Search file names question!

  1.    28 May 2016 #1

    Search file names question!


    Currently, when I search within folders, it only searches the beginning of the file names.
    Is there a way to search within the file names? Like you can when you press ctrl + f in a body of text.
    Thank you!!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    28 May 2016 #2

    Hello, do you mean the search field in explorer?

    You can use regular expressions and much more.. e.g.

    would match names with any number of characters, music, 1 character and 2
    Advanced Query Syntax (Windows)

    Not sure that's your question.

    If by 'within the file names' you mean also search the file content, then I would recommend Locate32 (freeware).
    This does a fast index of your files and folders, and the search fields and syntax support searching text file content as well as detailed specification of the names. I use this regularly.

    (Everything by voidtools is similar and more modern, but does not support searching file contents).

    Using explorer search to find file content
    This is supported but little known, I think
    See 'Using Windows Search" here:
    How to Search the Content of Your Files on Windows

    You will find e.g. doc, rtf, docx, txt marked as 'search contents' as well.
    So open a folder that is indexed, which contains some file types like that.
    Let's say one of them contains

    "765432abc" in explorer's search field including "".
    (Refer to Advanced Query Syntax (Windows) )
    Your file should be listed.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 pro
       28 May 2016 #3

    Perfect question for me to start off with... since I had to sit down a couple of days ago and find the answers myself... it ain't easy ;-)

    A big change in file searches that began with win7 was that windows not only searched for filenames, but would return every file that contained what you were searching for that was contained in any file. For example, search for "shirt" and not only would you get filenames containing "shirt" you would get any file that contained the word "shirt" in the file.

    There is unfortunately no way to change this default behavior, but you can add "modifiers" to your search such as;
    which will return only files that contain "shirt" in the filename at the beginning or after a space or underline in the filename.

    The windows documentation is wrong about this modifer term... it states that you must use "filename:" but "name:" is functionally identical... four characters less at least.

    Note, that if you are seeing only results that begin with your search term, remember that the column sort may be grouping them so that other filenames containing what you are searching for may not be easy to spot.

    You can also specify folder names to search such as;

    There are many other modifier terms that can be used when searching. You don't have to learn them because when you use file explorer's menu/search when you select on, windows will type out the modifier phrase in the search box.

    More on this at;
    Advanced Query Syntax (Windows)

    I'll post more findings if anyone expresses interest.

    Beverly Howard
    Last edited by BevHoward; 28 May 2016 at 14:43.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 pro
       28 May 2016 #4

    Oops.. color me wrong on this one... turns out that the above syntax works only if there is a space or underline before the string you are searching for in the filename. I do remember that I found an option in the past... will report back.

    Beverly Howard
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 pro
       28 May 2016 #5

    Found it...

    Turns out that the moidifer "name:" modifier is not the same as "filename:"

    Plus, you have to use a wildcard to match strings embedded within the filename.

    so, use the "filename:" modifier with a wildcard

    For example, searching for filenames that contain "tips" somewhere in the name use the syntax;


    Sorry for the error,
    Beverly Howard
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    28 May 2016 #6

    Thing is though, the files have to be indexed, + the syntax is convoluted.

    Therefore the 3rd party tool is definitely my preference, allowing specification by size, date, filename etc etc and then also by content.

    Now... can Windows search search text-based pdf's? Er... actually yes, along with htm, html...
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 pro
       28 May 2016 #7

    Now... can Windows search search text-based pdf's?
    My experience is that windows search will find strings in pdf files. This will obviously depend on the pdf's encryption and other file settings.

    Not only that, and not sure if it is still in place, but search used to find strings in TIF files using OCR... this was because TIF is a widely used format to send FAX files received by computers and web services.

    Another useful option is to put descriptive comments in image files' "comment" "EXIF" and "IPTC" fields... notably JPG files comments. Windows search will find those strings making image searches much easier.

    Beverly Howard
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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