Windows search misses really obvious results

Consider an example directory containing:


If I want to find the pdf, and happen to remember that it had "numKK" in the filename, I might reasonably search "numKK" and expect to find it. In practice though, this will return 0 results. A search for *numKK will return the pdf though. Okay, so maybe there's something weird going on having a "-" in the filename, those images should be very searchable though. I remember that I liked image 209, so let me search "209". Weird, no results. But I know it was there, how about "*209"? Or "*209*"? Neither returns results. I need to search "0209" to find that image.

This is just a quick example, but in retrospect I'm certain there are other problematic filename/search combos that seem like they should really work but don't. I only found out about both of these behaviors recently. Are there any other search query quirks I should be aware of? And why are there such basic shortcomings in the current implementation of the search feature?

Directory was indexed in case that question arises.


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Too many to tell you in answer to your question.:rolleyes: Search feature has changed little in the last 15 years (since XP); and there have always been search quirks, especially with certain file types as .PDF's. We could write a book.:scratch: In fact, I know a guy who did write a book on this..but sadly, it didn't ever get published since the book publisher felt it wouldn't be a Best Seller!:insanity: Go figure.



Essential Member
Premium Supporter
I long ago discarded the MS search engine for this third party one. I think you will be impressed with the results.

Everything Search Engine


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I use Agent Ransack, and I have for years.
It's really, really fast, finds everything, and is easy to use.

Once installed all your have to do is, right click on the location you want to search, select Agent Ransack from the menu, and type in what you are looking for.

Agent Ransack - Free File Searching Utility

Give it a try, you won't believe how well it works compared to Windows search engine, and it's free.

Example, I had it search from my root drive of C:\ for a specific file, total time to search the whole drive, with all the sub folders, it found 3 copies of the file in 5 seconds.


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Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Yup; I've used this program and it works as Mike says!:)

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