Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Is there a way to search for folders (by folder name)?

  1. #1


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8

    Is there a way to search for folders (by folder name)?


    Does anyone know if it is possible to set up windows search to return directories in addition to files in the search results? If you have ever used Launchy you probably have a good idea of the functionality I am talking about.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    Just type the folder name (see post #4 for the explanation).

    If you want to limit your search to folders only, use:
    Code:
    kind:folder your-query-here
    or
    Code:
    kind:folders your-query-here
    should work

    Advanced Query Syntax (Windows)
    Last edited by Vadikan; 10 Jun 2013 at 08:38. Reason: clarified
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    There are 2 search functions available from Windows 8 - the Modern search by typing on the start screen, and the Windows Explorer Search:

    Click image for larger version

    Open File Explorer, select the drive or computer you wish to start your search in and then type your search term (folder name) in the search box. The search begins as soon as you start typing, so you may get your result before you finish.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    rollebolle, after re-reading your post I realized that you don't want to limit your search to folders only, but rather want to search both for files and folders. In this case, you don't have to do anything special, because Windows Search automatically searches in full paths. This applies both to files and folders.

    fafhrd, there's one search function in Windows 8, but there are indeed multiple entry points. The folder search filter I suggested above (or any other filter) works equally well on the Start screen file search, File explorer windows and Open/Save as dialogs.
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  5. #5


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8


    Vadikan, you are right I do not need to search for folders only but thanks for the tip--after you add the colon it provides an intellisense type list of all the "kinds:" but only in File explorer.

    I am not getting any folder results from the start screen. Any ideas why this might be happening? I tried both with and without the "Kinds:folder" syntax and not a single folder shows up. I ran the exact same queries in File explorer and they work fine.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    @rollebolle,
    Ok, I finally got to Windows 8, and I have bad news for you. I conclude the Start Screen File search deliberately filters out folders from search results. The UI label says "Files" and acts accordingly.

    I tried kind:folder and a tricky one system.filename: -"*.*" that basically lists everything without an extension, but folders are no show. This is certainly a step back from the Start menu search in Windows 7 that was capable of finding folders.

    I guess they wanted to reduce noise in search results, and it also kind of fits in MSFT vision of Windows file management. While folders are so customary, Windows Search provides multiple other ways to display files (date, type, kind, etc) serving as a foundation for various dynamic views in File Explorer (e.g. grouping and filtering).

    At any rate, if you need to see folders in the results, search in File Explorer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Vadikan...there's one search function in Windows 8, but there are indeed multiple entry points...

    It may be the same underlying code that performs the searching, but the Windows Explorer entry point does offer point and click drill down menus for those of us who have not mastered the syntax of the Start Screen and other commandline search methods. Indeed, the Windows Search and its syntax is slated as being buggy and ineffective by many of the commenters in the link you gave in post #2.

    I find that the Start Screen Search finds very few of the possible documents or locations it should, and has been a backwards step since the search facility found in XP was dropped in favour of the search bar found in Vista et seq. Most annoying is the fact that the full filename must be entered before the search finds the file (example:
    diskmgmt.msc). In XP the first few letters typed in sufficed to identify and locate an indexed system file.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    fafhrd, I totally welcome the addition of GUI filters to the File Explorer ribbon in Windows 8! The filters that popped up under the search box in Windows 7 didn't expose the entire power of Windows Search. Thus, it should be easier now for people unfamiliar with the syntax to find what they need. It's funny that Microsoft kind of went back to the Vista style of search options.

    Meanwhile, I've learned how to use Windows Search and I always find what I need. As for people who complain on the page I linked to (or any other web page), I don't care, I've seen it all and even more Most of the time these complaints indicate that people haven't mastered the feature.

    Yes, it can be not intuitive or it doesn't work as you expect (this thread is an example), but it is what it is. Learn the advantages, don't concentrate on shortcomings.

    I find that the Start Screen Search finds very few of the possible documents or locations it should
    I don't see why it doesn't find anything. It's index-based. If it's in the index, it should be found. And neither I see why you search for files on the start screen in the first place.

    Generally, when you search for something, you start as close to the target as you can (it's not only about Windows or PCs). Is it a document? Search in the Document library, you global search filter.

    Most annoying is the fact that the full filename must be entered before the search finds the file (example: diskmgmt.msc). In XP the first few letters typed in sufficed to identify and locate an indexed system file.
    There's no point in looking back. And why would it be an advantage? I don't want to remember the executable name of dozens of tools. I'm fine with learning their purpose, and I can find most of the control panel tools that way.

    diskmgmt.msc? You can type disk man in Windows 7 start menu or Win + W in Windows 8 and get the same thing.

    Are you a power user who wants to quickly run executables? Win + R is your best friend! Because it has autosuggest (on by default) and autocomplete (off by default). With the latter on, you rarely need to type more than two letters for running your favorite tools. That's how I do it

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
     
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AutoComplete]
    "AutoSuggest"="yes"
    "Append Completion"="yes"
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  9. #9


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Thanks for your input, Vadikan. It takes only a little frustration to send users scurrying to third party apps, and then the features of the OS are readily forgotten - With Windows 7 Search being so unfriendly (compared with XP), I took to SearchMyFiles for performing filtered searches. Any Explorer search skills rapidly get lost through disuse.

    The designers of Windows 8 encourage Start Screen searching - even with a search charm provided - that's why users do it that way in the first place.

    The little registry edit is handy, and I'll use it, but why can't it be a menu choice on the ribbon as an advanced option, rather than the values having to be added to the registry, I don't know. It seems to be present in Windows 7 in that form according to Windows Explorer AutoComplete - Turn On or Off - Windows 7 Help Forums

    But I think I'll get sicker of the green ribbon of... than ever.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 480
    Windows 8 Pro x64


    fafhrd, I never understood why autocomplete settings for File/Windows Explorer are stuck in the Internet Settings and not in Explorer settings. I use the tweak, but the end result is the same.

    The designers of Windows 8 encourage Start Screen searching - even with a search charm provided
    I don't think it's about encouragement. The search charm is a necessity, because the start menu search is gone with the menu. Also, it's the only possible search entry point for tablet users when it comes to searching for apps/programs, modern control panel settings and within modern apps.

    I took to SearchMyFiles for performing filtered searches. Any Explorer search skills rapidly get lost through disuse.
    True, but not only you lose skills, you don't take advantage of the greatest Windows Search benefit - shell integration! Here comes my favorite example.

    Do you share new or modified files with other people via e-mail, IM, social networks? Think of attaching a document you created to an e-mail or a screenshot you took to this forum. I bet you do! Windows Search enables you to access such files in a single click regardless of where your saved them! This means the speed of your actions goes up tremendously regardless of the hardware.

    You just perform the search for new files, save it, and it'll always be available in the Favorites on the navigation pane.

    Code:
    /Documents
    *.doc OR *.xls OR *.ppt OR *.one OR *.pdf OR *.txt datemodified:earlier this week
    
    /Images
    kind:picture datemodified:earlier this week
    
    /Archives
    *.zip OR *.7z OR *.rar datemodified:earlier this week
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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