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I use a system of folders to track tasks and projects, and my projects are represented by folders whose names start with the "@" character. I'd like a way to populate a list of my projects, that is, to search for all subfolders containing "@" in their name. However, it appears that the search function in Explorer ignores "@" since when I search for it I get no results. Does anyone know how to force Windows to search for the @ character?

  • Actually, I unintentionally found a workaround. If I search for "+" (which is another special character I use in folder names coincidentally) it appears to generate a list of all subfolders, where the folders starting with "@" float to the top of the list since it's alphabetically first. It would still be nice to be able to do a proper search though. – DroidFreak36 Jun 19 '15 at 16:14
  • Possible duplicate of superuser.com/questions/172522/… – Matt Champion Jun 19 '15 at 16:16
  • @MattChampion That's probably related, but that didn't come up when I searched. – DroidFreak36 Jun 20 '15 at 16:42
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How do I Search for folders containing “@” in their names

You can find all filenames containing @ using ~=@ for the search string.

~= is a special keyword that means contains.


Using keywords to refine a search

If you want to filter on a property that doesn't appear when you click in the search box, you can use special keywords. This typically involves typing a property name followed by a colon, sometimes an operator, and then a value. The keywords aren't case sensitive.

Example search terms

System.FileName:~<"notes"

Files whose names begin with "notes." The ~< means "begins with."

System.FileName:="quarterly report"

Files named "quarterly report." The = means "matches exactly."

System.FileName:~="pro"

Files whose names contain the word "pro" or the characters pro as part of another word (such as "process" or "procedure"). The ~= means "contains."

System.Kind:<>picture

Files that aren't pictures. The <> means "is not."

System.DateModified:05/25/2010

Files that were modified on that date. You can also type "System.DateModified:2010" to find files changed at any time during that year.

System.Author:~!"herb"

Files whose authors don't have "herb" in their name. The ~! means "doesn't contain."

System.Keywords:"sunset"

Files that are tagged with the word sunset.

System.Size:<1mb

Files that are less than 1 MB in size.

System.Size:>1mb

Files that are more than 1 MB in size.

Note:

You can use a question mark (?) as a wildcard for a single character and an asterisk (*) as a wildcard for any number of characters.

Source Advanced tips for searching in Windows

  • Thanks, "name:~=@" works. I wonder why that isn't documented anywhere. In fact, neither is the behavior of the @ and + characters, both of which seem to be special characters for the search function. – DroidFreak36 Jun 20 '15 at 2:43
  • See updated answer for official documentation. It's the ~ and ~= that are special. The @ is what you are searching for. Please feel free to accept my answer. – DavidPostill Jun 20 '15 at 8:14
  • Well, "@" and "+" are special characters too in some sense because they have different behavior than ordinary characters (such as "h" or "v"). In particular, "+" seems to have some sort of undocumented special behavior since it matches all folders, including ones that have no "+" in their name, and the ones that do have "+" in their names don't have it highlighted like they do if I search for a normal character. – DroidFreak36 Jun 20 '15 at 16:47
  • @DroidFreak36 From some tests here @ and + by themselves in the search box will match all files in the current directory and files in all subdirectories (to any depth). – DavidPostill Jun 20 '15 at 17:21
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Shift & right click over top folder holding them all, then pick:

Context Menu

Then type the following line, followed by Enter:

dir /s/b/ad *@*

or

dir /s/b/ad *@* > @list.txt

to save results.

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