Thursday, June 7, 2012

Windows 7 and the Search Function

I'm not a Windows lover to say the least, but lately I'm working on Windows for professional reasons, hopefully not for too long.
Being upgraded to Win 7, I must admit that I was surprised in the positive way, but not that I'll replace my Ubuntu. For the simple reason that Windows just annoys me too often (

One of the negative surprises was the search function in Explorer. They made it a real piece of crap of it. I must admit that I'm spoiled with the built-in grep function in my Ubuntu and I also admit that my last search operations date from the Windows XP times. The only thing that I wanted to do is search for a word in a specific file-type. So in XP you could easily perform a search on a file type and then look in this result in the content. You even had a search shortcut in the context-menu of a directory.  Assumed that this function didn't change that much, oh boy, was I completely wrong about that. I know I know, many would say now, why don't you just install a grep-program? Well I guess I'm just too stubborn... Why install a program to perform an action that I could do in Windows XP and if I'm not mistaken in all XP's predecessors?

First of all, Search in context-menu: GONE.
Ok, looking for a search box... found it in the top right corner rather fast, since this is similar to the search in some of the popular web browsers.
Next look for files, that went pretty smooth, start to search the moment I start entering characters.
But this was not what I wanted, I wanted to look for content inside a file, and furthermore content in specific file types. For example I want to look for a word 'parrot', but only in files with file name 'animals.cfg'.
Since I didn't find this immediately, I used my best friend Google. Unfortunately even this friend let me down a bit. No satisfying result on the first results page... how is that possible.
Ok, let's look a bit further then. Finally found how to make the search function also look inside files, the easy but slow way, slow as in takes ages to find a result, even if directory is indexed:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. In the blue bar under the address and search boxes, click Organize and select Folder and search options.
  3. Go to the Search tab. In the What to search box, select "Always search file names and contents..."
  4. That's it, happy looking for content
But of course not the result that I wanted, even when it has to look for content, it only looks for content in the file name. It's getting more and more fun. Now it doesn't even do what they promise.

So looking some more on the web I found that you can use a keyword to look in the content. See the Microsoft answers page. But guess what... And then people keep asking me why I don't like to work with Windows...

I give up, back to my Ubuntu to quickly find my files of a specific file type, containing a specific word. Wow, that took me 1s to type my command and about 0.16s (ZERO POINT SIXTEEN seconds) to give me the list of files. So dear Microsoft, fix your Search function, document it better, or fix your Search function harder.