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In Windows 7, if you press the Windows key and type the name of a folder, and the folder shows up among the Start menu search results. In Windows 8, if you do the same thing, no folders are listed. The Files filter shows files with matching names, but no folders.

I realize that you can still search for folders from the Windows Explorer search box, but navigating that way is a bit slow and clumsy. Is there a quicker way, in particular a way to search directly from the Windows 8 Start screen?

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This was probably Windows 7's most time-saving feature. – Danyal Aytekin Dec 31 '12 at 10:26
Good news! In Windows 10, folders again show up as search results. – Edward Brey Aug 2 '15 at 5:13

Drink the Start Screen Kool-Aid and don't do it! Instead, just type the folder name and let the folder contents appear in the results. Now that the results display full screen, there is room to display lots of files.

If you get too many results that match by something other than folder name, prefix your search with folder: to restrict the search to files with matching folder names only. If you really need to open the folder, open the App Bar for one of the files in the folder and tap "Open file location".

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Thanks. I hadn't noticed MSFT had outsmarted me. – Richard Herron Apr 5 '13 at 15:53

I use Launchy (it's donationware). I've used it for years on Windows 7 for convenience but find it a must-have with Windows 8; basically it bypasses the Metro interface.

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+1 for Launchy! – NitroxDM Dec 19 '12 at 23:22

Use this AutoHotKey script:

Run search-ms:
SendInput ^etype:="File folder"{Space}

Usage: Press Windows+O. Type your search string and Enter. Use to select the item. Press Enter to open it.

Setup-free alternative: If the script isn't available:

  • You can get to the Explorer search box with Windows+R
  • Type search-ms:, Enter
  • In the search box, if you type type type:=fol, then type:="File folder" will appear in the autocomplete.
  • Subsequently, both search-ms: and type:="File folder" will appear in the recently used lists.

Canonical path: To make the Explorer address bar show the canonical path instead of a search result address, open the folder with the Open folder location context menu item (ContextMenu+I, I, Enter).

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Besides crippling the Start screen, that Microsoft managed to let slip an Explorer access key conflict may mean the Apple mindset of "simple first, productive maybe" is spreading. – Edward Brey Jan 3 '13 at 14:47
At least in Windows 8, getting to the search folder involves typing search-ms: instead of lib. – Achal Dave Oct 20 '13 at 22:15
@Achal Good idea! The "lib" was just there to get autocomplete to bring up the Libraries path. However, "search-ms:" is more precise and includes any indexed content that isn't under Libraries. I updated my answer accordingly. – Edward Brey Oct 21 '13 at 11:50

I think I just figured it out:

  1. Go to Windows Explorer.

  2. Click on any of the stuff on the left (My Music, Computer, My Documents, wherever you want to search).

  3. Click on the search bar.

  4. Above the right corner of the search bar you'll see a little v and a ?. Click on the v.

  5. You will now see extra search options, click on Type for a drop-down menu. Find Folders there.

  6. Alternatively you can enter your search term in the search bar followed by type:=map (translating that from the Dutch version which says soort:=map, so... not sure if the English version really uses type).

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In English, the text to filter the Windows Explorer search to folders is type:="File folder". However, filtering isn't the focus here. In Windows 7, from any context, you could press the Windows button and type in the beginning of the name of a folder (without any filter), and it would quickly appear at the top of the search results. The question is how to get this kind of convenience in Windows 8. – Edward Brey Nov 11 '12 at 1:50

If you pin a folder to the start screen then that folder will appear in a search, albeit as an App.

Lets hope this issue is addressed in Windows 8.1.

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When you are on the Start Screen (Metro) just start typing, no need to do anything other than type to find search results.

EDIT: Looks like start screen search only searches for apps, files and settings, I even tried the usual "foldername:" syntax to search for a folder, it does not work. Looks like you have to search for folders from the desktop using explorer.

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This is what I tried. I pressed the Windows key to get to the Start screen. Then I typed the name of a folder. No folders appears in the search results. Do you get a different behavior? – Edward Brey Jun 6 '12 at 11:31
check my edit above – Moab Jun 6 '12 at 14:43
The ‘foldername:‘ syntax works under the "search files" mode, but it will then return files in the named folder, it seems. – Ben Richards Nov 3 '12 at 6:50

One workaround is to install Classic Shell. It brings back the Windows 7 start menu and folder search capability. If you want to keep on using the Start Screen by default, you can change the Classic Shell settings so that the Win7-ish menu appears only when you shift-click or press shift+win (do this when you need to do a folder search.)

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  1. Press (Win)+E
  2. Type in the folder name that you want to search in the address bar
  3. Press Enter

This feature works in Windows 8.

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