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Windows 7: How can I search in Windows 7 like I used to in Windows XP?

14 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7, 64 bit
How can I search in Windows 7 like I used to in Windows XP?

Hello Everybody,

I'm fairly new to Windows 7. I'm using it at work.
As part of my job I regularly need to search for files.
I have multiple drives mapped to my PC.
In XP I could tell Search to do something like start looking in C:\Grocers for a file named status.

Now it seems I can't control which or how many drives Search looks in.
I also don't want Search to look in my e-mail.
I also don't care about Libraries - I don't use them.
I just want to search from where I tell it to start searching and I want it to show me only
files and folders in the results.

I've tried different things and have run into cases where I know where a file is and the Search
doesn't find it. I don't care about indexed vs. non-indexed. If I say search a drive or drive\folder
I want it to search everyting from that point on down.
I'm hoping there's something I'm missing because this is driving me crazy.

Thank you,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1

See if explorer ++ does the better search for you
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600

kari is the man to help with windows search. i will drop him a message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Mar 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Hi Steve, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Using Windows Explorer, browse to the drive or folder you want to search, type your search string, hit Enter.

If Explorer is opened on E:\My Stuff, the Windows Search will search E:\My Stuff and all its subfolders. If Explorer is opened on Computer, it searches all drives and subfolders.

For you search, open Explorer and browse to C:\Grocers, type name:status in Search field and press Enter. This finds all files where string Status appears in filename in C:\Grocers and all its subfolders, for instance status.txt, status_report.doc, network_status.xls and so on.

That's it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #5

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

If Jacee's suggestion doesn't meet your needs, see what you can find useful from this Google search (no pun intended)

If you want to understand Windows Search better, start here. I found that windows Search was difficult until I stopped trying to use it like previous Windows Search. It's very powerful, but you have to use more of a query language approach to get teh best results. You can select Natural Language, but you'll still have to understand Search.

The most simple example I can give is: stop using filename.* and start using just filename

You can specify the start location using Windows Explorer: simply open the location in Explorer (C:\Folder217 for example) and then type in your search criteria (Q4sales - for example). You can filter the results with keywords such as type: kind: - you can aslo use boolean controls such as AND, OR, NOT.

kind: is very useful. This keyword has additional parametres (folders, picture, document, music, communication, email....) that group many types (jpg, gif, psp, bmp...) of the same category of objects into one search.

I found it very frustrating for the fist few months - I could see the file in Explorer and search said nothing was found. Well, old habits are hard to break. I kept telling search to look for a file named XYZ.* - none existed.

I'm still learning more about search - but I'm not as frustrated with it. I'm still struggling with regular expressions - parens '(' and ')' are special characters and I have a lot of (1990)....(2012) named files or (2) named files from copy, but keep both.

Anyway.... I hope the links above help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #6

7 x64

Very similar question was asked here, which you might want to look at:

Microsoft Forum: Can I restore the XP style search to Windows 7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

You definitely don't need any third party software. I use search often, and I love the fact it checks my e-mail as well (in case I didn't actually save an attachment, as an example). Kari's explanations will explain how to find what you are looking for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #8

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

There are some other cool features

filename:=billsstuff means find exactly a file named billsstuff
filename:~>stuff means find any filename with stuff at the end of the filename
and conversely
filename:<~stuff means find any filename with stuff at the beginning of the filename

I'm not certain what the difference is between name and filename, perhaps there isn't any - like type: and ext:

Anyway, there's a learning curve and I've only scratched the basics.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2013   #9

W7, W8.1

Steve, while you work to sort out the w7 search intricacies, give Agent Ransack (FileLocator lite) a test run. Many (also on the forum here) find it to be an excellent tool. Been extremely reliable here, often needing to find content inside .php & very large .sql files, it never fails me.

BTW, you're not alone in finding the w7 search UI quite cumbersome, just search the web (or this very forum). Add to this some known issues, posted on (which may have been rectified or not by now). Anyway, good luck with whatever tool you choose, and am hoping you'll find all your files!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How can I search in Windows 7 like I used to in Windows XP?

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