When I search for files in my Windows Explorer by pressing F3, I tell it the file name, and it looks in current folder and all subfolders. However, it looks like Windows tries to match filenames by substring, which gives me unwanted files.

For example, I have many files with numbers in their names:


I have more than one file with number 1, in more than one subdirectory, and I want to find them all. However, Windows offers me all files with numbers 10...19, which I don't want.

Here is a screenshot where I recreated this problem in a folder which contains just a few files:



Can I make Windows Explorer find only the files I need?

1 Answer 1


Use double quotes around what you're searching for. For example, searching for "file1.txt" will only show file1.txt. You can also use wildcards in this, "*1.txt" will give you all files that end with 1.txt and start with whatever.

Update (thanks @DavidPostill): If you need a wildcard for just one character, using ? will work. Ex. searching for "file?1.txt" will return file01.txt and file21.txt but not file1231.txt, whereas the * will.

  • 3
    file?.txt is better as it will match only 1 number ... (and any other single character of course).
    – DavidPostill
    Jan 22, 2020 at 16:25
  • Using the question mark with the double quotes is what I think @DavidPostill was going for. It works as a wildcard for a single character.
    – Sam Forbis
    Jan 22, 2020 at 16:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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