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I am pretty sure that I have an email with somebody's phone number in it, I'll call him Bob. But all I know is the person's name. I have lots of email that includes their name so I'd like to use Outlook or Windows 7 search to find "Bob and (???) ???-????" where ? is a wildcard for any digit. I've tried that exact search and it doesn't work. Does Windows 7 search support anything like this and if so what is the syntax?

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Most of the links I've found on the Internet are broken but look like they were to a Windows XP support site. – Greg B Jun 20 '12 at 17:58
Use wildcard to search the contents like *Bob will search all the file which contain the Bob text – avirk Jun 20 '12 at 18:00
Yeah but i have hundreds of those. I want the ones that also contain a phone number. – Greg B Jun 20 '12 at 18:02
Then I think you can also search by follow the phone number. However I never tried it because for me Windows search sucks. I use agentransack which is very good tool for me. – avirk Jun 20 '12 at 18:04
Do you know any part of the phone number, like area code? That would at least narrow the search. As far as the broken links, you can use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to see them. – techturtle Jun 20 '12 at 19:57

From the Windows Search Advanced Page:

You can use a question mark (?) as a wildcard for a single character and
an asterisk (*) as a wildcard for any number of characters.

So your suggestion should find the email

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I should have made it more clear in my question. That search doesn't work. – Greg B Jun 20 '12 at 18:44
@GregB have you tried with the tool I suggested you. – avirk Jun 20 '12 at 18:46
This is on my work issued laptop so I am not able to add programs. – Greg B Jun 20 '12 at 18:50

Here is the procedure:

  1. Open Windows Explorer or Computer
  2. Click on Organize, it will open up a drop-down menu
  3. Select Folder and Search option, and select Search tab it will open up a dialog as:

    enter image description here

  4. Now Put a check on "Always search file names and contents"

  5. Open Search window by the shortcut provided on most of the keyboard while focus on Desktop, if you don't have shortcut, then, Open Windows Explorer, in the Address bar type search-ms: and press Enter key.
  6. Type the number you want to search in the provided side search box
  7. Select the Kind type as Email (When you click on Kind: it will open up the list in which choose email)

So, here you go! Now windows is going to search every email on file system for your number itself in the contents.. Moreover

You can use a question mark (?) as a wildcard for a single character and an asterisk (*) as a wildcard for any number of characters...courtesy


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I looked at this and I already had all of these boxes checked. When I put ???-???? in the search results none of results that are returned are emails. If I do '???-???? kind:email' then I get no results. But I know that I have emails that contain 555-5555. – Greg B Jun 20 '12 at 18:57

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