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Windows 7: Searching an external hard drive

14 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Enterprise, 32 and 64 bit
Searching an external hard drive

I everyone, this is one that's been frustrating me for some time: Windows 7 search.
I've searched the forums and skimmed several threads regarding Win7 search, with opinions ranging from "great" to "grrrr" (story of Windows' life, eh? ).

Anyway, to the point: search works fine on the local C:, I can search for *.* and get all the files (I'm assuming, wasn't really searching for anything, just testing).

On my 1 TB ext. HDD, though, I do the same search, and get 7 documents.
I'm trying to consolidate the contents of 3 hard drives, and several flash drives, that have all become quite fragmented and out of sync (oops). Basically I've just copied everything onto this large drive, and started sorting everything on it.

On XP, I could search *.* and get every stinkin' file there was, in every sub-folder there. Made it easy to grab all the music files and put them in a folder, all the documents, and so on.

Finding it very difficult to get that functionality here. I *could* copy all 400+ GB to the local drive and do it there, I guess - would be faster, I know, but I have limited space on this drive.

I've tried several of the suggestions I found, such as changing Index settings, but no luck.

Has anyone figured out anything on this? Or ever encountered this issue on external drives? The drive is formatted FAT32, because I also use it on a Linux machine and a couple of OSX machines.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, thank you!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2012   #2

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
It *Might* be as simple as this (If it's wromg -- OK - but I'm taking a Blind guess here)/

In your Folders option in the control panel do you still have Hide extensions for known file types unchecked. The Search when you say look for *.* won't find many files named xxx.yyy because it will think the files are called xxx
so set the option to DISPLAY the file extensions.

Simple to try and see if this cures the problem.

(On W8 CP and my XP / W2K3 server VM's the search works just fine -- so in any case this must be a W7 only problem).

Note I also checked with an external 2TB drive just to make sure the size of the drive or the number of files on it wasn't causing a problem. On the 2TB I have zillions of music files so a good test.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2012   #3

Windows 7 Enterprise, 32 and 64 bit

Thanks, Jimbo, but that didn't affect it. That's one of the settings I always go and do, set Windows Explorer to 'Detail' view, and show file extensions (among others, of course). I tried it both ways, no go.

In my haste asking for help, I *may* have forgotten to mention one, itty-bitty, humongous, detail...this is Windows 7 running in Parallels - not sure if it makes a difference how it searches, but it could - I'm still learning a little Mac, since half my workplace is Mac (me and one fellow tech always boot to Windows on ours, though ), so I'm not sure all the details, but by my understanding, it should work just like if it was strictly a Windows machine.
For fun, I loaded my Windows 8 VM, and it wouldn't even see the USB hard drive, so I'm not sure what's wrong there, I may have to twiddle with some settings.

But, I did find one way to search it the way I want - instead of running Windows in a Parallels window, I ran Windows Explorer in Coherence Mode, and it worked as I expected it in the first place.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64; Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit

This article explains how to add your external hard drive to your indexing options in Win 7: Windows 7 File Search Indexing Options
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Searching an external hard drive

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