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Windows 7: Windows 7 search doesn’t find text strings

26 Oct 2013   #1
Odd Ramos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Windows 7 search doesn’t find text strings

I’m not able to find any text strings starting not from the beginning of word in filename or in file content using Windows 7 search.

My Windows 7 search configuration:

Let’s say I’m searching for a documents containing word “content”.

I’m able to find those documents when searching for “content”, “conte”, “con” (as long as the string includes the beginning of the word).



But if I search for “ontent”, “tent” or any other combination that doesn’t include the beginning of the word, Windows search won't find it.

I've tried other indexing/searching software such as Copernic Desktop search, Google desktop search.
Those programs also weren’t able to find part of the word starting from the middle of the word. For instance, it finds “conte”, but doesn’t find “onte”.

Finds “conte”

Doesn’t find “onte”

I got the same problem using Copernic desktop search.

On the other hand, when I use non-indexing content search software such as Agent Ransack or FileSeek, I get the same results when searching for “conte” or “onte”:



Why do all pre-indexing content search applications (Windows search, Google desktop, Copernic desktop search) fail to search for a string inside the words?

Why do non-indexing applications find text strings wherever they are: in the beginning, middle or end of the word?

How can I make Windows search find strings from any part of words?

Thank you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #2

W7, W8.1

Check if this works:


I find W7 search cumbersome and sometimes unreliable (but fast to find the calulator! lol).
For any important search needs I use Agent Ransack (home) \ FileLocator Pro (work), non-indexed but immensely reliable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #3
Odd Ramos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I've tried using wildcards and other constructions with no luck.

content: onte

All these searches doesn't find the word “content” when searching inside files.

However, I've found that *onte will find the word "content" in the filename, but I'm mainly interested in searching inside text files not in the filenames.

Could somebody try the search examples I've made and see if Windows 7 search will give correct search results for you and find a string in the middle of word inside text files like txt, docx, pdf?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Oct 2013   #4

W7, W8.1

Hello, the ~ setting works here and finds content in many file types, example: .doc .txt .html .rtf .xml .sql .ini .docx etc etc (but no luck with .pdf and more. Agent Ransack always digs out everything). Anyway, will be interesting to see if anyone can come up with an exact solution for your question.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2013   #5
Odd Ramos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Archivarius 3000

I've been recommended to try Archivarius 3000.

I’ve tested Archivarius 3000 and I must say it’s amazing!

Archivarius 3000 does exactly what I wanted: it indexes my text containing files and search their contents for a text string anywhere in the word.
That is: if I search for *phleb* I would get text files containing “postphlebitic”, “thrombophlebitic”, “phlebitis” etc.

Archivarius 3000 searches in .pdf, .epub, .mobi, .chm, doc, docx., txt etc.
To give you understanding how good Archivarius 3000 is I’ll give you this example:

I’ve indexed 2031 ebooks in .pdf format. Of course, indexing took a while.

Then I searched for *phleb*.

Archivarius finished search in 0.859 second and gave me 169 ebooks containing the string “phleb”.

It took 0.859 second to search through 2031 books!

Just imagine how long would non indexed search take in order to complete this task… Imagine that you have search many times...

Well this is the real power of indexed search. Spend some time building the index and then search in super fast speeds!

Here’s a screenshot of this search example in Arhivarius 3000:

Windows 7 search

Now a short comment on Windows 7 search.

I’ve found that if I index files, then Windows search would search for a text string only in beginning of the words, that is if I search for ball or ~~ball it won’t find text files containing the words “football”, “basketball” etc.

On the other hand, if I don’t index files, and use non-indexed Windows 7 search, and search for ~~ball (~~ before ball is a must) then it would find text files containing the words “football”, “basketball” etc.

Test it please. Do you experience the same?

Short review of various search applications I’ve tested

Non-indexing searches

File Locator Lite (Former Agent Ransack)

Sees .chm file as one file, therefore search in .chm files gives clean results.

Nice and simple interface.

Searches all mainstream text formats except .Epub

Best for non-indexed search daily use.


PowerGrep sees every .chm as many files, therefore search in one .chm file gives many different results showed as different files.

PowerGrep searches in .epub and all other mainstream text formats. Searching in one .epub file also gives many different results showed as different files. The same as with .chm format.
This complicates searching in .chm and .epub formats.

Sometimes PowerGrep fails to search in .pdf, but gives a message that particular .pdf file was skipped, because it’s “proprietary format”. This problem only happens on particular pdf files. Other pdfs are fine. Don’t know why.

PowerGREP is very powerful, therefore it has a little bit complicated interface for frequent use.

Windows 7 search in non-indexing mode

As other non-indexed search applications search is capable of searching for a text string anywhere in the word.

~~ should be used before the text string. For instance searching for ~~ball would find the words “football”, “basketball”. Searching for 'ball', won't find the words “football”, “basketball”

Indexing searches

Archivarius 3000

The only program I’ve found so far, that indexes files and searches in file contents for a text string in any part of the word, not just in the beginning of word, for instance the program would find the words “thrombophlebitis, “postphlebitic”, “phlebitis” if you search for *phleb*.

Searches in .Epub and all other mainstream text formats.

Archivarius 3000 sees every .chm and .epub as many files, therefore search in one .chm or .epub file gives many different results showed as different files. This complicates searching in .chm and .epub formats.

Other indexed search applications

All other indexed search applications I’ve tested: Windows 7 search in indexing mode, Copernic desktop search, Google desktop, X1 search only search for a text string in the beginning of the word.

Let’s summarize this thread

Application best suitable for file name search (for a regular search to find a particular file with specific filename) is Search Everything.

Application best suitable for non-indexed file content search is File Locator Lite (former Agent Ransack).
File Locator Lite searches in .pdf, .mobi, .chm, doc, docx., txt etc., but doesn’t search in .EPUB.

PowerGREP is another very nice application for non-indexed file content search that searches everything that File Locator Lite does + .EPUB format.

Application best suitable for indexed file content search is Archivarius 3000.
Searches in .pdf, .epub, .mobi, .chm, doc, docx., txt etc. for a string anywhere in the word.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 search doesn’t find text strings

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