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Is there a Unicode-aware grep for Windows 32-bit?

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Did you find one that worked with Unicode? It is not at all clear in the answers if the different tools are Unicode-aware or not. –  Peter Mortensen May 22 '12 at 9:26
I gave up and used the built-in search of Visual Studio (: –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers May 22 '12 at 11:39

6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

For a command line tool, look at KeyboardMonkey answer (but I'm not sure about Unicode support).

For an (open source) GUI tool: dnGREP

  • Shell integration (ability to search from Windows Explorer)
  • Plain text, regular expression, and XPath search (including case-insensitive search)
  • Phonetic search (using Bitap and Needleman-Wunch algorithms)
  • File move/copy/delete actions
  • Search inside archives / MS Word documents / PDF documents (via plug-ins)
  • Undo functionality
  • Optional integration with text editor (like Notepad++)
  • Bookmarks (ability to save regular expression searches for the future)
  • Pattern test form
  • Search result highlighting
  • Does not require installation (can be run from a USB drive)

enter image description here

For a more simple (only search) GUI tool: AstroGrep and for a more featured (and expensive) one: PowerGREP

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According to gizmo's freeware, "Replace Text" ecobyte.com/replacetext is another interesting option –  fluxtendu Feb 9 '10 at 18:13

Most versions of Windows include the command "findstr" which works much like grep. I do not know about its Unicode abilities, but to my knowledge there shouldn't be any problems with that.

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Update: GnuWin32 is a more recently maintained port of these tools. (Thanks Quack)

Here is a list of the packages and to download grep individually.

Have a look at UnxUtils, which includes grep as well. I use these on my work PC, too.

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UnxUtils is old and unsupported -- last updated in 2003. try GnuWin32 for a more recent toolset: gnuwin32.sourceforge.net –  quack quixote Feb 9 '10 at 18:16
Thanks for the update, quack! –  invert Feb 11 '10 at 6:28

Yes, as fluxtendu mentions,

  • PowerGREP will do all that. But it is proprietary and costs 149 Euros.
  • dnGREP will work too, and has a similar feature set for free.


  • Cygwin can also install grep (and a whole lot more if you want.) It will do Unicode search with the -U switch. I would recommend Cygwin as the simplest solution if you're familiar with Unix grep. Just make sure to append your PATH and you can use it in the Windows shell too.
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See BareGrep (free version has a startup splash screen), which seems to be a quite complete graphical grep. The documentation mentions support for "Many file formats", so I would imagine that Unicode is included.

enter image description here

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I'm pretty sure it does NOT support Unicode. I tried it and it doesn't work on UTF-16 files. Have emailed them to confirm. –  O'Rooney Sep 2 '13 at 0:55

I asked this question a while back and finally discovered grepWin which is a GUI via the shell context menu. Works quite well.

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Just back from holiday, I saw this. Thanks! –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Dec 6 '12 at 21:33

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