How do I search for files in Windows Vista?
What is the most effective way to perform file, folder or data searches in Windows Vista? Is it the same as it was finding files in Windows XP?
No! Performing searches has drastically changed in Windows Vista; what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished task using Vista's powerful new Search features.
If you're looking to find an application or file, you can now use the Start Search feature found in the Start menu.
For example, let's say that you wanted to find your Microsoft Office applications; you can do the following:
1. Click the Start button.
2. Type "office" in the Start Search box of the Start menu.
3. Select the desired program, file, or communication.
The screen below shows what Windows Vista returns if you follow the above steps:
If you are working with the Documents folder, you can perform an instantaneous search using the Searches folder from Favorite Links. The new Searches feature contains a number of specific searches that Windows Vista performs on startup; if you select one of the pre-saved criteria, you get immediate results.
To use Searches:
1. Open Documents.
2. Select Searches from Favorite Links.
3. Choose one of the pre-saved search criteria; the results are displayed instantaneously.
The following screen shows the Searches criteria followed by its results.
You can also use the Search box located at the top right of any folder to look for any file or application on your computer. Once completed, you may opt to click Save Search and save it as a pre-saved search criteria as mentioned above.
There's also the Search feature available in the Start menu. The Advanced feature button lets you supply additional information that can facilitate searches, as shown below.
As you can see, Windows Vista provides considerably more, and better, ways to find what you're looking for fast.
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Windows PC Help
Written by Dave Taylor
file search vista, microsoft windows vista, vista search, windows vista
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Reader Comments To Date: 291
Its a load of rubbish, its the clumsiest interface I have ever known, and this Vista search facility cannot even distinguish between [square] and (round) brackets, and the most annoying thing is that I can figure out how to remove the search box from the windows as it impedes the address bar.
Thank you for finally explaining where they hid what is now called 'advanced search' in Vista. It is now a few more clicks to get to, but at least I have a reasonable search capability to use.
That (aside from the crashes) was my biggest problem with Vista. Now if I could only learn how to tell where all of those shortcuts in the file results are pointing. I don't want to know where the shortcut is, I want to know where the FILE is!!! And if I could figure out how to set 'shut down' and not 'sleep' as the default, I might find Vista less of a continual annoyance.
I can not figure out how to find a file in a directory with Vista. For example, how can I find files that contains the word 'Hi' in a directory? It is very frustrating.
WINDOWS VISTA SEARCH CANNOT FIND ANYTHING. This software is awful.
Windows Vista Search engine apparently is not full proof... this is what i found out recently... i not sure why but one of my word documents cannot be found by my search engine despite me typing the excat same name of the document or that the search engine can find the other document next to it... what makes it even weird is that i remember being able to search for it a few weeks ago...
do you have any idea of what is happening? and how to fix this problem?
is there no help on the menu bar?
how can i get help with some of the basic functions in word (using vista) and not have to go to the internet to find it? i haven't gotten any help within ms office.
Vista search is abysmal compared to Win2k - can't find anything - for example, tried searching for *.mdb - nothing found (despite the fact I have lots of db files on the pc), removed the *. just in case, nothing found. It's awful and I wish I had the option of reverting back to a decent search tool on this PC!
Whoever wrote this is smoking crack. The vista search function is the worst it has ever been. Nightmare in XP? Are you crazy? As with everything else, MS has added more clicks to get to what you want and a confusing interface to boot. XP search was slower than in 2k, but at least it worked the same. Does anyone know a trick to get the old search back?
Sadly I bought Windows Vista. XP Search was terrible. Vista is worse. For example, I need to edit some HTML and ASP files containing the characters "user.dob" ... nah! No can do! Only to realise that aka girlgeek had the same issue back in May ...
Vista file search is useless. It seems that everytime Microsuck 'improves' something it only gets worse. "FIND" in Win9x was far superior to any "SEARCH" that has come since. I am looking at dozens of files that Vista cannot find with "search". I have been using computers since the 70's, so I'm not new to this. Vista sucks and it's file search engine does too.
And one other thing: Dave, you must be a Microsoft lackey, because nobody could try Vista Search who has ever used Win98 Find and say ANYTHING good about it.
Bob, if I'm a Microsoft lackey they have a serious problem because I've been a vocal proponent of the Macintosh platform for almost twenty years now! :-)
What the heck was wrong with the search function on XP? How was it a nightmare? Inquiring minds want to know, because Vista search sucks! I search for things I KNOW are on my computer, NOTHING shows up.
With the old search, If I searched for something, uhm..it found it. They should not have fooled around with it, it's crap now.
I am at the moment trying to find a replacement for the Vista Search utility or how to revert it to the old version. It does not find what you can find from the command line. The index fails to build properly. Microsoft seriously screwed up on this part of Vista.
"what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished task using Vista’s powerful new Search features."
Who paid you to distort reality? What used to be the ability to search file contents is now a product that hides file contents. It has far less search power -- so much less as to be worthless as a productivity tool, and the manufacturer did not disclose to consumers in detail at the point of purchase the standard, usual features it withheld from its latest version.
It's time for Justice to pay another visit to Microsoft. When a company provides a downgraded product based on claims that it is an upgrade, consumer interests are damaged. Rebates, repairs and perhaps compensation for lost productivity might be due.
It does search file contents. The interface is just all mucked up. There's no easy access to advanced search, and the browse-folders link for narrowing searches is buried deep in the set of search options.
When it comes to searching file contents in Vista you can FORGET IT!!!!
I have to seriously question you Dave about praising the VISTA Search facility.
Vista search is truly the most irritating new feature in Vista. What the H ell were they thinking? Those dumb a sses.
I have to agree that the search function is the worst I have ever seen, and I desperately need a replacement. XP was bad enough because it left out certain hidden directories, but the Vista Search function just seems to be plain brain dead. I did an advanced search for files that had changed since a certain date, and it came up with only 2 in the %windows% directory, and none in the %system% directory. Now anyone who knows how Windows operates knows that is impossible. It is just more of Microsoft trying to hide things from the user because they won't understand it anyway. Fortunately the command line "dir" functions still work with the /a and /o:d options. It is slow work, but without it I would not be able to operate at all.
And I thought it was just me.
Does anyone know what windows search is actually designed to do because it finds some pretty unrelated items but it has yet to find what I need, even though I know its there.
If it does indeed work, the user shouldnt need a degree to turn on/off obscure options to do a proper full search.
Customers who may have lost an important file would give up and assume there hard work had been lost, when it porbably has not.
A file search should be thorough, by default.
I wouldnt hold out much hope if the emergency services conducted searches for stranded campers this way. Only when the ice melts in spring would they be have any chance of being found (dead).
NTFS is quite a robust file system, it rarely misplaces files.
It shouldnt be like searching for a piece of hay in a huge pile needles.
Tried finding all *.exe's on drive C: - it came up with a dozen. A dozen?
I tried to find "FileExists" in any .BAS file inside a specific folder. Should have been 15 occurances instead it only found 6. To make matters worse, I had to spend an additional 20 minutes attempting to decipher if I was using the Vista search utility correctly.
Why can't MS create a patch to replace the Vista search utility with the one from XP? This could be a separate download and only if the user elected to download it.
I have to add my voice of protest! XP was far from perfect, but one of the great things its search function could do was find files based on the content - I write a lot, and I'm often looking for a Word doc where I can't recall what I called it, but I know it'll contain certain words. Vista just won't do that - I followed the link that It WORKED posted earier, and changed the settings, I tested it out with a few search terms and it still looks right through files as if they're not there.
Just wanted to add my two cents that I have had the same frustration with search. Ever since Windows XP tried to get "user friendlier" by searching for "documents" or "music" or "pictures and video" the search has become harder and harder to use. I can't even find an option to search with the old wildcards of * and ? in a filename. Intensely frustrating. Making the experience easier for idiots is commendable, but not at a huge cost for those who used to know what they were doing.
Another flaw: you can't search by a bracketed date (e.g., "I know I created this between 3-1 and 3-7"). Instead you can only do before or after a single date.
XP's routine was very useful and very flexible. This one is utterly worthless. I want XP's version back.
Guys Guys... I too was mad at first for the search in vista.. but after that it seems more easy.. just go to my computer and on the top right corner there is a search. Just type in the word.. the search starts automatically and files get listed.
Do not work. I have all of that set to search contents, and it *still* returns no results. A simple "grep" in cygwin, or in TextPad always succeeds. I have tried every variant of palying iwth those options and the find syntax and can't find a simple substring in a .css file!
The vista search facility is totally useless. I have spent an entire afternoon trying to get it to work, and it cannot find a single document or file! The sooner Vista is dead and buried the better.
In my opinion, the opposite is true - what used to be easily accomplished XP is now a nightmare in Vista!
I've seen myself almost reduced to tears with frustration trying to do simple things like searching for a text file with specific content. Why the hell did they think removing the box for entering the file contents was a good idea? I know you can optionally tell it to look for content matches, but that's useless if have different criteria for the filename and the contents as there's only one box! Oh boy I could scream, it's so brain dead stupid!
Admittedly, the search box on the start menu is handy for quickly getting to apps (since All Programs is now so cumbersome), but for finding files it's useless.
Worse still, the search option (not the box) has been removed in SP1. What a fantastic idea to annoy the hell out of users - that is the aim of Vista isn't it?
It's like MS made up a list of the most terrible ideas that must be avoided at all costs, but then accidentally handed it to their developers to be implemented!
I know I'm really late to this article but just wanted to add my 2 cents. Windows Vista file search sucks! It does not find files that I know for a fact are on my computer. I've messed around with it just to see how bad it is - and it's really really bad. I'll put a file on my desktop "test.txt" and do a search for "test". Nothing. And yes I've made sure the settings are in place to search the whole computer.
What in the hell was so wrong with the find that came with XP? It's search for crying out loud, it's not rocket science.
I'm so happy to have found this page and other souls to cope along with my intense anger and hatred with the Vista search. I just spent the last 30 minutes trying to search through a folder of text files by content because I knew the text existed somewhere in the files but didn't know the filename.
With XP this would have been a breeze. With Vista, I had to Google for help and ended up having to edit group policy to enable the hidden folder options (why it was hidden I have no idea) from the Tools menu, then tell Vista to search for files AND content. I enabled this and STILL Vista is not finding key words that are clearly in the text files I'm searching through. What a steaming pile of garbage I want to murder Vista in cold blood...
Hi! Do any of you know how to search for multiple items in vista? In XP you could for example do: "*.bmp;bin" XP then listed all files with "*.bmp" in its name, AND all files/folders with "bin" in its name?
Seriously though, this is my first try searching a file on Vista SP1 and it can't find it!!! Question: Is there a way to search how we did it in XP? I hate I need to open folders one by one and check myself or write a program that really searches.
Dave Taylor needs to be castrated. It should be a felony to even whisper the rubbish he publicly posts on the net. "What used to be a nightmare" ??? Son, when I type something in the search box with XP and it returns results within an instant I seriously fail to see how that could have ever been a nightmare.
It's SO frustrating to have morons like yourself force feeding lies like these to anyone. There is NO way that this topic is even remotely debatable. Vista is a nightmare! If I knew how I could sue Bill for everything he's worth I would.
If Vista is so great...
Why will it not "EVER" find something I know is on my DeskTop computer no matter if I search with "indexed" or "all" or (whatever I need to know but MS has hidden it...) YET I can go to my laptop which runs XP and search my same DeskTop and be able to find it within seconds????? Why does Vista FORCE me to have STUPID headings in the Found window like "TAG",AUTHOR, ETC" WTF...!!! WHY does Vista DO A COMPLETE re-search when all I did was change a sort direction???? JEEZ
...VISTA SEARCH SUX... or even WORSE it is USER UN-Friendly.
I've read through the comments and I agree that Vista search is absolutely horrible. I have had good success using the effective file search tool from sowsoft.com. It's much better.
Oh it is so refreshing to hear I'm not stupid. I am so disgusted with VISTA, already crashed my hard drive, slow as ever, and the hard drive doesn't ever seem to stop chugging, what the hell is it doing, I leave the computer on and if I get up at night it sounds like 30 people are logged on running disk defrags or something. It sucks, so bad. I can't wait to see Microsuck go down the tubes. Ubuntu is awesome, give it a try.
Any help for searches?
Yep, Vista search sucks. There seems to be no way to get it to search file contents properly. I read through the official MS instructions and various suggestions that apparently worked for someone... no luck whatsoever. I can't find even a one-word term in file contents for simple text files. Turn file search on always, check. Index directory, check. Advanced search, check. No luck. No luck at all. And no clue of what's not working either. And even if there is some mysterious way to get it to work, the fact that it's this convoluted makes it pathetic.
In four short words: I hate Vista search.
Lots have voiced their opinion about Windows Vista Search and I too am against the Vista Search.
What still surprises me is the eerie silence from Dave. Does Dave thinks otherwise. Let us know Dave
Nothing eerie about it, Vishnu. I have been running some tests and am planning on writing a new, updated piece about Vista search based on further testing + all the great feedback people have given here. Stay tuned. :-)
The search is absolutely pathetic, just ridiculous. Windows XP was infinity times better that the one vista has now. for example I need to find other files with the word "buildings" in them in a certain directory i search it comes up with nothing and i can clearly go to one of the files, open it and there it is right there. I sat at my computer for a good half hour trying all of the different options in search. At least on windows XP you could find what you were looking for even if it took a couple of hours, and if you didn't the options were easiloy modified. how did these vista people think that vista search would be better? Computers are supposed to be trillions of times smarter than us -- it is time they start acting like it.
Looking forward to the updated article Dave, please make it soon, because I need to find those files. It might be easier to pull out the HDD, put it in a caddy & let some other OS find what I need.
I have no idea how to do something that was really simple in all versions of windows previously, and I'm just about to try to remember DOS commands because I can't figure out how to do this in Vista.
Can anyone tell me how to run a search to pull up results that are FOLDERS? For instance, let's say I want to find all folders on my computer named "temp". Anything I try in the vista search gives me either files named temp or files within the folders that are named temp. Now, clearly, if I have a list of all the billion files that are within temp folders, in the "location" result of the search, I do actually have all the temp folders listed, but there should be a way to limit results to type:folder. All I can see to limit results is up at the top of the search panel where it says documents, email, other, etc. I tried "other", and that didn't pull up folders either.
The real problem with this is that this is an Organizer based search. There should always still remain a method to search for files within specific directories by wildcards and partials. There is a reason you can find this functionality on EVERY OS in current existence, including all the modern ones. Many OS's have tools that further extend search capabilities and results in this method.
A Media organizer, which is basically all that Vista's search is.. is a great tool, but it's pathetic as the primary method of searching your harddrive for more utilitarian reasons.
Multimedia is great, but even in the multimedia world such as authoring.. you deal with thousands.. millions of files of different types. A catalog only search method is too weak and unconcentrated enough for directory maintainece to handle the requirements needed for such work. This can and will lose MS a large part of the OS footprint in the business world and power computing world.
Funny thing is, I bet this ONE thing, this PRIMARY REASON, is the true source of nearly every complaint and frustration brought up about Vista..it only takes one driver issue or crash later for someone to make up their mind to switch back to XP or leaving MS products alone. Shame too because otherwise I think the OS is pretty damn sexy.
If is so easy the serch with Vista, how can I find my *.pst files. If you could help me I would appreciate that.
So Vistas search is better than XP's because Vista provides more ways to input search strings THAT WILL FIND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?
OMG. I just can not even start to imagine what the h-ll they were thinking when embedding this absolutely useless search engine in Vista. Nor what the h-ll Dave Taylor was thinking at the moment of his Vista search praises.
Scenario 1: I wanted to find a "register.exe" for a program X (sat under common files\X\something\). I went to C:\ and entered "register.exe" with subfolder search on. Nothing. Tried again with "*.exe". Many results, but still no register.exe. Went one step up to "Computer" and tried "reg*.exe". Voila, found it...based on what logic?
Scenario 2: Wanted a size-sorted list of files on drive N:, and N: only. Went to N: entered "*.*" in search field. Vistas marvellous search starts instantly, but with no Size-details. Pressed back, so it stopped search, closed search and all advanced options. Size-details were now missing in normal folder view too, instead I got details like genres, albums and ratings even though there were no media files in that folder. WTF! Tried again with Size-details, but search wouldn't sort by it, even though I pressed it several times. Stopped search, restarted search, now it would. Listed only first 5000 files...from drives N: AND D:. Thanks, Vista!
In Windows XP after you disabled your search f(r)iend and other "stupid user aids" from it, you had a search tool you could trust on. With Vista, the search finds or doesn't find your files with no apparent logic or relation according to your input and search settings. It is really frustrating to live in this kind of mistrust and keep constantly wondering what else there were that should have been shown to you but were never shown because of this crippled search engine and it's illogical madness.
Big step back. I don't know how to search for a text string within a specific type of file. This was easy to do in NT,2K, XP. At least they should provide some documentation that explains how to do everyday tasks.
Erf it doesn't work!!!! It was better in Windows XP. I try to find pst files, "*.pst" doesn't work.... Stupid Vista...
Trying to find a file on its name in Vista failed, so I started to google and found my soulmates here. :-)
As for searching via file content I can advice inforapid search and replace. But on Vista the context menu entry is missing.
Are there any other search tools?
I HATE Vista's search. I often need to make advanced searches and Vista's search tool is incredibly unintuitive.
Example: I place a lot of files in the Public folder so other users on the machine can access the files. I open the file explorer and click on Public. How the heck do I make an advanced search?
Notice there is NO advanced options. I have found advanced options in the past but I couldn't tell you how I found it.
Other times I need to search for un-indexed files of many different extensions. Vista's searches on indexed files unless you find the advanced options.
Do I have to add Cygwin (unix type emulator) to my computer just to make advanced searches? I HATE Unix and don't want to have to remember cryptic command line text.
The file Explorer is also awful. The search results often do not include date and type. I continually try to add those groupings but they mysteriously disappear later. I hate the loss of productivity.
I'm an experienced Windows user.
But I've been using Vista for 4 months,
I still can't achieve the successful
search in old Windows version.
MS added a lot of new features in Vista,
but most of the users don't care about
these new features. All we care most
is the GOOD features in previous windows,
because we are used to them. MS just hide
or remove them in Vista. MS just don't
care about the users at all.
We do have to consider switching to another
OS like Linux or Mac if MS is leaving us,
the users more than we can tolerate.
I find the file !!!
... by another program, TotalCommander
in seconds only.
Vista is the powerful tool of MS to
annoy or torture its users.
When Windows was attacked by security
issues, we hated the hackers.
When Vista is out, we hate MS.
MS has stopped selling XP, but they
should learn that XP are getting more
welcome than Vista.
What the hell! How do I search video files in my laptop using Vista ? In XP at least, it had an option to search for video files!
Well, people are getting a bit hot under the collar...
On the surface windows vista's new features look comprehensive and extensive... Which is what Dave showed you... Used right I am sure you can find any file you want... unfortunately you usually find a trillion files you were looking for as well.
The reality is that the simple file based search engine windows had in previous versions was replaced by an index based system, so if you want to find something, it must be in an indexed folder, or you have to tick the button called "search in non indexed folders" in the advanced search engine. You could also opt to index your entire drive, by right clicking on it and right clicking on it and choosing "index this drive for faster searching".
All said and done you would think this would work.... Unfortunately now you can find your file to be certain, unfortunately you also find every file that contains that same string inside it, or in its tags...
So... anyway what I am saying... its rubbish... sorry microsoft...
Even then the search engine is
Searching for files in Vista is a nightmare!
Searching in Vista is awkward. I am trying to search for all files that have a .exe extension in a specific folder. Guess what? Vista is returning me all load or rubbish.
This is achievable with windows xp because when searching, there is an option that says 'part of file name' - in Windows XP, this allows us to be able to search just file with certain extension e.g *.txt, or *.exe
If someone manages to get this right, please share that with me because I want to search for all files that have .exe extension in a certain folder and delete them BUT I can't unless I am prepared to do that manually.
If you have found a solution for this; please shoot me an email at email@example.com coz I am desperate in getting this right.
If this guy thinks that Vista has a great search function, and XP was a "nightmare" then he must be on the Microsoft dole. Vista search is absolutely awful. It regularly skips files I know to be on my hard drive. Thus, there might as well be no search function because I don't trust it to find all the files I'm looking for.
I hope that Vista is the beginning of the end of Microsoft. It is mind-boggling that they have released such an awful product, knowing that Google and Apple are gunning for them.
Thanks Microsoft for making my life so much more difficult! Whereas XP could find any file including a certain key word within no time, Vista doesn't manage to find anything!
Now I've got to open all my files manually to see if that's the file I'm looking for. I'm a teacher and have enough work & stress as it is... I so don't need this! Seriously thinking about switching back to XP because of this rubbish! Perhaps windows can create a'recommended update' for this instead of notifying me of nonsense updates all the time?
I just discovered my Vista machine won't do the routine searches I did with XP. How do I uninstall Vista and go back to Win2K?
Please, please help...
I used to use the new Vista search facility in the top right of my music folder to find songs by title when I couldn't remember the Artist.
I was amazed how quickly the search started and refined itself as I typed in the box.
But now - as I type, nothing happens. At all. I hit return and still nothing.
What has happened?
How do I get the facility back?
First of all, a solution (I hope): In the search box, type for instance: *.txt soundgarden This will search for all files with the .txt extention containing the word "soundgarden".
I hope that helps.
Word to M$ sw developers working on next version of OS - perhaps you could install a simple switch that says "Emulate XP interface". Naw, that would be too easy. Let's keep with the Vista paradigm and make even more things less intuitive (who the heck would have thought to use a search in that manner?) I agree with all the posts...what a nightmare.
Microsoft Vista search sucks so bad, that I can't even trust it when it comes up empty. I have a dual-boot system, so I log into Linux and then search Windows. I always find what I'm looking for using Linux, plus a lot of stuff that is hidden by Microsoft from even administrators.
Vista search is really very bad. It might be Ok for - I don't know - average computer users, but I use my computer every day - 8 hours a day, and I need to find stuff - often, and I simply can't. It doesn't work. The advanced function just isn't advanced at all. I am frequently resorting to a good old-fashion DOS-box to get my searches done. At least it works.
Oh - and whilst I'm at it - Microsoft should have had a good look at MacOSx search. Now - that works.
Oh... and the UI for the search-facility is really strange. I am managing to get it to display the advanced search (after a while), but then I start typing things in the "name" box and Vista replies by filling stuff into the search-box that I really didn't need it to do, so I'm having to delete stuff from the search-box and then hope it works. Oh and things like "~" in names seem to completely confuse the search-function. I simply don't trust the thing to find what I need.
This new search is horrible. I'm trying to find a file on my mothers new PC (she saved it and can't remember where) and the search keeps coming up with nothing. Out of curiosity I made a new file (just a Word Document), named it the same thing, and saved it to the desktop. Then I searched again and the !@#$% thing still couldn’t find it.
This guy's a nut. The topic is "How do I search for files." He never answers it. First he talks about seaching for applications software. Then he says "If you're working with the Documents directory . . ." Excuse me?? I want to find file ABC. No questions needed - how do I find the file? Then:
"To use Searches:
1. Open Documents.
2. Select Searches from Favorite Links.
3. Choose one of the pre-saved search criteria"
My question: What does it mean to "Open Documents"? What is "Favorite Links"?
And he loves the incredibly bad file search in Vista (note the complaints above) when in fact:
THE VISTA FILE SEARCH VIOLATES A FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF PROGRAMMING - SPECIFICATIONS IN PARTICULAR: WHEN THE USER DOESN'T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THEN GIVE THEM EVERYTHING. LIST EVERYTHING, CHECK EVERYTHING, SEARCH EVERYTHING.
THIS LETS SOME WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE APPLICATION TO USE IT ANYWAY - THEY JUST HAVE TO LOOK THROUGH MORE OUTPUT. BUT HOW MANY TIMES WOULD IT FIND A GIVEN FILE NAME ANYWAY?
THE VISTA SEARCH IS THE OPPOSITE. YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHICH BUTTONS TO PUSH AND WHICH BOXES TO CHECK TO GET IT TO "RUN THE F***** SEARCH".
VERY VERY BAD.
What a horrible, backwards search feature! Word of advice for MS and the author of the article: most people with knowledge to perform a search are not laymen or your typical user. They actually know what they want to look for and the available hierarchy of point and click menu's are not helping. Unfortunately, that hierarchy is modeled within Vista search which is very simple minded, making it frustrating. Vista search is repeating that point and click hiearchical search within a text box that should be reserved for people who know search commands! Additionally, assumptions meant to quicken searches actually take more time because the user has to first recognize the assumptions: indexed searches first. When that fails, the user must then choose to unselect: search indexed places. Of course, not everywhere is indexed, so the user must then choose to search in unindexed locations which causes an annoying alert saying searches may be slower. At what point does a user say, "oh. then. I dont want to search for that file because it might not be indexed. i think ill forget I even had it".
I'm not being sarcastic, i'm trying to relay criticism for a very poorly thought out tool. I will look for 3rd party software to search my drive.
Vista search is awkward, backwards, clumsy and does not work at all. But hey, if the marketing guys at Microsoft say it is great, then who are we to contradict them? Reality is irrelevant. Don't you dare say that an orange is orange when they say it is blue!
vista search engine is worst.i have never seen such useless search.
i have a file called 38.rar in c:\files\ folder
when i enter 38.rar in the search box.
(start --> search --> for files or folders-->searchbox)
no results are found
Just wanted to add my voice to the messages above: all I want to be able to do is get a list of files that match one or more names or extensions. I'm not interested in what's inside any of the files, I want to be able to search arbitrary directories (preferably with a right-click) and I don't want the search to begin until I press a 'start' button.
That was easy, really super-simple in Windows 2000, and I can't find a way - any way - to do this in Vista, it's *unbelievably* frustrating. I abhor the search interface, it's terrible. Can someone suggest a good third party replacement?
"what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished "
Dave with that single sentce you have lost all respect. Vista search is awful.
In "My Music" I have a file called "06 - Budget Meeting.ogg". If I go to c:\users\ben and enter the search string "06 - Budget Meeting.ogg". Vista cannot find it!!!
That is a major flaw!!!
who's ready for another class action lawsuit? i paid good money for this worthless software and i want it back...now.
I really really don't know what you were thinking when you wrote that bit up there Dave.. I am yet to see a tool that is worse then the search utility in Vista. For the files that Vista can search and find for me... I frankly don't need search at all...
Sorry to repost but the pain over paying for something like Vista (especially the search utility) is not easy to get over... I join all my brothers in their "search" for a better search tool...
And, if you're a person who had something to do even remotely with writing code for Vista Search, I just have one question....
"What were you thinking?"
This set of comments has comprehensively proved that Vista Search is mind-bendingly awful. But Dave, where's the promised follow-up article telling us how to overcome these problems? The guys Microsoft CANNOT have intended their software to work this badly. There MUST be some way of finding files by simple filename matches, simple content matches and combinations of the above, like we all could in previous versions.
When things do not seem to make sense they make perfect sense.
The search function in XP was perfectly adequate.
The search function in the newer Vista is ridiculously complex.
Therefore one can only conclude that the few are once again attempting to con the many while at the same time entering into secret agreements to sell third party products (such as Search software) that will not only cost us but will eventually be used to track our personal interests when this is noone's business but our own.
What a great scam eh?
Windows Vista is REALLY RUBBISH.... HOW CAN MICROSOFT do this to us???
and the find-utility is absolute useless...
is it possible to use the old SEARCH (I mean the XP SearchUtility) ????
I am trying to convince my company to switch to Linux or Solaris... I cannot stand Vista any longer...
I think you got it mixed up. Vista is nightmare, xp was great.
XP and Win2K searches were awesome. VISTA has gone backwards and basically the search is now useless.
Right click on a specific folder in an effort to just search that folder.... YOU CAN'T.
Try to find all *.doc and *.txt modified in the last week that contain the word "dog" - you can't.
I guess windows is trying to cater to the apple clueless crowd by making their search stupid.
The search in VISTA is a constant source of itrritation and it suprises me that they practically hobbled all the features that made it great. What a waste.
Also the author of this article needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
Vista search Sucks bigtime.. i really hate it..
Yes, it really sux.
But solution seems ot be Agent Ransack as mentioned previously.
i just downloaded and ran it and yahoooo! - simple, reliable old fashioned results.
Oh, but the help does not work in Vista, seems microsoft thougth it a good idea not to make old help files compatable.
Nice to think of the customers again guys!
More on Agent Ransack - this program is fantastic.
Not only does it give great searches when you open it as a program, it also comes up if you right click a folder.
Also of great use is the feature of showing a segment of the file around the keyword when searching on file contents so you can quickly make a choise without opening them.
I will seriously consider paying for pro version just because the freeware version has been so helpful.
Why is this so good and microsoft cannot replicate it with their big budgets??!!
Holy crap, vista can't even find mytextfile.txt in c:\ how can it be trusted to find what you're looking for within 1000s folders?!?!
Can't imagine what windows 7 is gonna be, oh dear...
The main reason why people use search in Windows is to find files that are.. well... hard to find. This feature in Vista makes it easier to find files that are right in front of you and considerably harder to find those that need finding. I would call that a BIG STEP BACKWARD.
Vista Search loses all search results after you open one file it offered you in Search results. If you then want to open another file the Search has just found, you have to do it all over. as the results are gone. Also it finds files long deleted. What's the purpose of finding no longer existing files? And also it frequently fails to find surely existing files, which after the failure I go to where I believe it should be and find it with my own eyes. Vista Search makes no sense. It's a bad, bad joke.
VISTA SEARCH IS TOTALLY WORTHLESS, I AM GOING TO FIX IT BY GOING BACK TO WIN 2000 OR XP (WITHOUT SERVICE PACK 3)
For all those that have not tried it you can’t go wrong with "Agent Ransack", very fast and very easy to use, thanks to Kevin for the post.
I believe Microsoft should be making a large donation to Agent Ransack for sorting things out for them. I may be in the minority but apart from the search facility, or lack of it, I love Vista.
Is this supposed to be parody?
"what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished task . . ."
Is Microsoft paying you to say this with a straight face?
'Quick and simple' was a nightmare? What are you, a masochist?
This article seem to tell me more about Dave Taylor ...why would he write something like this?
Were you paid to misinform? Or do you just post things without research?
You are that person that cheapens and removes credibility from the Internet.
Easy gang, I am working on a replacement article and will trash this one. :-)
And no, alas, I wasn't paid by Microsoft. I can't use that excuse...
Just wanted to say that this thread has made me laugh out loud - because its all true! And am glad other people hate it as much as me. I'm the only person in my office with Vista, and nobody belives me that its as bad as it is. I find the whole Windows Explorer experiance very poor - Basic features do not seem to work, even deleting a folder on my c:\ with 5gb of files in it crashes vista!?! Command line helps me out thought!!
Thanks to Jokke for "Agent Ransack". It solves the problem.
It is weird that ms didn't purpose any NORMAL search utility for vista in windows updates yet, because its obvious that vista search is just junk.
If I want to search for files on the hard drive from the start menu, it's a pain. I have to revert to the old start menu, by right clicking, selecting properties, changing to classic menu. Then I select the suboption For Files and Folders. THEN I have to click on the advanced tools. Then I select the drives I want through a cumbersome process.
When I'm done, I need to use start menu properties to change it back to the old style if I like that better.
I have no idea why Microsoft insists on making each new OS more difficult than the previous one. This search problem is insane! Try to search in a specified folder (with numerous subfolders) for a file containing specified words. Not a chance!!!
Where are the advanced search options???
I found, by accident when I went into the folder options (now called folder and search options) to make sure hidden files and folders were visible. The 3rd tab gives you some advanced search parameters. It's still not as good as the search feature in XP, but I finally found what I was looking for.
Microsoft, what a pain.
No offense, Dave, but taking more than a year and a half to correct an article that is obviously of no use for anybody is a bit too long. You can tell by the vast amount of people who visit this page, obviously because they could not find what they were looking for, that the sooner you replace this article, the better!
Stop promising, start delivering!
Lol at anyone defendind vista search it is truly ridiculous.
Search is quite simple, all it needs to do is find the files which match your search criteria, it clearly does not! therefore it fails.
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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