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Most puzzling feature ever designed

I tried to search for a file in a directory with the date xxx.01.22.xxx. I have tried name:01.22 or name:*.01.22.* and none come up. (The file was there after I examined it myself.)

What is the right syntax for this search? What are the special characters that would mess up a windows file name search? (btw I think I have never able to search for filename by number at all come to think of it...)

I have been struggling to use the windows explorer search box ever since windows 10 come out and I have never been able to use it effectively even with simple file name search. Is there any good courses on how to use this feature?

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  • The integrated search is really difficult to use an painfully slow. Therefore I don't use it anymore, instead I use Search Everything - if you only search for file or directory names it is IMHO best search tool and the results are there in an instant.
    – Robert
    Jan 25, 2021 at 21:00
  • Agent Ransack is good too. Jan 25, 2021 at 21:12
  • you can try name: $=01.22 or name:~=01.22. not sure if it works for you. You can refer to Searching for a string within a filename in File Explorer
    – Seven
    Jan 26, 2021 at 7:01
  • @Seven, This is the perfect answer I was looking for! Jan 28, 2021 at 1:41

3 Answers 3

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The asterisk * is the wildcard character for Windows file names. As long as 01.22 is actually in the file name (not the file dates meta data), just use a single asterisk on either side:

*01.22*

That will search for any file containing "01.22" anywhere in the file name. You don't need the "name:" prefix.

However, if you want to search for a file based on the modified date meta data, use this string format:

modified:01/22/2021 .. 01/23/2021

"modified:start_date .. end_date". The date format may be culture variant depending on what country your Windows is configured for. Mine is en-US.

One more comment to add based on your uploaded image, wherever you start your search, it will look in that location and in any subfolders, but it won't look elsewhere. If you search on the desktop, it will only search the desktop location. If you want to search a whole drive, you can start at the root (c:\, for example), but that may take some time depending on how many files are on it and the access speed. It's best to start in a folder that you know contains the file you're looking for, even if it's in a subfolder.

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Use PowerShell, you can do it in one line, first to open PowerShell:

Win+R>>type powershell>>Enter

Use a code similar to the following code, replace path and dates when using it:

Get-ChildItem -Path 'path\to\folder' -Force -Recurse | where {$_.LastWriteTime -ge [datetime]"2021-01-22 00:00" -and $_.LastWriteTime -le [datetime]"2021-01-23 00:00"}

This should give you what you want.

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Thanks @Seven for the perfect answer. It was in the response section so I can't select it as the answer. Quoting it here

Name:~=01.22 works Reference: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-win_cortana/searching-for-a-string-within-a-filename-in-file/3cd4f5a6-cf33-4323-93b8-eb0d3904770f

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