Windows 7 / Getting Started

Configuring What to Search

By default, Windows 7 Search is configured to search for both file names and the contents of files when searching indexed locations. When searching nonindexed locations, only file names are searched. For example, searching the %Windir% folder for log will return all files and subfolders under %Windir% that satisfy any of these conditions:

  • The files are named "log" or "Log" (the function is case insensitive).
  • The file names use log as a prefix. This means, for example, that searching for log might return logger, logarithm, or even fire-log (the hyphen acts as a word separator), but it won't return blog or firelog because these file names do not have log as a prefix.
  • The files have the .log file extension.

To perform such a search, open Windows Explorer, select the C:\Windows directory in the navigation pane, and type log in the Search box at the upper-right part of the window. Note that the %Windir% folder is not indexed by default, so searching this folder is slow because it uses the grep method instead of the Windows Search service. (This method was used by the Search Assistant in Windows XP.) On the other hand, searching the user's Documents library returns results almost instantaneously because the user's Documents library is indexed by default and the Windows Search service simply has to query the catalog to obtain the results.

By selecting Always Search File Names And Contents (This Might Take Several Minutes) under What To Search on the Search tab of the Folder Options window, users can modify this default search behavior so that Windows searches for both file names and the contents of files, even when searching locations that are not being indexed. Note that doing this can slow down the search process considerably for such locations. A better approach is to mark these locations for indexing. Searching a nonindexed folder using Windows Explorer causes a yellow notification bar to be displayed that says "Searching might be slow for nonindexed locations: foldername. Click to add to index." By clicking this notification bar and selecting Add To Index, users can cause the selected folder to be added to the indexing scope on their computer.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Search
  2. Search and Indexing Enhancements
  3. Search in Windows XP
  4. Search in Windows Vista
  5. Search in Windows 7
  6. Understanding the Windows Search Versions
  7. Search Versions Included in Windows 7 and Windows Vista
  8. Search Versions Included in Windows Server 2008
  9. Search Versions Available for Earlier Versions of Windows
  10. How Windows Search Works
  11. Understanding Search Engine Terminology
  12. Windows Search Engine Processes
  13. Enabling the Indexing Service
  14. Windows Search Engine Architecture
  15. Understanding the Catalog
  16. Default System Exclusion Rules
  17. Understanding the FANCI Attribute
  18. Default Indexing Scopes
  19. Initial Configuration
  20. Understanding the Indexing Process
  21. Modifying IFilter Behavior
  22. How Indexing Works
  23. Rebuilding the index
  24. Viewing Indexing Progress
  25. Understanding Remote Search
  26. Managing Indexin
  27. Configuring the Index
  28. Configuring the Index Location Using Group Policy
  29. Configuring Indexing Scopes and Exclusions Using Group Policy
  30. Configuring Offline Files Indexing
  31. Configuring Indexing of Encrypted Files
  32. Configuring Indexing of Encrypted Files Using Control Panel
  33. Configuring Indexing of Similar Words
  34. Configuring Indexing of Text in TIFF Image Documents
  35. Other Index Policy Settings
  36. Using Search
  37. Configuring Search Using Folder Options
  38. Configuring What to Search
  39. Configuring How To Search
  40. Using Start Menu Search
  41. Searching Libraries
  42. Advanced Query Syntax
  43. Using Federated Search
  44. Deploying Search Connectors
  45. Troubleshooting Search and Indexing Using the Built-in Troubleshooter