File search in XP

I recently moved from Windows NT4 to XP (missed out on 2000) and I find that the File Search facility from Explorer does not seem to work as I am used to.

I used to find the option to look for files containing a given string very useful on occaision. Now when I use the ‘A word or phrase in the file’ box it seems to use this as an additional filename test and does not perform the primitive ‘grep’ like search I want.

All I want to do is search through a bunch of folders for any file with the ‘.e’ extension and the term ‘business_id’ in the text. Is there some option I am too thick to notice?

looks at the XP search window

Erm, I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to. My seach window is layed out:

It seems pretty self-explanatory to do what you want… maybe you have to turn off all of the fancier UI (and that stupid and pointless animated dog O_o) in the search preferences?

It does seem self explanatory doesn’t it? Such a shame it does not work :frowning:

My guess is that it is using some fiendish scheme to decide how to do the search because it is fine with ‘.doc’ and ‘.txt’ files but not with my ‘.e’ files.

Does anybody know how to get it to do a simple grep-like search?

Sometimes you can be too clever.

Do you have to index a drive before using this feature, much like “updatedb” in Unix? I dunno, I use a Mac mostly.

Thanks vertigo, although you don’t need to index your files for searching, that was the key to my finding the solution :slight_smile:

The secret is to configure indexing to index all file types, not just the ones it knows about. You don’t have to use indexing (uses up disk space and not much use if your files are very volatile), just configure it.

You turned off the cartoon search dog the first time you saw it, didn’t you? On doing this, were you as annoyed as I was to see it stroll slowly away into the distance, instead of just disappearing?

I don’t remember, so I turned it back on and off again, just so I could get annoyed all over again.

I remember being upset that it didn’t explode or have an anvil drop on it.


I’ve noticed exactly the same problem with XP. XP only finds the search string in some file types.

Since I alway have TextPad loaded on my boxes, I now use the search facilities in it.

Another thing that XP does that I don’t like in the search for text in files is that is opens and rifles through all .zip archives looking for the text. This slows thing down alot.

I actually used the search dog the first time. And said “Go get it, Lycos!” after I hit enter.