An Alternative to the “Search for Files and Folders” Module in Windows

As long as I have been a Windows user, I have never truly trusted the search function in Windows. I often wondered how many files I missed during a search, and did not even realize if that was possible until I started using the third party search utility (which is portable) called SearchMyFiles.

SearchMyFiles does not index the files on your computer like the built in Windows search utility and does not write to the Windows Registry. In other words, SearchMyFiles is a clean application that does not mess with your computer and the good part of this is that you can run it from a flash drive. For a non-indexed search utility, SearchMyFiles is very fast and very accurate.

You can learn more on how to use all of the powerful functions of this utility, but to get you started for typical use, it is basically a four step process.


Step 1: Anytime I run SearchMyFiles I always “Reset to Default” to clear out any previous search parameters I may have entered.

Step 2: Click on “Browse” to select the computer drive or folder you desire to search.

Step 3: Enter what you are looking for. With SearchMyFiles, this is where for new users this can be tricky; however, this is where the power of this utility lies. Here you are going to use what is called a “Wildcard”. Typically when you see *.* (star dot star), this is a wildcard which means “anything”.  Confusing, but not really once you learn how to use it. How you use this is like this. Let’s say I want to search my computer for any files that may have part of the name “Rick” as a filename. To do this, I would type *Rick* (star Rick star). What I am telling SearchMyFiles to do is search for any file or folder on the computer that has the name Rick in it.

Step 4: Once you have what you want to search for, click on Start Search. SearchMyFiles will quickly go to work and your search results will open in another window (see below for an example).


In the end, after testing many search apps out there, I can say I would not be without this one.  It has many options available that makes it exceptionally powerful. SearchMyFiles works on any version of Windows starting from Windows 2000 and up to Windows 7.  It is FREE, it is powerful, it is fast, it is portable and it is by NirSoft (which is a household name in the Tech World).


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One thought on “An Alternative to the “Search for Files and Folders” Module in Windows

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  1. Great find Rick.

    Windows built-in search function sucks.

    The *.* function is a powerful tool (left over from the days of DOS), that can be used in a multitude of ways.
    For example *.jpeg – bill.* and so on.



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