Adding File Extensions to Windows XP Word Search
Note! This applies to Windows XP with SP1 and above only.
A common complaint regarding the Windows
XP search function is that it doesn't include all file types when
you do a search for a specific word or phrase and having Search for
hidden files and system folders enabled makes no difference. This is a
known bug in XP and happens when there is no filter defined for the
file extension being searched (Windows XP Search can only search
files that have a defined filter). Thus, it makes sense that if you
are having this problem, the solution is to define a filter for the
extension. There are two manual methods you can use to do this. One is
by using the registry to add specific file extensions and the other is
by configuring the Search function to include all extensions.
Registry Method (for adding specific file
As an example, let's assume the problem
is that you wish to search inf files for a word
or phrase, but no inf files ever come up in the search results, even though
you know for a fact that the string you searched for exists.
Here's how you would fix that:
- Click Start>Run, type regedit and make
your way to the .inf root key:
- In order for .inf to be included in your
search results, it must have a PersistentHandler sub key with
- a default value (in the right hand pane) of:
- If the key or value do not exist, you must create it.
- Right click the .inf key and name it:
- Then double click Default in the right
hand pane and for data value enter:
That's it. Exit the
registry and reboot. Test it out by searching for known
text inside an inf file. The XP Search should now return results.
Follow the above procedure for any file
extension you wish to be included in your search results.
Non Registry Method
The non registry method is not for specific
extensions but for all unknown extensions.
So if you want all extensions searched
when you're looking for string inside files, follow this method:
1. Click Start > Search > For
Files and Folders and click Change Preferences.
2. Click With Indexing
Service (for faster local searches).
3. Click Change
Indexing Service Settings (Advanced).
will bring up the Indexing Service window.
4. Click View > Customize.
5. Place a checkmark next to Console
Tree and click OK.
6. In the left hand pane, right click
the entry named Indexing Service
on Local Machine and choose Properties.
7. Place a checkmark next to Index
files with unknown extensions.
Done. If the change doesn't take immidiate effect, reboot.
Note! I also created a small vbs file
to automate the adding of a filter to any file type you specify.
It can be downloaded from our Files section
at WinTips&Tricks. New members are always welcome.
Name of file: AddExt.vbs