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Windows 7: Windows 7 Search Doesn’t Work Properly – Yet Again!

20 Jan 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows 7 Search Doesn’t Work Properly – Yet Again!

I realise this subject has just about been done to death, e.g. by Lithium on 07-06-2011, but I just have to let off steam somehow - it really doesn't seem to work! Let me explain.

I recently acquired an HP Pavilion dv7 laptop computer, with Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium pre-installed. While I was excitedly making my first investigations of Windows 7, I created another partition, labelled A:, and moved all my documents to it from C:, using the Location tab of My Documents Properties. I do this in order to have data in a different partition from the system files, in case the OS partition gets trashed for any reason.

Eventually, I needed to find a file which I knew existed amongst a certain group of folders. I was astonished when Search failed to find it, and I eventually had to track it down by hand. Since then I have established that Search will not find any files on my A: partition, no matter what folders I specify in the Included Locations on the Indexing Options dialog box. Indeed, if I select Advanced, to go to where I can force a Rebuild of the index, when I come out again Indexing Options will remove any additions I made to the search locations, and reinstate the original (not very useful now) defaults of Start Menu and Users. Even if I do a search from Windows Explorer while sitting in a folder on A: just above where I know a specific file is, Search will fail to find that file.

I have looked through stacks of forums and other help sources giving information and advice to people with similar problems, and I have gone through detailed tutorials on how to make indexing work, with no result. A lot of people seem to have this problem, and yet others say Search is the best thing since sliced bread. My system is brand-new, with pre-installed Windows – how come I have this problem? And how come Search finds lots of files that appear to have nothing to do with the search condition I set? – the number of files on the C: drive with the search word “color” somewhere in them is literally unbelievable.

I think this is a big step back from Windows XP, which was at least reliable even if it took some time, and with Windows Desktop Search installed was pretty quick. It looks to me as though Windows 7 Search is based on Windows Desktop Search, only with all the capability carefully ripped out.

The Windows 7 operating system is unique in my experience in providing no certain way of making a search, not even a slow way. I have never before been unable to locate a known file on any system, going right back to the old Unix/MS-DOS days.

I would be grateful if anyone could please suggest a way of enabling Search to work properly, with the following provisos:

1) There is no way I am going to start fiddling around in the registry, altering innumerable keys for an uncertain result, even if I do count myself an expert user. Life is too short to spend it trying to do something under the bonnet (hood if you’re American) which should have been done properly by the manufacturer in the first place.

2) I have already tried just about every combination of rebuilding the search index, relocating it, and modifying it that can be devised. It always finishes up having indexed a different number of files from last time – by thousands! Also I have checked all the security permissions on the folders in question, and SYSTEM has full access; and I have made sure all the folders are within Libraries.

And if anyone says “Ah, but it’s only designed to search the C: drive” I shall scream. Otherwise why provide the ability to specify indexing locations? And no-one uses floppies any more, so why shouldn’t I have an A: partition?

In the meantime, I shall continue with the free version of Agent Ransack (MythicSoft Ltd.) which is a very fast substitute. And I shall continue to fume at MS Corp., which seems to specialise in retailing glossy new products with major flaws in them to customers who have no way of seeking redress for the inadequacies of the product that has been forced on them when they bought a new computer – had any good conversations with Microsoft Customer Support recently, anyone?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2012   #2


Forget Windows Search... just use the Everything Search Engine instead...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Prem x32

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Qdos View Post
Forget Windows Search... just use the Everything Search Engine instead...


Thank you
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Jan 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Did you add the A: drive to the search index locations?
Index Locations - Add or Remove
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

In an attempt to defend Windows 7, your problem may stem from the fact that you chose the drive letter A, which historically has always been reserved for a floppy drive.

It would be interesting to see what happens if you choose a drive letter higher up the alphabet.

However, I can understand your frustration.

In the meantime, perhaps these tutorials may help you.

Search in Windows 7

Windows Search - Configure and Use
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows 7 Search Does Work Properly – Finally!

Cracked it! Many thanks, seavixen32, you’re absolutely right, it’s a drive letter problem. Even though the drive letters A: and B: are free to assign to a partition since people stopped using floppies, Windows won’t search the A: partition, and I’d like to bet it won’t do the B: drive either. How bizarre is that? A search engine that won’t search where you want for historical reasons!

I moved all my documents and stuff from A: back to C:, using Move on the Location tab of the properties for My Documents, etc., then relabelled my data partition as G:, and moved.everything back again (had to do it that way to keep the My Documents, My Music etc. redirection pointers correct). Sure enough, Search indexed the files on G: reasonably quickly, and I was able to use it properly for the first time.

Before I relabelled the data partition, I went through the procedure given by “Doc Blase” here.
.This might have helped the indexing to be more complete, although it didn’t solve my problem directly, but I mention it because it might help someone else having a hard time with Search.

Thanks Qdos, I have tried Everything (!) ; it's very good, as you say. Thanks also CreepinJesus, yes I had added A: to the search locations, that was what was so frustrating.

I'm indebted to you guys, and of course to Microsoft for many happy hours spent trying to figure out this undocumented little quirk.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks for letting us know what the issue was - it's surprising yet not at all surprising at the same time! Perhaps one day we'll see the end of drive letters...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

In our search to find the answer to a problem, we often can't see the wood for the trees and it is very often something simple that can mess things up.

Delighted to hear your problem has been solved and thanks for taking the time to update us.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2012   #9

Windows 7

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Qdos View Post
Forget Windows Search... just use the Everything Search Engine instead...
Very nice! Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Drive letters A and B may not be the cause

I have used drive letter B for four yrs with no index-search issues. I have also used drive letter A for three yrs as an second data partition. A few days ago, the search quite working on A. I could select a folder on the partition and search, but could not locate a file inside it.

After some detective work, I re-indexed the partition and it resumed normal search the next day. Note, I don't think it corrected until after being shut down over night - not directly after the re-index anyway. This was a large partition with 62gb of photos in the used space. I assume something in the index became corrupted.

I use Windows 7 Home Premium, Intel I7 processor with 8 gm ram.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 Search Doesn’t Work Properly – Yet Again!

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