Windows 7 Search Sucks!


I have an updated post on How To Use Windows 7 Search that shows how to properly use it. This post has hundreds of people a day that visit it that are frustrated with the way that Windows 7 Search works but hopefully knowing how to use it will alleviate some of your frustrations with it. Personally I still think it sucks in comparison with the search feature in Windows Vista but for now we just have to deal with it. – 5/12/2011


Click Here – How To Use Windows 7 Search

Zack Whitacker of ZDNet has been using the new Windows 7 beta for a few days and has some very valid criticisms of it. I really wanted to point one out in particular as its one that I stumbled across today and I have not heard anyone else mention it.

Windows Vista in my opinion had a really good search engine. It searched within the files even if they were recently created. I never seemed to have any problems with it as it just worked. When things work really well you tend to get used to the same sort of functionality. Enter Windows 7 which is built off of the same code as Vista and the searching simply put.. SUCKS!

This morning I needed to find a very specific phrase from a document which I could not remember where it was located. After using about 10 different words and formats for searching I gave up and rebooted in to Windows Vista which found the document I was looking for instantly. Typically in a case like this I would assume that it was due to Windows 7 not having the folder indexed. Upon further investigating the problem I found that Windows Vista did not have it indexed either.

The biggest problem I see for most power users is that there is a distinct lack of a “Advanced Search” option that is present in Windows Vista. Typically this lets you specify the size of the file and whether to search in non-indexed areas. There is the ability to specify the size and date but only if you highlight the search word at exactly the correct moment. The box disappears and is a pain to get it to display again. Either way this is not sufficient for such a powerful utility. Maybe this is just a beta bug but right now I am inclined to believe that this will come back to bite Microsoft if its not resolved soon.

Check it Out> ZDNet

5 years 9 months ago

J’onn J’onzz’ comment is brilliant in all respects. Couldn’t have put it better myself… And I’ve tried, twice!

J'onn J'onzz
5 years 9 months ago

That there Advanced Query Syntax page is a good link.

Still, it’s a graphical operating system. The search options ought to be presented in the gui, rather than hidden on a web page.

On top of that, MS seems to want to eat my cake and eat theirs, too. By that, I mean that they want to make search this all powerful, intuitive engine, better at finding what you’re looking for.

To that end, they’ve abandoned the notion that the string is what the user is looking for. Okay, I’ll buy that. (I don’t like it, but I can understand.)

So, they have an indexing service. They have indexed and non-indexed locations. They give you the option of turning Windows 7 Search ON or OFF, for cripes sake.

Okay, whatever.

So, if it’s all smarter than the end user, if it’s such a powerful tool, why is the interface nothing more than an obscure text box?

If it’s so great, where’s the on-line (within the OS) documentation to help a user out?

It’s about as user friendly as searching from the command line in UNIX. It’s almost as thought they were going for that, to prove they had something for power users.

But I don’t know how that helps my grandma find her Backstreet Boys mp3s.

Kevin Stone O'Brien
5 years 9 months ago

I found this article because I was flabbergasted too. But I do not like to let the computer win, so I kept digging.

The trick appears to be to either wait for the indexing to complete entirely or to not index at all.

My testing: I wanted to find a backed up Firefox bookmark file, a .json extension. I knew which backup it was in, a backup of ~44K objects and ~39GB. Search did not find it. Unreal, I had just moved from Vista, which had allowed me to leave Google Desktop behind three years ago. [Side note: Unless you have magic, XP search is the one that is broken. Once I had Vista, search was a non-issue.]

I found the file manually to confirm that search should have found it. I checked indexing; it was not nearly done. I decided to test an idea. I paused indexing, deleted the volume on which I had been searching from the indexing list, and searched again.

Search returned quickly with what I had originally expected. It even returned it when I went to the top of the TB drive containing many backups of the size in which I had been searching. I pursued the thread. I indexed a small folder hierarchy, so that it would complete quickly, down the tree from where I was searching and that contained the file for which I had been looking. Search again, and more quickly, found the item.

I added one more twist. I created an unknown extension and found it both with and without an index present.

Conclusions: Windows 7 search works fine. Either index, and wait for it to complete (and it is not speedy for some reason), or do not index at all. Windows 7 (power of four, right?) and decent drives will come back soon enough without an index. Apparently, registering file types with the indexing service is not that big of a deal.

I want to find the hack that let’s me populate all of the “meta:” searches in the drop down in the search frame. I only see “Date Modified:” and “Size:” Thanks to Paul Foty for the list of the tags and the links from others.

Hopefully this detour from what I should really be doing will help somebody.

5 years 9 months ago

I was so fed up with Windows 7 search until I hit F1(help) and viewed the article on “Windows Search: Advanced Query Syntax”

All I wanted to do was search for .log files without dropping to a command line and typing “dir *.log /s”
How hard could they have made this for me?!

In the help was a link to the site that finally gave the answers:

So, I used “ext:log” in the search box and finally got what I want….

Apollo Gize
5 years 9 months ago

Look, they can’t even get the name right. Counting MAJOR versions: win2.0 win3.0/3.1 win95 win98 winNT win2k winMistakeEdition winXP winFista win”7″ – It’s Windoze 10 you MICROIDIOTS. Get used to a hardcoded interface (IE7/8) and inflexibility, inability to put UI elements where YOU want them and micro$$$oft “changing” the UI for no reason and breaking years of user familiarity with NO OPTION for a classic view or interface (ie. “Office” 2007, Windoze 7/10/9 et al.) — thanx microcrap.