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Make Windows 7 search function search file names only

    Question

  • Hello,

    Is there a way to search for a file name (like in previous versions of Widows) rather than searching for anything containing that word? For example, I want to search a for files with the word 'Pension' in the title, but intead I receive thousands of results for files called containing the word pension as well as those with 'pension' in the title.

    Thanks!
    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 4:53 PM

Answers

All replies

  • On 6/11/2013 12:53 PM, Charlietbh wrote:

    Hello,

    Is there a way to search for a file name (like in previous versions of Widows) rather than searching for anything containing that word? For example, I want to search a for files with the word 'Pension' in the title, but intead I receive thousands of results for files called containing the word pension as well as those with 'pension' in the title.

    Look at the Search tab in Folder options and see what you have set. You can make the search based on setting in the Folder options tab only search for filename and not the content in a file. It is a machine-wide settings that affects the search on all folders and files.

    http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/516050-how-change-folder-options-windows-7-a.html

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:03 PM
  • Don't bother trying to fiddle with the Windows 7 Search parameters.  The search function in Windows 7 is broken, plain and simple and will not be fixed.  I would not waste my time trying to use it any further.  Instead google "Agent Ransack".  It is a free search utility that just plain works how it should.  Remember the search tool in Windows XP?  Agent Ransack works as good as it and better.  Fast, accurate and intuitive.  Plus it adds a right click menu option to allow fast access to it.  And no I do not work for them in any capacity.  I am just a converted user.
    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:37 PM
  • On 6/11/2013 2:37 PM, Kamin of Ressik wrote:

    Don't bother trying to fiddle with the Windows 7 Search parameters.  The search function in Windows 7 is broken, plain and simple and will not be fixed.  I would not waste my time trying to use it any further.  Instead google "Agent Ransack".  It is a free search utility that just plain works how it should.  Remember the search tool in Windows XP?  Agent Ransack works as good as it and better.  Fast, accurate and intuitive.  Plus it adds a right click menu option to allow fast access to it.  And no I do not work for them in any capacity.  I am just a converted user.

    I don't have a problem using Windows Search not on Vista, Win 7 or Win 8, used them at the workplace and hitting file-shares searching for files and file content. Just because you don't know how to use it, doesn't mean that others don't know how.

    • Proposed as answer by Vincent Jestin Friday, November 16, 2018 8:43 PM
    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:52 PM
  • Yeah, I know.  It works for some and not for others.  It depends on cryptic settings that waste more time than it takes to find the files manually.  I have run searches for simple file names...nothing complicated, with indexing on and off.  I let it run overnight until it was fully complete.  It left out 33 results, including what I was looking for.  With Agent Ransack, all of the results were found...including what I was looking for in less than a minute.  Google Windows 7 search problems sometime and you will find pages and pages of people with problems trying to tweak it left and right hoping it would work.  In the end, it is simply not worth the time when much more efficient and free alternatives are available.
    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 9:31 PM
  • On 6/11/2013 5:31 PM, Kamin of Ressik wrote:

    Yeah, I know.  It works for some and not for others.  It depends on cryptic settings that waste more time than it takes to find the files manually.  I have run searches for simple file names...nothing complicated, with indexing on and off.  I let it run overnight until it was fully complete.  It left out 33 results, including what I was looking for.  With Agent Ransack, all of the results were found...including what I was looking for in less than a minute.  Google Windows 7 search problems sometime and you will find pages and pages of people with problems trying to tweak it left and right hoping it would work.  In the end, it is simply not worth the time when much more efficient and free alternatives are available.

    What do you want me to say? If you don't know how to use the solution, then you just don't know. I can't make it any simpler for you as to where the problem is at,  and you need not cry about it.

    I think a 5 year old with an open mind that is sharp minded can easily figure out how to use the Search, once he or she was shown how to use it. :)

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:50 PM
  • Well then I will use my solution and you can go along and feel superior with yours.
    Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:29 PM
  • This would seem to be my problem:I don't have the Always search file names only option!

    It wont let me upload an image but trust me, it's not there.  Even followed all the pointers in your link in case it made a difference but nada.

    Thursday, June 13, 2013 8:00 AM
  • Don't worry - the image in this link

    http://www.techtalkz.com/windows-7/516050-how-change-folder-options-windows-7-a.html

    appears to be from beta version of Windows 7
    The option to always search only file names has been removed from Folder Options, Search tab.

    From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7

    • Edited by mystifeid Thursday, June 13, 2013 8:41 AM
    Thursday, June 13, 2013 8:28 AM
  • So someone at Microsoft decided that between beta and live the best thing they could do would be to make the search function useless?  Guess I'll be googling  "Agent Ransack" next!
    Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:48 AM
  • Feel free but you could also try using keywords in search filters. See this page under the heading "Using keywords to refine a search"
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/advanced-tips-for-searching-in-windows

    More info here

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa965711(v=vs.85).aspx

    Please also read the comments at the bottom of that page - esp the one titled "Lengthy discussion of a related topic "

    • Edited by mystifeid Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:29 AM
    • Marked as answer by Charlietbh Saturday, June 15, 2013 9:22 PM
    Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:00 AM
  • Hello,

    Is there a way to search for a file name (like in previous versions of Widows) rather than searching for anything containing that word? For example, I want to search a for files with the word 'Pension' in the title, but intead I receive thousands of results for files called containing the word pension as well as those with 'pension' in the title.

    Thanks!

    This is generally handled by third party tools like FileSearchEX or Everything.
    Saturday, June 29, 2013 4:40 AM
  • Hello,

    Is there a way to search for a file name (like in previous versions of Widows) rather than searching for anything containing that word? For example, I want to search a for files with the word 'Pension' in the title, but intead I receive thousands of results for files called containing the word pension as well as those with 'pension' in the title.

    Thanks!

    in the search box type "filename: " then your search term.
    • Proposed as answer by rlpjr87 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:04 PM
    Friday, March 21, 2014 7:00 PM
  • That is no help at all.  I, too, don't want a file search to return all the documents that have a word such as "amazon" in the contents of the file.  I just want file that contain the word amazon in the file name. This is truly broken.  I will go out and download a third party search feature.  This was an even dumber implementation than "Microsoft Bob". 

    Hope this gets fixed or an alternative provided by Microsoft someday.

    vern


    vernonls

    Sunday, May 4, 2014 3:58 PM
  • A million thanks for just answering the question in an immediately helpful way rather than sending to a number of links to have to wade through just to find what's needed.

    No doubt the links are probably helpful for more in-depth info, when a person has time, but you actually answered the question. And it works perfectly!!

    Again, thank you!


    KayakComp

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:32 PM
  • From the link provided by Mystifeid

    In the search window:

    filename:"Search Term"

    Or if there are no spaces in the filename

    filename:Search-Term

    Any filename that contains your search term will be displayed, and it is infinitely faster than searching all file contents. Thanks for asking this question Charlietbh, and thanks for pointing me to the answer Mystifeid!

    Thursday, June 5, 2014 8:10 AM
  • It's really frustrating to hear this response from Microsoft, since I too (with four decades of IT experience) am having difficulty getting the Windows 7 search working.  I've tried the suggestions above, which don't work. As an app developer, my mental model of the Windows 7 search is: there is an index, and this is a search into that index, and only shows those answers.  Note: I don't index my drives because it is a huge waste of time (with terabytes of data).

    So even if I try some of the stock features:

    - such as type (it doesn't show all types, so I can search for JPG files but I can't search for AVI files because it's not on the list)

    - such as modified date (the search results are woefully incomplete)

    I have cygwin installed and I get better results with the "find" command.

    However, based upon the Explorer search command not doing stuff right (incomplete results), I plan on NEVER USING IT AGAIN.

    Just installed Agent Ransack, worked right away.  Don't understand why Microsoft can't get this working right: forget all the new features, just give us the explorer/search from Windows XP.  Really, if the present search produces incomplete results, then why would you ever trust it again?

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:36 PM
  • I've tried the suggestions above, which don't work. As an app developer, my mental model of the Windows 7 search is: there is an index, and this is a search into that index, and only shows those answers.

    This is not correct. I have 4  different versions of a N-Tier Web solution on my development machine at work in four different folders, and none of them are indexed. I can find anything by file name or content within a file in those non-indexed locations.   

    I too have over 4 decades of IT experience.

    However, based upon the Explorer search command not doing stuff right (incomplete results), I plan on NEVER USING IT AGAIN.

    You have to know how to use the Advanced Seach by using the Window-key F-key combination and use the "Search again in" or use Explorer and move directly to the folder you are trying to seach in, like a non-indexed folder and do the search.

    It's kind of rediculous the see this kind of whining with someone with 4 decades of IT experience.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:58 PM
  • In the search box, use

    filename:"pension"

    The quotes seems to strip out all the automatic wildcard, but not explicit ones so if, for example, you wanted to search for the files where the name starts with pension and ends .doc then you could use

    filename:"pension*.doc"

    Hope this helps.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 12:45 PM
  • "You have to know how to use the Advanced Search". Well guess what, I didn't know there was an advanced search. Why wasn't this given as an option earlier?
    Sunday, August 21, 2016 10:59 PM
  • When you click on the column header the search results are reordered based on that column. To get the top results back again. Right click on the column header and check the box for "search ranking" then sort by that column. 
    Monday, October 17, 2016 3:55 PM
  • Look at this article in HowToGeek and will lead you in the right direction.

    https://www.howtogeek.com/73065/learn-the-advanced-search-operators-in-windows-7/

    Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:52 AM
  • Even with the filename: specifier their search is terrible.

    A folder with videos, about 1/3 with "clp" in the name, along with a few other files with "clp" in it, it brings up NO videos.

    example:

    Search:

    filename:clp

    With these filenames:
    2016_12_03_00_23_21-clp.framelets

    2016_06_19_01_10_03-clp.mp4

    2016_12_02_10_46_13-ses.mp4

    only returns:
    2016_12_03_00_23_21-clp.framelets


    Windows search is no where near reliable.

    Sunday, May 7, 2017 8:52 PM
  • This is what I have been doing for many years and it still works great and fast:

    • Open a Command Prompt (you can type CMD in the Start/Run menu and press enter).
    • Change to the base directory of your search, e.g.:  cd "\users\accountname\My Documents"
    • Enter in this command:  dir *pension* /s

    That's it.  Note that if you have a windows file explorer open to the base directory, you can type in "cd " in the command prompt and then drag the address bar/folder to the command prompt to fill in the rest of the command. :)

    Friday, July 7, 2017 7:26 PM
  • I guess we can all agree that there are lots of differing opinions about the Windows 7 search.

    It was interesting to note it took someone 9 months to post a succinct answer: filename:

    I've taken note of that keyword as I'm always frustrated by Windows 7 search.

    I tend to use Notepad++ for searching and that seems reliable.

    For just filenames I tend to use dir *.whatever /s

    I guess I didn't really appreciate how good the XP search was until it was taken away.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018 9:36 AM
  • Feel free but you could also try using keywords in search filters. See this page under the heading "Using keywords to refine a search"

    More info here

    Please also read the comments at the bottom of that page - esp the one titled "Lengthy discussion of a related topic "

       This is not really helpful.
    Tuesday, November 6, 2018 3:25 PM