XP hacks Searching in XP? Didn't find what you wanted

Posted by Shashank Krishna Friday, January 9, 2009


If you've already experienced XP's marvelous (insert Snicker) built-in file search feature, you probably already know that it is limits in many ways. Want to test it? Just create a file named Haha.ttt containing a few strings of test characters and try doing a context search (searching for text within a file) on your C drive for all files containing this text. So, did XP provide you with the expected result? Of course it didn't (unless you already applied the proper registry tweak).

The XP file search engine is flawed in two ways:

It fails to find text inside files with the "wrong" extensions.
It misreports finding the match if the file name has the matching text even if the file content does not.
Fortunately, there's an easy fix to the first point (and unfortunately, none for the second)

WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. We cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

Go to Start->run, type "regedit" in the run box and click OK
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ ContentIndex
Create a dword value named "FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions" (without quote) inside the ContentIndex key and assign an HEX value of 1 to it.
Tada, that's it.

Now, try your search again.


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Shashank Krishna
Bangalore, up, India
nothin much to say.........doin B.tech in IIIT allahabad loves bloggingn hacking.... :) and loooves blogging
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