Yeah, I know I should upgrade but I'm going to be on XP for a bit longer.

When I do a [Start][Search][For Files or Folders], the Search Results window comes up where it asks me what kind of files I'm searching for (Pictures/Movies/Videos, Documents, etc). My answer is always 'All Files and Folders'. When I click that it takes me to the search criteria part. I want to change the behavior (or add a shortcut to my desktop) that will skip the part where I have to specify 'All Files and Folders'.

Thanks in advance for any help.

  • 2
    I have no intention of leaving XP. Nov 20, 2009 at 19:43
  • +1 for always answer "All Files and Folders" its amazing that they "hide" the best option.
    – scunliffe
    Feb 9, 2010 at 19:39

4 Answers 4


If you want to continue using the built in search, but skip straight to the search for section, then go to Change Preferences

change preferences

--> Change Files and Folders Search Behavior

change files and folders search behavior

--> Advanced


And hit OK. This will take you straight to the boxes that lets you type in what to search for, where to search, and give you the ability to pick other options.

  • (a couple of screen shots would make it excellent ;-)
    – fretje
    Nov 20, 2009 at 21:02
  • I'd include screenshots, but can't from the office. sorry.
    – Tom A
    Nov 20, 2009 at 21:04
  • This has been one of my pet peeves for years! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Nov 20, 2009 at 22:23
  • 1
    @fretje - I can't edit yet (not enough rep) but here are the walkthrough images: bit.ly/cXQhVF bit.ly/bHL9DA bit.ly/bEZb8B
    – scunliffe
    Feb 9, 2010 at 19:48

Use voidtool's Everything instead


Small installation file

Clean and simple user interface

Quick file indexing Quick searching

Minimal resource usage

Share files with others easily

Real-time updating

alt text

Windows desktop search doesn't get any better!

Everything is freeware, a portable version is also available.

  • +1 Everything is the best! You should note though that it only supports ntfs...
    – fretje
    Nov 20, 2009 at 19:40
  • 1
    – fretje
    Nov 20, 2009 at 19:44
  • +1 Everything is the best search tool hands down!! Got this tip from one of Molly's posts a while back.
    – Patriot
    Nov 21, 2009 at 0:35

Agent Ransack is the best. I do not like programs that build an index of all the files on my drives (like Everything and Google Desktop) because I have several private files on crypted drives which I do not want to result in any list.

  • so? Everything has an option 'Exclude', guess what it does? :)
    – Molly7244
    Nov 20, 2009 at 20:09
  • Find and Run Robot is fantastic software. Super fast and super customisable. Was a life saver back in my XP days. donationcoder.com/Software/Mouser/findrun Nov 20, 2009 at 20:34

You might get better control of your search by using Windows Search or Google Desktop. Generally these index the files that you're speaking about and give back faster results than the built-in search features of XP.

Hope this helps.

  • Nice to get voted down, but how is Everything any different from Windows Search and Google Desktop in that it still creates an index of files and folders?
    – Chris
    Nov 20, 2009 at 20:33
  • Everything only searches in file names (which was what the OP asked), not in file contents, so it's much faster to build its index. It's also a very lightweight application which can't be said from any of Windows Search or Google Desktop. (I didn't downvote you, btw)
    – fretje
    Nov 20, 2009 at 20:59

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