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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I miss the simplicity of XP's file search options, especially searching for files containing specific text. I understand that most, or even all, of the XP search functions can be found "somewhere"in W7 but actually finding and using them is something else. Can anyone point me to a simple guide to getting the best out of W7 file search?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Sooty, and welcome to the Lounge!

    Windows 7 search is much better than search in any earlier Windows version. Take a look at this link for a multitude of tutorials about all kinds of Windows 7 subjects. Check out various offerings on Search in the "S" index. As a bonus there are plenty of other tutorials as well.

    Here is another one to look over.

    There is a lot to learn about Windows Search in Win7, and most of the negative feedback being passed around on it is due to a lack of digging in to the subject. Give it some time. You will find it very useful.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    You might also want to try Everything Search Engine by Voidtoold at:
    http://www.voidtools.com/

    I find it simpler to use, faster, and has less overhead than Windows 7 search.

    Jerry

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    4 Star Lounger
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    Once you have set Win 7 to indexing everything that you need to search (Index is an applet in the Control Panel), searching couldn't be simpler or faster.

    Press the Windows Key and type your search text: Windows displays the result above. You can even search for contents inside documents or spreadsheets as well as find photos and music.

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have to agree, the search is not finding what you need because what you need has not yet been indexed. I chose the entire drive to index. Be advised though, it does take a while the first time.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Have you noticed that any Windows system files that are not already listed in the Start Menu or Control Panel do not come up when you type their name in the Start Menu search until you have entered the whole name exactly as you would if executing them at the command line? Try it with say, regedit or winhelp32, or ipconfig. Only after typing the last character does the word show up as a search result under the Program heading.

    Yet when you type in something that is already in the Start Menu, like notepad, notepad appears immediately under the Programs heading after entering the first letter "n".

    The reason behind the different behavior is that everything in the Control Panel and Start Menu is by default indexed, along with all user files and folders as well as all Libraries. Windows system files are not indexed (except those already named in the Start Menu or Control Panel) and even if you include C:\Windows in indexing, they will still not be indexed. That accounts for them taking longer to appear when you type them into the Search box. They are not being pulled from the index.

    There are a few other locations that cannot be added to the index. If you have a Windows.old on your drive as a result of an in place upgrade, it will be excluded from indexing. Both the Program Files and Program Files (x86) and all folders within them are also excluded. There are a couple of other locations as well.

    Anytime you add a folder to a Library, it is automatically added to the search index, so no user action is required. If you were to exclude a folder from indexing that is located in a Library, it is better to remove the folder from the Library rather than from the Indexing Options page.

    I think Windows 7 search is a huge improvement on all that came before. Of course, I realize there are some great third party search engines as well, but I do not really need them.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  7. #7
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    I'm a big fan of W7 (and a non-fan of XP), and I do appreciate the Search box's facility to locate programs, but nothing I have seen so far has changed my opinion of W7 file content search. I have learned that indexing is big part of what makes search work, but I'm not a fan of using resources to index the whole drive. In any case I don't think it would have helped me this afternoon when I needed to find a file on a 500 gig USB drive. I plugged it into an XP machine, waited for the drive to show in explorer, right clicked the folder, selected Search, filled in the boxes to find a *.txt file containing a word, and there it was. Who can tell me the simple way to do that in W7?

    (Disclaimer: IIRC there was a trick to setting up XP to search within all file types.)

    In the meantime I tried one of those third party programs, Agent Ransack, aka FileLocator Lite, which looks like it will work very well for me.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Sooty,

    I just moments ago plugged my 1 TB WD USB 2.0 drive into my desktop, opened Windows Explorer, clicked on the drive, which is G:\, and typed into the search box in the upper right corner the following: seized type:.doc --- I was looking for the MS Word file containing the word "seized".

    After five seconds the Word file containing the word "seized" appeared in the search list. I believe it performed fairly well considering the fact that nothing on this drive was indexed, and there are 567 GB of data files on the drive. Now I also ran the search just by entering the word "seized" without specifying any type of document. This was done after a reboot to make it a fair test. It took much longer for the file to appear, on the order of 45 seconds. I then indexed the entire USB 2.0 external drive and ran the search for "seized", again without specifying any document type. The file containing "seized" was displayed immediately.

    I think both of the non-indexed runs were indicative of good performance without indexing (keep in mind 567 GB of files to search at USB 2.0 speeds), and the third search shows indexing as the real strength of Windows 7 search.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Very good comparison Gerald. I wish I had the time to do some of this type of thing, but I just don't. Indexing only takes the resources initially. Once a drive is indexed, I believe Win 7 only needs to index new files from time to time. All the original files remain indexed and ready to search. Again, thank you Gerald.
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    You are welcome Ted. I appreciate the feedback. That was the only major time intensive test I have done with Windows Search and I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to do it. I wish I had more time to do things of that nature.

    As you related about the resources taken by indexing, I was very surprised at how much more efficient Windows 7 is with indexing than was Vista. It was my experience that Vista became like quicksand when indexing was running. My computer was more like molasses than a powerhouse. I even disabled indexing on Vista because it was such a resource hog.

    When I first looked at indexing in Windows 7, I opened the Indexing Options page to watch the process. When I just sat and watched, indexing ran at full speed. But when I opened a file or two, indexing slowed and the text changed on the Options page advising me that indexing had slowed due to user action. Indexing yielded priority to whatever process the user initiated and throttled down to a secondary role. Indexing continued to run, but consumed much lower resources. It was hardly noticeable on a dual core processor machine or greater. When I finished editing my file, within a couple of minutes the indexing ramped up to full throttle and continued until completion. After that, I was never aware of indexing kicking in at all.

    Last night did take some time, but I enabled the option to index file contents as well. That move caused indexing to start from scratch on my computer, and with the addition of that external drive, the number of files indexed was in the tens of thousands. Yet it actually finished faster than I anticipated. I may never index another external hard drive. I'm fine with a five second search, and most of the time I am aware of the type of document I want to search for, so the scope of the search can be narrowed, like in the Word document test.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Sooty,

    One thing I just found is that in Control Panel/Folder Options ther is a search tab to set some of the choices for searching. This may be helpful to you as well.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  12. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I too am not a fan of search tools and having an index running. I have upwards of 6 TBs of internal hard drive space and seldom do I find a need to have to search for something. Better organization is the key here if you can't be bothered with a search tool.
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  13. #13
    Star Lounger
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    Agree with Jerry, try Everything Search Engine! Coupled with Clint's suggestion of organization AND descriptive file names (I throw everything into a file name I might search for later, and add more description to files I'm sent or download) it makes it easy to find files. This is a MUST for Vista and XP!

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Everything is the hands down winner. http://www.voidtools.com/

    Gizmo has recommended it too. It indexes in just moments and not only locates them but allows you access to them.

  15. #15
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    I really miss having search in the context menu for a specific folder. There are many times when I want to search just one folder (and its sub folders), for a word in the content, or, alternatively, know the name of the file, but want to limit my search to my Docments folder tree. It's a very convoluted process to do this in Windows 7, and strikes me that it's another classic example of MS thinking they know better: Yes, the search in windows 7 is way better and quicker than its predecessors, but NO, that doesn't mean you can bin the way that people used to do things (turn it off by default, by all means, but, unless it messes with the new paradigm, which this clearly doesn't, don't bury it).

    I had a look at the proffered tutorials and found nothing useful in this regard. Do any of the third party add ons offer this functionality (and, importantly, do they allow you to specify a location for the index, as well).

    Thanks

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