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Windows 7 search - not returning file contents

    Question

  • 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?
    Saturday, September 26, 2009 1:26 PM

Answers

  • Yes-A.E.N. Can't search files-What me worry?   People can make errors, but it takes a computer to really screw things up.

    I would explore the source of the original files and how you moved them into Win 7 and where. C:\User name\My Documents would be a likely save\import target. Is the user name the same as on the computer where the files came from?

    If you are dual booting, move them a public shared folder from other OS, then with Win 7 windows explorer, go to that folder and copy to My Docs.

    Better yet, how did you move them?
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    • Proposed as answer by Nano Warp Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:52 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Friday, October 02, 2009 6:16 AM
    Monday, September 28, 2009 11:24 PM
  • OK.  If I copy a folder to the server, delete the folder on the laptop, copy the folder from the server back to the laptop WDS searches the contents and produces the correct result.

    So now about 50 folders to do that with which is better than thoousands of files!!

    SO, the problem was not exactly found but a workaround was and I thank you for all you efforts Nano!

    • Proposed as answer by Nano Warp Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:52 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Friday, October 02, 2009 6:16 AM
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 7:05 PM

All replies

  • The new search 4.0 requires one to use a different syntax for the search parameters. Click Start (orb)> searchbox>enter syntax

    Read here for more.

    For all pdf's- FILE:pdf

    For e-mail attachments, type   attachments: (blank or file type .ppt, .doc, .xls) in the search box 

    Many a discussion here in the forum on this topic.

    Does that help get the desired results for you?

    If yes, Mark as answer or vote as helpful for others with a similar issue to find. 
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:20 AM
  • Thanks Nano Warp.  If I do not specify the file type and since I have told it to search for a word (that may occur inside a file, that search has been instructed to index that type file and its contents) it should return the results without me specifying.  That said, it does not, and it always has.

    The key factor here seems to me is that is if I create a new file or "re-save" an old file, then a search for a word inside a file (whatever types I have selected in configuring search, i.e. doc; pdf or whatever) that is new or "re-saved" is found, ie search works properly.

    So, either the index itself needs to be reset in some way, or all the file attributes have to be changed in a way to make search "re-look" at that file.

    Using the method specified above unfortunately does not help.
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:53 AM
  • I forgot to mention checking the settings for the HDD. Start>Computer>right-click C: or any HDD> select properties>Confirm that  Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed.

    Then Start(orb)>Help and Support>type "search indexing"> and follow to rebuild index or set advanced index option.

    I get multiple results when I enter only a word like "word" in the search box and then more when I click see more results.

    The search 4.0 link provides much more info on the using the search tool. Those were just examples. 
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 12:08 PM
  • Hmmm...One other item to ask-Did you perform a clean install of Win 7 RTM? Upgrade over Beta or RC is not available. See Upgrade Paths.
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 12:11 PM
  • Thanks again Nano Warp.

    Yes, the drive is set for indexing, good thought though!  Yes, it was a clean install of Win7 RTM.

    One thing that I see is consistent.  As soon as I save an existing file and or add a new file, search returns the file contents and works just fine.  Unfortunately I have MANY (thousands) files that would need to be re-saved in order to "alert" the search index to "reindex".  There must be some sort of pointer telling indexing NOT to index the files that already existed.  Any idea what pointer might be on each file telling the search index that it had already indexed the file when in fact it did not (except previously when all was working OK)?
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 3:51 PM
  • I found how to reset the indexer entirely http://brandonlive.com/2007/04/20/faq-how-to-completely-reset-wds-windows-search/ .

    I have now narrowed down the issue.  Since rebuilding, WDS will not index the contents of the Document library WITH THE EXCEPTION of files that are added and or are re-saved if they were already existing files.  Anyone have any idea how to tell the document library (and/or the files in it) to have WDS index the file contents or tell the files/folders themselves to let WDS know that their contents need to be reindexed?
    • Edited by Markd2100 Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:49 PM typo
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 6:44 PM
  • OK. here's another try. Have you rebooted after changing the indexing options/settings?

    Open Win Explorer- Expand the user name where the flies are located-right-click on the folder where the thousands of documents are-there is an option to include in library-select and ok and close out.

    Another way-Open windows explorer-right click on the documents library-there is an option to include a folder-point it to the folder(s) location with the thousands of files-and ok and close out.

    Why it doesn't find them is strange- I have moved folders to my documents folder and files in by copy- by using selective Windows Easy Transfer from XP and search finds them.

    I have also searched the DATA (storage only drive, which has old documents) and search finds them by file type, name or however I search.

    How did you move these into Win 7? Perhaps setting the permissions on the folder where the many docs are would help.
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:35 PM
  • The permissions settings may be the reason.
    Looking at Control Panel Home>change view to icons>select indexing options. Here you can find the solution. 

    Help and Support stated files in the Library are searched. Search 4.0 is different from the Search 3.0 fix that that you linked to:brandonlive.
    Also this quote on Why aren't files included:

    It might be because of the security settings for that folder. For a folder and its content to be indexed, it must be configured with the System permission. Most folders already have this, but there are some cases where a folder might be missing the System permission.

    To add the System permission to a folder

    1. Right-click the folder, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.

    2. If you don't see System listed under Group or user names, click Edit.

    3. Click Add, type System in the box that appears, and then click Check Names.

    4. Under Matching names, click System, and then click OK until all of the open dialog boxes you've opened are closed.

    You'll need to rebuild the index once you've made this change. To learn about rebuilding the index, see Change advanced indexing options.


    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:51 PM
  • Well Nano, sure was a valiant effort and great thoughts, much appreciated.  I tried the 2 above items previously.  Last night I THOUGHT I had hit on the resolution, but sort of and sort of not.  I was finally starting to see the proper result to include file contents for files that met 1 or more of the following criteria:

    #1.  Were created after the last index rebuild.
    #2.  An existing file that was re-saved after the last rebuild.
    #3.  Change the file attribute from N to A.

    So instead of fouling up my file dates by re-saving each file (not to mention the time it would take), I instead tried changing a few files attributes from N to A, I did this attribute change one file at a time.  WORKED GREAT, the contents of those files were indexed and WDS returned the proper result.  The "A" attribute being the archive attrbute I simply went to the folder with all these files in it, checked the box (via folder properties) "file is ready for archiving" thereby changing the attributes on all the files in that folder.  Now I expected that new searches would include the file contents (taking no chances I rebooted and gave it a few hours to index, EVEN THOUGH THE INDEXER SAID THAT INDEXING WAS COMPLETE moments after I changed all thosee files attributes, which I found impossible given the number of files), no luck, contents not returned.  So this morning I have a brainstorm and - one by one - change the attribute BACK to "N" from "A" on several files and shazam, THOSE file contents were in fact indexed as evidenced by the proper search results in WDS.  So I again change a batch of files attributes (back to N), not the entire folder but like 30 files, and no good, contents were not indexed.  So, in the end, if I change the file attribute one file at a time, those files contents are indexed.  However if I change several files simultaneously the file contents are not indexed.  Go figure.  I am open to suggestions, seems quite weird to me.  To make it even weirder, if I limit the number of files which I change the attribute (doesn't matter if changed to or from "A" or "N", so long as the attribute is changed) to just 3 or 4 being changed at once, by selecting those files, right click, properties, advanced, ready to archive (changed from whatever it is set to to the opposite) and all works well, contents indexed and WDS is working correctly.  However if I try to change more than 3 or 4 at a time, no luck.  Strange or what??

    Monday, September 28, 2009 1:07 PM
  • It's got me stumped now. Why won't it index the files? Everything points back to Folders and Permissions-Folder only in Libraries

    Ok.
    1. Windows Explorer>Tools>Folder Options>Search Tab>check "Always Search file names and contents"> OK >close out and search. Y or N?
    2. Same option area-use natural language search Y or N?
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Monday, September 28, 2009 3:04 PM
  • Yes, it's baffling, though changing the attribute file by file makes it work OK (found 1 exception earlier to make things even stranger, instead of hitting "Apply" when I changed the atttribute I just hit "OK" to see if it mattered, no results for that file no matter how many times I change the attributes thereafter, and that includes pressing "Apply", just an aside...), wsh there were not so many files, then it would be a good fix.

    OK, re your #1, I actually have the selection above that checked "In indexed location, search file names and contents; in non-indexed locations, search filename only", is checked.  This is the default.  I left it this way since I figured the search would look outside the index and take much more time.  I will change to the other selection per your #1.  sounds like a good idea.

    Re your #2, - I do NOT have this checked; I will check it AFTER I try #1 above.  Another great idea.

    Hey, is that the indominatable A.E.N. as your avatar??

    NOTE - I just tried the above, no good.  the only "reliable" way to get the file contents to show up in the WDS search is if I change the attribute (other than that 1 file mentioned above) or "re-save" an existing file or create a new file.

    Oddball....
    Monday, September 28, 2009 8:52 PM
  • Yes-A.E.N. Can't search files-What me worry?   People can make errors, but it takes a computer to really screw things up.

    I would explore the source of the original files and how you moved them into Win 7 and where. C:\User name\My Documents would be a likely save\import target. Is the user name the same as on the computer where the files came from?

    If you are dual booting, move them a public shared folder from other OS, then with Win 7 windows explorer, go to that folder and copy to My Docs.

    Better yet, how did you move them?
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    • Proposed as answer by Nano Warp Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:52 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Friday, October 02, 2009 6:16 AM
    Monday, September 28, 2009 11:24 PM
  • Markd2100,
    Here is the online reference, similar to Help and Support for resolving search issues. here.  I don't believe we have run the trouble shooter. It's a nice tool often overlooked.
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:49 PM
  • Thanks again Nano.  I have run the troubleshooter several times.  It says all ok.
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:58 PM
  • Sorry Nano, missed this post.  WHAT ME WORRY!? 

    Many of the files were actually created on this laptop after W7 RTM was clean installed.  Yes, user name was same as where the balance of the files came from.  The files that were not created on this laptop were copied (not moved) from another laptop (Vista Ultimate).

    The indexing used to work PERFECT (on this laptop) but something broke it and I have never been able to pinpoint what caused it.

    You bring up a good thought though.  Although it REALLY messes me up (if it fouls up file dates) I am going to copy, not move, all the files to a server, delete them on the laptop (after I have copied them back to another folder which I will later rename) and see if WDS "sees" that it needs to index them in their entirety (file contents and all) and if it searches correctly then.  I'll let you know the result.

    It will take several hours.
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 5:03 PM
  • OK.  If I copy a folder to the server, delete the folder on the laptop, copy the folder from the server back to the laptop WDS searches the contents and produces the correct result.

    So now about 50 folders to do that with which is better than thoousands of files!!

    SO, the problem was not exactly found but a workaround was and I thank you for all you efforts Nano!

    • Proposed as answer by Nano Warp Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:52 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Friday, October 02, 2009 6:16 AM
    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 7:05 PM
  • Never mind.  What WAS working is no longer working.  Results from file contents that worked yesterday do not work today.  The laptop was hibernated and then turned back on this morning.  No other changes (other than using WDS) took place.

    I am going to do a reformat/reinstall or W7 & copy the files back in after doing so.
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:09 PM
  • :-(           clean install or in place upgrade?

    After the install of the OS and updates are completed,no other software, move in the folders and files and test the search. If it is working correctly, be sure to test after each installation of software/applications. Perhaps the culprit was an app. Also, be sure to pay attention to apps that want to create file assocations.
    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 10:20 PM
  • Clean install Nano.  I will use your suggested methodology.  Thanks again!
    Friday, October 02, 2009 3:06 PM
  • When is a search no longer a search?  When it is this lame fuzzy search-like stupidity that Microsoft has decided to put in the upper-right corner of Explorer.  It's not new to Windows 7, though it's not getting any better.

    Data is not fuzzy.  It matches or it doesn't.

    And what bonehead decided that pre-indexing the entire hard drive was a good idea?  BY DEFINITION the database will be out of date, which seems to be the problem in this thread.  That's best case.  If there are errors - naw, could there be any errors in Explorer? - things just get worse.  Supposedly if we turn off search indexing we can trade some time for a more accurate result (because the search will run on the REAL data), but I still don't find the results trustworthy.

    Would you make a business or investment decision on whether Explorer search turned up (or failed to turn up) a datum?  I sure wouldn't.

    Let's not forget there was a time you COULD trust the results of a search implicitly.

    Are we making a transition to a point where we cannot trust the data our computer is presenting to us?  At that point what will be the use of having a computer? 

    Does Microsoft think we are just using these computers as entertainment devices, with no particularly important data on them?

    -Noel
    Friday, October 02, 2009 3:21 PM
  • @Markd2100- Please update-should work fine

    @Noel,
    Windows 7, as is Vista, is full of features and the ability to configure those features according to personal preferences and use the computer for many purposes with one operating system. Search 3.0 and 4.0 are very effective tools when one spends the time to learn the use of the tool. Here is a reference for you. 

    I prefer the search box in Windows Explorer and can find any file quickly using the proper syntax. Once the drives are indexed, and set to index automatically, you can find current and previous versions of files with no additional maintainence by the user required. 

    I respect your position of comfort with what is a well known entity. The fact that Windows 7 can run on many XP designed computers at a significant level of increased performance is a good enough reason to learn it's use.There's no need impose your discomfort with Windows 7 upon others. Why not place a helpful reply or start a new thread in Miscellaneous.

    The more time you spend with Windows 7 you'll use XP or even Vista less.   


    ASUS P4PE-P4 Extreme 3.4gHz-2gb G.Skill PC3200-XPSP3:55gb-Win7RC:17gb-DATA:500gb-ASUS N6800GT
    Friday, October 02, 2009 6:14 PM
  • Baloney.  I go nuts when I'm told to spend a few brief moments getting a PhD in Windows Search. The more time I spend learning it, the less savings there are in those hyped timesaving features.

    OMG, how do you get that W.Explorer dropdown search parameter menu to appear consistently with all its options?

    Nano, since you have so easily mastered it, then you should be able to answer this without looking:  How do you search for a Junction or Alternate Stream data?  Do you even know what either are?

    Windows Search sucks.  When I want to find a file, I drop to DOS, ChDir to the \root directory, then type DIR /S /A filename*.  That always works.

    @derosnec,
    Have you tried windows+f and type kind:streams in the search box at the top right? here

    No matter, how does this help mmarkd2100 find the files that he uses after installing a new operating system and a problem develops?

    Saturday, October 03, 2009 10:19 AM
  • @nano,
    Have you tried finding kind:streams on that page you recommend  here ?

    No matter, how does lip-synching MS choir verse help motivate them to improve Windows Search?


    @derosnec,
    :-)
    You wanted more options in the drop-down box, that's where they are, when you open the search box. (second paragraph)
    "You can narrow your searches using a variety of keywords, or search parameters, which can restrict your query to specific locations, specific file types or properties within those types, or specific "file kinds." File kinds are displayed at the top of the Windows Search Explorer, accessible by pressing the Windows Logo key + F. "

    No, I haven't found how to modify the default options in Win Explorer yet or if you can.

    Notice the article section is "Advanced syntax query". While you and I may look for those files, most users want to find mom.jpg and don't remember where it was saved. I am not really an MS Fanboy, I just prefer MS to penquins and leopards. ;-)
    Saturday, October 03, 2009 11:10 AM
  • Thank you for the reference link; however I know how to use it, "Nano Warp".  I am using it, for real work, as I've been doing so since I got Vista. 

    You should know that I am in an uncommon position of continuing to use all the releases, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 on real and virtual machines.

    Trouble is, Explorer's search box just doesn't produce accurate/complete results.  I can't trust it like I should be able to trust a true file search.  If you do then clearly you're either less concerned with accuracy or are simply not perceiving the difference in what you use it for.

    I'm a career software engineer.  In layman's terms I understand Windows better than most, and I've always been an early adopter.  I was running XP x64 before it was cool, and after that I embraced Vista and even got it to run incredibly stably and stay clean.

    You:  "It'll work when you love it."
    Me:  "I'll love it when it works."

    A personal comment:  It's not your place to judge what others feel nor to tell others what and whether to impose on this public forum.

    -Noel

    Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:45 PM
  • @Noel and Censored(clever),
    Thanks for the comments, I'll take those into consideration. I am usually neutral with my comments. As far as the Search...

    To get advanced search results one has to first configure a few items.
    1. In Win Explorer, select the C:\ drive, then from the tools menu, folder options, show hidden files. Ok out.
    2. Control Panel>icon view>indexing options>advanced>file types>index properties and file contents. Ok out and rebuild index on the C:\ HDD. (go do something else)
    3. Win+F, enter search syntax Folder:SendTo, then select search again in computer after first result. 
    4. The result is displayed.
    Yes, MS sets the default settings nearly useless for system work. It will find most typical items quickly. Also, it is linked with Libraries as the default search location. Indexing is necessary. I just it think it sucks that it not more easily configured for advanced use. So, in conclusion, command line searches may be faster before configuration and provides results advanced users need. The gui search with Search 3.0 or 4.0 can be made to provide results for advanced users. Typical users will be confused with Libraries.

    Best Regards.  
    • Edited by Nano Warp Wednesday, October 07, 2009 2:05 AM removed information
    Monday, October 05, 2009 12:41 PM
  • Yes, MS sets the default settings nearly useless for system work. It will find most typical items quickly. Also, it is linked with Libraries as the default search location. Indexing is necessary. I just it think it sucks that it not more easily configured for advanced use. So, in conclusion, command line searches may be faster before configuration and provides results advanced users need. The gui search with Search 3.0 or 4.0 can be made to provide results for advanced users. Typical users will be confused with Libraries.
    On this we agree, and thanks for making it more clear how to configure the system for advanced use.  Basically you're saying I have to live with the downsides of seeing hidden files before they can be found by Search 3.0 or 4.0.  Not providing info on hidden files may explain why I've found the results incomplete; I'll check that carefully.  I'm not sure I can live with having to see Hidden files all the time; it sure clutters things up.

    I used to think Microsoft provided the advanced development features in the system because the Microsoft developers themselves used their own operating system for doing software development on Microsoft products.  That was the reason, for example, that we ended up with things like PowerToys.  I'm not sure what they're doing now - I would guess developing on Vista and XP still - but this no longer seems to motivate them to make it straightforward for people who need real computers instead of entertainment devices to configure the product as such. 

    Perhaps after a few service packs we'll see Windows 7 become capable of being configured into a premier technical/business operating system.

    -Noel
    Monday, October 05, 2009 1:22 PM
  • hey derosnec,
    The path is shown on the right side of the results under the header FOLDER. The contents of the folder are displayed with the Folder and path info on the right (Folder name first, search parameter).  SendTo C:\Users\Moe\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows. I should have zoomed before the screenshot.

    The Tree View is the result of selecting Tools>Folder Options>Show All Folders. Default user is then diplayed. 
    Monday, October 05, 2009 9:01 PM
  • The PC is Moe. Larry, Curly, Shemp and Curly Joe are also on the network. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.
    Monday, October 05, 2009 11:29 PM
  • OMG!!

    Who designed this 'search'??  Please confess and give your name so when my parents call wondering how to find a file I can simply forward their request.  I can't easily find file CONTENT (oh so simple in XP).

    I've WASTED too much time tweaking Control Panel | Indexing Options, cruising the web looking for Microsoft solutions, 3rd party solutions (free or otherwise) and can't believe the huge step backwards with something that was handled so elegantly in XP.

    Regards,
    Mark B
    computer-literate user, going back to the days of uucp, BBS bulletin boards, and 300 baud modems (I could go back further...)
    Wednesday, October 14, 2009 4:28 PM