How do I find al word documents containing a particular phrase?
June 21, 2008 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I'm trying to find some old Word documents in Windows Vista and I don't seem to get the option to look through file contents when I use search. Could someone please tell me how I can do an advanced search to find all documents containing a particular phrase in Windows Vista?

As well as searching within documents, are there any free software programmes that allow you to arrange files on a timeline? It would be really great if I could see at a glance on what day each file was created.

Thanks for your assistance.
posted by Tnuocca to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Google Desktop will do the part about the search for the text contained within your documents.
posted by McSly at 5:14 PM on June 21, 2008

Vista will search inside file contents for indexed locations. For non indexed locations, Vista will search file names and meta data only by default. At the bottom of any search results window (which you get to by entering a search term into the search bar at the top right of any Explorer window, or by clicking the start button and using the search bar), there is grey area that says "Did you find what you were searching for?". Below that there is a button that says "Search in File Contents", which will do exactly that.

In the future, you can add folders to be indexed by going to control panel and then "Indexing Options". Your user data folder is indexed by default. Alternatively you can tell Explorer to always search inside files for all locations by opening any window, clicking on "Organize", and then "Folder and Search Options". This will have a pretty severe performance hit though, so I really don't recommend it.
posted by tracert at 5:32 PM on June 21, 2008

I started using Agent Ransack when I went to Vista and haven't used Vista Search since. XP search was fine, but Vista's (IMHO) stinks...shows that Microsoft folks have built their ivory tower so high they now have anoxia.

Personally I don't like the "give us all your data and we'll index it for you" kind of tool bars out there. I'm not that trusting (or else I'm paranoid). A simple search utility (like AR, but I guess there's many others) works just fine for me.
posted by forthright at 6:37 PM on June 21, 2008

I've been happy with Copernic Desktop Search for this purpose on my system running XP. It seems to place a lighter load on the computer than Google Desktop Search.
posted by lukemeister at 8:48 PM on June 21, 2008

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