When using find in Linux, results are returned within seconds/milliseconds. On the other hand, Windows explorer sometimes takes minutes when searching for a file.

I am aware of the fact that Windows only indexes certain directories, but not of the reasons behind that.

  • Could the people downvoting please explain their reasons for this? I do not see any issues in this question, but would be glad to learn. Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


I would state, that the Windows Search will try to index also the content of the files, while searching, so being relatively slow. If you want a similar fast search result, you might also want to search via command line in Windows via the old DOS command find.

By the way: on Linux you might want to use locate for a pre-indexed file name search, or recollindex for a search over pre-indexed file contents.

  • so if I search in windows for "rabbits", the results will also include files containing the string "rabbits"? Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 23:35
  • @RobertHönig yes, every file type that has a file indexer registered will be searched (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, txt files, music metadata, contacts, PDFs, image metadata, etc).
    – GiantTree
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 0:37
  • This doesn't really explain it, because I see Linux searches PDF contents too. In fact, it even prints the sentence it found containing the string next to the file name.
    – John Glen
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 12:21

Also, Linux and Windows use different filesystem For Linux, it is some sort of ext (3 or 4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3
In Windows, however, default filesystem for years is NTFS:

However, Jaleks is right that this might be more about the indexing service itself and it's structure. Personally, I use program called Everything to look for a files(name-based searches, no content) on a NTFS drives, and after a 30 seconds indexing on a nearly-full 500 GB HDD I'm able to get to any file as soon as i type it's name. So NTFS can do, too ;)

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