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Windows 7: Search not showing all results

08 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP 1
Search not showing all results

The other day I was looking for a .dll file in the Firefox plugin folder. I entered the file name correctly in Start > Search programs and files, but the file and location did not appear. I navigated to the file manually in Windows Explorer anyway. I already had ticked Windows Explorer > Tools > Folder Options > View > Show hidden files, folders and drives, and I had unticked Hide Protected Operating System Files. So why didn't the file appear on my search? Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2010   #2
James Colbert


A search of this forum will reveal that Win 7 search produces inconsistent results. This issue is a bit controversial, as there are those who believe that it's always user error and others who believe that Win search is defective, I believe the reality lies somewhere in the middle.

That said, Win 7 search is an AQS search engine, which, to obtain the best results, requires AQS syntax. Also, search, being integrated throughout windows, functions differently in different areas. For example, Start Menu searches include only indexed locations. By default, system files are not indexed. Viewing the screenshot, taking note of the red dots will point the way (via Folder Options\Tools|Search tab). Also, I've included some links that will give good info on win search.

Mastering Windows Search using Advanced Query Syntax

Windows Search Advanced Query Syntax

Advanced Query Syntax (Windows)

You can also do a google search on AQS. In the meantime, you can try your search from Windows Explorer, which will search non-indexed locations.


Attached Images
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 Pro/32 Academic. Build 7600

James Colbert is correct, it has been a controversial issue. There seems to be a great misunderstanding regarding search and a lack of knowledge from many new users of Windows 7. Simply, Windows would not locate your file because hidden/system files are not indexed. You will find that if you indexed the folder, your file would show up instantly in Windows/Search. Or, you could navigate to the folder where you know the file is and search from within the folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP 1

Thanks, James mborner. I think the issue is that the folder was not indexed. Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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