Then, on the File Types tab, there is a radial button at the bottom to index file contents as well. Unless you add the entire drive to the index this may not help you.

    Keep in mind when choosing which option you want to use, indexing is more or less for the start search bar. One thing that seems to be causing confusion and frustration is that they removed the search button. If you open my computer and just highlight a drive or directory there is always a search bar top right of the window. It will search the directory or drive you are currently in (cwd). It will include indexed and non-indexed files, as stated – default non-indexed files searched in this manner does not search contents. Either add the content: filter or change the folder options.

    I use the windows 7 search all the time. If it's in the indexed areas, the start search is very fast. If it's a C: search I can find every .xlsx file on my entire C or D or even a network drive in just little longer depending on the drive size.

    Read the linked article, try it out and give it a second chance. If you still don't like it, go download Google desktop and have fun with that 2gb index db. Whatever you do Do Not Buy A Mac. The more you all inflate Steve Jobs perception that he should be in control of the IT universe, the worse off we will all be.

  78. Suprised7 says:

    Wow. I'm really surprised to see so many people that hate the indexing in Windows 7. I came across this article while searching for a reasonable indexing alternative for XP because I often times need rapid access to commands and technical procedures stored on my laptop. Google desktop and Windows Search 4.0 are laughable and bring my i5 / 4Gb laptop to a standstill. On the SAME laptop I installed windows 7 on a different HD and after indexing my 25,708 documents nearly unknown to me, I was receiving highly relevant search results directly from my run prompt from both my 11-years-worth of emails and my massive document collection.

    I just don't see the problem with this article or understand why all these XP users are having such difficulty using what seems to be a very simple feature. ???

  79. Geri says:

    I like Windows 7 mostly, an improvement on vista and it runs faster on my machine. The new search is cumbersome and yes, the results seem to be a bit unreliable. Search function really needs a makeover.

  80. juice37 says:

    Yep! Yet another case of techies trying way too hard.

    All the techies of the world please change your philosophies from "Because I Can i Do" to "Lets Simplify Dude". Ahem! or similar if you get what i mean.

    But as the saying goes… if it was simple everyone would be doing it.

    P.S. Windows 7 Search is Pants!

  81. Bonesuck says:

    Bonesnap… Try searching inside a file..

    It isn't there. Well, if it is, its hard to find…

  82. dr surendra misra says:

    The search tool of windows XP is for superior to search tool of windows 7.I have been using Windows XP and Word 2002 for entering data of my patients.Files are saved by a number allocated to the patient as well as by patient's name. Files also contain data regarding age , sex and place of residence. Often patients do not bring thei old records,therefore ,I have to search their record by entering patient's name & place of residence.Windows XP search tool provides the required information with in seconds.

    There is no way that such a search can be made on windows 7. Similarly I used to maintain my patients register by searching them names of patients seen on a particular date .this could also be done window XP within seconds by specifying the drive name and entering the date in the 2nd column of search tool('A name or phrase in the file').This type of search is also not possible in windows 7.

  83. paravia says:

    As a windows user since Windows for Workgroups 3.11, I can honestly say that the ONLY reason you should be running Win7 is if you play games and want DirectX 11 to work. The only way I've found to get searching to "work" is to install a 3rd party piece of software called Advanced File Organizer. It does a scan that is a list of every single file on any drive I scan, and then I search that. Using this way, the the results are instantaneous, but unfortunately it doesn't scan inside text, just the names/dates of files.

    MS sucks, and it is insulting to think that they are making their software less user friendly while claiming that it is getting better.

  84. melwyn says:

    Guys, I've been using Windows 7 right from the beta edition. The built-in search sucks big time. You just cannot have your way with it. I'm also kinda bald so there is not way for me to even put out my hair… hehehehe. Well, for what it's worth, Microsoft has posted the various options available in the Windows Search that can help us in having our way, with a little effort definitely. This is surely not user friendly and regular home users would have to break a leg to get going. But what the heck. This is the link microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/technicalresources/advquery.mspx. Hope this helps.

    This one is for you Microsoft guys. "Are you guys even hearing us or what. Get this sorted out ASAP before we move out to MAC or LINUX. I've sent numerous emails to you guys putting in my wish list right from when I first began using the beta and the screwed up search was one among the top 3. But you guys just don't wanna hear us out."

  85. anonymuos says:

    Here's the story for network search if you don't want to read all the comments. Windows Desktop Search which was a free download for XP had a built-in "Index UNC locations" functionality. With Vista, this option was gone but Microsoft added it back with an addin which was sadly 32-bit only. Now with Windows 7, the addin is broken and doesn't work with even 32-bit Windows 7. Forget any 64-bit OS. So, the bottom line is it is impossible to index network drives on Windows 7. If you have Windows Search 4 installed on the remote computer as well, then you can add network location to the Windows 7 library and have indexed network search.

  86. Stymied No More says:

    I spent well over an hour looking for a file using the search feature of Windows 7. No success. Then I found this site and watched the Microsoft video about the search features of Windows 7. The video didn't help much because it dealt mainly with library searches, not directory/sub-directory ones that I'm used to from XP.

    So I took REVIZORO's advice and downloaded/installed 'Agent Ransack' and found the file – all in less than 5 minutes. It's an excellent little program – efficient, fast and simple to use. Thanks.

  87. rok says:

    Unbelievable, really.

    I highly recommend this file manager with search alternative: explorerplusplus.com/home.

  88. Gold Member says:

    I migrated to W7 from XP. I used the migration tool. It doesn’t copy .exe files. So, I copied those over as well.

    How come W7 won’t find the .exe files I’ve installed since then? Why does it find some .exe files and not others?

    I also own a Mac Mini for home. W7 is nowhere near as useful at Spotlight search on Mac.

  89. latege says:

    Win7 search is definitely several steps backwards from XP. XP was simple and direct, Win7 long and tedious at best.

    I've got the opposite problem as several preceding contributions; how do you search WITHOUT including contents? I don't want to know every file that contains a certain word, just the ones where it's in the file name, but whenever I do a search I get the whole lot. The Search options only have a radio button for turning off searching contents in non-indexed files, so, unless I turn indexing off for everything, I seem to be stuck with searching in contents.

    Anyone ideas of how to search JUST file names?

  90. The CAT says:

    Windows 7 Search is truly disappointing and hopefully Microsoft will add back the classic search functionality in a future update. As for alternatives there are many. For a truly advanced search experience check out DTSearch, which can search for text in almost any file type out there on your computer, network or web location. The price is steep but it is truly a "top of the line" search product.

  91. BezantSoft says:

    I am greatly disappointed in Win7 search. I played around with it, and it seems to be yet another Microsoft resource sucker that has performance issues, not much better than the first DT search they rolled out.

    Google Desktop Search is on my Win7 Ultimate machine right now, and even it is better than MS.

    I *will* be moving my X1 Professional license to the Win7 box from my old XP developer box. It managed and searched well over 750,000 files and documents on the XP setup, where I had ~ 3 TiB spinning, at about a 40% utilization factor.

  92. overlordqd says:

    Start using "Everything" and get away from the windows search engine!

    It finds what you need As You Type. Plus, it supports regex.

    voidtools.com/Everything-1.2.1.371.exe

  93. jarze says:

    One thing to add: in XP (or other previous Windows) you could enter multiple destinations at once. For example, I may want to search 'C:Program Files' AND 'C:Windows' BUT NOT any other folder at the same time. Or also folders in different drives, for example 'D:files' and 'C:Files'.

    The Windows 7 search is said to be faster. I don't know what you've been searching with it, but to me it has been fast enough.

  94. PiedToile says:

    First off, I'm on the 'your joking?' side.

    Iatege wanted to know how to turn off the search within files.

    In windows Explorer, click on Tools, then on "Folder Options…" Click on the Search tab. At the top section labeled 'What to search' there are two radio buttons. If you select the top radio button, search will only search inside files that have been indexed. I imagine there is a reg-hack somewhere but I don't know.

    To those of you who are dual booting to XP, why not dual boot to Linux?

    To find a file with a specific name use the Find command. This command recursively searches all sub-directories of the current directory for a file name MyFile.txt. NOTE: Linux is case sensitive so this will not find mYfILE.txt.

    find . -name MyFile.txt -print

    If you want a case insensitive search use the ls & grep commands

    ls -R | grep -i myfile.txt

    ls -R is like dir /S on Windows

    grep -i is like the Windows find command with the /I switch

    And now to search inside a file, any file for the word linux

    find . -type f -exec grep -i linux /dev/null {} ;

    To understand the magic go to publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/aix/v6r1/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.aix.cmds/doc/aixcmds3/man.htm

  95. mgpg says:

    I don't want to SEARCH. I want to FIND my files. Right where I left them. Win 7 is completely disorienting. All I need is a file structure set before my eyes, and I will find my own file. Thanks.

  96. PiedToile says:

    For mpgp, if you want to see the file structure, the 'tree' dos command still works. I hated the way Microsoft moved things as well until I got use to browsing the C:Users directory where my files typically end up unless I specifically choose somewhere else such as an external drive. Doesn't that work for you?

    For those who would like to use the UNIX 'find' command I mentioned in my Dec 28th post but do not want to boot to linux, you can get unix like commands from http://www.cygwin.com. The base download and install will give you the UNIX find command among other things. It probably will be installed in C:cygwininfind.exe

    The nice thing with find is that it prints out the entire path to the file for which you are searching; much more helpful than dir /s

  97. Codewize says:

    juice37 and everyone else. Here's what I know.

    I'm not trying to hard. If I have a folder full of images named 001.jpg – 100.jpg and some of them have the letter "a" in the filename like 002a.jpg then I should be able to go to the search box, put in the letter "a" and it should show me all the files that have the letter a. Correct?

    It doesn't, it either returns no results or shows me every file in the folder in some random order.

    That search will only work correctly if the letter is the first character of the filename OR if the letter is the first character after a separator like a – or a _. So if I have a file named 002-d1.jpg it will find the d but only because it's first after the -.

    To me, that's a broken and less than useless search function.

    I'm long over this and I've purchased Directory Opus. The search is customizable and there's no silly crap like the auto refresh when renaming a file. Another brokenness of Win 7.

  98. Lebus78 says:

    Hi,

    I didn't read the entire list of postings, but I was having trouble finding something myself, which in the end was my own stupid fault but I only realized that after trying a few different things. While I was trying to work it out, I found the following things which may be useful.

    I am pretty sure that I don't have any indexing of any type turned on. And I have been able to find everything I have looked for since looking at the following pages.

    Windows Search Advanced Query Syntax – alturl.com/p4wwx

    Advanced tips for searching in Windows – alturl.com/nuhaq

    I found this after reading Blacklord81 post, in the first instance it appears harder to use, but I can see the benefits and will use it to its fullest with the information above.

    I also found it very fast once I was searching correctly, but my computer is 7.2 – 7.8 in the Microsoft score thing.

  99. Umer says:

    I used to have a way to find files in Win 7, in a similar fashion as I used to do it in Win XP. Below is the format:

    1. Manage (edit, if required) search options in Organize > Folder and Search options > Search.

    2. Now. if you want to find a file in My Computer (or any drive or folder), open that folder by double clicking it.

    3. In the top right corner, there is a box (search-box), where you can type anything (like in XP, we used to type *.* or *.doc or anything like that), and you may add a filter, too (date and size – here I must say Win 7 has shrunk the number of filters). Press 'Enter.' You'd get the file(s) as desired.

  100. JMKnorrey says:

    Good discussion.

  101. zinkj0114 says:

    please add me to the "you're joking" list. . . I can only see two options: Aseem works for Microsoft in their marketing department, or he wrote this article on the first day of the fourth month (western calendar). It shows he wrote this on November 30, so he MUST work for microsoft.

    The only reason I can't complain directly to microsoft today is because they won't connect my username to my public display name. sigh. . .

    I'm now using EFS (Effective File Search). Mucho bettero.

    My problems were NOT my own stupid fault. The search in Win7 is flawed.

  102. Raargh says:

    Yes, win7 search is horrible. Unix tools to the rescue! Just use the Windows ports of popular tools like grep and awk, and you can turn off the silly Win7 search and never look back.

    unxutils.sourceforge.net/

    Pick a folder, unzip, and add the folder to your path. Grep is very easy to use. Want to find all instances of the string "Win7SearchBites" in all files on your drive, just issue this command:

    C:>grep -i -r -w "Win7Searchbites" * | more

    Raargh

  103. zinkj0114 says:

    I DO have an update. If you use "Effective File Search" software with Win7, it adds a right click option. Right click a folder, and you have "Effective Search" (as compared with the built-in ineffective search) to use.

    I DID have to tweak an option to add "Find folders", but otherwise I was good to go.

    Most of the other comments above have been very entertaining, especially the ones from shills who don't know how really really awful the Win7 built-in search is. When you take a search software to a directory that HAS a file, and it doesn't find that file, well, that is worse than useless, because it means that usually you are assuming things that might not be true.

  104. ralphslatton says:

    The reason I'm here is because I thought there was something wrong with my Win7 installation. Why give up such a beautiful feature as the ability to right-click your drive or folder, type in your file name, and have all your files stay open until you're done with them. I don't care or understand about all the indexing features you mentioned. I just want a no hassle way to search a folder or drive. I am trying my best to love Widows 7, but the lack of a user friendly search engine, like previous Window editions, is really astonishing.

  105. Sophie N says:

    I actually really like Windows 7 search, although I am a new convert..we'll see how long it lasts. I found this how-to to be easy to follow – it worked for me in any case:

    emailsecuritymatters.com/site/blog/best-practices/windows-search-windows-7-outlook-2007/

  106. Tom Aston says:

    Windows 7 seems to be designed for the people that think the iPad is a good idea. (My first 16 years of PC ownership starting in 1984 were all on Macs.)

    This applies especially to the stupid search function. It really is on the iPad model. To get something that will work, you have to buy a separate app!

    I really does suck.

  107. Bjar says:

    W7 search is broken beyond belief. Firstly, why doesn't it find what I'm looking for? I stare directly at a file, then search that folder for that filename or any part thereof, and W7 search returns no results?!?!? Secondly, why does it find tons of files that have nothing to do with what I searched for? I search for Xmas or *.jpg and the results include hundreds of files that have neither Xmas nor jpg in their names or in their contents. Thirdly, what happened to the right-click context menu? Whose dumb idea was it to take that powerful functionality out of Windows? Fourthly, what is the point of indexing? Aren't CPUs, hard drives, and networks fast enough nowadays to find things quickly without indexing? I would prefer to turn indexing off permanently. Fifthly, why do I now have to use DOS commands or third-party utilities to do things that XP could do easily in a matter of seconds?

  108. Herman says:

    I know I am stupid when it comes to this kind of thing, but I just wanted to find out how to search the drives, all of them, and hidden files. Can that be done on windows?

  109. nic says:

    I need help. I'm probably at the wrong place, but thought I'd try just the same.

    I went from an XP computer to Win 7. I don't know much about Win 7, so I copied all my files from external drives into the library area (making a whole bunch of subfolders, etc.). Now, I find out I shouldn't have done that, & it's put me at a total standstill as far as further organizing. I'm Angry because I wanted to use/store/organize everything via libraries. I have no idea which folders are where now. I didn't put anything elsewhere, but I am afraid to do anything now!

  110. SeaDave says:

    Windows 7 Explorer simply does not work and should not be relied upon. I was searching for all of my Excel files in a directory and its sub-directories. It found only some of the Excel files.

    I, then, went directly to the sub-directory where I knew one of the files I was looking for resided. I, then, performed the search in that directory. Even though I was staring at the file name in the list before the search and I was in that directory where it resided, this piece of junk could not find that Excel file.

    It did find (only) some of the Excel files in that directory.

    Really, how does Microsoft stay in business. Windows Explorer is a fundamental application that is essential for using Windows. For it to not be reliable is really unforgivable.

    I found a FREE Windows Explorer replacement called "Free Commander" that works very well and actually (as far as I've seen so far) finds the files I'm looking for!

    If I didn't hate the whole Mac concept so much (being a slave to a "benevolent" company like Apple)…

  111. Jeffers says:

    Well the consensus seems to be well and truly against your opinion of: "The built-in search feature in Windows 7 is significantly better than the horrible search options in Windows XP" and this says it all to be honest.

    My reply would be exactly the same as that of Crow: Windows & search is absolutely diabolical, over complicated, basically useless. I have gone back to Vista where I am in charge of what the thing does – and I can find my files as well.

    I actually did a search on Google today to find a better third-party option for searching Windows 7 as I will be re-installing this OS on a friend's PC later and need to find a lot of stuff to back up before doing it. The fact that I came looking for a different search option says it all. I came across this and had to comment.

    I am in fact going to jump on the "your lying" bandwagon because as Marikhen, the first and last sentences are lies.

  112. Nancy says:

    I found this site to be the one to answer my question about how to find files within a date range: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/find…. Obviously the author of this page doesn't know what the hell our need is (our = people in the real workforce).

    There are some tidbits to wade through in this thread that add to the desired solution (like "content"), but this thread is way too lengthy to find the solution. rmoore clearly works for M$, so you can see how "helpful" he/she is trying to be and be persuasive in that W7 is soooooo much better. Gimme a break.

    For the boner guy who mocked how another person names their files: you're a bonehead. Work style can be and should be individualized to however a person achieves the desired result best (and "best" is defined by the one doing the work). What makes sense to one person or in one work environment may not necessarily work for another person or in another environment. We (people in the workforce) rely on (BUY!!!! $$$$ invest in???) tools to HELP us achieve our goals quickly and with ease.

    In my case (as with sooooo many others in the real workforce) I stepped in inherited mounds of files: in folder locations with seemingly similar names, versions upon versions of files that differ mildly in content (content tailored to one type of client versus another), etc. I, like so many others, NEED diversity (with quickness, thoroughness, choices) in our searching capability.

    Me – On the "you must be joking bandwagon."

  113. nicky says:

    You've got to be kidding that W7 is better than XP. I'll never come back to this blog for advice with that sort of C**P.

    The indexing system simply doesn't work.

    I enclose phrases in quotes and it returns docs without that phrase.

    The terms must be case sensitive.

    It ignores punctuation. That's bad for developers who want to search the Javascript command, "document." and get all files that are a _type document listed.

    Why would I want to search a file "type" all the time? I cannot turn off that option to search a file type.

    I tried to find an email address by searching "@mysite.com" and it ignored the "@".

    If the search term includes a directory/folder name, it returns _all files in that directory that is cumbersome to sort through.

    The mail search returns several messages that do _not contain the search word.

    And, I have to wait DAYS for the indexer to complete before being able to search something? My PC is NOT a search engine searching the WWW.

    Simply stated, the search on Windows 7 is worthless to me. It needs to be put back to something useful, like the XP search.

  114. Dave S. says:

    Win 7 unfortunately defaults to an indexed search, which is fast but not very useful. To Fix this:

    Go to Control Panel

    Appearances and Personalization

    Folder Options

    click on Search Tab

    click on "Always Search File Names and Contents"

    click "OK"

    Now a search will actually find things.

  115. Tomi says:

    Win searches:

    XP: meh

    Vista: OMG why?

    7: Bye bye Windows search

  116. Kob says:

    I am using PCs since the early 80's, and always looked for the perfect search facility. A few years ago I found the perfect indexing & search program – Locate32. Give it a try. It is a free open source program, no background services, does not consume resources continuously, very clean install, and after indexing (user controlled) it finds files in a second. Very flexible and effective for my several millions files on my PC. Can't live without it.

    Download at http://locate32.net

    P.S. I found this thread looking for any possible deleterious effect if I kill my WIN7's WSEARCH process…

  117. pcunite says:

    Ha, this is a funny post. I think he was just wanting to get us riled up. I've been using FileSearchEX and love it because it looks just like XP version of old. I guess everyone is different!

  118. ter_2k says:

    Like others I stumbled across this article while trying to make the wholly useless windows search actually "search" for what I wanted.

    Rather than a quick lookup of a pre-determined index.

    So – can anyone recommend a useful search tool ?

  119. FrostPoems says:

    It seems the only ones sending comments are people who can't figure out how to use search, or are having some other kind of problems. I find the new search way faster than the XP, and far more powerful, and this is something I've been wating for since the end (for all intents & purposes) of DOS.

  120. marcfoste says:

    ummm… yeah. I got here cuz I'm using windows vista or 7 or whatever it is tonight. My own machine is XP. I have noticed that the search f(n) is absolutely lame. Why would you ruin something that works? I am also learning Office 2010. Please kill me!

    My problem tonight is this machine that I am on is near full on the main hard disk. I can't find any of the tools that I am familiar with to explore this drive and try to trim the fat. When I left click the hard drive I can see some folders. When I right click on each individual folder I can choose properties. When I add up space supposedly allocated to these folders it adds up to about 20 GB. Properties of the drive on 'my computer' says that the drive is almost full with about 68 GB on the drive.

    WTF!?

    Does someone know of a smart, non-microsoft way to probe the contents of this drive?

    Thanks,

    Marc

  121. slobbythegreat says:

    damn! thought it was just me! i only got windows 7 last week on a new pc, i was pretty impressed however last night i was searching through a folder on my external HD and searched the word members only…nothing…so i went down through each file and found the one i was after…did the search again, whilst looking at the file…NOTHING…thought it might have been me! ive also found in windows 7 that when you open a folder of photos and you click the little next icon to go the next pic, it doesnt do it in order…its completely random…i renamed 7 photos 1 to 7 then opened 1 then clicked next..5 came up, then 4, then 7 then 1 again…completely farkin random!! disappointed

  122. Sunshine says:

    SOLUTION: How to find a particular “text word” in your Files or Folders

    It was very, very difficult to solve this problem since I could not find any know-how answers onlinr. I had to experiment and experiment on my own, until I discovered how to do this.

    FIRST: Open the Directory you want to search for the word. On the FAR RIGHT of your search page, click on the View Section (More Options). When the menu opens up, go to the last option, and click on “Contents”.

    SECOND: Then in the search area, type in the particular word you are doing a search on. And hit the “Enter” key or the “X” key.

    When the search is completed, you should be able to view all the Files or Folders that have this word. If it only includes files with that word as part of the File Name, scroll down to the last File Name and click again on the “Content” link which is below. I guarantee that it will work! It has for me, and I have many, many files on my computer.

    This search is MARVELOUS! It does take a little more time than Vista, but it includes all the files, and if you open the Preview Screen (on the right), you can view each file until you find the right one you are looking for!

    MICROSOFT really needs to have a TUTORIAL on this. They do have a Tutorial for a File or Folder Search, but not on how to FIND a particular “WORD” in a Folder.

    After figuring this problem out, I think it is a very COMPREHENSIVE and quick search. Everything you will need! Once you know how to do this, it is FAR BETTER than XP or Vista! If you don’t know how to use this fine search engine, it is most definitely a nightmare!

  123. CoolRuehle says:

    Well Aseem, itseems that you have never used Windows XPs file search engine.

    The Windows 7 search enging is total junk. So is Bing. It's all a part of the "Lame Software Group" which includes popular titles like iTunes. Total Junk.

  124. pcunite says:

    I can't believe anyone would try to learn the Windows 7 search. I use FileSearchEX and save on aspirins.

  125. crakdkorn says:

    I truly dislike the way Windows Search goes downhill and becomes more difficult as each new version of Windows comes out. Looks like the way to search the C drive is to go to the index options in the control panel and add a space as one of the search options on the c: drive. It seems to over-ride windows feeble attempt to control your search capability.

  126. ppp says:

    Yeah, Windows 7′s search is a f***ing joke. Let’s hope I can find an alternative.

  127. Mike Reilly says:

    Windows search is completely useless and I routinely disable it on my users systems – it is nothing but toxic poison, period. With each release of a product Microsoft seems determined to kill any remotely useful features and replace them with defective garbage and Search is no exception. Finds nothing. Does nothing. Worthless. And don't get me started on the other features in Windows 7 that are utter junk – the idiotic Start Menu, the taskbar, the aero glass nonsense – all a complete waste of time. I've found the only way to make Windows 7 remotely usable so I can actually work and not bother with pinning crap here and there (really, Microsoft? That's your big innovation? REALLY? We've been able to put shortcuts to programs and sites anywhere in Windows since '95 so please stop the congratulatory self-back-patting over that drivel) is to set performance options to "Adjust for Best Performance" and use a free program called "Classic Shell" which lets you bring back some of the actually useful features of Windows XP and before, which Microsoft seemed determined to kill off.

  128. man_who_cannot_searc says:

    I have read a lot of the comments here regarding the 'search' facility in windows 7. I didn't read all of them as there are a lot. It seems that the overwhelming majority of comments concern the complete and utter uselessness of the Windows 7 search function. I am frankly astonished at how useless it is. I have to use a PC with a MS operating system (my apologies that I cannot tell you what it is but I try to ignore the PC op syst and just get on with my work) at work and the calls to 'IT help' are many and various. Back to the Windows 7 search… even the O/S at work has a simple to use and effective search function. It will find '*.mp3' files quickly and easily. I tried that in the top right hand corner search option of windows 7 and it did find a few of the hundreds on the drive that I was trying to search. Frankly, not what I wanted to do. SO frustrating! I am astonished that MS, who have made billions with their 'standardisation' of their O/S and effectively have a monopoly, can offer this useless piece of rubbish. It makes me so mad! Is there a 'direct contact' to MS to make them aware of this? Perhaps they aren't concerned as long as they have our money? Having struggled in general with the windows 7 O/S my fury is further compounded by this absurdly useless search function… I hereby give the mp3 search on the family laptop and will do it at work instead. Thanks for reading.

  129. Mark says:

    I can't really take seriously anybody who starts with the line "The built-in search feature in Windows 7 is significantly better than the horrible search options in Windows XP". It's one of the worst things about Windows 7 – and heaven knows there's some stiff competition.

  130. geebs46 says:

    Phew! Thankfully I got to this article as I've been busy finding all the other stuff telling everybody how great Windows 7 can be. I was actually beginning to convince myself that now would be the time to unwrap my 7 update box and switch from XP on my perfectly capable 5 year old Dell. As I make much use of xp/Explorer's file search, you guys have saved me from the cauldron in the nick of time. Blessings to all.

  131. as22222 says:

    XP is still the best opsys from MS and it now seems whatever comes next from MS will be worse and worse. Issues like sidebar colors are still there. I had to use W7 because laptops come with it and had to purchase many vendor programs for searching, file management, firewall, among other things. My 6 yr old nephew is amused by the bells and whistles of W7 like aero while my 10 tr old nephew isnt and for serious users such junk is totally uselless and W7 is at best a horrible modification of Vista with same routines at the background, just some facelifts. I think MS lacks talent for better products than XP. I tried to send a christmas card and no background music option anymore ? That proves it.

  132. Lovin Windows 7 Sear says:

    The Windows 7 Search is actually incredible. After Indexing my entire C drive (Excluding Program Files like Windows suggested) and in the "Tools", "Folder Options", "Search", selecting "Always search file names and contents" and also "Include compressed files"…there's no way any other search is faster. One thing I have noticed though is that it helps to put a * before what you're searching. Lets say the file you're looking for is called "Computer". Search you're C: drive for *mpu and it will find it within half a second.

    But…that's just my opinion…

  133. nygrump says:

    I wonder how much MS paid off this writer to declare the search feature is better – it used to be so simple and functional – it was called the File Manager. MS has made so many decisions for the users it just doesn't work anymore. All I want to do is search for a file with the word X in the title – but MS decided I needed to search INSIDE all my files for X as well. 2 hours later, my file might show up in the list of 10,000 files returned. Searching inside files used to be an option. Maybe I can undo this, but why do I need to relearn a program I used to know how to use without issue? That is the MS policy in a nutshell, make users relearn a program every 2 years and like the nazi propaganda org keep saying it is better.

  134. whoever says:

    this is not rocket science! all of you “geeks” and programmers – NO, microsoft was NOT focused on YOU when they planned the search tool in win7! they cared more about, as bonesnap or someone said above, the 99.9% of the world population who do NOT organize their lives around their computers – we use our computers for surfing, movies, digital media editing and storage, study and research. sorry to the 0.1% of the world’s people, but thank God microsoft has the courage to follow “majority rule”, and not allow all of your narrow-minded bitching to affect their judgment!

    WE GET IT: YOU, “some”, “few”, “such people” need advanced archiving options, i understand – and so YOU’RE the programmers!-YOU develop the software to archive and manage all of your crap! ALL of you who are bitching and complaining – YOU are the dependent ones, not the rest of us – WE have lives, families, more important things to do than organize our files – and yes, I, like “bonesnap”(although your name kinda scares me), use the win7 search with no problems – i have several terabyte of all types of data in storage, and 100′s of software applications active, and never once have i experienced what the tiny complaining minority have written about.

    unbelievable – i just HATE your mentality – its people like all of you who ruin societies by being so ignorant and narrow-minded to think the world revolves around you; you have become dependent upon other people to give you what you ask for your life has been too easy, and you probably still life with your parents instead of growing up. wake up! MOST of the world, the majority!, does NOT want what YOU want! shut up! find a new system of filing! download some amazing archiving software free from kickasstorrents! do something, but just stop moaning and distracting the rest of the world.

    and that goes for ALL of your complaints! about ANYTHING with windows 7, or any other function of a computer! – SHUT THE F–k UP – computers are not designed for YOU, they are designed for US, and they work wonderfully. THANK YOU microsoft for FINALLY making an OS which basically operates itself, fixes itself, updates itself, protects itself, and searches itself – leaving ME to proceed with my LIFE.

    all of you small, little minds – turn your computer off, and read a book…maybe Mill’s “On Liberty”…and learn what it means to see the world around you BEFORE you see yourself. ……….good day.

  135. whoever says:

    god, you are all such idiots. i was just reading more of your comments. you are all basically just a bunch of computer geeks “singing” to each other – no body else is listening or reading! (except the occasional novice who somehow stumbled off course in his google search and tripped into your camp of wide-eyed mumblers huddled around the campfire) it just makes me laugh! – all of your are EXACTLY the same human!

    you all write so carefully and using academic vocabulary so worried that you appear intelligent and witty to your witless species. okay, okay, some of you are “normal”, just really smart, people with lives, i know this – just read my previous thread and leave the “herd”, you’re better than that.

    but the tiny minority of cows, you in the herd, you all get angry about 1 of a million little meaningless things about Win7 which doesn’t serve YOUR little meaningless need – “eewww-win7 wasn’t built around my customized, complicated system of naming files!b-b-b-b-but THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!! WHAAAAAA…”

    and you march off to some unknown and forever ignored corner of the web where you know your herd is grazing; you express yourself!; you FEEL HEARD dammit!; you have made a difference!; oh, AND you can see yourself in PRINT! wow! it only took 3 hours and a thesarus!

    ….but i got news – MOST of the world thinks your silly.

    want some real, actual intellectual writing? try Blackstone, or Madison, or Kirk, or Locke, or CSLewis.

    peace niglets!!!!!!!!!

  136. xor42 says:

    I have also suffered the loss of indexing and search of most of my document folders such as My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, whilst still receiving results for lesser folders like Searches, Games, etc, and for my little used Public folder tree.

    I’d click the root of my data drive, in my acse, G:, and do a search in the upper right search box for *.* and I’d get NOTHING. Even thought there were 130,000 files supposedly indexed.

    In my case, these missing folders were all of my personal data folders such as My Docs, My Pics, etc. Further, all my personal data folders are on another drive using Vista/W7′s “Change Location” option when you right click those folder names under C:UsersUsername(mydocs etc).

    After days of futile net searching forums such as this, I eventually tried one of the many suggestions relating to adding the SYSTEM user with Full Control to those folders, if not there already. It wasn’t.

    I thought I had tried this in the past without success. I think one of the problems has been W7′s multiple methods of referencing folders via Symbolic Links (there since Vista) and W7′s new Favorites and Library folder groupings. These are all indirect links that point elsewhere, aka, Symbolic Links.

    What I did in my last and totally SUCCESSFUL attempt was to navigate specifically to my data folders by selecting Computer(myDataDrive)UsersUserName. I then right-clicked each of the special data subfolders (My Doc, My Pics, etc), and found that they did NOT have the System user. So, for each one, I clicked the Security tab and added the SYSTEM user with full control.

    As I did the above, I had Explorer open and set to the root of my Data drive. I also had a search spec of *.* in the upper right. So, as I added the above security permissions to each of the missing folders, they immediately started appearing in the Explorer search window.

    They only extra things I might note are that this method only worked for me when I changed the Security for each of my data folders on the destination drive to include SYSTEM with Full Control. Changing the permission of those folders as referenced under more indrect locations like Favorites Folders or Libraries, did NOT seem to work for me.

    I had also rebuilt the index a few times, as well. But, it was only when I added the SYSTEM user to the noted folders that searches in all folders started working as expected.

    Stranger still, the Public folders were not showing results to *.* while other times files were found. After I made the Secuirty change as noted above to the other folder (My Docs, etc), the files in the Public tree also started appearing more consistently. It is as if adding SYSTEM to the user linked folders (My Docs, etc) also made searrch work better elsewhere.

    Summary:

    To receive search results for user data folders such as My Documents, My Downloads, etc, requires that thos folders have the SYSTEM user permission with Full Control.

    Further, attmepting to change those folder permissions anyhwere else but directly in the specific drive tree did not seem to work. That is, working with those folders as they aappear under Favorite Folders or Libraries, did not seem to work for me. Perhaps I weas doing something wrong. Regardless, the changes I made today whilst working directly on the folders under the Hard Drive tree, did work and all results are now being shown.

    Ps. One other thing I did prior to all this was to do a Reset Search. I do not know what command does this. After about 10 hours of web searching I eventually was led somewhere, perhaps at Microsoft or W7 Help and Diag, that asked if I wated to “Reset Search”. I did so and my Indexing parameters were all reset to minimum which was different than what I had.

    So, here’s a final ummary …

    1. Rebuilt index.

    2. Microsoft’s Fix It web page command, “Reset Search”. Search web for “Reset Search”.

    3. Probably rebuilt index again.

    4. Manually added SYSTEM user to each of my data folders under (Datadrive):Users(Username) which did not have it. Specifically, for me, these folders were those that were redirected by Windows to my custom location like My Docs, etc.

    5. Nothing else. Files started showing up immediately.

    Hope that helps someone else.

  137. victorash says:

    I have to agree with most of the comments and that is Windows 7 Search is rubbish. I have the choice at home of using Windows XP, but at work we have now gone over to Windows 7 and it is so frustrating trying to search for files. Previously with windows XP it was so simple rght click on a folder and search for the file. Why change it, when it worked so well ? I think its unbelievable that they have designed it like that……

  138. EB says:

    Try searching for every file created in a certain time period except for files of type *.type. And then do a search for SearchMyFiles on the internet.

  139. Dave says:

    I am going to list the pros & cons of Windows 7 as I see it.

    Pros:

    -> Better Product Activation & DRM tech (u know i’m kidding, right?)

    -> Newer OS

    -> Supports more RAM (bye bye, XP 64 bit, hello 7!)

    -> Simpler to use (yeah, ok, sometimes)

    -> Glass effects

    -> Built in notepad

    -> Desktop thingies (like weather, clock, etc)

    -> Internet Explorer 9 is simpler/fast

    Cons:

    -> Start menu sux (thanks to Classic Shell developers, mostly fixed)

    -> Search sux (locate32/everything search tools)

    -> Picture viewer sux (No GIF or pic smoothing like XP did)

    -> Desktop sux (hey, why can’t I view the path to desktop objects?)

    -> Internet Explorer 9 doesn’t work right on some sites

    -> Much harder to find files in the internet cache folder (flv vids etc)

    -> Media player sux (seriously!)

    -> Tray speaker control sux (no bass/treble control any more…?)

    Come on Microsuck! Get it right! LOL! At LEAST do this:

    Add-on pack that adds the following:

    XP style image viewer with support for Gifs, pic smoothing, pic editing

    XP style search utility. Commandline sux.

    XP style speaker control with bass/treble again

    Driver compatibility (right click/properties on a driver file, & install it in compatibility mode for other OS, such as XP for 7 if 7 doesn’t support a sound or video card & no drivers are present on the web)

    Built in support for Windows ME. Have an older race car game with steering wheel that dies in 7, Vista, XP due to how they handle audio. Fix it please. Need to game!

    Whether people say it or not, these are the major things people want fixed. Fix it, & rule the world (again).

    Do you really want everyone to just not buy another stinking, rotten, piece of trash that doesn’t work right without a lot of wasted time?

    Ok, so fix it, & U can be my friend again (not!), but you’ll come close!

    Amen, & amen!

  140. Mike Easter says:

    Haven't read every entry in this thread, but I get the message loud and clear, and I ditto the majority opinion. Concerning DWERG's comment that even XP went through service pack updates to correct problems, my observation is that I am starting to use Win 7 in July, 2011. The problem with Win 7 search that everyone writes about still exists. Scoffer, the first entry, was in December, 2009. Where's the fix already?

  141. E says:

    MICROSOFT SHOULD HAVE KEPT ITS OLD SEARCH FEATURE, I CAN NOT FIND A SINGLE FILE, i HATE THIS,, TOTALLY USELESS – windows seven is horrible

  142. morbidboy says:

    Major problem with Windows Search is this:

    You add lots of folders to a new library called "Pro Audio" (For example, I want to save about 50 pro audio folders containing 1,000's of audio wav files spread over several disks into a new "Pro Audio" LIBRARY folder).

    Firstly, I automatically have to go in a remove ALL of those locations from Windows Search, because it's taken upon itself to add them automatically because they're libraries. I DON'T WANT TO ADD THEM! simply because Windows Search (I'm sorry to say) it garbage and it would grind to a complete HALT.

    So I remove them. BUT!!

    If I go in and read or change a SINGLE file in any of the folders I have added to to my new "Pro Audio" library folder, BANG! the folder is automatically added to windows search yet again and it proceeds to index to god damn audio files yet again.

    Sorry, it's a POOR piece of software which is not very well thought out, written or executed. NOT TO MENTION SLOW AS HELL. If this software is based on Microsoft SQL, then I'm sorry Microsoft but your Main Database product solution is terrible (I know this isn't Microsoft obviously, but who knows someone might see my gripe). Doubt Microsoft will EVER get around to changing this. That's one of the things that makes them a terrible software Company (compared to the likes of Apple who seem to appreciate users concerns and adopt changes to their software quickly).

  143. Victor S says:

    The Search function in Windows7 is like going back to DOS 3.3 (that's the earliest I can remember.) I used to be good with autoexec.bat and config.sys.

    Now to search in Windows7 you need to use keywords. I discovered the following (I could not find this in any description or blog.)

    I will try to explain the best I can. (As I write this, I realize how horrible is to try to describe this, so bear with me.)

    First challenge: Selecting the “View option” in Windows Explorer (this is easy if you are a computer whiz)

    In Windows Explorer you have several ways to display the contents of a folder.

    Somewhere in your organize bar there is a button called “More Options”. If you click that you get several options including:

    “Medium Icons”, “Small Icons”, “Details”, and more

    The “Details” view shows the files and folders organized in a vertical fashion, showing perhaps the date when they were created and other attributes.

    Across the top of the main window you see the headers or names of the columns that are displayed. For example:

    “Name”, “Type”, “Size”. I call this the “Header Row.”

    For this explanation you want to use “Details”. Once you understand how this works you can search from any starting point.

    Windows Explorer also allows you to display one or more of dozens of attributes by right-clicking the “Header Row” and selecting the correct option.

    Now you decide which column you want to search.

    For example if you want to search the Column “Name” for a file that has the string “Home” in the name, you need to type the following inside the search box:

    name:home

    I tried the following searches successfully:

    type:folder

    size:3,832 KB (note, when you type size you get also some options automatically that you can choose.)

    You can do more complex searches as follows:

    name:home datemodified:‎6/‎1/‎2011

    name:home datemodified:‎8/‎10/‎2011 .. ‎8/‎11/‎2011

    size:>1 MB

    size:>1 MB datemodified:‎5/‎1/‎2011 .. ‎8/‎12/‎2011

    size:>200 MB datemodified:‎5/‎1/‎2011 .. ‎8/‎12/‎2011 name:Office

    I added to the view an attribute called “Title” (to be able to see its contents) and searched for

    title:home

    It looks like the syntax is simple and I was able to find what I was looking for.

    It looks like you can use the name of any column in the search box.

    Once you know how to use this, you don’t need to change the view the “Details”.

    I hope all this makes sense. Good luck.

    /Victor

  144. CB says:

    I've used Windows since 2.0. Aside from Windows Live, the search in Windows 7 is the biggest pile of crap Microsoft has ever written. Aside from the issues of the "index" becoming out of date two seconds after the indexing service finishes grating your hard disk for nine hours, it actually doesn't find any of your files. Even more annoyingly, while it's searching it will show "No items match your search" yet doesn't display any indication that the search is still running, so you have no way of knowing whether it's still looking, or it's finished, or the file does really exist but the indexing service needs another nine hours to find it.

  145. antares4141 says:

    Simple way to turn OFF searching within a file?? I don't want to turn off indexing just DON'T want to search within a file.

    WIN7 is going to drive me nuts.

  146. antares4141 says:

    When I see the hard drive activity light is lit and the computer is idle I get paranoid. How do I know when indexing is going on in the background and not some hacker rifling through my files? In past versions of windows used to be an animated icon in the task bar but haven't seen this in windows7.

  147. bollos says:

    +1 "your joking" ;p

    indexing searches are a pain in the ass, i have been forced to go to w7 by bf3 and an ocz ssd, grr, i REALLY didn't want to..using "classic start menu" and the classic windows theme i can make it look a bit like xp, but i still don't like it, wtf do they have to change xp explorer it works perfectly well! m$ idiots!

    i don't mind waiting for windows to find a file, if i don't know where i've put my files (der!), so i'm happy to let it sit there and search and NOT have these stupid services running in the background..

  148. Chip says:

    I went to Linux when Vista was thrust on us. I looked at 7 today, and have decided I made the right choice. Windows has become a nearly useless impediment to all that I want a computer for. Microsoft has peaked twice, 3.11 and XP. At this point there are really good options out there including hundreds of flavors of Linux, and of course MAC. Why suffer this communist inspired abomination. Where do you want to go today? For most people it's back to XP. But I simply moved on when I realized that the hardware manufacturers are in on the forced upgrade. I will not let the industry push me around anymore. God I love the open spaces of open source… wooo hooo!!!!

  149. nieris says:

    It is so unbelievable that they trimmed down all search gui into a single line all as if it needs to be similar to google main page.

    I used Isys, X1 once upon a time but do not know if they still exist.

  150. dondreakc says:

    You must be a Microsoft Engineer. Only they think the Windows 7 search is usefull. It is USELESS. I like being able to search EVERY file on my computer. Windows 7 search only searches the first 5000 files it finds.

    Do you also think "Hide extensions for known file types" is a good thing? If so then, "Anna Kournikova" virus. That says it all!! The only reason it was spread is because of the known file type extensions being hidden. America is smart enough to know what a JPG is but not smart enough to know that they don't normally see .JPG because it is hidden. They can't put 2 x 2 together to realize this.

  151. john shaw says:

    I to join the band wagon regards this all amazing windows 7 search engine, all I want to do is search my external hard drives, simple, no! Even in Vista all I hard to do was put what I wanted into search box and presto, it would look into all drives. I don't want to index all my files or build a bloody library, I just want to be able to do a search and see the results from my external hard drive!

  152. antares4141 says:

    Windows7 search is the best and the worst. The worst in that I've been using 7 for 2 years now and still have to look up online how to use the more sophisticated features (which I love!). What will really irritate me is by about the time I've memorized some of the more useful features they will change it and I will have to learn the new system all over which will probably go back to one of those stupid wizard type setups that cater to the lowest common denominator with no way to turn it off.

    The other thing I find highly annoying about it is that you can't shut off "search within a file" which sucks because I only need this feature about once every 100 times I do a search. Most often it's for a jpg or a mpg or a program of some type and it's very very annoying to have to sift through 3000 hits because I can't narrow my search down to JUST FILE NAMES.

    Lastly I can't stand it not knowing weather windows is indexing my hard drive or weather I have some type of nefarious type of virus activity going on. Would it be that difficult to put one of those little icons in the task bar that tell you such and allow you to shut off the indexing activity if so desired???

  153. Gibz says:

    On my pc the indexing takes ages to finish. I tried disabling a folder to be indexed, only to find that I can still search for it later on!

  154. vdogamr says:

    I know the Win7 search is crap, but I have to use Win7 at work. Can someone tell me how to make Win7's search functionality only search for what I type and not similarly named files. I did a search for FileName.xml and I got back a bunch of FileName_OtherStuff.xml. I didn't use a '*' character. That definitely seems like a bug in the search code.

  155. RRS says:

    The problem of not being able to exclude file contents from a search has not really been discussed much in this forum on the Win 7 search facility (if 'facility' it can be called!). It is my primary problem.

    Most of my searches are for folders or file names, NOT file content. So if I want to find a file or folder with, for instance "scan" in the name, I do not want a list of hundreds of MS Office, .pdf or text files that happen to have those letters in their text content.

    Is there really no way to simply exlude file contents from searches?

  156. Jaycen761 says:

    This article is the biggest piece of B.S. propaganda!

    The windows 7 search features are a joke. From a functionally useable stand point windows 7 searching doesn’t exist. Windows XP had by far the best file searching capabilities of any of the Microsoft Operating Systems. In XP we could search any drive or media.

    Plus the XP could actually search the file’s contents for key words for phrases. Something that I have never seen since XP.

  157. jjk65 says:

    I once had an issue with a new version of Microsoft Word. I could not figure out a fix to something that worked fine in the prior version, so I called their support center. They replicated the problem and acknowledged it was a flaw in the program. They charged me $50 for the support call and would not issue a refund. I was furious.

    Microsoft is so huge and entrenched in our world that they suffer little from forcing users to adapt to their idiotic, illogical, unfortunate ways. One of the most basic functions of computers is storing and retrieving information. The "Search" feature in Windows 7 mucks that up into an erratic, nonintuitive, overly complicated mess. The search feature in WinXP did everything I ever needed it to do. Seems Microsoft has a vast fleet of programmers without any connection to real world users. They keep churning out "innovative" bells and whistles nobody uses or wants. They just don't get it or care.

    There really does need to be some recourse for consumers to be compensated for software that is buggy or does not live up to basic expectations.

  158. bigforna says:

    Too many are saying the same, but I'm so tired of this stupid search engine that I want to say it too.

    I'm an IT activities coordinator in a large company, and I'm so fond of Win7 search engine that I'm seriously thinking of trying some McBook, at least for home use.

    I really cannot understand the ones that say it is good. Haven't they seen anything elese in their lives?

  159. macro125 says:

    I cant believe you said Windows 7 Search is an improvement!!!

    The old search may have taken longer but at least you could trust the results. The Windows 7 search will miss finding files that I am looking at when searching that specific folder. Whoever in Microsoft let this piece of crap get released as the default search tool should be fired .. and flogged

  160. flade says:

    I have WIn7 64bit on my home computer and 32 bit on my laptop. I can usually find things with the 32 bit but no matter what I do I can't find anything at all using search with my 64 bit version. Been using computers since Bill Gates was a little boy with a big head.

  161. Win7SearchSucks says:

    I just had to leave a comment, because this article is a joke, right? it is telling that the article was written in 2009 and people are still leaving comments as recently as 3 weeks ago.

    I really liked Windows 7, UNTIL i tried finding a file. I am a PROFESSIONAL and, I swear, this is the most useless search function I have EVER seen. I do not care what other features it has, because you CANNOT simply tell it to find a file on a drive!!! I thought it was me, so I have read every search related document M$ put out.. I could not believe it. Fortunately, there are third party search utilities available that put the S_ back into the Win 7 pain in the “_earch”.

    Windows XP search might have been basic, but it worked. M$ should have added to that basic functionality, but instead they removed it!!!

    This is the kind of stuff that makes M$ lose customers. Vista was enough to make me want to get a Mac/Linux. Vista Service Pack Gold Edition, I mean, Win 7 is a great OS otherwise, but I wonder what other hidden “features” it has that will make me want to kick it.

    M$ really has not learned anything over the years… with this kind of mentality, they are bound to continue losing market share, remain mediocre, fail in all new niche markets and, eventually, fade away. They are just one big blunder away , and it will all be downhill from there.

    … and I say this as a long time PC and Microsoft products user. Yet, I think Apple will survive much longer. M$ should be worried if even their loyal supporters start to think this way.

  162. Annoyed Seven user says:

    I agree with you and disagree with the OP. The search function in XP is significantly better than Seven's which is basically useless. I've tried modifying indexing locations but there are certain files and folders that I simply cannot find how in god's name to remove from the exclusions list, and why is that set anyway? I want to search everything on my PC not just a few folders and files! Furthermore when I look for particular files it ignore my C: drive and only lists items by default on my D: drive! I have to choose "see more results" to get it to search the C: drive! I cannot fathom why it does this as both locations are setup to be searched in the options.

    Seven's search is an utter waste of space IMO. Get hold of the "Everything" search indexer program, it's free, very easy to use and it works, unlike Windows' garbage version.

  163. Annoyed user says:

    Exactly, a nice simple search with a wildcard! So simple with XP, so utterly impossible with Seven? What were you thinking of Microsoft? Always trying to dumb down the user? Like the equally annoying UAC? What are we, idiots?

  164. Kur71 says:

    Is this sponsored article? Win7 search is a joke.

  165. montanaliving says:

    A year into using Windows 7, I was oblivious to the incompetence of Win7 Explorer search until today. Flawlessly using WordPerfect QuickFinder for so long is a habit that’s been hard to shake. So, by decision I used Win7 Explorer to generate the list of “closed file” boxes for my boss to search offsite over the weeked for the files he needed (only one box in the “list”). Those already initiated to the ridiculous failure of Win7 Explorer to do its job know where this is headed: Come Monday morning my boss asked me to rerun my search, while he described the berm of snow and ice he cussed chipping away to access the offsite unit. I reran my Explorer search–still only one box. He shows me then the QuickFinder list HE generated after the files weren’t found in the single box number I had given him. My search settings revealed nothing so still fuming, I run the internet search that brought me straight to the above article and resulting comments, to which I add: D-I-T-T-O!!!

  166. Mark says:

    I agree. I find windows 7 a very frustrating experience. Search is just one aspect of this nutty operating system

  167. Alex James says:

    Try Advanced Query Syntax to make Windows 7 search behave like Windows XP search. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa965711(….

  168. Alby says:

    I don’t have much to add re the “crappiness” of win7 search to what CB expressed on Aug 14 (precise, concise.. a masterpiece!). And it doesn’t even matter what complex syntax you have to use to try to resemble the XP search companion because when you are looking for a file on your hard disk you want to know if the file exists, not if it MIGHT exist!

    In a few words you may even try to use the Win7 search for looking inside you documents/emails (I still believe though, that if you are looking for something in your mails you could safely use you mail client…) but not for looking for a specific file on the disk. In that case you either have to go for second parties tools (everything is good but needs to run as admin, Index my Files, etc.) or use the DOS prompt and:

    CD\ (to search the whole disk)

    DIR *pippo*.dwg /s (/ah for hidden files and/or /b)

    Sadly the win7 search is NOT an alternative, because it’s never gonna tell you what’s on your disk, but rather what’s in its index. End of the story!

  169. Frustrated says:

    Win7′s search simply sucks. What f***ng OS makes searching a file so complicated? Imagine I want to find “windows_still_sucks” in a directory with 1000 files of a myriad of irregular extensions (*.xyz, *.foo, *.bar…). In win xp the solution was simply to search *.* by content “windows_still_sucks”.

  170. Edward says:

    Are you stupid? They must be paying you to say this. I’ve been trying for YEARS to get this piece-of-sh** search tool to find what I’m looking for. XP actually found things. IF Windows 7 does find what I’m looking for, it takes FOREVER. Microsoft is digging their own grave.

  171. Fangio says:

    As an OLD computer programmer (punch card mainframes etc) who has seen just about everything, I totally agree Win 7 search is useless. Trying to compare files on my 2 computers for recently modified files, gave up, found this site, and downloaded Agent Ransack as suggested by REVIZORO. 2 minutes later, with both 32 bit and 64 bit versions downloaded for my 2 Win 7 laptops, and I had the results I was looking for an hour ago!

  172. TomT says:

    This is funny! Windows 7 search is broken! I’m using FileSearchEX and like it. When your job depends on finding a file you will use something a lot more resilient that what 7 ships with.

  173. Kelly says:

    Microsoft has stepped backward with Windows 7 Search engine. It is overly complicated and will not do simple searches.

    Most users will wish to do an online search with an Search Engine BROWSER… no names from me!!!

    So why does Windows 7 attempt to provide details of Internet usage that will over-fill return hits?

    Same goes for Disk Indexing… more disc space and computer power wasted in the long term.

    When only an occasional search is required XP was better by far than Windows 7.

    The moral of course is that if it is not broken, Microsoft, DO NOT FIX IT!

  174. mark mclaughlin says:

    Win 7 search is terrible, a useless disorganized non functional piece of you know what. How can it be said otherwise. They need to start over or just hand over responsiblility for this to third party SW developers. I am amazed that so many MS programmers could be employed in developing Win 7 and simply miss this obvious boner. Shame.

  175. M G says:

    Is there any bug filed with Microsoft for the broken search feature?

    I tried to find a folder on a network drive; XP was able to return it instantly, while Windows 7 would not find it after several minutes of seraching.

    This should be a “Priority 0″ and prevent the product from being released!

    What a shame

  176. DavidM says:

    @Scoffer; I’m with you, had no problem defining search parameters of any type within XP. Now, I’m first doing general search, then need to refine it by a filter, then another one, it is retarded. In XP; define a search by Location, File Type, Date, etc all in one shot. It was beautiful. What team of idiots thought that to be a problem? In Win-7, why would I wish to build a huge Index File? Office already take’s an enormous delay opening a folder, as it’s checking Indexing and Folder Path (a long known issue). Remember the days of building lean, efficient code, but today’s use of bloated coding is going to be the death of fast computing in an eco-friendly environment.

    Apparently, the Windows-7 team didn’t read ‘My Idea’.

  177. JTB says:

    Here’s my problem. I decided to index the folder containing essentially everything (docs, jpegs, ppt, pdfs) I use, creae or work on daily. It took half a day to complete the process, after which the entire folder vanished from C:/. I unhid the C:/ drive and eventually found my folder inside MSOCache, where it had been moved without my knowing it. My backup routines did not, of course, know where to find it, so I had to change the command arguments therein. Etcetera. I agree with anyone who finds the new indexing algorithms inferior to XP’s, which were clunky but at least not so confusing or invasive.

    Is there any way, btw, to reverse this, restore my monster folder to its original location without reinstalling everything?

  178. David says:

    Well, I have read three-quarters of the comments here after being incredibly frustrated by fruitless searches using the search box immediately above the Start button.

    But this is clearly not the way to Search in Win 7! As suggested above, visit Control Panel > Folder options and enable searching in Public Folders. Then go to Control Panel > Indexing Options and using “modify” add your drives or other locations, and then go make a cup of coffee while your computer indexes everything in those drives or other locations. My computer has indexed just over 46,000 items.

    Here’s some good advice.

    http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-7/rebuild-windows

    Then learn to search by opening Explorer and going to the top-right corner. Type in a search term and, bang, very soon every document, every picture, anything with that search term will be listed with the search term highlighted in yellow, along with other details. Very impressive.

    What I need to do now is go to the following page and learn how search more precisely, so I don’t get so many results!

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/

  179. Ian says:

    Works fine for me. I wrote a report for 107 XYZ Lane, whose file name is “2012-0159whatever”. I type “107 XYZ” in the search box, it comes up with that file because the text is in the body of the report, plus the photos of the project with that name, plus the folder in MyDocs with the name. I type 107+XYZ and it also returns the invoice created by my office manager, who insists on naming things “XYZ Lane, 107″. That is on a mapped drive, which I added to the search index by right clicking on the drive name and clicking the “make available offline” option. I found that after a 2-second google search. I’ve read hundreds of comments, above, that either can’t find this or it works for me and not for everyone else.

  180. Lance says:

    I turned indexing on using the main article and now my searches (on the C drive) work fine in both the Windows menu and Windows Explorer.

  181. Charli says:

    I have to disagree with you. the search in win xp was great. It was easy to use and easy to learn. Win 7 search SUCKS. You shouldn’t have to search the web to learn how to use a search option.

  182. Charli says:

    If anyone writes a program that will search win 7 like win xp I’ll buy it. I’m so sick of win 7.

  183. escoville says:

    I cannot understand what all the moaning is about. I have just acquired Windows 7, which has its faults, admittedly, but Search is not one of them. In XP, what did you do? You put in a word contained in the file, and started Search. It gave you an accurate result, but might take 10 minutes to search your disk if you couldn’t specify the folder more precisely. So you installed Google Desktop, which found everything very quickly (incl. emails, which the Explorer search didn’t touch). However, it took up a lot of disk space (and disks were smaller then). So you then de-installed that, and went on to install Windows Search 4.0, which worked well enough, but seemed to be constantly indexing (and of course only worked for what it had indexed, so you still had to use the Explorer Search sometimes).

    The Windows Search on Windows 7, once you’ve got it to index the folders where you actually keep your files (probably not Libraries, whatever Microsoft thinks), finds anything in milliseconds, including emails. It only takes about 20 minutes to index a whole HD. I’ve tried it on some fairly abstruse things, and it hasn’t let me down yet. You must of course tell it to index the right things, which is a nuisance, certainly, and not for total greenhorns. But otherwise, I fail to see the problem.

  184. Sheila says:

    Esccoville – You don’t see the problem because it’s obvious that you’re experienced in geek. I am not. I used XP and was able to figure it out easily when I switched from 95, but I’ve had my new Windows 7 laptop for a month now and cannot find the files transferred over, or if I do find them, I can’t open them because I’m told that I don’t have permission. And that’s AFTER paying the Geek Squad $100 to be able to access them. I DREAD having to find a file.

  185. jahli says:

    I agree….Win7 search is crap… totally unusable. SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  186. Buzz says:

    @ escoville

    So what you’re saying is, it’s a nuisance, it only works if you’re an IT expert and your files have to be on your local HD and not a network share meaning it’s so not so hot in a business environment…

    I get it, and unlike you I DO see the problem…

  187. mark says:

    Add me to the list of people who think that Windows 7 search is crap. I’m searching for something I can see on my external hard drive and windows 7 returns no match. What the ####? I checked and the external drive is checked under the indexing search options on the start button. Why did they take xp and make this crappy windows 7. I hate it!

  188. Barbelala says:

    I am using Text Finding, which is a fast and free file search tool for Windows 7. Highly recommend it to you. http://www.textfinding.com

  189. Candice says:

    I swear Microsoft did it on purpose, that way they have to “fix” it in the next upgrade which you will pay for again and then have something else wrong, for the next upgrade, etc. etc. etc.

  190. Pat says:

    I agree with the majority. Have been using xp pro for years on two machines, and do photo and video editing, and am constantly being asked to fix other peoples machines. When I got ASUS notebook with no xp drivers to speak of I decided to give it a whirl. This is a great program for people that watch movies, and mess about with phones and so on, but certainly not an OS for work, and not for fixing. The search engine is total crap. I don’t care if you are a newbie or an experienced geek, XP is about the pinnacle of Windows working systems for working, fixing, stability. Seven is liked by people who have too much time on their hands to jump from this type of thing to another. I found this website while trying to find a solution to searching drives C and D together, as in XP. Finally had to download a small FREE program called AGENT RANSACK. If 7 is so great, why are there so many people running concessions all over the internet selling or giving away open source to put back into 7 what you had in XP. And I really don’t want to hear that crap about not being able to adapt. If you are playing, have fun. If you have work to do, have XP.

  191. Mark Mercurio says:

    String search is essential to tech support pro’s and am disturbed at trend, not just at Microsoft,
    but across the board, with companies not knowing their end users needs before pushing a product out the door.
    Yes, the Windows 7 search is a big problem for me too.
    It is not something you can learn to set up to work properly either…
    XP works with no frills and use it when needing to run a reliable search of random extension files for a particular text string.

  192. Dean says:

    I came here looking for solutions as to why my computer had started shutting itself down in my absence, and the fans have been randomly going crazy in my presence.
    Well, I’d recently re-enabled the “search” function of Win7 when I found that this was what was behind the fact I’d lost the handy prompt box normally present on the Start Menu.

    This is handy for searching Help files or information on Windows features but not as a general search box. As is pointed out by everyone except seemingly determined coders, Win7 Search doesn’t work even remotely well, period.

    I mean, you can fiddle as much as you like with it, each time getting better results, but I never managed to get anywhere near 100%, even after a lot of messing around. I love how one guy says it’s easy and posts strings of unintelligible scripts that ordinary users would never expect to have to learn in order to look for a file. That’s what programs are for. Sure, it’s nice for things to have extra functionality but, in this case, it seems a module was left out of Search that one has to code back in every time they want to look for something! There is a great difference between “additional” and “essential” functions. Sure, you should be able to override the usual functionality with scripts, and it was nice for MS to include that, but the expected functionality should remain sans-scripts!!!

    I love Win7. I also love Linux. Probably would like BSD Unix too – which is what Mac OS is built upon – but it doesn’t yet have enough HW support. I don’t entertain Apple itself. Complete product packages at ultra premium prices, with no allowance for self-modding, is not my bag. Leave such for the “home user” demographic with more money than brains, and find computer usage difficult.

    A couple of comments on the XP Search function: It wasn’t perfect for general users without tweaking. Finding grouped types such as “Pictures, music, or video” etc. wouldn’t return all, because MS hadn’t included all available extensions for such. However, one could add custom search text files to include more extensions, though there was a limit to how many one could string together – as I found out when trying to build such.

    As for general searching, with the relevant boxes ticked under “More advanced options”, XP Search was great. No issues.

    Windows Search v4.0 screwed all this up on its path towards Vista and 7 search methods. Another one to manually remove if any XP users accidentally allow it to install. ps. I have a tip for this: If you accidentally remove the installation files you won’t see an option to get rid of it. If this is the case, simply reinstall Search v4.0 manually from the MS site (even though you already have it installed) and you will then be able to remove it once more using the option now available to you under Add or Remove Programs.

    Another tip: If you have any version of Win7 other than Starter, you can still use the XP Search function from under Windows Virtual PC’s XP environment. It deems your Win7 environment as separate drives that you can search. I fired it up just this moment and it returned results as expected from XP Search. A somewhat ridiculous irony that this is available to the OS which finalised the destruction of the Search feature (starting with Search v4.0, before moving to Vista) of its native environment.
    Under Win7 I use “Everything” search engine: http://voidtools.com/ It exhibits little footprint, is near instantaneous, is awesome in terms of results and even highlights the specified search term within the returned list. It also allows one to reorganise results by column headings.

    Anyway, now that I’m going to uninstall the Win7 Search [if it can be called that] feature yet again, it’s a shame I cannot keep the handy box on the Start Menu. I’m not concerned about CMD/Run functionality of said box, as I retain those via other shortcuts.

    Bye-ee

  193. GregM says:

    Escoville. I’d like to search for an exact phrase in a file located on my company server, which I can’t index because I don’t have that kind of access for the server.

    So, oh wise one, tell me how to do that and I may agree about your Windows 7 being as good as XP, because so far, nobody has been able to tell me how to do that, including zero correct answers when posting on microsoft’s site. Windows 7 search is so stupid, it’s ridiculous. Way to take something easy and make it impossible. Thanks Microsoft!

  194. Blake says:

    I have a work laptop, and am permanently connected to network drives (when docked).
    If i want to find something for a project (eg calculation structure), it will not find anytihing! Only personal files (my document) files. But that is one folder which I can search myself. Totally crap this search function. Windows XP gave me no problems at all on my previous laptop.

  195. Phil says:

    Agreed 100% with Scoffer. I’ve been struggling with this problem for a couple years now, and recently “laid to rest” the XP I’d use to search my network (i.e. finding files on my Win7 machines via the wonders of XP search), and am now desperately trying to find a way to search for files with certain words. No amount of Search and/or Indexing Svc reconfiguring, turning off, and then back on, and then off, etc. works. At all.

    Third party alternatives are either expensive, or only search for file names.

    I cringe everytime I realize some day I’ll have to “upgrade” to Windows 8. F#$&K why can’t there be a real, non-wonky, non-Apple competitor for Windows?

  196. Candy C says:

    More like a question I was using Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials and was watching movies on my Tv with the above Nero. My movies were on my WD External 2TB HD, when i was done i stopped the server and cleaned and scanned my computer. It updated and restarted, when it did The above Nero starting indexing my above external HD and now there is nothing on the drive at all, I can see it in the Nero Media with the server running but it says it will be lost if i stop the server. How do i get it all back on my HD. All my music, movies photos backups and everything is on there. Thanks in advance hope you can help me.

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