Search (explorer) for operator character?


New Member
How would one go about searching for filenames starting with the '-' character?

e.g. -something.ext

i can search for image files created on a wednesday by left handed, pleasant smelling, polish plumbers whos fathers were members of the communist party and whos names were Mary..... but, apparently, just finding something which starts with a - (or +) character... not possible!?!?


(yes, iv tried putting it in quotes... some form of escape character perhaps?)

Windows-based computers make it a bit more complicated to search for filenames with special characters, because they operate with special character file names regularly. This is largely because of the Unix-based system that Windows machines still use to organize and retrieve files. Many Unix files have a "/" after the file name or between two words in the file name. The easiest way to track down these files with special characters is to just type in as many variations of the file name as you can and search for each one individually until you find what you are looking for. Computer search engines can usually isolate a particular file just based on the first couple of letters you type into the search bar.


Essential Member
Welcome to the Windows 7 Forums :)
You may also be able to put an asterisk (*) instead of a -
Works for finding certain types of files anyways.
Other than that, you're stuck with a 3rd party app.


New Member
yeah, i understand why it cant do it, its just a massive, MASSIVE pain in the a.......

pattern location like that is impossible in this case, im working with about 300,000 files and the ONLY consistent pattern is that; the files i still need to 'check in' are marked with a '-' as the first character... there is almost never actually more than about 20 of them in that whole 1/4million

third party search?... any suggestions?
if i can get everything grouped once, i can..... sigh... change the code to... i dunno... maybe an '_' character instead :(


iv recently 'upgraded' (i am rapidly becoming more and more convinced that, despite one or two nice features, 7 is a MASSIVE usability downgrade) from XP where i could just go to D:, start a search and type -* to get a comprehensive list of everything i still needed to do to get 'my house' back in order... irritatingly, of the various first character codes i have been using for the last >decade, + is my second most used marker :/

now, thanks to yet another stupid decision/omission by MS, i am forced to completely re-work my filing system too.
(basically, everything iv tried to do since 'updating' has been fighting up hill, its like they designed this POS OS with the soul intention of breaking everything i use... most of which i have managed to force into working, but its taken me 2 weeks already!, and im getting really, REALLY sick of it now)

i mean, really, god dammit MS, would it have been 'that' hard to add an escape character, or let me put it in quotes to disable the operational function... or... and i know this is like admitting to being a nazi in MS world... but, how about just letting us use ####ing regex!... this is supposed to be a ground-breaking, almost magical search system (if you listen to the marketing idiots)... and it cant even do this incredibly basic search!?!?

sure, the typical windows user is about as technically savy as something you find under a rock, but... does that mean those..... 'guys' have to break EVERYTHING that an oldschool geek would find useful!

oh yeah.. but thanks for making it all sexy looking, coz.. theres nothing an idiot likes more than a tool covered in shiny things and sparkly bits which add NOTHING to the function. </sarcasm></rant>

thanks for replying guys, but, JFC!. if i thought for a second i could get my money back for this POS 'upgrade', i would already be (re)learning linux.

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