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Windows 7: Windows 7 search engine

08 Oct 2011   #1
Bill McClenney

Windows 7
Windows 7 search engine

First post here. I am really surprised not to see more discussion of this, and I have not found any sort of acceptable alternative since starting with Windows 7 in March of 2011

I simply do not understand the Windows 7 search engine capabilities. Perhaps the best way to highlight this is with a current example. I have a large digital library I call my cybrary. At this very moment it contains 16,561 files broken into 1,609 folders and occupying 32.4 gigabytes. A top level folder named "geology and hydrogeology" is the most likely one to have a writeup, a word document, on surface tension and viscosity, somewhere within it. That single top level folder contains 2,469 files divided into 320 folders.

If I open Windows Explorer, navigate down to that directory, type in "surface tension" in the top right search opening and a drop box that contains the words "Add a search filter" with two buttons for date modified and size.

How odd! I doubt I would have much of a clue about any of the dates of my almost 17k files, much less care. Searching by size? Never had a reason to for 4 decades now.

But the search that is then executed not only looks for filenames, it searches within every single file in that folder for the string "surface tension". In time, and this is a very fast system, or just under an hour later, the list is ready. It found several hundred files. I suppose the one I was looking for was in there, but I had absolutely no interest, this time, for searching the text string out in any file, I just wanted a list of files with the string "surface tension" in the name.

In XP, and previous versions of Windows, you at least were given the choice of search windows for either names or within the files themselves. If that choice still exists, it is particularly well hidden.

Am I just not "getting it", or will searches now be sped-up to the point where they can take hours and provide nearly worthless clutter? Is there no way to search a folder and set of subfolders for just a filename or piece of one, only? If there is, how in the world is it turned on?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Give this a read: Windows Search - Configure and Use, see if that helps explain anything :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #3
Bill McClenney

Windows 7

Well, thanks, I think. I went to the link, and the screenshots posted there do not look anything like what I am seeing by typing "index" into the Start search box and then indexing options. I see a typical XP style box with a large white window with headings of "Included locations" and "exclude" on a delimited style slider bar. Below that are three buttons, two active, one greyed out. The active ones are "modify" and "advanced". The greyed out one is "Pause". Clicking on either of them brings up nothing remotely like what the link describes.

And yes this is Windows 7 on here!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Oct 2011   #4
Bill McClenney

Windows 7

Another thing I think I may be missing is the need for indexing. If I want to search and I have to index it first, through specifying it in the operating system, how does that work when I connect, or turn on, one of the many external drives (rotating or thumb) I have?

Under XP, I simply turned it on, plugged it in, and after the system recognized it, I could navigate it and search it with Windows Explorer. Yes, I paid a price for this freedom. But searching for a partial file name in a set of directories might, at worst, take a minute or so. Not hours as in Windows 7 as it also searches inside of every file for a thing I am utterly uninterested in finding. Why no options? Why make this rather simple thing so retarded?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2011   #5


Hi Bill, Welcome to the forum. I think two of the reasons you're not getting much response are 1. the Windows 7 Search IS very frustrating, and 2. there has already been a lot of discussion about the various aspects of the Windows 7 Search function on the forum.

Here are a couple of great 3rd party search apps: Everything Search Engine (which searches file names only, not content) and Agent Ransack - Free File Searching Utility

And you might want to search out the Windows 7 'Search' threads here in the forum.

Meanwhile, here are some of our Tutorials to help you get started:

How to Search in Windows 7
Search - Have More Accurate Search Results
How to Change or Restore the Default Windows 7 Search Options
How to Create a Search Shortcut in Windows 7
Windows Search Advanced Query Syntax
How to Enable or Disable the Search Index in Vista and Windows 7
How to Add or Remove Windows 7 Index Locations
How to Add or Remove a File Type from the Windows 7 Index

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 search engine

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