I need to search a hard drive for a file, but I don't know the name of the file. I only know that the file contains a list of email addresses. (I don't know which email addresses are on the file, I just know that there is a list of email addresses) The file is not necessarily a Word or .txt document. Is there any way that I can find this file? Thanks for the help!

(I have a Windows computer)

  • 1
    Related: superuser.com/questions/60173/…
    – ztk
    Aug 4, 2015 at 13:12
  • After the index is rebuilt with file contents, as mentioned in the comment above, you could search something like *@*.com or *@*.* if you do not know the domain.
    – MC10
    Aug 4, 2015 at 13:49
  • Apparently you can't use multiple wildcards in Windows search so something like content: *.com would work if you know it ends in .com. Otherwise, just change the ending.
    – MC10
    Aug 4, 2015 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


You can use grep for windows (in that answer there are several download options - https://superuser.com/a/301075/321990).

An example command that will match (it will search for a regex match recursively from where it's executed): grep -r -E ".+\@.+\..+" *

The file matched contains this:

It will print you the 3 email lines, near the file name. It will look like this:
Where yo.txt is the file containing the strings above, and located under 'new' folder

If you only want the filenames, you can add the -l parameter to grep:
grep -l -r -E ".+\@.+\..+" *
And it will only print:

The regular expression I've used is very simple, and likely to find more things, cause it's not accurate. You can search the web for a better regular expression to check email addresses, and change ".+\@.+\..+" with what you've found.

Hope it helps!

  • Thanks a lot! I've never used this site before, can't believe how fast you get an answer. Aug 4, 2015 at 13:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.