Why is Windows 7 search so bad?


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I really don't get this!

If a computer can do anything it should be able to find files.

Today I needed to find a file that I did for my niece a year ago.
I don't remember what I named it or where I saved it.

After trying a few things I decided to narrow it down by just getting a list of the Indesign files so I could go through the list.

The extension for InDesign is .indd

Since I'm in the graphic design business I have a lot of them but the really old stuff is on my external drive so looking through the ones from the last couple of years isn't too bad.

The problem is that when I run a search for .indd or *.indd Windows search comes up and says "No Items Match Your Search".

How can that be, I'm looking at a whole bunch of them on the same drive I am searching on right in front of me.

Why doesn't Microsoft fix this, I was hoping that it would be better after Service Pack 1, they must know this is a problem?

To be truthful I do think it is a little better, but that may just be my imagination.

In Windows XP I could type in something like this and it would find every InDesign file on my computer.

I hope that in Windows 8 they will at least come up with a search engine that really works.

Actually this is the biggest flaw in Windows 7 for me, I have found the same thing when searching for .avi files etc.

It just seems that nothing is more basic to an operating system the the search function.
You have to get that right!



OK, on the positive side, this prompted me to look for another alternative.

I had another search engine installed before my recent re-install but I hadn't put it back in since then.

I found this simple little search engine app that is so fast I can hardly believe it.

Not sure if it's the answer to everything but it found a list of all my .indd files in about 1 second. so I tried with .avi zap there they are.

Next I tried .jpg, 18,680 files in one second.

There are some drawbacks from a practical stand point, it does what it says it searches everything.

It always searches all 3 or my internal hard drives, the only reason it stops there is because all 4 of my external drives are turned off.

As far as I can see you can't tell it to search only one drive or folder.
But it you want to search you whole computer then this really works, I found my nieces file in a few seconds too, by typing in things I thought would be in the title until it popped up.

Here's the link...


Joe S

Excellent Member
I also find the Windows 7 search a pile of crap.


Extraordinary Member
Think you got one of the two that most people plump for Mike, the other being locate32. First thing I do after a fresh install is install locate32, then go and disable indexing and "remove" search.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I used Locate 32 before my re-install, but for a quick simple search I like this better.
I still had some problems with Locate 32, we'll see how this works after I've used it for a while.

I looked up more info on it and apparently you can just search the drive you want by typing it in i.e. D:\ etc.


Everything is a very clever little piece of software. Search speed and index size is amazingly efficient. If you need a tool that can also search through the contents of files (and allows you to specify location) you might want to have a look at Agent Ransack (free):
Agent Ransack - Free File Searching Utility

It doesn't use indexing so isn't great if you just want to search a whole drive but it's a nice little tool to have in your search utility belt, especially for searching the contents of files.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I'll check that out.

I am having good luck with Search Everything!

This makes me wonder even more: Why is Windows search so bad?

Search Everything is almost instantaneous and finds everything I look for in a second!

Why doesn't Windows 7 search work like this?

If I type C:\*.avi it shows every .avi file on the drive instantly.
Same for everything else I've tried.

Why can't windows do this?

I just don't get it.

I would recommend this app to anyone who needs a search function that really works.



Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

Changed my mind.

I installed Agent Ransack as suggested by Snow Dude and it outperforms Search Everything.

I ran them side by side and AR always found files that SE did not.

So now I'd recommend it instead.

I will say that sometimes one would find a file that the other didn't both ways but Agent Ransack always found more files.


Agent Ranseck is good ... another one I really like is FileSearchEX because it reminds me so much of classic XP style search. While we are on this topic, you've got to try out ClassicShell ... you can customize the explorer to act more like XP. I did not use it to change the start menu, but just to give me the UP button.

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