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Windows 7: Windows Search - Configure and Use

Windows Search - Configure and Use

How to configure and fully utilize Windows 7 Search
Published by Dzomlija
07 Dec 2010
Published by

Setting Up Windows Search

There is a great deal of confusion among people as to whether or not Windows Search works or not, and an even greater number of people that just don't use it because they don't know how, or are not aware of its advanced facilities. The intention of this tutorial is to show you just how advanced Windows Search is, and how easy it is to fully utilize this great feature of Windows 7 to its full potential by performing basic searches, and how to make full use of the Advanced Query Language.

Opening Indexing Options
1) Click the Start Orb
2) Type "index" (without quotes) in the search box
3) Click "Indexing Options" in the search results

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image1.jpg

Finding and opening Indexing Options

4) The Indexing Options window shows you the status of the indexer, and provides command buttons that you can use to modify options

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image2.jpg

Indexing Options

Modifying Search Locations
The easiest way of adding a folder, and all associated subfolders, to the index is to add it to a Library. Sometimes, however, you want to add a drive or folder to the index, but don't want to include it in a library.

1) Open Indexing Options as shown in "Opening Indexing Options" above
2) Click the "Modify" button to open the "Indexed Locations" window

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image3_modify1.jpg

Indexed Locations showing which drives are indexed.

3) Click the boxes in the "Change selected locations" list to add (checked) or remove (unchecked) a drive from the index.
4) If you want to exclude a specific folder, you can expand the list by clicking the arrows at the left of a folder name to browse for a folder. Then simply remove the checkmark from the folder you want to exclude.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image3_modify2.jpg

Indexed Locations showing a folder being excluded[/SIZE]

5) When you have made the required changes to the indexed locations, click the "OK" button.

information   Information
Even if you uncheck and re-check your system drive C: in an attempt to have it fully indexed, the following folders will always be excluded:

Advanced Options
The default settings for Windows Search are sufficient for most users, but sometimes you need to access the advanced options to improve search results. Here are some advanced indexing settings you can change.

1) Open Indexing Options as shown in "Opening Indexing Options" above
2) Click the "Advanced" button to open the "Advanced Options" window.

Index Settings
File Settings
The two options that are available to you here allow encrypted files to be indexed, and how similar words are treated. If either of these two options are changed, the index will be rebuilt, which can take a long time and may cause incomplete search results until complete.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image4_advanced1.jpg

Advanced Options - Index Settings
Index encrypted files
If you add encrypted files to the index and you're not using full-volume encryption for the location of the index, encrypted data from your files—for example, text from an encrypted Microsoft Word document—will be added to the index. The index is obscured so that it's not easily readable if someone tries to open the index files, but it doesn't have strong data encryption. If someone were to gain access to your computer, they could extract your data from the index. Therefore, the location of the index should also be encrypted to help protect your indexed data.

Treat similar words with diacritic as different words
If you commonly use diacritics (small signs added to letters to change the pronunciation of words) in your file and folder names, you can configure the index to recognize words with diacritics differently. By default, Windows recognizes diacritics according to the language version you are using. If you change this setting, all diacritics will be recognized.
Not everything works as smoothly as we'd like, and sometimes things go wrong. If the Windows Search Index for whatever reason becomes corrupted, you may notice that search results don't update quickly enough, or displays files that have long since been deleted.

If this happens, you will need to rebuild the index by clicking the Rebuild button.

Rebuilding the index can take anything from a few minutes to several hours to complete, depending on settings and the number of files that need to be indexed. It is best to issue the Rebuild command at a time when you will not be using the computer, because any kind of user activity will cause the rebuild to take longer. Leaving the computer on overnight at least once is the best choice.

Once the index is properly initialized, it update very quickly whenever you save a new file or make changes to existing ones.

Index Location
If you need to free up space on a hard disk, you can change the location of the index. If you change this location, the Windows Search service will automatically be restarted, and the change will not go into effect until the restart is complete.
1) Click "Select New"
2) Select a new location for the Index, which should be a location that exists on a non-removable drive formatted with the NTFS file system.
3) Click "OK"
File Types
The File Types tab of Advanced Options allows you to set which files are indexed, and how. Even though there are two options available to you when you select a file type in the list, you should avoid changing them unless you have reason to do so:

Index Properties Only
Only standard metadata for the selected file type will be indexed by the "File Properties Filter", and varies depending on the file. Generally the properties of a file as shown in the Details tab of a file's properties will be indexed.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image5.jpg

File Properties Details

Index Properties and File Contents
The true power on Windows Search lies in its ability to not only search the metadata of a file, but it's contents as well. The default for most file types is to have only their properties indexed, and indeed not all file types (such as videos, programs, pictures or other binary files) are suited to having their contents searched. By selecting the "Index Properties and File Contents" option for a file type, you can have Windows Search use the "Plain Text Filter" to allow for the contents of a file to be indexed also.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image4_advanced2.jpg

Advanced Options - File Types

For example, as shown in the above screenshot, I've set Windows Search to index the contents of PAS files, which is a source code file for programs that I am writing, and is essentially a plain text file. I can now search my Programming libraries for the name of a code unit by searching for a function name or string contained within it, even if I don't remember the name of the file:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image4_advanced2b.jpg

Searching for a phrase within a file indexed with the Plain Text Filter

It is possible to index the contents of some binary files, but also only if an appropriate IFilter has been installed. An IFilter is a plug-in that allows Windows Search to index different file formats so that they become searchable. Without an appropriate IFilter, contents of a file cannot be parsed and indexed by the search engine.

Most major software, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Reader, will install an appropriate IFilter for their associated file types, allowing them to be indexed.

[info2]If you are using a 64-bit version of Windows 7, you cannot use a 32-bit IFilter.[/info2]

Windows Search - Configure and Use-setup_search_image4_advanced2c.jpg
Some software installs a custom IFilter for their files

Note   Note
By default, the following file types are indexed as text:
.a, .ans, .asc, .asm, .bas, .bat, .bcp, .c, .cc, .cls, .cmd, .cpp, .cs, .csa, .cxx, .dbs, .def, .dic, .dos, .dsp, .dsw, .ext, .faq, .fky, .h, .hpp, .hxx, .i, .ibq, .dl, .idq, .inc, .inf, .ini, .inl, .inx, .jav, .java, .js, .kci, .lgn, .log, .lst, .m3u, .mak, .map, .mdb, .mk, .odh, .odl, .pl, .prc, .rc, .rc2, .rct, .reg, .rgs, .rul, .s, .scc, .sol, .sql, .tab, .tdl, .tiff, .tlh, .tli, .trg, .txt, .udf;udt, .usr, .vbs, .viw, .vspscc, .vsscc, .vssscc, .wri, .wtx

Note   Note
By default, the following file types are excluded from the index:
.386, .aps, .bin, .bk1, .bk2, .bkf, .blf, .bsc, .btr, .cat, .cfg, .cgm, .chk, .ci, .crwl, .cur, .dat, .dbg, .dct, .dir, .dl_, .el, .evt, .ex_, .exp, .eyb, .fnt, .fon, .ghi, .gthr, .hqx, .icm, .idb, .idx, .ilk, .imc, .in_, .ini, .inv, .ipp, .jbf, .lib, .local, .log, .log1, .log2, .m14, .mac, .man, .manifest, .map, .MAPIMail, .mmf, .mui, .muimanifest, .mv, .ncb, .obj, .oc_, .ocx, .onecache, .onetoc, .onetoc2, .ost, .pch, .pdb, .pds, .pf, .pic, .pma, .pmc, .pml, .pmr, .pst, .res, .rmp, .rpc, .rsp, .sbr, .sc2, .sit, .sr_, .sy_, .sym, .tlb, .tlh, .tmf, .tmp, .ttc, .ttf, .ufm, .vbx, .vxd, .wll, .wlt, .xbm, .xix, .z96, .ZFSendToTarget

Using Windows Search
There are two ways of searching for files on your computer - the Start Menu and Windows Explorer:

Start Menu Search
In Windows 7, the Start Menu was adapted to include a search box that can be used to search for both programs or files, the most common use of which is to locate items in the Control Panel or the Start Menu itself. To use it, simply click the start orb and begin typing your query. For example, to quickly find all Control Panel options relating to Networking, do the following:
1) Click the Start Orb
2) Type "network" (without quotes)
3) Other results, such as file or folders stored on your hard drive, may also be displayed in the Start Menu Search. To view such results in Windows Explorer, click "See more results".

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image1_start_menu.jpg
Using the Start Menu to search for Network related control panel items

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image2_start_menu.jpg
Opening Start Menu search results in Explorer

Windows Explorer
Global Search
Windows Search can be started by using the <WINDOWS_KEY>+<F> shortcut to open the Search window, wherein you can immediately begin typing your query, which will be executed across your entire index.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image5_shortcut.jpg Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image5_shortcut2.jpg
Windows Search started using the shortcut key

Constrained Search
Windows Search can be initiated from any Explorer window, by simply clicking on the search bar in the upper right corner of the window and starting to type.

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image3_explorer.jpg Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image3_explorer2.jpg
Windows Explorer search

[tip2]If you don't like to use the mouse, the Windows Explorer search box is also quickly accessible by pressing the <F3> key.[/tip2]

Using Windows Search from within Explorer in this fashion will restrict searches to the current folder or library, and all associated subfolders. For example, if I'm currently browsing "F:\Documents", and begin a search for "experience", I'll get the following results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image4_explorer.jpg
Windows Explorer Search restricted to "My Documents"

But the exact same query initiated from "F:\Pictures" will yield entirely different results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image4_explorer2.jpg
Windows Explorer Search restricted to "My Pictures"

Advanced Search Techniques
Now that you are familiar with the basic usage of Windows Search, it's time to learn some of the more advanced features that it offers.

Searching for Common File Types
Searches often return more results than are desired, and locating the exact file in the search results can be almost as hard as trying to remember which folder it's in:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types.jpg
Search sometimes returns more results than are necessary

Windows Search is fortunately aware of the file types most commonly found on a computer, and provides a way for you to filter searches down to only those specific files. As shown in the above screenshot, a search for the word "experience" returned 218 results. But I'm only looking for text based documents, so the first few results are irrelevant.

In order to filter the results, I'll change my search query to experience kind:docs to only search for documents:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types2.jpg
Filtering search results using Kind

Using kind:, I was able to reduce the search results from 218 to 80, a far more manageable number, and therefore easier to find the file I am looking for. It should be noted that the kind: filter is nonspecific, as the results it returns often cover more than one file type.

As seen in the example above, kind:docs locates several file types, including (but not limited to) the following file types:
  • Microsoft Office Word Document
  • Microsoft Office Excel Documents
  • Adobe Acrobat Document
  • Text Document
  • etc...
Searching for specific file types
Sometimes the results of a nonspecific search are undesirable, and you're only looking for a particular type of document. Changing the query to experience type:word will restrict the results to show only Microsoft Word Documents:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types3.jpg
Finding only Word documents

And the search results are reduced again, this time returning only 8 files in the list.

The type: filter makes use of the type description for a file as displayed in Windows Explorer details view, and therefore does not require you to remember file type extensions. For example type:office will find all files with the "office" in the type description:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types4.jpg
Finding all "office" documents

File Properties
Windows Search will include in its index only standard file metadata, and varies depending on the file. In most cases, the properties of a file as displayed in the Details tab will be indexed:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image8_properties1.jpg
Only standard file metadata is indexed

The above properties screenshot for an image file shows several properties, including "Title", "Subject", "Rating", "Tags", "Comments", "Width" and "Height", all of which can be utilized to great effect in when executing searches.

For example, if your desktop resolution is set to 1600x1200, you will use width:1600 height:1200 to search for a desktop image that will exactly fit this display size without being distorted:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image8_properties2.jpg
Finding pictures that exactly match 1600x1200

If you use either Windows Live Photo Gallery or another 3rd party program to organize your photos, and make use of the tagging facilities, then you can classify your photos according to the applicable event. For example, tag:london will find all pictures that contain the word "london" in their tag:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image8_properties3.jpg
Finding all pictures tagged with the word "london"

Compound Searches
Windows Search does not limit you to using a single filter or query, and provides several methods of combining queries to build complex searches using NOT, OR and AND. These keywords are often referred to as Boolean Operators.

[note2]When using either of these operators as explained below, they must always be typed in uppercase. For example, type:office NOT type:word is supposed to return all files containing the word "office" but not "word" in the type description[/note2]
The NOT operator is used to exclude particular results from the list. For example, type:office type:word will display only those files that contain both the words "office" and "word" in their type description:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types5a.jpg
Finding all Office Word documents

If the NOT operator is included and the query changed to type:office NOT type:word, then all files containing "Office" in their type description will be displayed, except those containing "word":

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image6_advanced_file_types5b.jpg
Finding all Office documents, except Word


The OR operator is used to combine queries. For example, type:text OR type:adobe will find all file with either "text", "adobe", or both words in their type description:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image7_boolean3.jpg
Finding either Text or Adobe files


AND is the default operator for combining queries, and can in most cases be completely excluded. For example, type:office AND NOT type:word is the same as type:office NOT type:word and will return identical results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image7_boolean1.jpg Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image7_boolean2.jpg
The use of the AND operator is optional

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image7_boolean2.jpg
Boolean operators must be used in all uppercase

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image7_boolean2b.jpg
Radically different results are returned if Boolean Operators are not in uppercase.

Quotation marks
Quotation marks are used by Windows Search to combine two or more words together in order to have them treated as a single word. For example, if I want to search for pictures pertaining to a World War, I'll use tag:world war, which will return the following results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image9_quotes1.jpg
Searching for World War pictures

As you can see, the first few results have nothing to do with a World War, so to exclude them from the search I'd change the query to tag:"world war", which would yield the correct results that I am looking for:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image9_quotes2.jpg
Searching for Word War pictures

As with quotation marks, Parenthesis is used by Windows Search to combine search terms together, but unlike quotation marks, terms are not treated as a single word. For example, the query tag:history september is intended to find files pertaining to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. As can be seen from the results below, I also got results relating to World War 2:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image10_brackets1.jpg

The above query did not work as intended, because Windows Search interpreted it as meaning to find all files with a "history" tag, and any other property containing the word "september". If I change the query to tag:(history september), then Windows Search will locate files with tags containing both words:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image10_brackets2.jpg

Parenthesis are also used to combine search queries to allow for more complex fine-tuning of the results. For example, tag:general NOT tag:indoors OR tag:outdoors will locate all file containing the tags "general" or "outdoors", but not "indoors":

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image10_brackets3.jpg

If I change the query to tag:general NOT (tag:indoors OR tag:outdoors), then I'll get the desired results of all files tagged with the word "general", but files tagged with either "indoors" or "outdoors" will be excluded from the list:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image10_brackets4.jpg

Windows Search, when executing simple searches, doesn't know the difference between numbers and letters, and treats numeric entries as both, as is evident in a simple query for 1920, which returns results from the filename, width and height properties, highlighted in yellow in the following screenshot:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image11_numbers1.jpg
Searching for 1920

Files contain various numeric properties, and Windows Search keywords treats such properties as numbers. For example, if I change the above query to width:1920, then the results change to show only those files whose width exactly match 1920 pixels:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image11_numbers2.jpg
Finding pictures that are 1920 pixels wide.

Windows Search also makes it possible to find numbers using Boolean operators < (less than), > (greater than), <> (not equal to), <= (less than or equal to) and >= (larger than or equal to).

The query width:<1920 will find all files whose width is less than 1920:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image11_numbers3.jpg
Finding files whose width is less than 1920 pixels

The query width:>=2600 will find all file whose width is either equal to, or exceeds, 2600 pixels:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image11_numbers4.jpg
Finding images with a width larger than or equal to 2600 pixels

Dates are handled differently on each computer according to the regional settings you have applied. If, for example, you've set you short date format to "dd/mm/yyyy", then Windows Search will expect dates to be entered in the same fashion. For example, the query date:??10/29/?2010 fails because my date settings are different:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates1a.jpg
Date search fails, because format of date incorrectly typed

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates1b.jpg
Windows Search requires that date entries matching your short date format are used.

Fortunately, Windows Search makes it very easy for you to enter dates correctly, because when it detects that you are attempting to enter a date, it provides a handy drop down box that you can use to select an appropriate date:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates2a.jpg
Windows Search detects when you are trying to enter a date

Selecting 29 October 2010 in the date drop down box creates the query date:?29/?10/?2010 and returns the following results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates2b.jpg
Search for file created on 29 October 2010

The date drop down also allows you to quickly and easily select a range of dates by dragging with the mouse:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates2c.jpg
Searching for a range of dates

The date: operator is a global operator similar to kind:, because it will search for all possible date types, including Created, Modified and Taken. You can search for when a particular file was modified by using the datemodified: operator. For example, datemodified:4/?12/?2010 will locate all files that where modified on 4 December 2010:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image12_dates3.jpg
Finding files modified on 4 December 2010

Saving Search Queries
Some search queries you create will be simple in nature, and others will be more complex for specific results. For example, the query kind:pics datecreated:20/11/2010 width:1920 tag:swimsuits will return the following results:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image13_savesearch1.jpg
A complex search to find wallpapers created on 20 November 2010

Remembering the exact terms used for creating a complex search isn't easy, but Windows Search provides for you an easy way of saving it's search queries to be used again. Clicking the "Save search" button on the Explorer toolbar will open the Save As dialog where you can type a meaningful name for the search that is easier to remember:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image13_savesearch2.jpg
Saving a complex search

The search will be saved to the Favorites navigation pane of Windows Explorer, for easy one-click access:

Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image13_savesearch3a.jpg Windows Search - Configure and Use-use_search_image13_savesearch3b.jpg

Reusing a previously saved complex search

Windows Search Reference
Now that you are familiar with the basics of Windows Search, you might be wondering how you can be even more efficient when it comes to finding files and e-mails on your PC. Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) can help you do just that. Using AQS, you can quickly define and narrow your searches for even more targeted results.

You can narrow your searches using a variety of keywords, or search parameters, which can restrict your query to specific locations, specific file types or properties within those types, or specific "file kinds".

The tables below give you an overview of additional syntax that can be used with Windows Search, including the properties that can be added to your search terms to narrow and refine your results.

Common file kinds

Users can also limit their searches to specific types of files, called file kinds.

To Restrict by File Type:UseExample
All file typeseverythingkind:everything
Instant Messenger conversationsimkind:im
Text documentstextkind:text

Boolean Properties
Search keywords and file properties can be combined to broaden or narrow a search with Boolean operators:

ANDsocial AND securityFinds items that contain social and security.
[COLOR=blue]NOTsocial NOT securityFinds items that contain social, but not security.
social –securityFinds items that contain social, but not security.
ORsocial OR securityFinds items that contain social or security.
>size:>500Finds items with a size greater than 500 bytes.
<date:<11/05/04Finds items with a date before 11/05/04. items with a date beginning on 11/05/04 and ending on 11/10/04.
<>date:<>11/05/04Finds items with a date other than 11/05/04.
>=date:>=11/05/04Finds items with a date on or after 11/05/04.
<=date:<=11/05/04Finds items with a date before or on 11/05/04.
Quotation markssocial securityFinds items that contain the exact phrase social security.
Parentheses(social security)Finds items that contain social and security in any order.


In addition to searching on specific dates and date ranges using the date, datecreated or datemodified operators described earlier, Windows Search allows relative date values:

today, tomorrow, yesterday, earlierthisweek, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday

thisweek, lastweek

nextmonth, lastmonth, pastmonth, earlierthismonth, january, february, mearch, april, may, june, july, august, september, october, november, december

alongtimeago, earlierthisyear, lastyear, pastyear

Common File Properties

Many of these properties are common to all file kinds.

Titletitletitle:"Quarterly Financial"
Subjectsubjectsubject:"Fashion Show 2009"
Datedatedate:last week
Date modifieddatemodified or modifiedmodified:last week
Importanceimportance or priorityimportance:high
Sizesizesize:> 50
Deleteddeleted or isdeletedisdeleted:true
Is attachmentisattachmentisattachment:true
Toto or tonameto:bob
Cccc or ccnamecc:john
Locationlocationlocation:"Conference Room 102"
Keywordskeywordskeywords:"sales projections"
Albumalbumalbum:"Fly by Night"
File namefilename or filefilename:MyResume
Authorauthor or byauthor:"Stephen King"
Peoplepeople or withwith:(sonja or david)
Folderfolder, under or pathfolder:downloads
File extensionext or fileextext:.txt


These are properties common to documents, and is commonly used together with the kind:docs operator.

Commentscommentscomments:"needs final review"
Last saved bylastsavedbylastsavedby:john
Document managerdocumentmanagerdocumentmanager:john
Revision numberrevisionnumberrevisionnumber:1.0.3
Document formatdocumentformatdocumentformat:MIMETYPE
Date last printeddatelastprinteddatelastprinted:lastweek


These are properties common to presentations, and is commonly used together with the kind:presentations operator.

Slide countslidecountslidecount:>20


These are properties common to pictures, and is commonly used together with the kind:pics operator.

Camera makecameramakecameramake:sample
Camera modelcameramodelcameramodel:sample
Date takendatetakendatetaken:yesterday


These are properties common to music files, and is commonly used together with the kind:music operator.

Bit ratebitrate, ratebitrate:192
Artistartist, by or fromartist:"Freddie Mercury"
Albumalbumalbum:"A Kind Of Magic"


These are properties common to videos, and is commonly used together with the kind:videos operator.

Namename, subjectname:"Family Vacation to the Beach 05"
Extext, fileextext:.avi


These are properties common to contacts, and is commonly used together with the kind:contacts operator.

Job titlejobtitlejobtitle:CFO
IM addressimaddressimaddress:[email protected]
Assistant's phoneassistantsphoneassistantsphone:555-3323
Assistant nameassistantnameassistantname:Paul
Business citybusinesscitybusinesscity:Seattle
Business postal codebusinesspostalcodebusinesspostalcode:98006
Business home pagebusinesshomepagebusinesshomepage:Microsoft Corporation
Callback phone numbercallbackphonenumbercallbackphonenumber:555-555-2121
Car phonecarphonecarphone:555-555-2121
First namefirstnamefirstname:John
Last namelastnamelastname:Doe
Home faxhomefaxhomefax:555-555-2121
Manager's namemanagersnamemanagersname:John
[CENTER]Business phonebusinessphonebusinessphone:555-555-2121
Home phonehomephonehomephone:555-555-2121
Mobile phonemobilephonemobilephone:555-555-2121
Web pagewebpagewebpage:Microsoft Corporation


These are properties common to communications, and is commonly used together with the kind:communications operator.

Fromfrom or organizerfrom:john
Receivedreceived or sentsent:yesterday
Subjectsubject or titlesubject:"Quarterly Financial"
Has attachmenthasattachments, hasattachmenthasattachment:true
Attachmentsattachments or attachmentattachment:presentation.ppt
Bccbcc, bccname or bccaddressbcc:dave
Cc addressccaddress or ccccaddress:[email protected]
Follow-up flagfollowupflagfollowupflag:2
Due dateduedate or duedue:last week
Readread or isreadis:read
Is completediscompletedis:completed
Incompleteincomplete or isincompleteis:incomplete
Has flaghasflag or isflaggedhas:flag
Durationdurationduration:> 50


These are properties common to calendars, and is commonly used together with the kind:calendar operator.

Recurringrecurring or isrecurringis:recurring
Organizerorganizer, by or fromorganizer:debbie

External Resources

This tutorial was created using information from the following websites:
07 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Excellent work! Cant rep you...need to spread the love. Really comprehensive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

Great info and walk through!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2010   #3
Guy Scharf

Win 7-32, XP Pro-32

Excellent and thorough coverage. I've grown to depend on Windows Search where I avoided search offerings in previous versions of Windows.

I'm suffering from withdrawal shock though. I'm moving to a NAS configuration and have just discovered that I cannot add mapped network drives or UNC names to the list of locations to be indexed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Dec 2010   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Well done Peter!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2011   #5

windows 7 professional 32 bit
windows search

Thank you for this comprehensive tutorial
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 64 bit
how can I find ">java<" in a file?

How can I escape characters in a search, so that i could find a file that has the string
in it? And once I do that, how can I combine that search term with another? Specifically, I know I have a file that has '>java<' and 'recref' in it, but i can never get my search to find it. I have everything indexed.

In trying to figure this out, searching for things that I know should have results, I've found the following:
If I search for '>java<' (not including the quotes, of course), nothing comes back.
If I search for 'java<', then files are found with 'java' in them, not just files with 'java<'.
If I search for 'java< recref' or 'java<,recref', nothing is found.
If I search for 'java recref' the right results for that search come back, but of course they are a giant superset of the files I want.
Trying to escape the > and < with backslashes doesn't work, and using &gt; and &lt; also doesn't work.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2012   #7

Windows 7 pro
Find image files with SAME width and height

I wonder if it's possible, somehow, with AQS to find images with equal width and height.

I tried:


it does not work.

Any idea ?

I need to plow thru some 40G image files and pick out any images which are NOT squared.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit.

Nice article... And pics.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Aug 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Are you kidding?

I don't want to have to learn programming! I just want the search to work. In previous versions of Windows, you could search by type or by date. Very useful. I just want to find a spreadsheet I created sometime in the last half of last year. But I can't do that with this horrible search. Now I read I have to go through all this to get it ready to be searched? Give me a break. How do I go back to Vista? It was awful, but at least the search worked.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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