Thursday, May 1, 2008

Windows XP - Explorer is not finding files containing text

Doesn't it annoy you when you are looking for a file containing some text and you know is in there somewhere, but Windows Explorer doesn't find it? Windows XP by design only looks into a pre-configured list of known document types, to improve performance and return relevant results. While this may apply to a home user, that's usually not the case with professionals.

Changing the registry key below would get you the expected behaviour:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContentIndex\FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions = 1

8 comments :

  1. Thank you from Queensland, Australia. This problem was really bugging me as I was trying to find where program modules were called. I've made this change and all seems fine so far.

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  2. My pleasure Barry. The problem is that mostly everyone I know chose various to search through files - I prefered Total Commander, quite fast and allows to save the search criteria. Hold on, now that I can think of even Windows Explorer allows to save searches as .fnd files :-) Anyways, I'd say the search puppy and this behaviour just drove people away from searching with Windows Explorer.
    Btw, it works on Windows Server 2003 and it's probably one of those things that can be published through Domain Group policy.

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  3. Thanks for the tip. This was driving may users up the wall.

    If only I could get them all to use Total Commander ;-)

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  4. Hey Allen, glad it made a difference! yeah, they don't know what's best for them ;-) in fairness, the slightly non-Windowsy looks and fair complexity of TC can be off-putting for some.

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  5. Thanks, this was very helpful

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  6. Excellent. Search now finds text strings in my InDesign docs.

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  7. Great stuff.

    Just as a tip, while enables Explorer to search in files properly, I found that tools like Total Explore (ALT+F7) search tools are much faster especially with a lot of files or over the network.

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