Search file contents in Windows 7

I have a new laptop that came with Windows 7 installed. My old laptop came with Vista and I had upgraded it to Windows 7. On my old laptop I can search the content of files (for example, a table name in sql files) and it will return every file that contains that text. The new laptop will not. I have indexed my entire C drive, checked all search settings to make sure they agree with my old laptop's settings, and still I get no results. I've spent 2 days reading other threads full of complaints about the problem with Windows 7 search. I've tried searching 'content: "my text"' with no success. I've tried Windows button + F to search but still get no results. I just don't understand why it works fine on my Vista > Windows 7 laptop but will not work on my out-of-the-box Windows 7 laptop. Is there a step or setting I'm missing? Here's what I've tried:
1) Indexed my C drive
2) Folder options - Always search file names and contents, Include subfolders, Find partial matches, Include system directories
3) Advanced indexing options - Index Properties and File Contents (even though I don't have this option selected on my old laptop)
4) C: properties - Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties

Sponsored Links:

Related Topics

question about searching in Windows Explorer
I am switching from Windows XP to Windows 7, and I have a question about searching in Windows Explorer.
In XP, in Windows Explorer, I click the search shortcut, then search companion. There there is a box to say "A word or phrase in the file". It will look in the folder for a file with the search string in the contents.
In Win 7, there is the search box in the upper right hand corner. You can search for a file name. After doing that, there may or may not be a way to search file contents.

Windows Search is not working.
The content search in Windows Explorer does not work.
Under “More options” I have selected “Content”.
In Indexing Options I have selected the correct folder and file type.
I have selected “Index Properties and File Contents”.
I have rebuilt the index.
I have tried restarting my laptop.
In Folder Options – Search I have tried “Always search file names and contents”
I have also tried “Don’t use the index when searching in file folders for system files”
The only results I get is the result of a search of the file name but not the contents.

Search fails to include file content when index is rebuilt
W7 search does not include the file contents in search results after index rebuild.
I have selected "include file contents", I have privileges for the folders/files being indexed, the folder/file properties "include file contents ..." is checked, the file types searched either have files filters for the (i.e. pdf's) or are intrinsic to W7 (i.e. Word, Excel, etc formats).
The only way I can get the file contents to be added to index rebuilds is by modifying a file in any way, for example if I change a number in an Excel doc and then that and only that file will be properly displayed in search results. As there are thousa nds of files this is not a practical work-around. Or if I add a new file the contents are indexed just fine. It is almost as if the search engine is not "re-crawling" the contents of the files that had previously been indexed when it is rebuilding the index. Is there any way to tell it (other than to rebuild, which does not cure the issue) to "re-crawl" all the files as if they never were crawled previously?

Windows 7 Search won't find file contents
Windows 7 Search does not seem to find file contents consistently. Based on other posts I have read this seems to be a problem. As a test I created a Word 2003 file with one word in the file (police) and saved it under the name test in the folder Documents. I waited for a few minutes for the indexing to complete and then searched for Police. The file Test did not show up in the file list. I repeated the same steps but used Excel, then Powerpoint to store the file. Search found the ppt file but not the XLS file. I tired other one word files and these didn't work either. Seems hard to believe such a simple problem would have escaped Microsoft's software verification process so I assume there is something corrupt in my machine.

Search For File Size, Date & Contents
It was SO easy to do the above in Windows XP and Vista. Will someone please explain step-by-step in detail how to do all the above at the same time? For example, search my entire PC (indexed and non-indexed files) for a file larger than 1MB, created and/or modified after March 10, 2010 and containing the word "blackie" in the file contents, not the name.

Search doesn't seem to search file contents
I have a folder of word documents and when I copy and past some text from within a file and search for it, nothing comes up. For "What to Search" I have Index locations, search file names and contents selected. Yet, it doesn't seem to do anything.
Any suggestions on how to fix this?

Searching content of documents in a folder search
I need to search for specific words within documents in a specific folder. I open the specific folder and type the word into the search box and it returns the message "no search results found". If I click on the File Content link, it will locate the document containing the search word. I don't want to have to click File Contents (I perform these types of searches all the time). So, I added the folder to the Indexed locations but it still does not return a list of documents containing my search word. And what's worse is when the folder is added to indexed locations, the link to search File Contents no longer appears. So, adding to indexed locations takes me backwards--there's no way to find what I'm looking for because the option to search contents disappears.
I've also tried adding the folder to a library so the library will be included in the search index. Still no luck.
Also, is there a way to use the keyboard to go from the search box to the link to search "File Contents"? I have tried using Tab and F6 to move about the Search window but none of these keys will land on the pane that says "File Contents". If I was visually impaired, how would I perform a search and then choose File Contents?

Windows 7 search - not returning file contents
I am using Windows 7 RTM 64 bit on a Dell XPS1340 laptop 4GB ram. I have had variable search results (incomplete, inconsistent) when performing searches. The first symptom was that I started to not receive results of file contents of pdf's and then other formats, which I knew to be there. I installed the Foxit PDF ifilter (64 bit), removed same, installed the adobe ifilter (64 bit), no luck. The file content search is checked on the indexer and the folder/file. I rebuilt the index several times to no avail. Yesterday I noticed that if I created a NEW file (.pdf, .doc, .xls, whatever), using search it returned the requested results from the file content on this NEW file. In other words search worked properly. Interestingly search DOES give the file content results of attachment properly for all Outlook 2007 emails. I THINK I need to not rebuild the index but reset the index to default (or reset search to default), though unlike W7 beta, W7 RTM has no such choice. I have looked everywhere, found ways to "reset" Vista's in the registry but nothing for W7. All help would be appreciated as I am in the midst of a large project and my hands are tied without proper search (to include file contents) functionality. Maybe the search index needs to be reset (not rebuilt) so it "re-crawls" all selected folders again?

Windows 7 search - does not return file contents
I was following this really interesting discussion on why Windows 7 search does not return file contents, but for some strange reason the discussion is locked???
Anyway I'm having the same problem so I'd like to continue the discussion here. After reading the previous discussion I went to the control panel and selected "Change How Windows Searches" and clicked the "Advanced" button. Strangely I discovered that under "File Types" the panel "How should this file be indexed" was set to "Index Properties Only." I switched it to "Index Properties and File Contents", clicked "OK" and waited for reindexing to complete. After it was done Search still did not find the files specified in my search, even though I knew for certain the search string is in those file.
So I went back to the control panel and this time I clicked the "Modify" button. Much to my surprise my C: drive was not selected, so I selected it, hit "OK" and waited for Windows 7 to reindex everything again. It certainly indexed more files than before, but my search still does not return all files for which I know the string is in.
Two things I've noticed:
On OS X, searching just works correctly. Everything is indexed from the get-go and searching from the Finder always returns what you would expect. There is nothing special to configure.
On every Windows third-party search product (i.e. Google search), everything is indexed from the get-go and searching from the toolbar always returns what you would expect. There is nothing special to configure.
So my question is: Why can't Microsoft figure out how to make searching "just work?"

Can't get Win7 to search contents of Excel Spreadsheet files
I have an Excel spreadsheet file. One of the cells has some text with the word Swordfish in it. Windows 7 search will not find the file if I enter either Swordfish or content:Swordfish in the search box in File Explorer.
It will not do this if I am currently in the directory where the file is located.
It will not do this if under Tools, Folder Options, Search I also have the Always search filenames and contents checked under What to Search, and also have Include subfolders and include partial matches.
It does file words in text files (.txt, .html, etc.)
I've been less critical of Microsoft application design than others in the past, but this just blows me away as far as the designers taking a HUGE step backwards in desktop search usability. If you search the Internet you will find all sort of posts of people having problems using the search. It is a great example of poor software design. Specifically:
Why are the options to search content buried in the Folder Options? Who the heck is going to easily find that?
Can't you specify (as you could on XP) if you want to search content on a PER SEARCH basis instead of having to keep toggling the Folder Options?

Stop Windows search feature to searching the contents of ANY files
I've looked at the advanced options under the Indexing Options and it looks like the only way to do it is to check each and every one of the hundreds - if not thousands - of file extensions listed, and make sure each one is set to "index properties only". I can't believe there's not an easier way to turn this off for ALL file types.
I saw that it was set up to not check the contents of any files that were not indexed, so I tried turning off indexing on all folders to see if that would do it. But it still scans the contents of all files in My Documents even after that! Anyway I don't really want all indexing turned off - I just don't want the contents of any files indexed or searchable.
Also, is there a way to disable the search box from displaying the search terms that were previously used?

Search does not find by contents
I would like the contents of Word and Excel files indexed. Search only finds file names.
-- The location is indexed (Search *does* find the files by name).
-- "Index Properties and File Contents" is checked for .doc, .docx, .xls and .xlsx
-- I rebuilt the Search index, the control panel says, "Indexing complete".
-- The troubleshooter reports no problems

Search exact phrase in file contents on networked drive
I'm trying to search for an exact phrase in file contents in a folder on a networked drive. When I type "exact phrase" with the quotation marks, it's supposed to find only that phrase. The first time I search it doesn't find anything cuz it's not searching file contents. The second time, searching file contents, it spits out dozens of files!
Also It seems we can't index a networked drive without saving it offline. the networked drive changes constantly, so saving it offline isn't an option!
XP was easy and simple - didn't even have to insert quotation marks to search an exact phrase! Windows 7 is complicated and doesn't work!

Search the Java file type contents
I am having problems searching my .java files. I go to the folder the file it is in, type a keyword in the search box, like "System", and it shows there are no files that match my search. When I change the extension to .txt, it finds my files. I have checked the Advanced Options in Index Options and the java extension is listed there as checked to be indexed for searching contents and file attributes. I have also checked that my individual file properties are set to allow for indexing of file properties and contents. Is this just a bug or am I missing something?

Searching for Files
A simple task is frustrating me in Windows 7. Somewhere in my hundreds of gigabytes of files is the one PowerPoint that I need. I am trying to search for it, but can't find where to specify file contents, directory location, date created, etc.. in my search.
In XP it was File -> Search, and then on the left was more options, including a drop-down menu with "Browse.." as an option. Where is the equivalent in 7?

Simple search for filename
I get very annoyed by this. I often need to search for a specific file or folder in my computer, knowing a part of it's name. In XP, it was a very simple task, but I never get the results I want from win7. As I said, I want to search ONLY for a file or folder name.
I tried the filetype syntax, but it does not work. If I type, for example, filetype:*.flv in the search bar and I search my HDD, it takes forever and never get any results back.
I know that the search feature in win7 was powered up to search for contents of files, emails and everything, but I do NOT want that. I just want to find a file from it's name, and I cannot get win7 to do it.

Can't search contents of .docx files
I'm running W7 x64, Office 2003 with the Word 2007 converter installed.

Windows search doesn't search the content of .docx files. The same happens with Agent Ransack, so I'm assuming it's a W7 issue.

If I save the docx file containing the searched-for word as a doc file, it locates it no problem.

How to search files by its contents?
how do i perform a search in windows 7 where it actually searches the content of the files? let's say i had a text document called, "mytext.txt", and in that file was the the text "Hello World"... How do i make windows 7 return "mytext.txt" as a result if i performed a search for the word "Hello"?

Find and edit the host files
File hosts - is an important part of the network component of Windows, it stores a database of domain names that is used to translate them into network addresses. Very often, viruses, trojans and other malware modify the contents of this file to redirect the user to infected websites or block access to, for example, update servers for antivirus software, Windows Update, etc. Further it is explained how to restore the contents of this file by default.

The Windows 7 Search Does Not Return Any Results when started with Windows+F
I have a very strange problem. First, the problem:
Environment: Windows 7 Enterprise
1. Press Windows+F
2. Search Window Opens.
3. Type few characters or string in search box.
4. Nothing happens
5. Press Enter
6. Still Nothing Happens.
7. The search window keep displaying "To begin..."
8. I give up and close the window.
Repeatability: Multiple. Consistent ("No Results") every time.
Bigger Problem:
(a) Start Menu search box does find programs. It claims to find files (Search Program and files ) but never find any files.
(b). Explorer search box (like Search Local Disk (E:)) does find files. It seems to find them by name but not by contents.
(c). The search in (b) does not find the outlook messages or onenote notes.
More Details:
i. All drives are indexed. File types are also associated with right indexing, such as content indexing for docx etc.
ii. Outlook and onenote also appear in list of indexed locations
iii. I have rebuilt the index, twice just to ensure that it is not corrupt or a problem. Indexing Service is running.
I'm now plain and simple clueless what might be wrong. The same search works (as you type) for others but not for me. I have similar setup. What is wrong?