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More Windows Brain death or Stealth Marketing?

Try searching for text strings in all files within a folder on Windows 2003 or XP.  Chances are you won't find your string.  Yet you know it exists. 

Guess what?  Windows no longer searches all files.  Just ones it thinks it should.  WTF???  Gee, are we getting ready to tell the world how you can't find anything anymore and we all need WinFS to keep track of our stuff?  This is bullshit.

A MS MVP trys to address it here:

Yes, Yes.  This is the great time to throw out Unix cause this is enterprise ready Windows Server System.  What a crock. 

Here I was looking at the possibility of migrating a website off Linux.  I need to fix a shitload of urls in the bulletin board generated files.  Can I do it.  Yes.  Can I do it in a reasonable amount of time that doesn't make me just give up and say to heck with it --Nope!

I wonder what functionality they will strip next in the interest of creating demand for the next version.  Perhaps vowel keys will quit wrkng.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Try "find" from the command-line, or the "find in files" feature of a text editor.

If you read;EN-US;309173 explains why this filtering has changed: it now uses type-type specific "filters" which can for example find text in HTML files while ignoring text in comments.

whatever works
Friday, January 23, 2004

"Try "find" from the command-line, or the "find in files" feature of a text editor."

Thanks. Ultra Edit has that.  Am I wrong though?  Is this "new enhanced" search better?  For what?

Friday, January 23, 2004

Here's the problem: you're not an average user. The mere fact that you're here proves that. Stop thinking that everything has to be designed for ultimate power and flexibility, or it's total shit. The search is a lot better for 99% of users.

Brad Wilson (
Friday, January 23, 2004

It's so cute when Brad taunt people because they come here to diss MS :-)

Seriously Mike, you'll find mind-boggling limitations like this all the time in Windows world. At least you are clueful enough to be in a position to look for alternatives.

Time wasted? No doubt. Billable? Duh

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, January 24, 2004

"Stop thinking that everything has to be designed for ultimate power and flexibility, or it's total shit."

It's not even really that.  I just expected find to find everything.  I've course the first thing I do on a windows machine is uncheck the boxes to hide extensions, hidden files and protected system files.  I don't think Windows is total shit.  But their find now is for anyone above occasional home user level.  What really pissed me off is this wasn't XP or any other "home" user Windows, this was the flagship Windows Server System 2003.  Clue to Microsoft:  Give us a real server operating system.  Not some souped up home user version.

"Time wasted? No doubt. Billable? Duh"  I wish.  I've got a RH9 server that runs a site for my father's business.  Support dies in April.  I wanted to look into Windows mainly to see if I could run the forum software there and I'm also more comfortable with SQL Server than mysql or anything else.  Probably a stupid idea to start with.  The software is perl which is much more comfortable on *nix.    Currently I've got a backup server at my house that I sync up just about daily with rsync.  It works excellent.  I'll probably put the backup in place when Rh9 dies.  (Backup is Trustix).

Should have left well enough alone, but thought I'd check out Windows.  You know, if it ain't broke...

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I found out about this the hard way, and thought it sucked, but I see the rationale.

If you're a coder, you have tons of ASCII text files on your hard drive.  If you're not, then you maybe don't have ANY that you care about.

You might have a lot of saved HTML files.  And if you search for HTML with plain text strings, it doesn't always work.  Like when you need special characters like < >, if you type them in literally it won't work.

They just should have documented it more clearly for us "advanced" users somehow.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

For searches I use Total Commander (which was named Windows Commander before) and PowerGrep.

They both allow regular expressions, and other powerful features.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Mike - Sounds like you need Cygwin.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

This problem with Windows has existed since XP came out.  I stumbled across it almost two years ago when trying to find text in .java files.  You're just now running into this problem?  If I had to guess, the search tool has worked better for you 99% of the time, and just recently you found that 1% mark.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

He mentioned in a follow-up that he is recently looking into Windows (perhaps after a lapse), so I doubt that it was working great until then.

Having said that, I entirely agree with him -- At the very least they should have put a "smart search" checkbox or the like to utilize this content specific searching (and even THEN it should ascii/unicode search literally if there isn't a frickin' search extension for the file in question). Like virtually every software development friend, I encountered this "feature" early on when I was wondering why finds for strings I was sure existed weren't resolving anything. Regarding the "99%" claim, I doubt that 99% of users use the find feature, and I'd bet a large portion are "power users".

As a sidenote, you don't need Cygwin or any other tools -- use Findstr at the command line. It can search for regular expressions.

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Myron A. Semack
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Free multi-term searching program: Wilbur

I could never get Windows to search for MULTIPLE words in a file. Single term searching is, for me, useless. I need to look for A AND B AND C, etc.

Also, I don't have time to wait 10 minutes for each search to complete.

Wilbur (while having a goofy name) does this well. It indexes your whole hard  drive and searches in a few seconds.

The real Entrepreneur
Sunday, January 25, 2004

You'd have to be a real Microsoft apologist to claim that this is an improvement in functionality. If it's not going to search everything, it should state that clearly -- even if 99% of the world is better off not finding what they say they want to find.

I discovered this issue early in my use of XP, but never imagined it was a "feature"  ... I use a freeware tool only because I assumed this was a bug. Stop excusing these horrible decisions.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

"I've got a RH9 server that runs a site for my father's business. Support dies in April."

Actually, Fedora is trying to fix the braindead rpm maintanance system on RedHat and use apt instead.
That makes keeping a system up to date a lot easier.

The cool feature with apt is that one can fully upgrade a running system without a single reboot! Of course, reboot is needed to load a new kernel later.

Here somebody went from RedHat 7.3 to 9 in only few commands:

  So closer to the date when the support runs out you can upgrade to Fedora, and use apt for updates.

Of course, Fedora is a bit experimental thing, but then a webserver is not a rocket science stuff either. Linux firewall and apache have matured a while ago, so things are reasonably stable there and bug fixes are released promptly.


Mr Curiousity
Sunday, January 25, 2004

Also found a nice, fast, free windows search tool called "Agent Ransack". It will even hook into the default windows search so that when you press Ctrl+F it runs Agent Ransack instead. Just google for it.

Gavin van Lelyveld
Monday, January 26, 2004

Go for Wilbur; it does pre-indexing so looking for text in files is almost instant. Agent Ransack is as slow as the Windows find as far as I  can see.
My ideal is the Mac Sherlock (System 7 version)

Owen Watson
Sunday, March 28, 2004

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