The built-in search function in Windows 7/8/10 is vastly better than the terrible search options in Windows Vista and XP. Instead of installing a third-party program to find files inside files on your computer, you can now easily do it from Windows 7/8/10.
For example, let’s say you are a programmer or web developer and you want to be able to search for code files like .aspx, .html, .java, .php, etc. On Windows 7, you can set up the search indexer to not only index any the file you want, but also index the contents of the file.
By default, the Windows 7/8/10 Search Indexer indexes the most common locations where your files will be stored, that is, all libraries, everything in your user folder, and email. If that’s not enough, you can easily add or remove index locations.
However, to be clear, there are some really good third-party programs out there that will let you do faster and more advanced searches for text files than Windows could ever do.
Configure Windows Indexing Options
This means that you can tell Windows 7/8/10 to index and return results from files and folders on network drives or external hard drives. To get started, click Start, then type search in the search box.
The Indexing Options dialog box appears. In Windows 10, you will click Change how Windows searches. At the top, you will see the total number of items that are currently indexed on your computer. Below you will see a list of all locations that have been indexed.
To add a new location to the index, click the Edit button. Any network drive or external hard drive will appear in the list of possible locations. You can mark any drive or folder that you want to include in the index.
Depending on how many files and folders are in the location, it may take a while for the search indexer to index everything. If you notice that certain files are not indexed by the search indexer, even though they are included in search locations, you may have to add the file type.
You can do this by clicking the “More” button on the main “Indexing Options” screen. Then go to the “File Types” tab.
If the file extension is not listed, add it below. Then select it and choose whether you want to index only the properties or the properties and contents of the file. If you know the file contains only text, be sure to check the second radio button.
You can also click Indexing Options to change some of the search indexer options.
Here you can choose to index encrypted files and other options, such as treating similar words with accents as different words. If you have problems with Windows search or something has become corrupted, you can rebuild the index by clicking the “Repair” button.
Finally, you can completely move the search index to another drive or partition. If you have a faster hard drive that is not running the OS, it might be a good idea to move it to make it run faster. Just like moving the paging file to another drive speeds things up.
Overall, the new search features in Windows 7/8/10 are vastly improved and allow you to customize most of the search options. Enjoy!