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. – Sinan Ünür Nov 20 '09 at 19:43
  • +1 for always answer "All Files and Folders" its amazing that they "hide" the best option. – scunliffe Feb 9 '10 at 19:39

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • (a couple of screen shots would make it excellent ;-) – fretje Nov 20 '09 at 21:02
  • I'd include screenshots, but can't from the office. sorry. – Tom A Nov 20 '09 at 21:04
  • This has been one of my pet peeves for years! Thank you, thank you, thank you! – Mark Ransom Nov 20 '09 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 '10 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 Everything is the best! You should note though that it only supports ntfs... – fretje Nov 20 '09 at 19:40
  • 1
    voidtools.com/… – fretje Nov 20 '09 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 '09 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • so? Everything has an option 'Exclude', guess what it does? :) – Molly7244 Nov 20 '09 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 – Redandwhite Nov 20 '09 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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 '09 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 '09 at 20:59

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