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There's a critical regression between the way Windows XP and Windows 7 perform filename searches. In XP, the default is that the entire filename would be searched as a string using using a case-insensitive containment search (allowing you to match the middle or end of a word within a filename). Windows 7 seems to only match the beginning of words within the file name.

Example: Thisismy-reallylongfilename.txt when searching for long will match on XP, but not on Windows 7. Searching for really matches on both, because Windows 7 recognizes it as the beginning of a "word" in the filename.

Is there any way to cause Windows 7 search to behave like XP and match any part of the filename, not just the beginning of each word?

Answer: use ~~searchterm. The two tildes cause Windows 7 search to perform a substring search, very simliar to Windows XP.

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Many recommend this search – Moab Apr 9 '11 at 2:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use the Advanced Query Syntax, which is probably more powerful, yet also more complicated. They don't make it very easy to figure out how their search works either.

name: tells it to only search through the name property of the file and not date, type, folder, file contents...

The tilde ~ tells it to allow dos wild cards (* and ?) where the asterisk is any number of any character and the question mark is a place holder for just one character.


The charts at the bottom of this page are helpful.

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~~long does the exact same thing with less typing :-) – Kenaniah Apr 11 '11 at 22:24
@Kenaniah lol nice. – James T Apr 11 '11 at 23:37
The AQS would be pretty useful if Explorer didn’t being searching the moment you type anything and actually waited until you pressed Enter before starting. (¬_¬) – Synetech Aug 5 '13 at 0:13

Are you using the search bar in the start menu? I've actually found that the search bar in Windows 7 is pretty similar to XP's:

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Just curious, what was the point of your answer? – Kenaniah Apr 12 '11 at 0:28

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