How do I find those hard to find Windows files?
June 25, 2011 7:30 PM   Subscribe

Is there a free and/or open source program for Windows that provides functionality and power similar to Linux's grep/find/locate commands?

I would love to find a Windows application that will help me determine what files have been created or modified within a certain timeframe, as well as a program that will let me track what files are being regularly accessed or written to. The former is more important than the latter, but I'd love to find both.

Does something exist in the windows world that gives me the flexibility of Linux's grep or find, and is hopefully free?
posted by khelvan to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How about using the actual unix commands via Cygwin?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:32 PM on June 25, 2011

Gnuwin32 or unixutils have the unix utilities compiled for windows.
posted by calumet43 at 7:38 PM on June 25, 2011

Strawberry perl includes find2perl, which takes a 'find' style recipe and converts it to perl code. You can then pipe that to perl. It shouldn't be hard to write a bat script that wraps it all together.
posted by sbutler at 7:43 PM on June 25, 2011

There is a Powershell to do anything you need, naively, in Windows, without some bullshit like installing Perl or Cygwin. Those days are over, my friend. This is the new shit.

Files modified in the last 7 days:

Get-ChildItem -recurse D:\Downloads | where {$_.LastWriteTime -gt ((Get-Date).AddDays(-7))}

Powershell. Learn it. Love it.
posted by tracert at 8:07 PM on June 25, 2011

"a Powershell cmdlet"
posted by tracert at 8:07 PM on June 25, 2011


Why is typing so hard.
posted by tracert at 8:08 PM on June 25, 2011

I kind of liked the implication that needing unix utils in Windows is naive.

Anyway, MSYS (related to MinGW) is another way of getting a variety of UNIX commands on Windows.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:18 PM on June 25, 2011

Windows Desktop Search does a good job finding files. Wingrep might also interest you as a decent windows version of Grep.
posted by nalyd at 8:34 PM on June 25, 2011


Choose xmission's http mirror
When asked what packages to add, select "rxvt" (put it into the text box). Add whatever else might be interesting, like python, perl, ssh, gcc, etc.
Hit next a few times. Wait.
Under the Cygwin menu, launch rxvt-native.
cd c:

You are now at the c drive. You have both find and grep. Also, a great command line for Windows.
posted by effugas at 10:42 PM on June 25, 2011

Nthing the gnuwin32 versions of grep and find. I can't make my way around Windows without them.
posted by no relation at 12:38 AM on June 26, 2011

Alternatives for search are locate32 or Everything. Both of them use an index to make searches instant (they don't index contents, just name and properties). I use Locate32, it's indispensable for me, replaces explorer much of the time.

Foe file acces, check out Diskmon, or it's successor, Processmon. The Sysinternal utilities are really useful. Also, the Sysinternals blog is useful in demonstrating realworld diagnostics using the tools (Note you can filter by process, access type, etc, as otherwise, it generates an unwieldy amount of data.
posted by Boobus Tuber at 7:18 AM on June 26, 2011

I like Xplorer2's find utilities for Windows. (GUI)
posted by unixrat at 7:27 AM on June 26, 2011

Lately, I've been playing around with the open-source AstroGrep.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:34 PM on June 27, 2011

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