Windows 8 Explorer search doesn't work


  • Having "upgraded" (a debatable term) to Windows 8 from XP, I find that Windows Explorer's search is totally unreliable. I suspect this "feature" was introduced in Windows 7, but, for instance, if I go to the Windows C:\Users folder and run "dir /s minidumps" I see two sub-folders that I know exist:

    C:\Users>dir /s minidumps
     Volume in drive C is Windows8
     Volume Serial Number is 3C16-DE0D
     Directory of C:\Users\janet\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\o60ygu9r.default
    31-Mar-2013  21:25    <DIR>          minidumps
                   0 File(s)              0 bytes
     Directory of C:\Users\peter\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\gfy6yabj.default
    01-Apr-2013  12:43    <DIR>          minidumps
                   0 File(s)              0 bytes

    If I am stupid enough to use Explorer's (since XP, more complex) UI, it does not find them:screen-shot

    Only I change the search to be from C:\Users\peter\AppData does Explorer find the (second) folder.

    Monday, April 1, 2013 2:13 PM


All replies

  • On 4/1/2013 10:13 AM, Peter Binney wrote:

     Windows 8 search File Explorer or not, only looks in indexed locations, unless you tell Windows 8 search to do otherwise, which would be to search the entire <c> including non indexed locations. Search works the same way in Win 7 and Vista, and you must tell search to search non-indxed locations.
     I believe that you can  use the Windows-key/F-key combination to get to Advanced Search so that it will search will indexed and non-indxed locations. Or you can use the Search Tab in File Explorer to make it do a search in all sub folders that are indexed and non-indexd locations off of <c>.

    You can alternatively go to Control Panel/All Control Panel Items/ Folder Options/Search tab and make search search all non-indxed locations too, when ever you do a search. You can get to Control Panel easily by using the Windows-key and X-Key combination.

    Monday, April 1, 2013 2:46 PM
  • I use Everything Search ( and find it much more comprehensive and faster than Windows search.


    Monday, April 1, 2013 9:27 PM
  • Windows Search is a misnomer.  It's not a search at all, but a fuzzy, hyper-complicated "go find something interesting to look at" program, patterned after the kinds of things Google has done.

    See also:

    Microsoft doesn't seem interested in improving it.  Apparently they feel they're big enough to redefine what "search" is supposed to mean.  I suspect as they are trying to train people to believe computers don't have the ability to do things exhaustively to perfection.  It cuts down on support costs.

    The good news is you can turn indexing off, install 3rd party tools to do real searches, and still use the little box in the upper right of Explorer to locate files by name, though you need to use the proper syntax, such as filename:minidumps or ext:8bi



    I *highly* recommend dumping indexing - it's no good for anything.

    Personally, for honest, thorough full searches I prefer and recommend grepWin



    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Monday, April 1, 2013 11:21 PM