I'm encountering a strange behavior when I search for files with a format of a serial number consisting of 4 digits, a space, a letter, and a digit (#### B#). Specifically when that letter is a B.

For example I have a directory with the file 1234 B2.txt. The windows file search finds it if I type 1234 B, but not when I type in 1234 B2. It's like when B# follows a number it's some kind of modifier to the search. Text B2 will find a file so named, and 1234 A2 will as well, but 1234 B1, 1234 B2, and 1234 B2018 will all return "no items match your search" even if there is a file with that string in the file name.

This is happening on Windows 7 and is happening to several computers I've checked so far. Anyone have any ideas?

  • I once read a great article about how the indexed windows search since Vista is designed to find search results fast rather than finding all search results. I'm pretty sure it was Raymond Chen but I can't find it again... It had some great insides though.
    – sbecker
    Apr 10, 2018 at 7:12
  • @sbecker "windows search since Vista is designed to find search results fast rather than finding all search results" – If so, there's an obvious improvement: put an elephant in Cairo and find it instantaneously. :D Apr 10, 2018 at 7:34
  • @KamilMaciorowski: Thanks for that reference; I wasn’t familiar with it — although it does seem to be somewhat of a rip-off of How to Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert, which is much, much older. (See also this version for a few paragraphs that are not in the first link.) Apr 10, 2018 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


I found a couple of fixes, but no explanation.

  1. Type "1234 B2", and I do mean type the quotes.  Or file:1234 B2 (or file:"1234 B2").
  2. Without quotes, 1234 B2 let’s say 1234 A2, since it works normally.  When you type 1234 A2 (without quotes), Windows Explorer seems to treat it as

    filename contains “1234”    AND    filename contains “A2”

    and so it finds, not only 1234 A2.txt, but such files as 1234 foo A2 and A2 1234.  A search for A2 1234 finds the same results.

    Now, 1234 B2 doesn’t find anything that I could throw at it (and I have no idea why).  But B2 1234 finds 1234 B2, 1234 foo B2 and B2 1234.  So that will get the result you want (along with the others, if they happen to exist).  Also, peculiarly, 1234 AND B2 finds the same three patterns.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.