A Guide to Browse File Contents on Windows

How difficult it is to keep a check on the entire data you have on your computer. Therefore, Windows has made it easier for you with its built-in search feature. Even though it is handy, it does not usually show the correct results. Well, this is because you’re searching for a particular text within a file. You must know that while searching, Windows never looks into any content of what is inside a file. But do you know that you can enable it? This will surely improvise the Windows search feature. Also, there are other apps and software that make searching much more accessible.

Windows File Index

Windows File Index in the place where all information regarding the files is stored, for example, the metadata and all the words in the files. This index helps to compute searches quickly as now your computer will not have to scan every file; it can just look into the index and find the words.

A Guide to Browse File Contents on Windows

Though the index improves search results, it also slows down the process. That means it will take more time to find what you searched for. With the increasing file size and file types in the index, the time taken to search increases. In case your search is slowing down massively, you need to cut down the indexing and solely enable vague searches to speed it up.

Consider Modifying the General Settings

There are a few general settings that can be modified to improve the search function and file index.

  • Indexing Settings

At first, we have to alter a few system-wide indexing settings. For that, go to the Start Menu and type Indexing Options in the search box. See the results and click on the right one. An Index Setting window will open in which you have to tap on the Advanced button. Below the File Settings, there will be two options:

  • Index encrypted files: This will put in the files that are encrypted to the index. Files that are encrypted are the protected files, so you might not want them to be indexed.
    • Consider the same words with diacritics as distinct words. Diacritics are the small symbols or dashed lines that are up above or below some words, such as café. If you turn on this option, words like ‘cafe’ and ‘café’ will be counted as distinct words.

After making the changes, click OK.

  • File Explorer Settings

The second one is about changing the search function in the File Explorer. For this, hover to the Start menu and type Change search options for files and folders. Now check the results and click on the right one. Here you’ll get options to change searching to non-indexed places on the system as well.

  • Include system directories
    • Include compressed files
    • Always search file names and contents

Enable those you want you, but remember that the third one will take more time as it will thoroughly search the content of the files. When done, save the settings by clicking on OK.

Include More Locations in the Search

By default, Windows indexes folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. Also, you get the option to add more folder locations. To do so, click on the Start menu, search Indexing Options, and click on it. The new window will show you the list of indexed folders. For adding more, tap on Modify, and then select Show all locations. On the Change selected locations option, tap the arrow icon, and tick mark all the boxes of folders you want on the list. In the end, press OK.

Include More File Types

In the default settings, Windows only adds a few selected types of files to the index. To modify this, you will have to use the Indexing Options. In the Advanced option, tap the File Types option. Now a list of all types of files in your system will appear. In case a specific type of file is not there, type it in the Add new extension box and hit Add. Now tap on any familiar file extension, such as doc, and read the information given below. There you will see that the file is indexed completely, which means the search will look into the contents of the doc files and all those files that are indexed completely. Now choose an unknown file type and read the information given below. You will see that it is indexed only with Indexed Properties. In this case, the search will only read the metadata of the file and not the contents inside it. To make changes, click on the file type you want and switch on all the indexing options.

Search Using Other Apps and Software

In case you are having difficulty with the Windows search, you can also do the same task with the help of a third-party program named Agent Ransack. It is perfect as it is compatible with almost all the systems, has a lot of features, and is free of cost. There is a free version of the FileLocator Pro program. It searches your whole system to find the matched text. Also, you can add filters to your search, such as file size or date modified. The interface is very user-friendly and makes it more accessible to use the program. The software shows you the lines in which your search input appeared in a file, that too, very promptly. If you are searching your entire system it might take some time but you can use the filters to narrow down the search area. Hopefully, these methods were helpful in searching your computer entirely, allowing you to explore deep into the abundances of data and find out that specific file. You can choose if you want the Windows built-in search or want to use any other software, both will get your work done.

SOURCE:- A Guide to Browse File Contents on Windows

Comments are closed