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Windows 7: More on search hell

22 Nov 2010   #41
James Colbert


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kari View Post
I accept it when my friends call me a MS fan boy nowadays.
Nothing wrong with that.

Although mentioning in my previous post that I'm quite satisfied with Windows Search, it's only because I normally never searchs file contents. I use long, explaining file names and saving almost all documents also in Office OneNote, Office Journal archiving everything. I usually find what I'm looking for.
And maybe this is a clue of sorts. Perhaps the inconsistencies are in some way related to different file management styles. My several partitions, saving files in non-default locations, using a myriad of different programs (although Word and OneNote as well), may somehow 'throw a wrench in the works'.

Obviously, changing file management styles or 'user technique' is not a solution, and this is speculation in its entirety, but logically, there has to be a reason why it works better for some than others.

That said, even my own "field tests" reveal it clearly: comparing for instance Google Desktop Search with Windows Search, there's no doubt who's the winner. If searching file contents is essential to you, my recommendation is to install Google Desktop Search.
I hear that GDS is fast and efficient, but I have concerns regarding privacy with Google.


I'm happy with what Microsoft has provided to keep track of my documents and correspondence. That I'm happy does not mean others must be happy, too.
Nor would I assume so. I want to be happy with WS. In fact, my participation in this thread is an attempt of sorts to figure out how to be happy. :)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2010   #42

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


James, to avoid misinterpretations: I agree with about everything you've said :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Nov 2010   #43
James Colbert


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I agree Windows search in my opinion is woeful. After much effort I could not resolve the issues. More importantly if I "fix" it, I no longer trust it.
It was time to go third party. I use "Agent Ransack" - free, nonindexed and great.
It will allow multiple levels of search complexity including complex Boolean searches.

Spend 30 min download it, try it.
Actually, it was your commitment to Agent Ransack that prompted me to download it (although I haven't gotten around to trying it yet). Any product that someone believes in as much as you do has to be worth a try.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dobhar View Post
Thanks for the link, dobhar. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Nov 2010   #44

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Same here, downloaded Agent Ransack and had it pass my "TryToFindThis" test. It did it without even blinking.
So for now, Ransack it is for me.

Thanks all for your wise words!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2010   #45

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1
Thought's on “Search Hell”

When I first attempted to answer gilmoses thread 'More on search hell' I had limited knowledge on how Windows 7 performed searches. I usually just used the Start Menu >Search, and that was sufficient enough for me, although, I did notice peculiarities. Such as, no items to view when, like gilmoses I knew without a doubt the file existed.

As the thread evolved it became apparent that I was somewhat out of my league when using search in the upper right hand corner of (WE) Windows Explorer, but I do use that search box almost exclusively when using my Browsers, but that is like comparing apples to oranges.
So in order to learn more about how this style of search was used I made efforts to understand gilmoses by trying examples of searches he was trying to accomplish.

At first it seemed that I was able to find obscure words saved in Files located in obscure places on my HDD, but as I practiced more with searching by using the WE search box I ran into the same difficulties that everyone else was experiencing, and I do mean anyone that uses Windows7.

Search for “win7 search” on the web, and it will return tens of millions of hits of users that are having problems with the way Windows7 searches.

What was Microsoft thinking when they let their search engine evolve the way it did? The answer is
Advanced Query Syntax.
In Windows 7, getting the best out of the built-in search requires becoming familiar with (AQS) the Advanced Query Syntax system, by learning how to use the many syntax involved, and there is a reason behind the concept.

Explained here:
Why Windows 7 search is the way it is*|*The Long Climb
There is a link to Mike Halsey's Free PDF Guide to windows 7 Search on this page.

Or a direct link here:

Another short explanation here:
Become a Windows Search ninja with Advanced Query Syntax | Ed Bott's Windows Expertise

It is like anything else we attempt to use that we are unfamiliar with, it takes time to learn the new system.

If all you've ever driven was a car with an automatic transmission, and then bought one with a manual transmission, it took time to learn how to shift it.....Smoothly.
All my life I have had manual's. With my first auto, it took me a week to stop raising my left foot when coming to a stop.

So if you don't want to learn how to drive, you'll have to use a third-party search utility.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Nov 2010   #46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


A very good post, Anak. Repping you as soon as I've finished typing this

I think I am quite experienced Search user. I normally find what I'm looking for. But, as you, me too wondered why this was so difficult. Then yesterday evening I realized one thing, one simple click that could cause or solve OP's problems:

More on search hell-search_7.png

Then I read Brink's Search tutorials, once more. I've decided to really concentrate on this, it can not be true that Microsoft would overlook a feature this big and important. I'm willing to accept I did not know as much about Windows Search as I had thought...


Index - Enable or Disable - Vista Forums
Search in Windows 7
Search - Have More Accurate Search Results

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2010   #47

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

When Windows indexed search works for you then it is natural, perhaps, to think it is a user problem. After 2 months of "solid" investigation, registry fixes, index rebuilding ..... I gave up.
I resisted Agent Ransack, though recommended highly to me, because anything with such a silly name had to be a silly program. The only silly thing was the name and me for not trying it sooner. They had to change the name to FileLocator Lite for it to be embraced by the Corporate world.

With Windows search -
I thought ticking search file names and contents (which I had done) came with a high overhead??
As you are a skilled in Windows search, I would be extremely curious to know what you thought of FileLocator Lite if you ever found the time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2010   #48


Wow, this has been both a great post and an education for many of us I'm sure. Maybe we could do with more posts like it!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2010   #49

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wilywombat View Post
Wow, this has been both a great post and an education for many of us I'm sure. Maybe we could do with more posts like it!!
I agree, as the whole point of the forums is to provide solutions and different views/methods of doing things. Even the experts sometimes learn something new!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2010   #50

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64

I realized that I had accepted the poor search capibilities in Win7, could find some things some of the time.

D/L FileLocator 64bit. Works good so far, and is fast.

Thanks for the information.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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