Computer Help forum


How do I search within files in Windows 7?

by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / October 10, 2013 11:17 PM PDT

I'm use to using Windows XP but I haven't been able to search within files on Windows 7. I basically can't find my own files because I can't search within my files for certain keywords.

I think they took that feature out and I'm afraid to look for programs outside of Cnet because I don't want to get viruses.

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All Answers

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I'm going to write that fear may stop you cold.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 10, 2013 11:26 PM PDT
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Thank you but

Thank you.

I tried this but the options to follow the instructions don't show up.
I'm guessing the indexing service isn't on by default.

In other words:
I right click on "Open Internet Explorer" and the commands on the window that I'm supposed to follow aren't there at all so that instructions don't make sense if the window doesn't look the same at all.

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I never found the link to write that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 11, 2013 1:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you but

If you miss step 1's instruction about opening Windows Explorer I can see where the rest would never make sense.

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My Windows 7 doesn't have the same commands as the instructi

I followed the instructions and the instructions on the web and even the instructions for turning on Windows 7 Search Indexing doesn't help because my Window doesn't have the same commands as the instructions.

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I can see why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 11, 2013 2:32 AM PDT

Step 1 didn't write about Internet Explorer so for now I can only guess why you mentioned that.

You bring up a good point. That is, folk have been buying machines and Windows without any offer of classes or training included. I can see why you would have trouble like this.

Talk to those that support you and show them the link I supplied and ask them to set this up for you.

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Why don't I like this concept?
by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / October 11, 2013 2:45 AM PDT
In reply to: I can see why.

In the good old days, I could just look it up in the manual. Now there is no manual, the boss doesn't pay for classes and Microsoft puts it in help or on a CD somewhere.

The whole idea behind a mouse and screen interface is that it is supposed to be easy and they wanted it to be easy so that more people could use computers but now they are burying commands and not giving manuals so that people will have to pay. Why don't I like this concept?

Sorry if this sounds a little like a rant. Thanks for the help though.

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Keep in mind
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 11, 2013 2:47 AM PDT

Your reply wrote about Internet Explorer but step 1 didn't ask for that.

You could try running Explorer and see if you can pick up at a later step.

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The ONE big thing. Read this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 11, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

Internet Explorer is not Windows Explorer. If you didn't get Explorer running then all the instructions would result in you posting much if not all of the above.

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by Jimmy Greystone / October 10, 2013 11:50 PM PDT

No, it's still a native feature of Windows. You just use the search box along the top right corner of every Windows Explorer window and as long as the indexing service is running (and it is by default) and the directory where you're storing your files is indexed you can search within files of any format the indexing service knows how to read. The only thing that is kind of annoying, is it defaults to searching from the current directory and subdirectories. If you're looking for something further up the directory tree, you have to navigate there first. IMO, for what little it's worth, it seems like the better way of doing this would have been to start searching at the root of the directory tree and then allow the user to check a box that limits it to the current directory and any subdirectories if they want, but that's Microsoft for you and it might well have had to be this way to get around any patents Apple has on this particular function.

Personally, as someone who has large collections of video files, I go in and direct the indexing service not to even try and index those directories. It'll just consume large amounts of resources the first time it attempts it and there's nothing to gain trying to search inside a video file as if it were a text file.

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How do you turn on the indexing service?
by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / October 11, 2013 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: No

How do you turn on the indexing service if it isn't on by default?

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It is on by default
by Jimmy Greystone / October 11, 2013 10:17 AM PDT

It is on by default, so unless you went out of your way to change things, the indexing service is running. If you turned it off, I assume you knew what you were doing and not just blindly following some random bit of advice that could just as easily lead you to even more trouble, so should know how to turn it back on.

The one thing I will say is that, for whatever reason, every now and then Windows Explorer windows don't always have the search bar. Every time I've run into this issue I just open a new Explorer window and the search bar is there. If it were more than a once in a while thing that wasn't easily fixed with a single keyboard shortcut to open a new window, I would have tried to figure out why that happens. As it is, it's not worth the effort.

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Easy - first we need to resurrect Vern Buerg .....
by Ted de Castro / October 11, 2013 11:06 AM PDT

and then get him to rewrite LIST as an EXE - this is probably easier than getting M$ to support COM files again.

Alternatively - MAYBE someone reading this can someone point us to Vern's source code and MAYBE some programmer could take up the task.

Just LIST as an EXE - NOT a windowized version!! Also - would be great if in its new life it could actually READ PDF files too.

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Old school FIND
by dolbyg / October 11, 2013 12:16 PM PDT

Open a Command prompt under your Accessories (the black icon). Use the CD and FIND commands, plus wildcards * and ? in your file names. (You actually have to type all these) Include (space)/? after a command to see its help. Your commands might look like:

CD "Users\Tarzan"
FIND "Jane" *.DOC
FIND /i "jane" *.DOCX |MORE

"Jane" is case-sensitive in the first FIND, but not the second.


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Why not just make use ...
by Edward ODaniel / October 11, 2013 3:20 PM PDT

of the native command line to handle the task?

Windows NT versions since Win 2000 have all had that good old FINDSTR.EXE for searching within files (and earlier versions had it available in their resource kits) . ALL versions of Windows also have the FIND.EXE command

Open a command prompt and type in FINDSTR /? and/or FIND /? for a list of the switches, examples and syntax.

c:\>find /?
Searches for a text string in a file or files.FIND [/V] [/C] [/N]
[/OFF[LINE]] "string" [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]
/V Displays all lines NOT containing the specified string.
/C Displays only the count of lines containing the string.
/N Displays line numbers with the displayed lines.
/I Ignores the case of characters when searching for the string.
/OFF[LINE] Do not skip files with offline attribute set.
"string" Specifies the text string to find. [drive:][path]filename Specifies a file or files to search.

If a path is not specified, FIND searches the text typed at the prompt or piped from another command.

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by Incognito60 / October 12, 2013 7:01 PM PDT

Just go here and download this small program called Everything.

It self runs and does not install. can also run from USB drive pen. Ideal for searching any PC quickly.

It will quickly index everything on all your drives in less than a minute and when you put in your search at top will show every file on your drive that matches or has your search word/s in it. Once you find or see the file or program you want just click and it will take you that file on your drive.

I find it faster and more accurate than built in search engine.

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1.3 Does Everything search file contents? No, "Everything"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 12, 2013 9:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Everything

"1.3 Does Everything search file contents?

No, "Everything" does not search file contents, only file and folder names."

Sorry but it does not appear to do what the OP asked for.

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