I've checked "Don't use the index when searching in file folders for system files", but I don't see a way to tell Windows 7 that I'm looking for a system file. What does this option actually do, and how do I use it to search every file name on the drive for a specified character string?

I intend to search file names in an indexed folder that contains non-indexed subfolders and "system" file types, and this option seems to have no effect on the skipping of those subfolders and file types.


Every now and then the system will take a snapshot of the files you have on the computer and build an index from it.

When you search, it scans this index for the files to make the search quicker, but it is bound by when it was last updated. So a brand new file added to the computer might not be found if searching this way.

When you check the box "Don't use the index when searching in file folders for system files" you're asking for the search to ignore checking against the index it has of your system and go trawling through your computer as it is right this second.

  • In what case(s)? It doesn't seem to do so when I search in an indexed folder that contains non-indexed subfolders! – A Student at a University Jul 13 '10 at 1:51
  • It maybe that the index now does include those files when you get around to it. @ast – random Jul 13 '10 at 3:09
  • Could you explain? Do you mean it takes time for it to index them? – A Student at a University Aug 11 '10 at 11:37
  • Every now and then the index will be created from all the files in the system. Between those updates, any new files will not be included if you search just through the index. How long you have between index updates will determine what files will be in there. @ast – random Aug 11 '10 at 12:38
  • I'm pretty sure it keeps track of non-indexed files and handles them somehow when you search. The problem is that it isn't trying to search, for instance, the file names of python files, or the AppData folder, at all. I don't need it to index those. I just want it to search them when I pick them. I don't have time to go tell it about every file type I want it to look at the name of. I just want to search file names of every file on the disk with Windows, not contents. – A Student at a University Aug 16 '10 at 4:24

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