I am using windows 8 and I find that the built in search facility is not working as expected.

I have a folder like this

enter image description here

and when I search it like this, I get no result.

enter image description here

I would like the search tool to have matched on the partial file name.This question provides a good workaround, but ideally I would like to have this working out of the box. Is there a setting to change or any other means to get partial file search match without installing additional software?

  • Your screenshot cannot be read at all. Can you upload somewhere else? – John Thomas Jul 11 '12 at 9:34

Short answer: Use * (asterisk) or ~~ (double tilde). In order to search for a substring in the file name you must put the * or ~~ in front. Hence, in order to have Windows find the MyFile.txt you must search for *file* or ~~file and not file. Think at ~~ as containing.

The simple form (without asterisk) searches only at the beginning of the words in file name. Hence searching for file will return File.txt, My File.txt, File 1.txt (aso.) but will not return MyFile.txt.

If you want the complete(?) Advanced Query Syntax have a look here. However I do not see in the AQS page linked the * (any number of characters) ? (just one character) and [ ] (set of characters) wildcards.


  • b?r matches bar and bur but not boor
  • b[ae]r matches bar and ber but not bur or anything else
  • 2
    Is there a way to change this behavior? This same method is used in Win7's start menu search. So if I want to select and launch FireFox I want to just type 'ff' and it should show up...(at least that's how it works in Launchy and OSX's spotlight) – Mxx Aug 25 '12 at 19:19

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