How do I do something like DOS FIND with W/E search?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista File Management' started by thuse, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. thuse

    thuse Guest

    I may not understand how Windows Explorer's Search (W/E Search) is supposed
    to work. I know how the Find in the DOS Window works, so let me start with
    an example using FIND. My expectation that both have similar capabilities
    is perhaps misplaced. In the "search for content" thread below I describe
    the steps I took to make sure the .DAT extension is in the index control
    panel, and re-indexed several times to insure that .DAT files are in the

    I have a folder named TPL which I think has been indexed. It has about 5000
    text files in it most of which happen to have the extension .DAT, and several
    other text files, some of which have the extensions .INC and .TXT. I know
    some of the files have the phrase GRID in them, some multiple times. I go to
    the folder I want in DOS, and get to the point where the cursor is:


    I then ask for all files that start with cy*.* and include the word GRID. I
    pipe this to a file named srch5.dat because the output may overload the

    C:\Users\Owner\Documents\tpl>find "GRID" cy*.*>srch5.dat

    I look at this file with Word. A portion of this file is produced here,
    with many repeated lines snipped out:
    ---------- CYL1HEX.INC
    GRID 1 2. 0.0 0.0

    GRID 2 5. 0.0 0.0

    GRID 3 1.332-152. 0.0

    GRID 4 8.882-165. 0.0

    GRID 5 2. 0.0 6.

    GRID 6 5. 0.0 6.

    GRID 7 3.109-152. 6.

    GRID 8 0.0 5. 6.

    ---------- CYLMD100.DAT
    GRID* 1 0 1.223867901E-15 6.000000000E+00
    GRID* 2 0 1.223867901E-15 6.000000000E+00
    GRID* 17030 0 -2.84947710E-01 5.993229914E+00

    ---------- CYLST100.DAT
    GRID* 1 0 1.223867901E-15 6.000000000E+00

    Note that one .INC and two .DAT files were found.
    When I repeat the same exercise in Vista Windows Explorer Search by putting
    the following phrase in the search window:


    The only file identified is the INC file, As discussed in
    another thread, .dat files were not listed in my indexing control panel, so I
    added that name, checked its box, and indexed everything over again. No
    ..dat files are listed.

    When the search box contains only "GRID" it identifies two .INC files, and
    one .txt file, but no .DAT files, of which there should be several thousand.

    Apparent differences between DOS FIND and W/E Search:

    1. Search does not list the content lines that contain the search phrase,
    but DOS FIND does. I could live with that. I really only need the file
    names. If I want to see the content lines I can do that some other way.
    2. FIND lists all the files with content. Search lists only 1 in one case,
    three in another case, and none with the .DAT extension. When I add NAME:DAT
    to the search line no files are identified. I need a list with all the files
    from Search. How do I get this? Is there anything analogous to the DOS pipe
    function (>filename) that will make a text file that I can look at with a
    word processor?
    3. How can one confirm that a folder contains all indexed files, with known

    I've tried looking at the help files to answer these questions, and they
    return lots of irrelevant data such as how to search with Internet Explorer,
    and little or none on searching for content with W/E. I bought a book on
    Vista that is one step above "Vista for Dummies" but that doesn't have much
    relevant help either. Should I just live with DOS FIND, or is there a way to
    get this type of search with a graphics user interface from Vista?
    thuse, Apr 7, 2008
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  2. Hi Thuse,

    simply download the free and almost fully functional trial of XYplorer, a
    popular alternative file manager that does a speedy and reliable non-indexed
    The software is portable, hence there's no installation and no changes to
    your registry or system. Get the "No-install package", extract it to some
    folder, and run XYplorer.exe.
    Browse to the folder you want to search files in. Then, on the tabbed panel
    on the bottom, select the Find Files tab, and enter your name pattern
    (cy*.* ) into the Name field (tab Name & Location) and your contents (GRID)
    into the Contents field (tab Contents). Press F3 (Find Now).

    Hope this helps,
    Donald Lessau, Apr 7, 2008
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  3. thuse

    thuse Guest

    A reply is being added to move this thread to the top. I'd still appreciate
    an answer on the questions raised in the first post.

    Off topic, but the search feature hasn't worked the last two times I tried
    it, at 4:00 and 9:43 PM LA time. It wouldn't find anything, even when "A"
    was the search word, much less DOS FIND.
    thuse, Apr 11, 2008
  4. Which search feature are you referring to, XYplorer's?

    Donald Lessau, Apr 11, 2008
  5. thuse

    retroman Guest

    retroman, Apr 11, 2008
  6. thuse

    thuse Guest


    Thanks for the EXT advice, and the link to the syntax examples. The EXT:
    device worked. I tried to send a lengthier reply, but it may have gotten
    lost. I'll get back after I look at the link.
    thuse, Apr 13, 2008
  7. thuse

    thuse Guest

    The url you posted led me to this url:
    It is a blog page found with the search phrase "search for content". It
    does go on and on. The main thing I got out of it is that I'm not alone in
    being frustrated by Vista Search for content, and other people are also
    dropping back to good old Stone Age DOS FIND.
    I think MS has a problem here, but I don't have a clue on how they could
    solve it. I know you MVPs aren't responsible for solving it either, but I
    expect you have a way to give them a heads up.
    Maybe it is time for me to look for a DOS website. I hope that they aren't
    all web software imposed on top of a usergroup database, or whatever the
    correct term is for the underlying data under this web site.

    Adios Vista Search. I'll come back in a year in the hopes that things have
    thuse, Apr 14, 2008
  8. thuse

    thuse Guest

    Update to prior posts: Go to that url, hit the webblog icon, type "advanced
    search" to get to the blog posts where the unhappy users really unload. I
    quit this thread now, honest.

    The url is the one Retroman posted, I noticed later. It takes you to
    something like the home page. You have to hit the icons above to get to the
    thuse, Apr 14, 2008
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