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.
What a relief to find this site. Keep telling people that Vista won't find files that you're looking right at, but these lucky ones still with XP understandably don't believe me.
So delighted its not just me, so confused that MS haven't produced a fix/replacement /something free to all of us who've wasted HOURS trying find things. Also - i used to search at the end of the day for all files modified that day and put those files on my stick as a backup. can't do now as vista will find only some arbitrary subset of files dated today... So not only have i wasted hours, i'm vulnerable to losing valuable work if the laptop crashes or is stolen.
And thanks SOO very much for the Agent Ransack solution - have just downloaded and done the same search (files changed today+yesterday) with it and with Vista - AR found 28 files, and Vista only 12!!!! hahaha
Vista's search 'better' and 'more'? Every time I try to do a search that was easy in XP, it takes me 3 times as long with Vista. Vista has to be hand-held because all it wants to do is go off on its own tangents. I've been searching help and the forums for 20 minutes now because I need the TOTAL NUMBER OF FILES in the Result, and this simple piece of data that came up automatically in XP, is not appearing in Vista. I did the search because I needed to know the total number of results! Apparently Vista thinks nobody wants to know this any more! Man, I hate Vista. (Search isn't the ONLY thing wrong with it. Everything else sucks too.)
I have to add my voice to the chorus because I am actually livid about Vista search. It is so f*ing horrible as to make Vista unusable. My blood pressure is sky high from spending hours trying to find all the files with a given extension. It finds NONE of the ones on my C drive but all of the ones on my USB drive, yet I have thousands of them on my C drive. How is that explained???? I find myself screaming at the computer I am so mad and frustrated. An OS that does not have a usable file search is an OS that is useless. This, and the Explorer in general have turned me from a MS supporter to a MS hater. And I mean vitriolic, unbridled hate. My computer is my livlihood and I cannot stand not being able to do the most basic things with it. Man, am I upset! What the h*ll were you smoking when you praised this file search? Just freaking braindead stupid! The non-functional file search and the lack of tree-view in the Explorer are fatal flaws that I think will lead to the eventual downfall of Microsoft. It is that bad!
Cheers Dave, I'm a computing student and I still didn't know how to access this link, it's under MORE!? The start bar search isn't up to much either, but if this is progression I'll let you know
How can i search the documents in windows Vista on the basis of contents/word/phrase i specifiy.
i like xp style search as well but love speed of index search.
one is no substitute for other -I agree both would be nice and am going to be trying ransack
I recommend whereisit which allows multiple indexes (catalogs) as I think its a much better index search than vista search tool
I find vista search not so bad
Just be aware that you are searching an index not the drive itself
To get index search working right try some of following -works for me.
make sure the index suits you and your search suits you as well
try some\all of following
add search system folders
click search tools button
maske sure index is recent enough
When should I rebuild my index?
Your index requires virtually no maintenance. However, if the index has problems finding files that you know should be located in an indexed location, you might need to rebuild the index. This can take a long time to complete, so avoid performing this step unless you have given the index enough time (several hours) to correct any problems first. To rebuild the index:
click search tools button | modify index locations
Click Advanced, click the Index Settings tab, and then click Rebuild. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
I was having kittens with the Vista "advanced" (haha!) search facility, trying to look for "*.dat" files in a particular location. It used to be a piece of p1ss in XP or 2K. At first I thought it couldn't be done, but then I realised it's even easier...
Just type in *.dat [or whatever] into the search box in the top right. Tried it with *.exe and it found hundreds within seconds.
I loathe Vista. I loved Windows XP. None of the new features of Vista are usable or appealing. That's what happens when you over-improve something just to make it different and then you force everyone who's buying a new computer to get it. Did I happen to say that I loathe Vista?
I must concur with lots and lots of people, the Vista search feature is useless... I really don't need to search programs... I know where they are, the only reason for the search function must be to find files, anywhere, indexed or not. And it just doesn't work...
I was searching for files on my pc which i knew were there and of course vista could not find. and found this thread on google by searching "vista search files is stupid". I felt ill when i read the top article praising the search and claiming its better and more powerful then the xp search. (At least the xp search found our files)
All i want is to be able to search for a file, it searches the pc and finds it. Just keep it simple and working. Flashy interfaces is not needed.
The file search and UAC (user account control) the 2 worst things about vista. UAC is easily disabled, but its an annoyance.
It seems Vista was made for retards that don't know how to use a pc. To avoid them deleting important system files and such.
As a result we get a "user friendly" interface. Which really means more filters and blocks and hidden stuff, with less power to the admin accounts.
I agree. Vista search is a horrible piece of crap. At first I was serching for *.bat (i.e. a batch file) but get nothing. Then bat but I get all kinds of files with BAT in them. Then .bat but it does not find the batch file I was looking for that I had to find without search. What do these morons think? Every windows release they pull this crap and change stuff that works well enough as is. I don't recall having any "nightmares" with the XP search capability except that trick you have to do one so it will search inside all files (not just files with known extensions). Other than that is was monkey simple, just type text in one or both boxes, maybe select file dates and that is it. Now it tries to do all the thinking for us dumb clucks and happily returns nothing.
Did you say the XP version was a nightmare? WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING? It was soooooo simple, why the _(*#%&*#%#% did you change it? Now I can't find anything!
There is a simple solution, however. Take Vista off your computer and get XP installed again. Progress is not always progress.
Uses ubuntu to create a partition for xp and installs ;)
(1) Thanks for the advice on how to search.
(2) I HATE VISTA!
Looks like a class action law suit.
No fix in sight.
Any Atty's here?
Given a choice between chewing broken glass and using Vista search, I would choose broken glass. Vista search is rubbish.
I love satire! I agree Dave, Vista search horribly sucks. Before you just had to press F3 or Ctrl+F in the window you wanted to search, but now it wastes resources pre-searching before I even typed the entire phrase - and it used to attach to the folder you were searching, not pointlessly open up an entirely new SEPERATE window - and I still can't find the Vista equivalent to search a text phrase in all files of a specific directory heirarchy. It used to be a simple checkbox, now it's NOWHERE to be found! While I mostly like the rest of Vista, now I have to pointlessly download a grep. Nothing like resorting to unix tools for windows to replace a hard to find/removed functionality you previously had.
I think VISTA is much harder to use than XP when it comes to searching for files. In VISTA, searches are limited to files of a single user. Not so in XP.
Suppose you download a document. No other user can find it using VISTA Search, but in XP, you need only type the name of the file.. XP searches the entire computer until it finds it.
This article is unreal. Prior to Vista I could go to any directory in Windows Explorer, right click and select Search, input criteria (string, file size, date range, etc.) and very quickly have a search completed. It took me 20 minutes to even find the Advanced Search utility. No search option appears at all when I right click on a directory! Am I missing something? Plus, apparently, you can no longer search date ranges. There is no spot to enter the second date!
"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."
Show me where there is an Advanced Search button on the Start menu. I sure don't see it. There isn't even a Search button. You have to enter a search string in the text box to initiate the search function. I don't want to search by file name! Hello!?
I'm also wondering how you could possibly come to the inane conclusion that Vista's search is a lot better than XP's "nightmarish" search. In XP, you could at least customize your search options in such a way that you would be using advanced search all the time. In Vista, search is scattered throughout the system and the UI (somewhere), while all I want is advanced search *all the time*. How hard can it be?
I hate vista search!!!
With XP ALL I HAD to do was hit what hard drive I wanted to search. Now its a f-ing maze and ALL I want to do is search my external hard drive.
WHY OH WHY by God does Microsoft THINK of new crap and THINK we want it??
Maybe they have MAC envy, I dobt know, but what I DO know, is if they keep trying to be like their rivals, I just may well buy a damn mac.
Get your heads out of your arses Microsoft.......we PC users are STILL here for the ease of the PC. Take that away and I WILL buy a mac.
Vista search is very bad. I work in IT and I understand what its doing with indexed locations e.t.c but I must say that its just going to result in a lot of confused people. Its overcomplicating things in an effort to be better/faster, when neither were required.
Its not the first problem I've had with Vista and I wish I'd never bought it, but then I had to see for myself ...
Dave :- I respect the fact that you've had the guts to leave this up here and take the critisism posted here without censoring it.
On a positive note, this thread has given me a bit of a chuckle
I am no longer able to find *.wmv files on my PC with Vista!!!! The files are right there in the directory I'm staring at, yet when I try to find *.wmv, nothing comes back!
Interesting - when I convert the *.wmv files to *.mp3, I can find all the *.mp3 files but I am still unable to find the *.wmv files so I can delete them from the PC after being converted.
I'm not a knocker of Microsoft, I know it's not fashionable but I like most of what they produce......but,, what can I say about Vista Search?
I have files in open windows which I can see and Vista can't find them. All these months I thought it was my fault -until I found this site.
Anyone who thinks that searching with Vista is now an easily accomplished task hasn't given it more than a cursory glance. If they had they'd have spotted these flaws themselves.
It's time Microsoft admitted they've made a mistake and produced a upgrade to rectify it.
Agent Ransack isn't perfect but since I installed it it's always worked for me
when I try to find a file within the open window, vista search returns "no found", while I scroll down and look for it manually I DO find it.
If I want to find a file in the entire disk, for example a file.dcp (a delphi file) vista can find anything. My disk is plenty of this files.
I'm looking for a external util that works finding a file.
Meanwhile dir *.dcp /s does work fine.
With all due respects, you shouldn't have written the article. It is simply misleading and undefendable. The fact you like Macs says it all :-) I guess you would like Vista Search if you like Macs... Even microsoft hang their heads when we discuss Vista Search and its not going to get better any time soon...
I also hate Vista and was drawn to get answers on the search. My conclusion is that Vista is too customizable this makes the problem difficult to give one solution. Judging by the long list of complaints on this site the main problem is finding file type e.g. txt, doc and pdf. Second problem finding advanced search. So let me see if I can help sort out what Microsoft failed to explain. I use classic view folders so if you want to follow these instructions then I suggest you do the same. Use the control panel to select folder options. Under general tab select use Windows classic folders and apply, then click on view tab and clear tick box hide extensions for known file types and apply. Click on search tab under what to search and tick box for always search file names and contents or top option if you are not interested in the contents of files. Under how to search header tick include sub folders and partial matches. Finally under the “when searching non index locations” header, tick system directories and compressed files. Then apply changes and ok. Now open search from start menu and look for advanced search. If you don’t see advanced search, highlight and clear path and type desktop. Now advanced search should show below search window. If you had to do clear and type desktop then select organize and click on layout then search pane and toggle advance search off then back on. Now we are all looking at the same view we can adjust the details. Select view and click on choose details. My preferences are name, type, size, folder path and date modified. The rest I clear and move my selection to the order I want. Want to find files with exe then type exe in the search not the advance search. Before you all moan try putting exe type: app in search or exe type: -file see the different. Try putting type: doc or txt type: doc into search. Any field can be used for search and minus sign to reduce or trim results. Searches like exe size :> 12kb <1120kb can pin point the files you are looking for. As you can see the subject is far greater than I have explained but at least some of you will now find what you have been looking for. The advance search with the location set to everywhere and its show only menu, helps you to understand how your searches uses key words to find your files.
Trying to find files greater than 10000KB, results: 0???????? WTF!!!!
I have several files over that range. Video files, downloaded programs, etc...
I am considered to have greater than average computer skills and I am a programmer as well. Know several operating systems and I can;t find a GD file? WTF again!!!
Somebody please kill this pig called Vista. I have read the links shown in here. The MS link with the information about "advanced searches" says: "size: <5", "Finds items with a size less than 5"??????
Again, 5 what? KB, Kb, MB, GB, 5 what?
This is what happens when you put useless idiots to program in MS because of the pressure of the stock holders and come out with a blunder like Vista. Same thing that happened with Windows ME (replace Millennium Edition for Multiple Errors)
Over 4 months on the thread and there is still no "replacement article" like Dave said.
I know why, there is no FCKing way you can search $hit in Vista.
George try advanced search options location "everwhere" and type in search size:>10000k or gd size:>10000k also make so size details are selected so you can see results.Seaches sizes for size>9.7m or size:>0.0095g also work.
I agree that the search function in Vista and Windows 7 sucks/doesn't work.
I have no idea why Microsoft replaced the successful XP search program with a newer program that simply doesn't work.
You won't believe how to search for file extensions:
1. In the search box type in:
this will find all extensions xlsx
If you want to find xls and xlsx type in:
ext:(*.xls OR *.xlsx)
"what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished task using Vista’s powerful new Search features."
I think you mean "what was fairly simple is now a complete nightmare". Honestly, I'm using third party applications to search where as in XP Windows Explorer was just fine.
(Otherwise am fairly happy with Vista).1
It's been said a thousand times already but I am saying it again. VISTA SEARCH SUCKS.
I am trying to find duplicates files (ending in (1), (2), etc. In Xp iw as able to search for:
(1; (2; (3; (4; 5; etc
and it was perfect.
If i add more than just (1 it returns nothing.
If I use just (1 it returns things like
Micro$oft Sucks. I am not a violent guy in ANY WAY, but if i ever met Bill Gates I would slap him until he couldn't see then steal his wallet (if i could lift it)
You have come across Microsoft’s biggest f*ck ups. Trying to introducing logic operands into searches and making them a key part was a mistake. Having seen how the big boys do it they tried to copy them. NOT, AND, OR <> = +- work fine because they are tried and tested methods from the eighties. Keywords like type:, size:, name:, ext: and date: also work, but left and right parenthesis as a token or keyword is just stupid. When a left and a right parenthesis are used they find a list of all words in any order.
An example of this would be (Is Vista Crap) as a search and returning Vista Is Crap. So when you used (1 (2 as a search Vista can’t manage the ( so ignores it and returns any file with a name 1 or 2. It get worse if you are searching content of files then any file with 1 or 2 which would take forever on non index files and return just about every file on your hard drive.
The Microsoft boys have sat on their hands for over 12 months believing that they haven’t got a problem. We will see if there is a problem when nobody upgrades or buys any of their newer software. Car manufacture is a good example of this, plenty of cars but they are sat in lots going rusty. Wrong product wrong timing and no faith in the product just goes to show guy at the top has no idea.
I can’t wait for Google’s Operating system and Nintendo’s Office Applications to suit the customer’s needs and desires. Microsoft is currently working on the “search brain teaser” and “gates needed to hold windows together”. The easy answer is drop the parenthesis and use keyword i.e. MIXED: which would take a small mod that could patch the MISTAKE.
Going back to poor Mitch, Vista will copy files and add –copy to the file name so searching for that will find some newer duplicates. Older duplicates and programs that use the (1) methods, are still with us. If your files are like these name(1).ext and name(2).ext then
1. NOT type:windows NOT type:security NOT type:png NOT type:license NOT type:profile NOT type:file.
This is not neat by any means but reduces the amount of crap you will need to look at. If you are brave you can remove the last NOT type:file as this is the biggest filter. Once you have customized the search maybe put 1. OR 2. OR 3. in it, then save it for next time. If you have no faith in search then download a third party software like Instant File Name Search free and forget about Microsoft. One brave step for Microsoft is one step into a deep pile of horse $#@$ for mankind. If you find any files that have no type and no path, don’t open them because explorer app.exe crashes every time. This is just another added value Easter bad egg.
Vista’s search is bad - It is complicated and does not work.
For the general public, a search engine should involve 2-3 steps.
1. Type word
2. Click “Enter” –> find file.
3. (Optional) Refine default search options.
Anything beyond that is instant FAIL!
When no one at my company (even IT) can figure out how to get good results, something is wrong.
I actually thought that the vista search was horrible too for the longest time. but I just found out that if you want to search in "non indexed" places (which is probably why you arent finding files) You have to click advanced search, then make sure you check the box that says "include non-indexed, hidden, and system files"
then it will work and search whichever drive you'd like it to FULLY.
Dave Taylor, so prior to your original article did you even fiddle with the search features? Did you even take the time to make a substantial opinion? Or was it a quick, superifical "awe" you were caught in because of this OS's nice looks that rendered your resulting article entirely inaccurate?
XP nightmare? Really? Compared to 2k it wasn't a nightmare, just not as good! What are you talking about, really? Who are you? Where do you get your slanted info? It sounds like pro-MS propaganda, yet you say they don't pay you.
So how did you come to your objective conclusion, anyway? You haven't touched on this at all.
Levi, I can't say what was running through my head when I wrote the original article - it was a long time ago. I will say that now that I am using Vista more extensively I am quite shocked at how terrible the search system is, and I have said more than once that I'll be updating this with a new article that talks about how to cope with the goofy, stupid Vista search system...
Mr Taylor is a Microsoft lackey. Vista search does not work.
Perhaps there is some secret to Vista's search that I am not seeing that makes it good. I write for my paycheck. I wrote a story some time ago and I need to find it. I don't know the filename. How do I search based on words in the document?
Johnny I could just say read my entry above but I suppose that would be lazy. So here goes, open Search from Start taskbar then click on Organize and select Folder and Search Options. Select Search tab then select Always search file name and contents and select Include subfolders. Type the phrase you are looking for example; missing story type:doc in the search window. Make sure you are searching Everywhere and this will return all documents files types containing your phrase.
I just had this Dell with Vista64 and i7 processor and 6 gb 3 months ago. Fisrt thing I did was to install Windows Commander (not even the newer version called Total Commander) a good ol' file utility 16 bit application. And you what? it finds things just fine and in no time! Ha ha ha! LOL
Did someone say that searching on vista SUCKS?
As others have commented, I too was extremely heartened to find this page. Like others, I thought it was my fault (at first anyway) but most of the issues I've had appear here! I had googled on this subject countless times in vain since May 2007. I finally tried and somehow found this page (hmm, "hosed" doesn't appear here; go figure).
So, has anyone tried Google Desktop Search? How about Z-Tree?
I read your article and the comments including your follow-up comments. Have you come up with the new article or is Vista so terrible that there are no work-arounds that you've found? It's been about 1 1/2 years since the original article.
I will say that I got it to work somewhat by always reindexing everything. However, that's a considerable amount of time wasted compared to Windows XP. Similar to 100x or greater what it takes with XP.
Otherwise, I use a 3rd party tool.
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."
You are such a ridiculous person to dare believe that you are talking to monkeys. Search in Vista never works. It sucks. and as you said, to do one search you have to try many different ways to accomplish it.
Vista search is awful. I could cite the specifics, but if you're here you already know them.
The bigger problem is that this same type of thinking flows all aspects of the operating system design.
The real issue is: Whose computer is it, anyway? I believe that it belongs to me, since I bought it. Microsoft doesn't believe likewise. The arrogant jerks who brough us Vista, then had the gall to say how great it was want to dictate how to use your computer.
Vist has a lot of nice features, but it is terrible in so many ways. I have worked on computers for a living for over 20 years, and I understand all the techniques mentioned here about how to actually use the search, yet I find it so frustrating. It is just barely usable.
I have installed one third party product and use it some, which helps. I have also installed the above mentioned Agent Ransack, but I was not impressed with it. To me all the comments about it seemed like shills, but who knows.
Thought I was crazy...yay I am not. Vista sucks.
If I were Dave Taylor I would delete this thread. I might even delete this whole website.
I agree Vista search still sucks even after SP2.
I have a 1 Gig folder on my drive that an self-extracting file put on my drive. I just extracted it, assuming it would go into the same directory that is was downloaded into. Was I wrong. Here I have 1 Gig of space being occupied, and I cannot even find that monster!
I have a question
How to menimize temporary files space in vista
Seriously, Dave Taylor could not have been more off! I almost didn't read the posts cuz of the flakeyness of the article, but thanks to the posts, I see that I am not alone in the frustration. I suppose if I needed a $120 OS to make panoramic pictures instead of functions like searching for files by date and content, I wouldn't feel like kicking myself for continuing to use Vista.
If you are a geek and have to find a file, I recommend downloading cygwin and using the find command like this:
find /cygdrive/c -name "*.avi" -print
This will get you all the avi files in a specific directory for example. Windows Vista has lost the ability to search in a specific directory, it seems.
Vista search totally sucks.
I understand file structures and have been using computers all the way back to the original DOS operating system, - understand programming code and database programming - and I can't peform a simple search on this piece of crap.
XP at least would go looking for what was there. I've got no idea how this thing determines anything.
it´s terrible enough I got used to the windows XP Interface. Now Microsoft creates this nightmare? I don´t know if i´ll stand it.
I don't know if it is like this in the rest of the world, but in South Africa if you buy a PC, the price of this Vista crap is already included. I'm really starting to dislike Microsoft with a PASSION!!!!! They're a bunch of bullies, leaving us with no alternatives... I wonder how much I would have saved on my brand new laptop if I could install Linux right from the start!!
Vista sucks!!! I am looking at the file RIGHT HERE and when I do a search it sits there for a good five minutes, then returns NOTHING!!! I hate Macs, but I am seriously considering getting one based on the fact that this is the worst computer I have EVER HAD!!! Even my old Commodore 64 works better than this!!!
The problem with this post is that it starts with the assumption that the XP search engine was a "nightmare."
You know what I want? The ability to right click on a folder and have the word "search" be in the drop down. THAT is the simplest, most intuitive way to search for something. If you want to add all of the other BS, have at it, but stop taking away the simple stuff.
Uhhh.... I am not so sure about better... it is very unintuitive compared to XP. I can't figure out how to search for files that contain a string of text. On the old XP I'd select the folder and search for files that contain the text string. I am a little pissed I can't do this and had to resort to searching on Google to find a solution - which I have niot dopne yet. Man... Vista has been a huge disappointment in so many ways. Why do I have to relearn things that were sensible before... oh well...
Even now after 18 months of frustration with Vista I am still baffled at Vista's file search. What should be a most basic operation for an O/S is terrible in Vista. I can't see any way to differentiate between upper and lower case when searching for a substring. I will have to go back to what I have been doing for the last 18 months; copying my files to a flash drive plugging them into my XP machine and searching for this way. I do hope some people got fired for Vista - it must have cost the world economy billion's $ in wasted hours. Pray tell Windows 7 is better, else I am buying a Mac!
Vista search is the worst nightmare someone ever could imagine.
Use search to save time,but end up waisting more time trying to find it via search...Fetching it yourself then waiting for the EXTREEMLY SLOW SEARCH and getting end up with another NOTHING found when you are sure you have this file!
Then lets type in a phew letters and get end up with 1000's of found files,even files that have nothing to do with the search you just typed thej still SHOW UP and fill up the list making search slower and slower it even makes your pc run slow.
If i need a review from something i be sure to NOT get it from this site because it fails as mush as the windows search does.
I've been in IT for over 15 years, and Vista search is the worst single tool I have ever had the misfortune to use. It would better to have no search tool than this, at least I would not be tempted to "try it one more time" in the vain hope it was miracously (silently) fixed by monthly patch.
It begs the quesiton how did this ever get past end-user testing before going commercial? Surely the guest/beta-testers must have marked this down as a showstopper.
I was forced off 2000 at work, and run XP at home. No problems. Now Vista and a world of pain for what should be a routine, simple need - i.e. I want to find something on my hard drive.
Ye gods. M
Better? Right. Searching with w2k search under XP and in W2k (and before): simply right click folder, select 'search', zap, there it is. Now in Vista, W2k8 and 7? Stupid clumpsy interface, and the stupid thing does not find files that exist. Yeah, even with selecting, deselecting and tweaking all the stupid, partly hidden options. I also miss the annoying dog, but that will probably be restored with an essential 120Mb Windows Update.
Microsoft, if we want to SEACH for a FILE NAME we want to FIND the FILE NAME. We don't want indexing (come back next week and say bye bye to your resources), adding extensions to be found when 'everything' is selected, unhide hidden files and folders, include folders and all that kind of stupidity while the freaking thing doesn't even work after all the efforts! We want W2K search back. Plain and simple. We don't mind how long a query takes, HDD's and CPU are fast enough not to have it last for ages. The best thing, sigh, W2K and before search does WORK.
It's absolutely fabulous, Microsoft. As ICT professionals we go to older machines in networks in order to find things on newer machines. Just because the simple 'SEARCH' is still an option in these explorer versions and it works fine in that way, even with the machines with the new Search which isn't working. Isn't that great? Somehow the functionality is still there in newer OS-es, but it has been obscured beyond recognition just because one of your bright heads happen to see Google Desktop and thought 'mee too mee too'.
Why are you aways trying to cripple down user experience? Cripple functionality, invoke extra extra extra steps when there is nothing added? You hate your customers, don't you? You know, I'll install a virtual PC with XP. I'll start that up whenever I need to find a freaking file.
MS, please fire the incompetent engineers who come up with marvelous ideas like this. Listen to you customers. And please, fire the childish mind who came up with animated dogs or paperclips. Send him to Disney Land or something. We don't want nor need gimmicks and jokes in serious business environments. We need OSes that work. Plain and simple, without gadgets and disfunctionality. Most of us -including tech savvy users- are grown ups who understand that you shouldn't delete the Windows folder, change the name of Program Files, throw water in the PC to cool it down or smash the monitor in order to turn it off. And you know what, even with all your efforts people still manage to render their PC's useless. Useless. Rant is off now.
Microsoft Vista is not fit for purpose so why have the regulator allowed us to be ripped off. No refunds for all those unhappy customers and no replacements of OS with one that works and functions correctly.
Windows 7 is ready for release and Microsoft knows we are not happy about Vista so they intend to preinstall every PC with their next money making scam and pretend it’s the best thing ever invented. They don’t care about past customers only future sales of bloated spy ware. Microsoft undermine our freedom to privacy and think their agreements strategy is some god given right to run services to report any details they want from our PCs.
Their security had been lacking for all of the lifetime of Windows products. If someone hacks into the customers of Microsoft and empties all the banks of the world and turns off all the power plants then maybe someone might notice. By the time anyone can work out what has happen it will be too late. Sounds like science fiction couldn’t happen I hear you cry. Well how would anyone of you know, you are still using software that you can’t use and don’t know how most of the software on your systems works. When you bought this hardware did you get an operating manual that informs you how it supposed to work. Were you offered an advance user’s manual to help configure your needs and requirements? So we all believe and put our faith in a company that never gets it right first time or for that matter any time in the last fifteen years.
Microsoft releases fixes for their software every week then tries to tell us it not their fault. It’s about time they got it right and put their money where their mouth is and give Vista users a full refund or fix all the problems before they release any more of their software. It’s also about time the regulators woke up smelt the coffee and force this company to stop all of its bad practices and fine them so that customers can have compensation for the unnecessary stress and suffering that we all go through every day.
The Microsoft products are poor value for money but because of the tactics of the past fifteen years of bullying and backward engineering of other companies products they have eliminated most of the competition.
Any business who owns Microsoft products is in danger of losing all it private information and finding it spread across the globe because Microsoft can’t see or fix the obvious vulnerabilities they have caused. While you are in bed fast asleep one of your PCs wakes up from shutdown logs on as admin and connects to the internet. Once connected rogue PC starts running a list of tasks to give away all those juicy bits of information on your network. When that’s has finished logs on to another network and starts disrupting the control function of the countries power generators finally turning off the servers and ending with all the power off. All the above can be done and one day soon will be done. Microsoft is the Cybernet of today that need a kick up the arse now! When any of you go out to buy a new PC “SAY NO TO WINDOWS” before it’s too late. Vista is a flop and Windows 7 is a cover up just like ME was with XP. So Dave Taylor please don’t review any more OSes because you and Mircoflop have lost credibility. Suggest you buy an eye patch and become a pirate then we might change our minds. To all you Americans that think Vista sucks try a vacuum cleaner now they really suck.
Ex Microsoft CEO
I have found that windows vista search sucks as well. I try to find a word in a document or folder and there is no place to in the vista search to search this way. Windows XP search and the companion is way better then the vista search. As with other commenter's the search can't even find files and folders that are right in front of it's face LOL. Vista search is useless. With XP search I could ask to look for files and folders containing words inside the documents or folders and it would find all such items No Problem. I hate vista and would trade my vista for XP any day if i didn't have to pay a bunch of money just to get a user friendly OS.
SO...I installed the Windows 7 Release Candidate over my Vista JUST because of the "SEARCH" Issue.
It's looking like I'm going to have to spend $5,000 for employee re-education...
MS did NOT Change anything in Search Features on Windows 7; and admits failure by INSERTING an XP emulator?!
To Hell...I say
I used to clean out temp files using the entry: %temp%
What only came up listed were those files with some space, eg. 32 KB.
Now when I look at the list, the first 30 or so lists of temp files are those temp files with usage, then the rest of the list..in the thousands... has temp files, oh about every 1 or two minutes, with 0 KB's. Why do I suddenly have these other, zero usage temp files in the list? I tried to delete but it takes far too long. The temp files with space used are the only ones I delete.
I tumbled into this page because of search, and other monumental changes in Vista's menu arrangements compared to earlier versions. Ever notice just after you have found the locations of all the stuff you need in the grocery, they completely change everything around? That's Vista.
I think you can get MS to downgrade Vista to WinXP. I was going to try Win7 which came in CDs on the cover of a couple of computer mags (August 2009), but now I think my time is better spent just downgrading.
I've read the comments on a class action lawsuit, and that is a possibility. But I think all MS would do is either up to Win7, or down to WinXP. So, I'll try to opt for the down to WinXP.
I downloaded SaveAsPDF.exe from Microsoft. Since the download wizard did not tell me where the download went, I used Vista Search with saveas*.exe as search criteria. Vista did not find the file with a full Computer search (which took a long time), so I used the trusty command prompt and typed dir saveas*.exe /s and it found the file for me pretty fast. Maybe Vista search needs the whole name or maybe it is case sensitive? Don't Know.
Dave, I'm at home but have lost my car. I'm sure it's in the driveway but can't find it...What type of search should I use?
Wow, better? Shill for Microsoft much? Yeah, who would want to do something crazy like right-click on a folder and choose search... I'd rather dig around in the start menu and search the whole box. :-/
I have never seen such a piece of sh*% as Vista.
Search is the absolute worstit is useless
even typing in an exact name and searching the exact folder i put the file in search comes up blank it can not find it i have yet to find any file on my pc using search so i have to hunt through hundreds of folders and hope i can find what i need i never cared for mac but now i wish i had one :-(
I have never been so dissapointed with anything like i am with vista i am angry Bill Gated NEEDS a good bitch slapping
HEY I FOUND a FIX for Search in Vista right click your toolbar select properties select start menu
select classic start menu and apply now open start menue and you will see search and amazingly i used it and it actually found my stuff :-)
don't get me wrong I Still Hate no LOATHE Vista
but this works hope this helps you all here
Mr. Taylor describes searching for an application program or a document in the documents file. Shucks, I can find either of those quickly with explorer. I want to find some downloaded files, or some files from OpenOffice. just try finding your spreadsheet files if they aren't in documents.
Vista document search is terrible. Of course Vista in itself is an engineering disaster - much as MS Millineum. Vista came on my new HP pc - I'm investigating reformatting my hard drive, backing up, getting new dirvers and and load the XP Pro I used before. No wonder MS came out with a replacement for Vista.
Sorry, dude - Vista search sucks. It doesn't even work. "dir /s" works better, that's how crappy it is.
I agree with the above.. vista search is horrible, I tried finding "scanpst" with *scanpst* and just scanpst and it didnt find anything at all.. but the file actually existed on the hard drive i just had to find it manually.. I can't believe how junky they made this search, DAVE please update this article! vista search doesn't work.. much worse than xp
If the new Vista search is so good and easy to use
why oh why does this page exist!!!
and why am I,(an experienced user of computers) reading it and trying to figure out how to use search, If I am having problems, what about my customers who have less experience than myself, Vista is a poor replacement for XP, that is now common knowledge, and just for the record I have never been asked to install Vista, but I have been begged to remove it and replace it with XP, I dont re-call that happening when changing from 98 to XP, people may have resisted change but few reverted back in my experience.
Searching for a file or folder in Windows Vista or Windows 7 is now an impossible task. The search finds nothing, try finding normal.dot on a computer with Office installed and you will never find it. Hopefully Google will write a simple search tool to find files on a hard drive soon, where you can type the name of the file you want, use an asterisk for a wildcard and set some basic parameters on size and if you want to search hidden locations....
The single biggest problem with the Vista search facility is that to find something, its location must already be "indexed." If you saved a file yesterday in some directory and Vista has not indexed that directory yet, then the search engine will not find the file, period. If you search for it a few days later, when Vista has indexed the directory, lo and behold the file shows up in your search. In summary, whoever thinks the search facility in Vista is an improvement over previous operating systems must have his head up Microsoft's behind and not know anything about search engines.
SOLUTION! FIND THE VIRTUALSTORE FOLDER!
This is really terrible how the original 2.5-year old question has not been answered. I too have been frustrated trying to find files in Vista, also not being allowed to access my own files, and am furious that I will have to pay to upgrade to 7 for all my computers. I may just try to learn Linux instead because I'm so sick of Microsoft and their crappy OSs.
Anyways, I have found a solution for finding files, here it is.
Go to My Computer\[Your Drive Letter]:\Users\[Your User Name]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore
once in the VirtualStore, keep going down your flowchart, depending on what file you're looking for. For example,
Hope this helps. It works for me.
To add to what I said above,
Those instructions will work if you know what file you're looking for and what folder it should be located in. Vista hides some of your files in this VirtualStore. It's as if it turns the correct location into a facade and hides the actual file behind a hidden wall behind the facade. So the file is exactly where it should be, but you'll never be able to find it unless you know there is a Virtual Store.
Unfortunately if you have no idea what folder your file might be located in, even knowing there is a VirtualStore might not help you.
I think Vista hides certain files for security. For this reason, if you disable the User Account Control (UAC) in CONTROL PANEL, searching for files should work better - it worked for me once. Doing this also has the added benefit of giving you more normal access to the files on your own computer - something Vista purposely prevents.
Actually what i hate most about vista is the only thing i hate about my MAC.. the search!!
I cant find S**T with my MAC neither.. and now VIsta and Windows 7 Copy their search system? WHY?? Now i cant search my drives and external drives on neither MAC nor Windows.. i have to connect them to my old desktop PC with windows xp just to look for files... I hate indexing!!! hated it in leopard and hate it in windows vista/7
I can't find anything with vista! Here is my solution: when I try to find something in vista, I have to copy all the possible folds, files to my linux machine and perform a find in linux command line.
I advise any newcomers to this site to go to Jokke's entry on 7/2/08 - and download the Agent Ransack sw. I just did after incredulously spending hours trying to do a simple search:
Find *.xls files between two dates.
No longer possible. Wow.
But the Agent Ransack SW will do it.
Actually, Denise, you can do that. Use
and see how that works for ya.
(and yes, I REALLY need to update this blog entry already!!)
Frankly I'm a Geek, I've never been to use this search on Vista, XP was much more obvious and with pressing one key F3 !
So Microsoft wants to kill Google?? So they want to become king of search?? Bing?? Cut me a break.
Ever try to find a tech answer on the MS site? Good luck. I can only find answers to Windows problems using Google - including this thread.
This just shows the arrogance and cluelessness of MS.
My way around this is to use Linux and its excellent file search tools. But when I am stuck with being abused by MSFT's OS, Agent Ransack is the best way 'round this in Windows "Missedya" and Windows "Heaven-Not!".
Vista/2008 search and user interface really sucks.
I would use DOS command which does a better job than vista/2008:
findstr /I /N /M /S "Sel.gif" *.*
There seem to be several different complaints about Vista search. My complaint was that it doesn't work at all. You know a file is there, but search doesn't find it. Nothing in this blog told me how to fix this problem. But I found a fix, by comparing my computer to my partner's computer, which had no problems with search in Vista.
In Windows Explorer, type something in the search window, then hit Enter. Click on Search Tools, then Search Option. Here's what I have checked:
What to search:
In indexed locations. . .
How to search:
Include subfolders. . .
Find partial matches. . .
When searching non-indexed locations:
[nothing is checked]
Start with these settings. With trial and error, see what works for you.
Just to cover all bases: Prior to this, I turned off User Account Control (in Control Panel) and rebooted, but this didn't help. Turned it back on, then changed the Search Options as described above.
I dont know what they were thinking about.
Used to hit: Start-search-files and folders-all files and folders-and give a location if desired.
Worked like a dream in 98 and XP.
Now it is hard to do and often times fails to satisfy!
Not a good move at all.
I.E. try dropping in a disc into your drive and finding out what is on it?
Not smart, Folks.
After spending 2 hours trying to get vista search to find my files, I googled 'vista search sucks' and found this thread. Read the contribution that mentions AgentRansack. Took less than a minute to download, install, run it, understand how to use it, and then actually find my files. God is Microsoft a joke.
Hello stupid users. Bill asked me to respond to all that utter negative stuff going on here.
You ask yourself why we removed the old search function and the arrow up button. Well, that is because of you, users. You are a pain in the asj. You screw up Windows all the time by clicking on things you're not ought to click on. You ignore warnings. You download and install half the internet and then you blame us when application do not work well because they were written for the Apple Macintosh.
Tell me, who the hell does need 'search' here anyway? If you were a good Certified Microsoft User (CMU) you would tidy up your maps and keep track yourself where you put your garbage. Yes, garbage. Did you make billions yet? Ha! Thought so.
And that arrow up button? Geesh. Just click in the address bar, re-orientate, click, select the part of the path you need, click ctrl c, click ctrl a, click ctrl v, go to the end of the path and hit enter. Now that was difficult, geesh. Why the hell does someone need an arrow up button?!!
Oh you stupid, stupid users. Always complaining. Feels good, doesn't it? Now Windows 7 is out for you to Buy(tm). Eehm, Lease(tm), eehm Use(tm).
As you may have noticed we didn't reinstate the easy pre-Vista/Search 4.0 (with its great layout colors) search function and the arrow up button. No way in hell. Let Google make that, those clowns are always bothering us too.
We do however have a big surprise for you. With W7 SP2 there will be a necessary security update which will reintroduce the animated Paperclip(tm) and a huge jumping dog on your desktop. This dog is mandatory, the paperclip is optional. The dog will bark everytime you do something or when the dog thinks he needs to get your attention. You cannot mute the sound, it will be at loudest. Our engineers made sure any mixer or setting is bypassed. WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! If there are no boxes connected the PC will bleep. It will bleep constantly to remind you to turn on the boxes. And oh, clever stupid users, if you think you can ignore Bull Guts (that's his name) by installing a second monitor screen: Ha! There will be two dogs.
WOOF! Warning, the website you want to visit contains words that might be dangerous. Do you want to continue? OK - Cancel. Are you sure? Y/N. Do you really want to continue? Click Yes if you agree you don't want to.
WOOF! For your convenience, Windows just uploaded your contact list and your My Documents to the website you just visited. Now Click Off and go away.
WOOF! Sorry to interrupt your shooting game, but there is a fancy new feature for Windows7. It's called Clock. It comes with real digits (patent pending) Do you want to install it now? (est. size 4,5Gb) OK Cancel. - You cancelled your game, download will start after you installed The Most Genuine Advantage-Disadvantage Tool for your convenience. Your PC must rebot 3 times and you must log in with your MS Passport which password has been reset for security reasons.
WOOF! Do you want to restart now? All your files will be lost! Oh sorry stupid user, they've been closed already. OK, OK?
BARK BARK, Windows7 cannot determine if the AVI you just uploaded from your video camera contains nudity or copyrighted material. It is now locked for your safety and the memory card of your camera has been erased. A copy has been sent to Microsoft. For your convenience.
BARK BARK, no stupid user, you cannot read this Help File, it is pre-Vista! And developers are NOT allowed to include the old Help executable, it's Top Secret! So move your S and download it at the superb Microsoft site where page are moved quicker around than they are downloaded via a high speed connection. Windows must now and then restart of course, just like servers need to be restarted every two hours, now stop whining and don't bother clicking.
WOOF BARK WOOF BARK! It is your birthday! Or it could be. All your folder settings will be reset to Stupid Defaults for no reason, except that it is By Design(tm).
I deal with MS Stupidity for almost 20 years now. Clients come to us when they are in agony, not Microsoft. I bet over 75% of money spent on IT is because of MS Stupidity. Jesus Christ, I have XP on a virtual machine whenever I need to find and/or order things on local or remote hard disks. With Vista/7/W2k8 it is impossible to do anything. PS, already tried to Manage a W2k8 system by right clicking the My Computer icon? Of course it doesn't work anymore like that. Why should it! This is Microsoft Architecture. Hopefully they don't design buildings. It would be Hotel California for real.
"Sorry lady, where is the register? Yesterday it was hear at the main entrance, but it is gone now?" "Oh, sir, it is now on the second floor. Warning, the elevator now only goes down. And if you need to take the stairs you must be checked in. The stairs can now be found on the third floor under the cellar. There you can take the elevator to the first floor and from there you must follow the warning signs. And oh, you must now pass five doors instead of one and two of them require a key plus a phone call to our architect to be sure it is you. Enjoy your stay. And oh, this info will cost you, you Stupid Customer(tm)."
my computer doesnt show hidden file i set it from control panel but it is not able to show hidden files please give me a solution i am so worry about my hidden files
What a ridiculous load of Microsucks propaganda.
I'm actually glad, now, that Vista sucks balls, because it forced a lot of people to jump ship and get a Mac.
This is not an improvement in any sense of the word. The user has to look all over creation just to find this utility. The tool LACKS a number of very useful options that were available on XP. The utility returns loads of documents that do NOT meet the selection criteria. Should I continue? I'm convinced. It's time for a Mac!
This is most stupidest search ever !! wtf they removed F3!! dumb idiots have created the VISTA!! would smack them with a bat!! complete idiots!! damn!!
This thread is about Vista. Well, actually I'm a Windows 7 user, so this thread doesn't really apply to me, but I wanted to reassure you all: search utility in Seven is as bad as in Vista... Guaranteed...
I'm so upset with basic XP features which were working just simply and fine and are now broken or deeply hidden in Vista/Seven (search file, "invert selection" and so on...) that last week I decided to configure my PC with a dual boot Seven/Leopard. Seven for some mathematical applications I use for studies available only with Windows, and Mac OS for photo editing, music listening and file managing (with a working search feature, LOL....)
This way, it's just fine...
Is this illegal? Maybe: Uncle Jobs doesn't want us to install OS X on PCs, even if you paid for it. But selling dear operating systems which are just crap (Microsoft) or stylish hardware which costs 3 times the normal price (Apple) should also be illegal.
the search in vista is very very bad. i cant even search for a specific word in a doc.
xp was better
I really don't see how Microsoft can get away with providing such an inferior product - it just gets worse and worse.
This "search" feature is pure crap - it's like the people who designed it are from an alternate reality "Planet Stupid" and their garbage got into our 'verse. . .
I agree with an earlier posting - a rebate and a lot of "I'm sorry" money from Microsoft is due. . .
it is a matter of survival
and MS smells like a dead animal
XP was basically a working machine but
to get some cash flow enter
which is so absurd
the only thing that could be worse
would be to offer a fix called
gotta have the cash flow
the total disregard for SERVING the community
Windows is SO intrusive:
buy my VISTA,
buy my Windows 7 and
every time I open my browser
an MSN prompt suggests the user should update
with apparently no option to remove the
scandalous MSN prompt.
next thing we see Windows
will be out on the streets
in the gutter
with a cup in every hand begging
for small change.
have ye no shame?
Basicly Vista sucks! a simple right ckick and search function will do fine, I just want to search old files on my DVD drive can we make Windows more complicated? Lets all go to Mac, I have never used Mac but I'm thinking about is.
Vista search is the worst search I have ever seen. It is SO frustrating. Anyone know of an alternative?
How do I find files on my computer ? I cant find my music or anything..
im excited to see that im not alone in having headache with vista's search function. this makes me feel good about this xp machine i'm currently working on since it can't support the memory requirement of vista. and the fact that windows xp will be supported by microsoft until 2014 means there's little reason to ditch xp and hurry up to the stores to purchase a new copy of windows 7.
YOU wrote at the top, "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."
That is the stubidest thing I've ever heard.
The OLD search was easy and made sense.
Vista's new search is an abortion! (Do you even work with this boat anchor? I have to now.)
All I want to do is find a doc file with a phrase I remember I wrote in it and MS in it's evil stupidity has chosen to make it as hard as humanly possible.
It's like they took everything I used the most and completely hidden them from me now.
(I won't even talk about how they've broken Power Point now.
Why, oh why, can't they just leave things alone?
And it's unacceptable that you can call buffoonery like that "...what used to be a nightmare is now an easily accomplished..."
Looks like this thread is still a popular topic - keeps getting replies.
And, it also looks like my feelings about Windows Search are shared by mo' folk than I imagined.
I agree with previous posters. Windows search just gets worse and worse with every new revision.
By far the best one was Win2k. You just hit F3, and start typing, because you are immediately put in the "filename: " field. And if you are searching for text within the document, then the check box is right there below it.
That's the way I want to see it because the only thing I am going to search for in a file folder is FILES. And after that, the only other thing I might be searching for is stuff WITHIN FILES.
Things like "how big is it?" and "When was it modified?" are useful, but are hardly (and I mean really pretty friggin far from) being my highest convern. I'll resort to those only if I'm searching a very, very wide scope - like the whole disk - for a very, very broad term like *.doc)
90% of the time that I hit F3, I'm either looking for a file in the current folder or below, OR, I'm looking for text in a file right here in the current folder. Searches on a larger scale than that are pretty rare.
When WinXP came around, I suffered MONTHS of trying to re-adjust to the fact that after I hit F3, it was time to sit down with a cup of coffee and wade through all the options. Click here, expand this list, find a checkbox for this...
And most annoying of all, XP just up and decided that for a whole lot of files, it was just plain gonna skip them and not include them in the search. For instance, searching for text within files would completely skip looking in .ASP files, which is precisely where I wanted it to look. Then I have to go through this weird procedure to tell it to search in asp files. (open services, find search service, right click in the treeview to expand that, select this, type "asp"... yikes!)
And now, with Windows 7, it appears that the search doesn't search for ANYTHING AT ALL inside files.
UPDATE on my last column.
It seemed to me that not even Microsoft would do something so monumentally stupid as I was describing. So, I poked around a bit more and found the "Search options" under the "Organize" drop-down. In there, you will find options for "search in files", and some other useful options too.
Just goes to show: I should either post my rants only on blogs that let me edit previous posts, or else I should be more careful not to post too soon before looking more carefully. ;-) Mea Culpa.
Glad it's not just me. Tried to search for a file last night, I knew the filename, I knew the filetype (.doc) and I knew I had dozens of copies of it scattered across my machine in various backup snapshot directories and in 'my documents' and for an hour Vista refused to find it. I am a very competent computer-literate person but eventually I had to abandon the search facility and manually search for it - when I'd found it I used Vista to scan the actual folder for the actual filename and it still refused to identify it - the search facility is nothing short of pathetic. I suspected it was buggy but this was the first occasion where I'd had the spare time to properly test and prove it was faulty.
I am so glad I found this page. I've been going slowly insane over the past two years retweaking, reindexing, and resetting the search options in Vista time after time after time. I work with hundreds of different files at a time for my work so simply knowing which directory the files may be in is not always enough.
The settings are a joke. They change within days, hours, or even minutes after setting them for the 12 millionth time. "Indexing" is likewise a nightmare. It indexes whatever the frick it feels like, WHEN it feels like. Most recently (today) it would not find a file I have downloaded twice this week. Ironically, the file is a WMA file. HA! Microsucks can't find its own proprietary file types. Advanced Search is retarded and no quicker than manually hunting down each file directory by directory. The "Search Everywhere" option is so ironic that Oxford should replace the #1 entry for Irony in their dictionary with a screen cap of the Vista search box.
On the advice of others on this page (and in sheer desperation to find a file I knew existed, just didn't know WHERE I had saved it to) I downloaded Agent Ransack. It's a simple search program that works exactly as a search program should, i.e. CHECKS ALL THE FILES on your computer to see if they match your search parameters. Are you listening, Bill Gates?!
BTW, I found this page by typing "I hate Vista search."
When i do a search for a certain word windows vista search i always get files repeated 3 or four times in the search list that was compiled. What a joke.
I'm using search on W7, and I have to say it sucks as much as people say vista search sucks.
I want to search for folders named debug or release. I used to search for "debug;release" but that won't work now. Have to do each separately. In addition, not only does it find files or folders, but it is finding any file that even mentions debug in the file! When I want that feature I will use it, meanwhile, I just want to find folders (that's directories) - not even files, but haven't found a way to do this. Meanwhile using search is even more useless than just looking in the folder !!
Micorsoft should try something they might be good at like herding goats, programming is not it. I've been in tech support for over 20 years and Vista is the new ME.
I'll second comment by 'Andy W'
had same experience.
I just need to search a file that I know that i had created or mdoified between two dates - the result an entire impossibility!!!
Why did they have to change a reasonably good search system - the mind boggles -or maybe this is a microsoft genetic defect?
I have been having many problems finding files too.
One way around is to add a wildcard, "*", at the beginning and end of the search term.
Dave, are you really serious?
For the sake of your immortal soul I really hope MS didn't pay you money to say this!!
Vista search sucks, in so many ways!
It doesn't even let me decide myself when to search for *either* file names or file contents, and I can't use wildcards in the search.
And often it doesn't find anything, even though it's there, or else it finds completely unrelated stuff.
I have tried all kinds off possible settings, including disabling indexed search (but also indexing "everything"), but nothing works.
In my opinion there should be a federal law against MS operating as a software company...
I vigorously disagree with any claim that this is a powerful new search tool. It is in fact so poorly designed that it would not be unfair to suggest Microsoft assigned idiots to the work.
In the past I have regularly searched for single words or phrases within files and until Vista's arrival had never any reason to complain.
I reset my search preferences to include file content and the search tool continues to be worthless.
Now when I am looking for a specific word, which frequently is how I carry out searches, I must go through my documents separately and use the edit/find function.
This truly was an incompetent bit of work for which the staff and especially designers who carried it out ought to have been handed reprimands as the least of the consequences to be desired.
I have Vista Ultimate 64 on my computer, refusing to pay Microsoft's eye gouging 219 dollars for top of the line Windows 7. When this computer is ready to be replaced - I intend to switch to Apple, for no reason other than, I have had enough of Microsoft
What astounds me is that Apple never even capitalized on this in any of their commercials. Had I known of this flaw, I would have resisted our office upgrade to Windows 7. I'm furious at my IT guys for not researching this better. At this point, I will push for reversion to XP.
I am astounded that anyone would think the search feature in Vista or system 7 is an improvement. What we have is quite the opposite. They are not alone the search feature that have developed in Apple OS land have been just a appalling. The basic assumption coming from the developers is that everyone has filed everything away in an orderly way that they can remember without having to do a search. I hate to break it to them but I use a computer in order to do this kind of stuff. It is not a small little nice feature it is an essential tool that allows me to function. I need to be able to search for all my files. It is hard to imagine that on this planet there is an idiot out there who thought it was reasonable when I put in a search criteria to return email messages. I have millions of emails. Yes I am not exaggerating millions of emails. When I am searching for a file name I expect files with that criteria to return. Can the developers grasp just how much more useful the old ways were? In Apple OS land they seem to have gone nuts trying to come up with a clever name making the search feature harder to use. On the windows side of things the simplicity of being able to search using * as a variable so that you could narrow in by file name was extremely useful. Now too much is hidden. I feel like I am being pushed to think in a way that is counter intuitive. It just leads to frustration. Why is it now so easy to find things using google and so hard to find things opn ones own computer. How could this opportunity to make things easier have been missed?
Well, I thought I must have fallen asleep and woken in a parallel universe when I read Dave's introduction!
Vista Search is a nightmare - it just doesn't do the job.
However.... I think I may have a clue as to what the problem is.
In earlier versions of Windows, the facility was called 'Find', which certainly implied that whatever you were looking for would in fact be found.
Then it was renamed to 'Search' - which doesn't guarantee that anything will be found.
So you see, it's just a game...
Vista would be a joke, except it's not funny and it wastes my time, expensively. I take it from other posts here that no notice was taken by MS of the feedback regarding 'search' and it's the same in W7? Can that really be true?
Do MS really think we want to play hunt the thimble with our files? Or do they think the only thing we ever look for are photos and music?
I have Used vista search for the first time today and i was amazed how confusing it is. Especially on first use.
I like a few people above was getting no results when i knew there should be some; even after i moved the folder where i keep a really large number of docs to 'My documents': which I believe is an indexed folder. There is a microsoft paper which includes a macro that seems to fix this.
I suppose I will be ok now and will get some results a bit quicker now i know how to use the thing. But it is really cumbersome and could have been implemented better. Like some one said people are either looking either for a file they know part of the filename for or they want all the files containing a certain key word. Why couldn't they have one of those dropdown arrows after the magnifying glass to switch between searching for filenames and in file names? It would be still a bit hidden away but at least not as bad as trying to activate the advanced search.
How much did you get paid from Microsoft for writing this bull that this search better? because it sucks
To search a folder for all files with an extension, e.g. *.PSD I found this works:
(Technically not the same search, but just trying to cope here.)
Wow... so it DOES suck, and it's not just me. How can they get away with this??? I can't find simple files that I KNOW are in folders. Why can't the search pick them up????
I'm afraid I don't agree with Dave either. The previous Windows search (I set XP back to even earlier versions of search which was just fine) offered me to search something like
This would immediately return any word doc that contained that part of a name.
I could choose if I wanted only the filenames searched or the whole document inside, choose by date, size, etc.
With Vista the search takes considerably longer and often returns not what I know is there. I then go manually and find what I looked for within the next half hour with the EXACT spelling I entered in the file name, and Vista search returns nothing. That just sucks.
Google Desktop Search is the ideal solution so the suckery stops and I get my files listed in no time.
Sorry, Dave, but this post needs updating.
I am constantly wondering, if the vista search is working properly, where did all my files go that it should have found? I have to fall back on opening up and inspecting every folder, which is to say, searching manually because the automatic search is unreliable. But I will admit, if you want to search for files in a way that occasionally sometimes works for simple tasks, vista is easy. I wouldn't mind keeping it around, but I would want someone to provide me an actual reliable search engine for those times when I really need to find something.
When I click "Start" to open the menu window, the "Search" choice (above recent items on your example) is missing. How can I add it to my menu?
Has anyone tried Agent Ransack on Vista or 7? It was much better than the XP search, to start with, and it probably is MUCH MUCH better than vista or 7, since they are totally worthless.
Personally I won't upgrade from my (most used) Windows 2000 machine, as it works the way I want, and performs much better than any other computer I use. I have two XP units and hate them. Windows 2000 is much easier to get running the way I want it to, no jumping through hoops to get 3 pane view in Explorer WITH a background picture (possible but a pain in XP) etc.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 search is the poorest, most feature desolate search I have ever seen.
I have many text files produced by my software, with a custom extensions. In XP, I could easily search their content.
In Windows 7, it is impossible as far as I can see. I've followed the instructions of 5 different websites. Win 7 search is great if you can't remember where you put your word doc, but if you want to use it for something serious, it is utter excremement.
I searched for AA. Vista returned msp.doc.
How did that meeting go? "Hey, let's default to indexed searching, but let's not index everything!"
Really? So now the search feature gives the wrong results, but hey, it sucks much faster now.
You must love Vista search. You must love search for Vista and Windows 7 because it was ordained. You must love Vista search, even though it can't ever find anything, and is otherwise a waste of disk space, you must love it. Love it, search it.
Agree with many earlier comments: "vista search function is the worst it has ever been."
Absolutely drives me MAD when I try to find anything using the Vista Search function. It fails to find what I'm looking for and throws up a lot of distracting clutter, after taking forever to try to find what I'm seeking. Am used to Win98 and Win2000, and have never used XP, but Vista is absolutely DEMONIC--and I'm convinced that MicroSnot/Gates has deliberately made it maddening to use... WHY? Maybe Gates is really SATAN in disguise!??? Anyway, does anybody know where to find a good REPLACEMENT SEARCH ADD-ON to replace the built-in Search (cr@p) that came with Vista?
I must agree with the complainers - Vista search is terrible. Just terrible.
Folks, at first I was thinking Vista search sucks, I've been using Windows since 3.0 ..
Today I was getting annoyed, wanting to smash and I did a little researching. To expand your search capabilities, go into CONTROL PANEL
click CLASSIC VIEW
click FOLDER OPTIONS
and notice the tab at the top that says 'SEARCH', there you will find an array of options that hopfully you can modify to acheive what u need to..
I was trying to figure out where Vista hid the normal.dot template file for MS Word and was unable to find it, had to also allow to show hidden and system files. This is not my computer, but I know the main user and she's not going to be deleting random system files (I hope)
Good luck anyway
Unbelievable !. It's just taken me HOURS to read all these comments, and it's still SOooo much quicker than tryin' to find ANYthing with this ridiculous Windows Vista Search !. I WAS looking for a solution to this problem, and somehow, between all the Intense Profanities I've just thrown at MicroShaft (Via Google) I still managed to find this site. But now I just don't care where my soddin' files are. All I want to find is 1).A reasonable sized WMD, and 2).Coordinates for MicroShaft HQ !!... Give me those two things young Dave, and possibly a Big Red Button to get things started, then I'll be only too pleased to buy you a cup of coffee at StarBucks !..
Amazing. Since March 24, 2007 people have been constantly complaining about Vista's search function and the insanity of this article. it seems Dave Taylor, the author, makes a post ever 6 months or so saying he is going to update the article, but never does. (ctrl+f for Dave Taylor at least that search still works).
This might be the most laughs I've seen on the interwebs for a long time. It did wonders to easy my frustration that is Vista's search.
Best advice i've seen so far is to open any folder and use the search box. better than clicking the start button.
Thanks for explaining Dave, but I think the opposite is true, what used to be a simple search by file size in XP has turned into a nightmare in Vista, many things that were simple and easy to find in XP are a nightmare in VISTA.
I think you are all being really unfair on both Dave "Im gonna update this article" and Microsl*t by implying that there may be some problems with the vista search facility. You've all taken everything out of context because the search facility DOES NOT WORK - AT ALL!!! It's like saying I'm having trouble harvesting my million acres of wheat with this little butter knife. The fact is, ever since the good ol days of Windows File Manager when you could look at 2 drives at once and simply move files (younger users - believe me, such a creation once existed) MS has been hell-bent on trying to get everyone's minds to follow the warped logic of their unwashed developers. We then slavishly fork out the dough to do all their debugging and solution finding for their full price undercooked offerings. Question did the word "workaround" exist before Microsl*t? BTW is anyone game to talk about - "the ribbon" ??????????
Alright, alright, the reason I never updated this article is that I'm now using Windows 7 and haven't looked back. If you're running Vista I strongly encourage you to upgrade as in my eyes, at least, Windows 7 is really "Vista fixed", because we all know that Vista had a pile of hiccups, glitches, and quirks that kept it from being a stable, useful OS with *cough* a functional search capability.
Dave, even your excuse for not answering fails to address the question - upgrading to Win7 does not appear to fix the problem. The number of Windows users out there must run into the billions, and they have the right to backwards compatibility if they upgrade - that is what the word 'upgrade' means, because in my book Vista should never have been sold on those terms, but as a different OS designed uniquely for media, internet and gaming usage, but not for business or home use. As Windows has given up backwards compatibility (other than from one heap of money-wasting ordure to another), there's no reason to stick with it. When one adds in their failure to support older systems forcing you to upgrade, bye-bye MS. My next upgrade will therefore be a big one to Linux.
To generalise MS' faults, they have redefined user-friendliness into dumbing down. A whole string of problems follows: security turned into a nightmare, where you no longer own your own machine or anything on it (I've had a clean machine wiped by Vista). They've replaced the configurable menu with an unmanageable ribbon, which may suit those with low IQs, but neither suits experienced users nor those with average or higher IQs. Add that to their arrogance and track record of serious design faults, then I can only conclude that this is not a supplier with long-term credibility. As one of the tail end of the first generation of computer programmers, I started in the OS ethos and it is there I will end.
my problem is my Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 is not able to search within RAR or ZIP files...I search for a word within it and either 1) doesn't find it or 2) finds it, display the archive where the word is but doesn't show the file the word has in it......I'm going crazy.
I clicked on the screen the box to search within archives, but to avail..
HELP PLEASE!!! This is basics, man!
I never realized until now just how much garbage Microsoft puts out, really. This is the last version I'm going to deal with at home.
Anyway, if you want to go old-school, just click on Start, Run/Search (depending on your interface view and type cmd. Assuming your file is on the C drive, type:
or using filename wildcards:
It'll be a bit slower, but it will find the file and tell you precisely which folder it can be found.
I tried Windows Vista search to find files that have been created after a certain date- nothing found,despite I had clearly some new files. I hope they will fix this revert back to some old Microsoft search functionality. This is so frustrating - my laptop was Trojan infected and I was trying to find out files that were created beyond certain date. No use search could not find anything,even though I had created several my own files. I just wish I can revert some older versions of window where search was flawless..
Dave - I take it that you now concur that the Vista search doesn't work. However, Windows 7 is still a pretty inadequate solution. I have this system on my work computer and the search facility (which happens to work, just) is still woefully inadequate. The user is presented simply with the little search box in the top RH corner with no clue as to what to type into it. If you click in the box it appears you can add search functionality of "Date Modified" and "Size". If you happen to be using it when in the Libraries folder (this is clearly how MS imagines everyone will now work - how wrong can they be!!!) you are additionally offered "Type" and "Name" - Whoopee. Thank goodness for delightful little programmes like Agent Ransack. Do MS ever ask users what they want??
Vista sucks and it's file search engine does too.
Oh my god. I just queried for all files created today (created:today), and when I went to change the columns to sort on different attributes, the UI had to redo the entire search.... Not to mention I can't sort anything until the search is done. What a load of s h it. I am in safe mode trying to hunt down the origin of a piece of malware. Thanks for not helping Vista Business.
The best this page (sorry dave) or MS could do (on their other pages) is say, "use the start--"search" function!" - Well we are one of the millions upon millions that do not have the 'search' function on our 'start' section. (under 'games' it just goes to 'recent items').
We know nothing about computers really, but we or even monkeys could have done a better job making an o.s. with common sense. switching to apple.
their pieces don't expire and everything works.
In case no one has mentioned it yet (no, sorry, I haven't read all 2 miles of responses), the way to search for a file which includes a certain piece of text is to go to the search bar (upper right hand corner of a folder window) and type the exact text you want in quotes or in parenthesis. "text" searches for the word text, and (text1 text2) searches for either text1 or text2. It searches the folder and all folders beneath. It really is easy. Just damn near impossible to find.
I have to agree with most of the negative comments that are here. I was in a directory looking for a file that was likely in a subdirectory, when I couldnt find it manually.
I would normally just do a right hand click and select search........... but no more....... lots of extra steps to find what I was looking for...
I can't figure out how to search for a file by name. I have a file that I put on the disk, and I can't get any search to "find" it. This isn't simpler or better. I don't konw what they were thinking, but once again, MS shoots me in the foot.
Sorry but it's rubbish, its not intuitative, and its functionality appears dubious. I would not hire you as a software tester or actually anything apart from possibly a marketing stooge.
XP search worked very well. The Microsoft engineers got paid to mess up something that wasn't broken just for the sake of selling a new OS that feels different. XP was better. Maybe that's why it lasted so long and Windows 8 is already being prepared a year after Windows 7.
Having just "upgraded" Vista-64 from XP, I found that Vista file search is useless. I have tried both the Start menu search and the search box in the upper right in the Computer window. Agent Ransack is a great solution, and it also has the capability to search for text within files like WinGrep. For me, a further improvement is to switch to the Classic Start menu. Then Agent Ransack can be accessed from Start>Search.
Dave Taylor's instructions are fine, and yes, even tho' hidden, those options are present. But they still don't work intuitively at all and often lead to inconsistent results. For some reason,telling Vista to include the non-indexed, hidden and system files has resulted in it showing ONLY those 2 of 3 times. I probably have some other setting wrong, but it isn't obvious; another problem with Vista search. Basically, this is just as bad as the rest of Vista.
Windows 7 is a total nightmare. What used to be easily found in XP is now gone forever. Things I opened two minutes ago can't be found! What used to be my lifesaver: start, documents and your most recent 10 or so folders would display regardless of which drive it was on, now is a totally useless waste of space. I bought this new computer thinking that we were finally past the nightmares, but no, we're not. Also, have the XP virtual drive, but unfortunately, it's useless, too.
To make it work like I want, I go to Windows Explorer/Tools/Folder Options/Search tab. Then I select "Always Search file names only" (if I want to look inside files I will come here again and change it for that search.) Then I check "Include subfolders..." "Find partial Matches" and most importantlyly "Don't use the Index when searching the file system..."
FINALLY, I have search that is useful on Vista.
Vista search is worthless! It can't file a file when told where to look for it. Example: Look for file named "a" in folder "b". Did you find what you were looking for? HAHAHAHAHA NO
Windows Vista search is easier?
What planet are you on?
Vista does not have a functioning search engine. It is simply not possible to EVER trust the results you get because you never know where the search engine is looking and where it is not --- nor do you know what sorts of files it is looking in if you are doing a search for text contained in a file for instance.
There is NEVER ANY EXCUSE for typing in the exact name of the file you want to find and the search engine being unable to find it when it is present on your computer. The fact I even have to point this out is infuriating beyond belief. Literally billions on man hours have been wasted trying to work around Vista's failed search feature. If you totaled all of these hours up it would be the equivalent of killing hundreds of thousands or even millions of people due to Microsoft's arrogance and stupidity. These people will never get those hours restored to their lives and it was all easily preventable.
IMO the negligence here is every bit as bad as a car company putting a car on the road without tightening the bolts on the wheels properly. The only difference is if you die in a car wreck there is a chance you will go to heaven. With the Vista search feature every minute is spent in a living hell.
XP had the best file search abilities. The interface was simple.
Really searching for stuff using an asterix* is all you need, and specifying the root directory of the search
can i ask .. why does other function of my win.vitsa laptop does not work in win. XP?
If you think Vista is bad with its file search, 7 is much worse. At least with Vista I could still access the traditional file tree and manually search. Windows 7 has completely eliminated that option, or at least hidden it when I can no longer find it. They took a perfectly good user friendly format and turned it into a freakish nightmare. And I have no clue why they tied the file search system it into the web browser. I don't want to type in a file location and get an internet search result. After I called customer service with a MS office product key issue and couldn't understand the Indians, I finally made up my mind, wiped Windows out, and installed Linux Ubuntu. It's painfully obvious Microsoft no longer cares to provide its consumers with quality customer service. The only regret I have is not trying Linux sooner. No more antivirus to slow my system down and extort money from me, no more goofy, useless user interface that combines the file and internet search engine, no more viruses, no more crashes, no more sluggish performance, and finally no more having to deal with customer service reps that barely speak English.
Other than being able to find a file, another good thing about Linux Ubuntu is that I am no longer irritated by the sound of my hard drive continually straining. zzzzzzz ggrrrrrrr zzzzzzzzz glick, glick, glick --ggggzzzz grrrrrr zzzz zzzzzzz grrrrrrr zzzzzz. At least my hard drive is now happy and I now only hear the whirling of my cooling fan.
YES! Agent Ransack free download works perfect! Microsoft BLOWS. Vista search is USELESS, raises my blood pressure every time I try, and is a complete waist of time!@!!!!!
A better search? This seaech absolutely sucks - it is dumbed down, you cannot specify file type nor the contents of the file. The NT/XP search was the best part of those OSs and Microsoft toally hobbled the search in Vista and ist it still crappy in Windows &. A Huge disapointment, still.
In XP you could search:
Larger than 1MB
Created/modified/accessed during a specific date range.
I could specify files only or only folders, user partial names or search a group of types such as *.html, *.jsp, *.txt
The current search is for the Apple crowd that us a PC for listening to music and watching you tube videos.
For the intelligent folks who actually work on a computer the Vista/Win7 seacrh is about 10 steps backwards.
I don't usually register at sites to post just one comment but I did this time because Vista is just so bad, and search in particular, that I had to add my voice to the multitude that are saying Vista sucks....and you, too, Microsoft.
Forget searching using vista utilities. Just download agent ransack and use it
You say "What use to be a nightmare is now easy"
I've been using Windows since v2.0. It's Vista search that is the nightmare. It's almost useless!!!
I gave up years ago even trying to search for things in Vista. It simply sucks. If I've lost something it's bon voyage baby! I lose.
I never ever write on such forums but today I have to. I have just wasted one hour of my life thanks to the useless Vista search tool. How could they come up with something so bad? Is it a joke?
Well, Microsoft search hasn't gotten any better with W7. I try it in outlook, can't find squat. Try it in Visual Studio, can't find squat. I opened up a new MSVC web project, was looking for Application_Start. Doesn't find it. Later I find it myself after googling for it on the web. Outlook-- I look for text in messages that I can plainly see are there, it returns no matches. This is absolutely the most brain-dead thing I've ever seen. Unbelieveably bad, completely useless.
I performed the searches commenter’s said didn’t work for them and received so many results that Windows advised me to be more specific to narrow down the results. I have an engineering background though so researching is a significant percentage of what we do. I have received much better results with the windows search utility than I have with say, Copernicus and others. Copernicus is supposedly so great but I found it to be one of the dumbest of all. ‘Everything’ is a good one. I love Google but it’s desktop engine is really stupid.
Wow, there are strong opinions on searching! Let me throw my fav into the ring ... I use FileSearchEX because it looks and acts very similar to Windows XP search for Windows 7.
Files are difficult to find for a reason. It is microsofts intention to take as much control form the user as possible, so they and the RIAA and the government can spy or sell us the sky eventually. It is a marketing strategy. They do not want you to find every file on your computer because it risk you stealing their proprietary content, so they have made it difficult. Their developers have nothing but contempt for the user who needs a decent file system and search to work efficiently.
"...what used to be a nightmare..."?! You've GOT to be kidding! Pissta is the absolute worst. Looking for tax forms filed from previous years, I searched for "1040", which would presumably return any 1040 document including instructions, 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040. Pissta tells me I have NO documents on my computer that match my search criteria. Turns out, a search for "1040f" would have worked. This is supposed to be better?! Hmmm... askdavetaylor.com becomes a site whose information CANNOT be trusted.
Ditto on the general opinion that Vista and Windows 7 searching is incredibly lame. It is designed based on the assumption that the user does not know what a file is, and pretty much only uses a computer to manage media files, Office documents and email.
Unfortunately for moderately skilled users (i.e. those who know what a file is) the interface is very clumsy. If I want to search for a file by name, for example, anywhere within a directory (yeah, I still call them "directories" instead of "folders"), I should be able to do so trivially.
Why not design search functionality to be good for both beginners and advanced users?
Perhaps I'm old school, but I like to have control over my computer.
Hey Fixitman, thanks for the link to Agent Ransack. I't nice to have an alternative.
Mind boggling that four years later Microsoft still can't or won't fix there search tool. Are they completely oblivious? Of the millions of Microsoft users, all but one user (Dave) are completely disgusted with the search functionality, do they have any awareness of user opinion?
Is this a general property of large corporations with rigid hierarchical structures that the decision making body simply doesn't have enough surface area to be aware of user opinion? For example, Google used to be aware of user opinion before the recent management reorganization, and now they too are becoming more like Microsoft.
As an IT professional working for over 25 years most of the time in cutting edge technology and breaking new IT ground this has to be the biggest failure I've ever seen. It's not a matter of functionality, which I greatly question as "better" it's a matter of interface and communication. The utter arogance to change the interface so dramatically; the stupidity to not properly test it; and the removal of functionality that is systemic to primary usage is nothing short of a disaster.
I have never used the windows search "facility"
Why ? I use the command shell which I have on my desktop, and which should be on EVERYONE's desktop.
Here are examples of how to list directories and to find strings with the command shell :-
>dir [/a:sh] //list non hidden contents of current dir. The option lists hidden/system files
>dir /s //as above but include subdirectories below the current dir
>dir /? //dir "help"
And to use the "pipe" (look it up. It's the bottom left key on the keyboard) to pass the output of one command to another
command (like find)
>dir /s | find [/i] "qwerty" //finds all nonhidden files & subfiles containing the string qwerty
>dir /s *.exe | find "26/03/2012" //finds all files & subfiles modified on the 26/3/2012 (in the UK!)
(useful to find an exploit you have just been infected with - but repeat the search with the /a:sh option)
>dir /s /a:sh | find "26/03/2012" | find "16:" //finds all hidden/system files in and below the currrent dir modified on
the 26 between 1600 and 1700 hrs.
>dir /s /a:sh | find "26/03/2012" | more //paginates output
The command window you install on your desktop should be cmd.exe, NOT command.exe (there are two) and it should be modified by
right clicking on its title bar
1. to change its colours to black text on a white background (and popup text to blue)
2. to invoke the quick edit and insert edit options
3. to change its screen buffer size to a (suggested) height of 4096 and width of 180 (option "layout")
With the above options text can be cut and pasted from and to the command window by right clicking.
To copy text from the command windows highlight the text and right click on it. This places it in the clipboard
from where it can be, for instance, be pasted by "ctrl c" into the explorer address bar. Within the command window text in the clipboard can be pasted by right clicking
The find command
find /? //lists find help
find /i "QwErty" //finds all examples of qwerty regardless of case in the files in the current dir
find has a deficiency (well it is MickeySoft) in that it will not search subdirectories
For this reason the windows version of "grep.exe" should be downloaded and placed in /system32/.
grep WILL search for strings in files in directories AND subdirectories
Oh - one other very useful feature of the command shell.
Softkey "shft 7" lists all the commands executed in the current session so you can quickly & easily select and repeat a command string already executed
"Softkey "shft 7" lists all the commands executed in the current session so you can quickly & easily select and repeat a command string already executed "
"Softkey F7 lists the commands executed in the current session so you can quickly & easily select and repeat a command string"
And an error
dir /s /a:sh does not find both hidden and system files. Hidden and system files must be searched for separately viz
Oh yes - don't expect dir /s filename to *always* find filename. Occasionally stuff is missed, this must be a consequence of Mickeysoft's flaky file index updating.
Microsoft has deliberately crippled SEARCH in VISTA and MS7 to prevent the user to access files and content (MS operating system, collusion with government for snooping via Patriot Act, copyrighted media files, etc). This is a deliberate strategy and there is no patch on the way, trust me. Microsoft wants to own your computer, even though you paid for it. The ridiculous amount of time it takes to do an imperfect search is to run through algorithms to determine whether or not you should be able or not to view a file and surreptitious communication via the internet if possible.
I found it. to search contents file, in Vista. (Excuse me: my english is poor, but I try to write, answer)
1. search a word
2. on the top of page , click on "search tools"
3. select "search option"
4. in the openend windows,
4.1. select "search" tab.
4.2. at the "what to search", select "Always search file names and contents (might be slow)"
5. now you can easily search in contents.
Example: I'd like to find text file with name "history"
5.1. write in the search pan:
5.2. (search contents) for search word "system" in the "*history*.txt" files
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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