Poor results from Win-7 desktop search index
January 1, 2013 3:42 AM   Subscribe

How can I tweak the Windows 7 search index so that I can find all files on both the SSD and the hdd?

I thought I went through this -- indexing -- pain a couple of months ago (after installing an ssd) when I clicked boxes so that the index search would include all file types across the C & F drives (as well as on the small system and factory image partitions that are also listed as separate drives).

It took quite a few(?) hours to complete the indexing - as best as I recall - and it now says it indexes ~360K items which sounds a realistic number; certainly much more than the amount there previously. I can't say what turned up on searches before then though: I just don't know if I'd bothered. It's because of the new drive that indexing the hdd seems now more useful now.

But I'm really only turning up programs and windows help and operating system items searching from the start button (the results turn up immediately). However, no file names turn up and, for instance, a generic search for .jpg turns up nothing.

Going into the advanced options in indexing I note that all file types were chosen and it's instructed to index both properties and file contents.

So, before rebuilding the search index (which, as I say, I *know* I did when the ssd was installed), can you please offer me any advice about which settings/which tick-boxes/file-types to include/exclude &c &c??

[win 7 home premium 64bit SP1 / 125gb ssd / 500gb hdd (75gb free)]
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I thought the search from the start button was only supposed to turn up that kind of stuff? My understanding of indexing was that it speeds up searching from Windows Explorer (double click My Computer).
posted by gjc at 4:53 AM on January 1, 2013

Oh ffs, you are of course correct and I am as dumb as a rock.
Thank you and thank you.
posted by peacay at 5:09 AM on January 1, 2013

Windows built-in search is kind of weak and often seems to exclude things (hidden files, system files, but also just things seemingly at random sometimes).

Agent Ransack is a pretty great alternative:


It finds everything and you can easily specify specific/multiple drives/folders.
posted by NoAccount at 7:18 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Try a generic search for *.jpg - I recall reading somewhere that the Start Menu search supports the same * and ? wildcards as Windows, and before it DOS, have always used for filename matching. There's also some other bizarre wildcard syntax involving a leading ~ that I can never be bothered looking up.

Since no civilian is ever going to guess that this feature exists or comprehend how to use it, I really don't understand why MS didn't support proper regex searches in that box... No, wait. That would have been general-purpose and made sense. Far better to invent yet another half-arsed nearly-solution and call it Job Done yet again.
posted by flabdablet at 7:54 AM on January 1, 2013

Thanks for that NoAccount : have d/loaded Agent Ransack and will try out tomorrow. (looks like designer got his 4 yo kid to make their emblem/icon !)

flabdablet, the * ? wildcards don't seem to work from the start button.
posted by peacay at 8:58 AM on January 1, 2013

If you only need to search by filename, Everything indexes everything in seconds, and gives results instantly.
posted by Sharcho at 2:05 AM on January 2, 2013

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