News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Windows 10 File Search Absolutely Unreliable

    Posted on Michael Austin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Windows 10 File Search Absolutely Unreliable

    Viewing 10 reply threads
    • Author
      Posts
      • #2307381 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Ever since first booting up my first-ever Windows 10 machine, the fundamental, requisite function of searching the text of file names has occasionally been problematic.

        The symptoms:  This morn I attempted searching for file names using a text string in the Task Bar Search window. Windows showed no recollection of a Notepad file I created last month. And if I were to then ask Windows to search files via File Explorer, it would do so, but it would churn (seemingly) indefinitely and give me exactly zero usable results.

        I tried restarting the Windows Search service and that didn’t help. The only reason it found the Notepad file I was looking for was that I’d already found it via a manual search and had opened it.

        Does someone have a great idea on which Service(s) to Restart which might help solve this fundamental flaw in Windows 10? Thank you.

        Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

      • #2307400 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Tried the Search and Indexing troubleshooter (“Find and fix problems with Windows search”) at Settings, Update & Security, Troubleshoot, Additional troubleshooters?

      • #2307416 Reply
        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Check to see if you have search set to enhanced at Settings | Search | Searching Windows. Check your excluded folders there also. You can go to the old Control Panel search settings from there

        --Joe

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2307442 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Good idea, thanks. I didn’t know about that. It was set to “Classic” rather than “Enhanced”. So I instead selected Enhanced and I’ll give it while to do its thing and then test it. 😉

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

        • #2307498 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Well Joe, your suggestion worked. To my surprise. Thank you. Problem solved. I checked the Enhanced box and after a while the machine now populates my Task Bar Searches. I vaguely remember checking the Classic box a while back on the supposition that the less telemetry I sent Microsoft, the better. But at the same time I also run O&O’s Shutup10 which reassures me the settings I created inside it send Microsoft as little telemetry as possible.

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

          • #2307501 Reply
            Microfix
            AskWoody MVP

            Windows 10 File Search Absolutely Unreliable

            So the thread title reflects the issue accurately?

            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
        • #2307767 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Hey, Joe,

          Now that Search Indexing has been restarted things are working much more efficiently and normally. I’ve an additional question:  For text searches using Windows 10’s File Explorer, shouldn’t the old method of encapsulating text strings with quote marks work? Thanks for any light you might have about that, too.

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

      • #2307448 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows 10 File Search Absolutely Unreliable

        You don’t need Windows 10 File Search when there is the free, portable Everything app with search result in a blink of an eye.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2307500 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Thank you Alex. If I run into roadblocks to my Windows search preferences later I would likely come back to this thread and look into the Everything app. If one took the time to cogitate on it a few moments (which I hadn’t until you pointed out the app) it makes perfect sense that I’m anyone but the only one who’d had a need for such an app.

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

        • #2307779 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Hey Alex, today I downloaded and installed the Everything search app to see how it runs. Thank you 🙂

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2307808 Reply
            Alex5723
            AskWoody Plus

            Add Everything Search to the Windows Taskbar for even faster searches

            Everything Search is without doubt one of the fastest search tools that is available for the Windows operating system. It is a lot faster than the built-in Windows Search tool as it returns results nearly instantly, and supports lots of customization options to optimize searches.

            To name just a few features: in-content search options, support for complex queries, RegEx, Bookmarks, Folder indexing options, and support for custom searches….

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2307809 Reply
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thanks, if I would add somtehing. Searching through the top-right corner of the explorer.exe has one major “bug” to me. If I search through all my files , it takes quite a long time (which is correct, thats just the way it goes, if you go through lot of data).
        But if you actually open the folder from search results, the result list is not saved! And if you want to go back to search result, the search starts again (seems like from the point zero).
        So my advice is
        1) use total commander for searching
        2) rightclick folder and select “Open in new window” when searching with explorer.exe

        My second warning is, that even if you save your results, the search starts again immediatelly (!) after saving the file. If you open the search results file, its empty. And then the search starts. So tipical Windowsish..

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2307914 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks Doriel. I hadn’t heard about Total Commander, but there’s its home page

          Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

          • #2308162 Reply
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            Thank you @joep517 for the tip. Ill check my settings.
            Total commander is MUST-HAVE for me for a decade. I use it for FTP connections (Zebra printers, downloading CAD files), searching for certain files, opening installatin files and archives with CTRL+PG DOWN … lot of functions in one place 😉

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        • #2307929 Reply
          joep517
          AskWoody MVP

          If you want to speed up Windows search you need to change what is indexed. In Windows 10, several folders are excluded by default even if you tell it to scan the whole PC.

          --Joe

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2307974 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows 10 reminds me of a street-legal, track-prepped Mustang that was never fully sorted out before it was put to work.

        For me Windows 10 is more like a Ford Pinto, not a Mustang.
        There isn’t a single build-in function in Windows 10 that performs as it should.
        Not file search, not file copy, not apps uninstall, not network management, not backup, not A/V app… for all these you need 3rd party apps. Most of then are free and way above anything Microsoft does.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2308987 Reply
        willie.nilley
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hello there,

        Windows 10 ver: 20H2 – 10942.610 64bit

        I’ve just encountered a strange thing. since 20h2 update from 2004

        Windows search is now not returning document  content from any of the types marked “index properties and file contents” in the indexing options. e.g. pdf, docx, html etc.

        If the search term is in the document title, the document is found.

        However typing the search term in explorer and searching through my libraries (which include my document folders which are indexed) instantly return the wanted items.

        This is recent behaviour.

        Have tried sfc /scannow, the Search Index troubleshooting tool, and rebuilt the index.

        I use “Everything” alongside windows search, but sadly it doesn’t do file content.

        Would appreciate if anybody has an idea. Looks to me like a bug, but an irritation nontheless.

        • #2309195 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Hi there.
          Rebuilding the index is good place to start, sorry to hear that it did not help.
          Id like to help with some suggestions, but I quite do not understand what you mean by “Windows search”

          Windows search is now not returning document content from any of the types marked “index properties and file contents” in the indexing options. e.g. pdf, docx, html etc.

          You mean, that if you click the magnifier button next to the START menu, it does not return any search results?

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2309201 Reply
            willie.nilley
            AskWoody Lounger

            Hello, thanks for responding.

            Yes, either by clicking on the magnifier, pressing WinKey+S or by pressing the Windows Key and start typing.

            So for example, I know I’ve got many documents referring to the “EL34” valve (electron tube). So, if I type in EL34 in either of these searches, documents of type pdf and html are returned, as I saved these previously. However, all have “EL34” in the file name.

            If I do an explorer search of my libraries, which include my document folders, then a multitude of other documents (and other extensions) are returned including those which contain the string “EL34” within the file content and not necessarily in the file name.

            The fuller results not being found from the taskbar search is new behaviour, previously (and I honestly don’t know when it stopped, I noticed it the other day, post update to 20H2), the initial search would have returned documents with that string in content as well.

            It looks to me like a “feature”. It is circumventable by in my case having a shortcut which contains

            “C:Windowsexplorer.exe “search-ms:displayname=Search%20Results%20in%20Libraries&crumb=&crumb=location:%3A%3A{031E4825-7B94-4DC3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}”

            where 031E4825-7B94-4DC3-B131-E946B44C8DD5 is the CLSID of the libraries on my (and I think most if not all) machine(s). The folders contained in these are included in the index.

            Like I said before, I ran all the sfc and DISM commands, and they report no errors.

            Cortana is disabled in Group Policy (attached image), but that was already the case before the issue arose.

            (Gpedit>Local Computer Policy>Administrative Templates>Windows Components>Search)

            Annotation-2020-11-03-094055

            The trouble is, lots of folks turn off Indexing for “performance reasons”, so the documentation is sparse, and often just plain out of date. Also MS seem to be constantly tweaking things in each release. A return to Windows XP Service Pack 3 with its more sophisticated search and syntax would be welcome!

            Any other ideas, or shared experience welcome!

            Thanks in advance

            (just for fun, I enabled Cortana in GPedit, restarted, but to no effect. I’ll turn it back off)

            Attachments:
            • #2309222 Reply
              doriel
              AskWoody Lounger

              As I was reding through your post I was thinking about Cortana and then you mentioned that you have disabled that function in your GPO.
              What Im tryin to say is, that in latest update there might have been some change with the update, that caused this trouble.

              I mean once again its called “Improvement” and we hear sentences like “Windows Search is getting better”, but I think you are talking about some new feature, which disconnects these two searchboxes and thats why you get different results in different places. But you can search io dark mode (humour alert).

              Maybe there is sume adjustment that can be done to display more results. Try go through some settings if you can find something, I do not use 20H2 yet.

              There are surely some searching tools. But who wants to use another 3rd party program, if there is searchbox next to the start button. Am I right? 🙂

              PS- Try turn on the cortana, but I dont think that will make the difference.

              Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

              HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2309226 Reply
              doriel
              AskWoody Lounger

              There is article at Windews Latest by mr. Parmar, but for some reason I cant post the link here.
              The article is called Windows 10 gets new refresh rate feature, Start Menu search tweaks from 15th october.

              Append this
              /2020/10/15/windows-10-refresh-rate-and-search-improvements/
              to Windows Latest FQDN to get the article 😉

               

              Moderator note: This is the missing link.

              https://www.windowslatest.com/2020/10/15/windows-10-refresh-rate-and-search-improvements/

              Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

              HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2309197 Reply
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        Manyyears ago, I was shocked at how inadequate Windows search was on Vista Ultimate (compared to XP Pro where it was excellent). I stumbled on a blog by a Microsoft MVP about using Agent Ransack instead. I’ve been using it all these years. It is free (Lite Version) and is extremely fast.

        Agent Ransack

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Mele20.
        • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Mele20.
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2309211 Reply
        SearchingForParadise
        AskWoody Plus

        Both Everything and Agent Ransack are GREAT and useful.

        https://www.voidtools.com/

        https://www.mythicsoft.com/ agentransack/

        They are so much better than Windows Search. I wish I could ditch and uninstall Windows Search.

        AND: Both, Everything and Agent Ransack have very good documentation (try to find any decent documentation on Windows Search, hint: you won’t) and the ability to use RegEx.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2309225 Reply
        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        See Advanced Query Syntax for Microsoft documentation on search.

        See Use Advanced Query Syntax to Find Everything for another source.

        --Joe

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2309233 Reply
          willie.nilley
          AskWoody Lounger

          As I was reding through your post I was thinking about Cortana and then you mentioned that you have disabled that function in your GPO.
          What Im tryin to say is, that in latest update there might have been some change with the update, that caused this trouble.

          I mean once again its called “Improvement” and we hear sentences like “Windows Search is getting better”, but I think you are talking about some new feature, which disconnects these two searchboxes and thats why you get different results in different places. But you can search io dark mode (humour alert).

          Maybe there is sume adjustment that can be done to display more results. Try go through some settings if you can find something, I do not use 20H2 yet.

          There are surely some searching tools. But who wants to use another 3rd party program, if there is searchbox next to the start button. Am I right? 🙂

          PS- Try turn on the cortana, but I dont think that will make the difference.

          Thanks for that, I agree. I did try with cortana enabled in GP and it didn’t make a difference ( I rebooted ).

          I tend also to subscribe to the view that this is likely a new feature, a bit like when Outlook was removed from the desktop search scope.

          In my own instance I use a two pronged attack ( or in reality more than that )

          For indexed file content searches the Windows Search is the one I use. It’s working but only under the conditions that I describe. What they’ve done is a little silly in my view if it’s a feature.

          Everything is superb, but it is a file properties search and not content.

          I did try Agent Ransack some while ago, and I note now that the paid for (Pro) version does index, so that is likely a candidate, but as was observed, it’s another third party product.

          The Nirsoft offering “Search My Files” works very well, but is not indexed so is good for specific folders, but not a practical answer for system wide.

          Sadly most of the documentation that is offered by folks here is obsolete. I was hoping to find some sort of forum that specialises in Search, I’ve not managed to find one in 20 years unfortunately. There was, when Windows Advanced Search ( if that is indeed what it was called), but MS seem to have a confused approach on this.

          Using the function I described above (shortcut) solves/circumvents the problem, it’s just a tiny bit annoying to have to do that.

          I notice also that a new feature has appeared in the search window – image search at the bottom RHS, so likely we are observing a mutation.Annotation-2020-11-03-141006

          I’ll try and get the feedback hub thing to work!

          Thanks to everybody.

          Attachments:
      • #2309282 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        See Advanced Query Syntax for Microsoft documentation on search.

        See Use Advanced Query Syntax to Find Everything for another source.

        Joe, you always have thoughtful and kind posts. At the same time I prefer to get as far away as possible from Microsoft’s intentionally obfuscated search functions, and to test and try the other two utilities, Everything and Agent Ransack. I’ve been trying Everything and it’s hyper-quick. Now… to test Agent Ransack…

        Finance, social and tech founder. Co-founder of a global, gamified, crowd-sourced ESG advertising platform, and managing director of new crowd sourced games, both in pre-release development. My planet-wide talk show for people craving new stories by which to live is Casual Saints.

    Viewing 10 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Windows 10 File Search Absolutely Unreliable

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.