How to Search for Text in Files in Windows

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Windows includes a desktop search system that indexes your files in locations such as your documents library. When you search for files in these locations, Windows searches for text inside the files in addition to their file names. If you're searching in a location that isn't indexed, such as a system directory or any non-indexed location, Windows searches only for file names by default. You can change this setting so that Windows searches the contents of the files in addition to their names.

  • Click "Start" and select Computer.

  • Click the Organize menu on the toolbar at the upper left corner of the Computer window and click Folder and Search Options.

  • Click the Search tab at the top of the Folder Options window.

  • Click the Always Search File Names and Contents option under What to Search at the top of the window.

  • Click "OK."

  • Navigate to the directory you want to search in the Computer window. You can search your entire computer from the default Computer directory.

  • Type a search term into the search box at the top right corner of the Computer window and press "Enter."

Tips & Warnings

  • You can add locations to the Windows search indexer. Windows prompts you to add a location to the index when you search inside a non-indexed location; click the information bar that appears at the top of the search results window and click "Add to Index."
  • Searching for text in non-indexed files may take a long time. Windows has to scan through each file individually, so the search can take several minutes depending on the number of files.

References

  • Photo Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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