Windows 7: How to search file contents?

You would think what kind of stupid question is that? But If I ask you how to search file contents in Windows 7, it will take some time figure out. It was very easy in Windows XP (just use classic search tool).

Windows Explorer has a search box, but by default it only search file names, file content and meta data ONLY in INDEXED LOCATIONS.

Here is how you enable content searching.

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Click Alt –> Tools Menu and select Folder Options
  3. Select Search tab
  4. Select the option “Always search file names and contents (this might take several minutes)” and click OK to close the dialog box


You HAVE to enable a setting to index the file contents, so you can search it later. Here is how you enable the context indexing.

  1. Click Start Orb and type “Index”
  2. Select “Indexing Options” from search results
  3. On Indexing Options dialog box, click on Advanced button
  4. On Advanced Options dialog box, select File Types tab
  5. Select an file type extension and continue to Step 6
  6. Enable the option for Index Properties and File Contents under “How should this file be indexed?”
  7. Unfortunately you have select the needed file types one at time a time and repeat  steps 5 and 6.


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