Windows Desktop Search Tips, Tricks, Advanced Query Syntax for Windows 7, Vista, XP

One of the most used feature of Windows is its Search, It lets you locate your files, folders instantly. Windows Search also refers to the Instant Search, which now has become an integral part of Windows, particularly in the latest versions of the Windows.

Windows Desktop Search Tips

Well, if you want to be more efficient in locating your files and e-mails in Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP using Windows Search, then Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) can help you do just that. You can get the desired results using AQS, as it allows you to quickly define and narrow your searches.

To make your searches specific you can use variety of keywords, or search parameters, which can restrict your query to specific locations, specific file types or properties within those types, or specific “file kinds”. At the top of the Windows Search Explorer, File kinds are displayed, which you can access by pressing the Windows Logo + F.

Use double Quotation marks to match a specific string literally, so that it does not get interpreted as a Keyword. The words will be matched exactly in the order they are entered in a search query between quotation marks.

An overview of syntax in the tables below can be used with Windows Search 4.0 for Windows Vista and higher, or Windows Desktop Search 3.01 for Windows XP, including the properties that can be added to your search terms to narrow and refine your results.

Search Syntax

PropertyExampleFunction
author:nameauthor:patrickFinds items with patrick in the Author property.
author:(name)author:(patrick hines)Finds items with patrick hines in the Author property.
author:(name OR name)author:(patrick OR bob)Finds items with patrick or bob in the Author property.
author:name nameauthor:patrick bobFinds items with patrick in the Author property and bob anywhere in the document.
from:namefrom:patrickFinds items with patrick in either fromName OR fromAddress, since “from” is a property name for both fromName and fromAddress.
before:datebefore:10/9/2007Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date before 10/9/2007.
after:dateafter:10/9/2007Finds items whose PrimaryDate field contains a date after 10/9/2007.
has:attachmentreport has:attachmentFinds items containing the word report that have attachments. Same as hasattachment:true
is:attachmentreport is:attachmentFinds items that have attachments containing the word report. Same as isattachment:true

Specifying Numbers and ranges

In order to specify a date range, enter the property followed by two dates. For instance, type from:Thomas sent:11/05/06..11/05/07. Windows Search identifies all Windows date formats and also recognizes the following values:

• Relative dates: Today, tomorrow, yesterday

• Multi-word relative dates: week, next month, last week, past month, or coming year. The values can also be entered contracted, as follows: thisweek, nextmonth, lastweek, pastmonth, comingyear.

• Days: Sunday, Monday … Saturday

• Months: January, February … December

SyntaxResults
size:>50KB <70KBSearches for files with a value in the Size between50 KB and 70 KB, excluding the end values.
size:>=50KB <=70KBSearches for files with a value in the Size property between 50 KB and 70 KB, including the end values.
Size: 50KB..70KBSame as size:>=50KB <=70KB
date:>2/7/05<2/10/05Searches for a date in the Date property between the values 2/7/05 and 2/10/05, excluding the end dates.
date:>=2/7/05<=2/10/05Searches for a date in the Date property between the values 2/7/05 and 2/10/05, including the end dates.
date:2/7/05 .. 2/10/05Same as date:>=2/7/05<=2/10/05

Common file properties

The preceding table contains a list of words that can be used with any of the following file properties. For example, to find e-mail from “patrick” that was sent in 2009, your query would look like this: kind:email author:patrick after:12/31/2008.

To restrict by file typeUseExample
Communicationscommunicationskind:communications
Contactscontacts
person
kind:person
kind:contacts
E-mailemailkind:email
Instant Messenger conversationsimkind:im
Meetingsmeetingskind:meetings
Taskstaskskind:tasks
Notesnoteskind:notes
Documentsdocskind:docs
Musicmusic
song
kind:music
kind:song
Picturespics
pictures
kind:pics
kind:pictures
Videosvideoskind:videos
Foldersfolderskind:folders
Folder namefoldernamefoldername:mydocs
Programsprogramskind:programs
Recorded TVtvkind:tv
Linklinkkind:link
Journal entryjournalkind:journal

To restrict by file store

You can use the store: indicator to narrow your search scope which will limit a query to either Microsoft Office Outlook or Outlook Express, in case if you have multiple accounts.

StoreUseExample
Filesfilestore:file
Offline Filescscstore:csc
Outlookmapistore:mapi
Outlook Expressoutlookexpressstore:outlookexpress

Properties for file type: All

PropertyUseExample
Titletitle, subject, abouttitle:manager
Statusstatusstatus:active
Datedatedate:lastweek
Date modifieddatemodified, modifiedmodified:lastweek
Importanceimportance, priorityimportance:high
Sizesizesize:>50MB
Deleteddeleted,isdeletedisdeleted:true
Is attachmentisattachmentisattachment:false
Toto, tonameto:johnsmith

Properties for file type: Contact

PropertyUseExample
Job titlejobtitlejobtitle:manager
IM addressimaddressimaddress:luis@adventure-works.com
Assistant’s phoneassistantsphoneassistantsphone:555-1212
Assistant nameassistantnameassistantname:roberto
Professionprofessionprofession:accountant
Nicknamenicknamenickname:louis
Spousespousespouse:susana
Business citybusinesscitybusinesscity:redmond
Business postal codebusinesspostalcodebusinesspostalcode:98052
Business home pagebusinesshomepagebusinesshomepage:www.adventure-works.com
Callback phone numbercallbacknumbercallbacknumber:882-8080
Car phonecarphonecarphone:555-1212
Childrenchildrenchildren:anna
First namefirstnamefirstname:maria
Last namelastnamelastname
Home faxhomefaxhomefax:555-1212
Manager’s namemanagermanager:carlos
Pagerpagerpager:882-8080
Business phonebusinessphonebusinessphone:555-1212
Home phonehomephonehomephone:555-1212
Mobile phonemobilephonemobilephone:882-8080
Officeofficelocationofficelocation:red/101
Anniversaryanniversaryanniversary:yesterday
Birthdaybirthdaybirthday:tomorrow

Properties for file type: Communications (e-mail, appointments)

PropertyUseExample
Fromfrom, organizerfrom:simon
Receivedreceived, sentsent:yesterday
Subjectsubject, titlesubject:budget
Has attachmenthasattachment, hasattachmentshasattachment:true
Attachmentsattachments, attachmentattachment:presentation.ppt
Bccbcc, bccnamebcc:michael
Bcc addressbccaddress, bccbccaddress:mike@contoso.com
Cc addressccaddress, ccccaddress:mike@contoso.com
Follow-up flagflagstatus
flagstatus:followup
flagstatus:unflagged
flagstatus:completed
To addresstoaddress, totoaddress:mike@contoso.com
Due dateduedate, duedue:10/15/2008
Readread, isreadisread:false
Is completediscompletediscompleted:true
Incompleteincompleteincomplete:true
Has flaghasflag, isflaggedhasflag:false
Durationdurationduration:>120

Properties for file type: Calendar

PropertyUseExample
Recurringisrecurring
recurring
isrecurring:true
recurring:true
Organizerorganizer, by, fromorganizer:jonas
Locationlocationlocation:calgary

Properties for file type: Documents

PropertyUseExample
Commentscommentscomments:excellent
Last saved bylastsavedbylastsavedby:josh
Document managerdocumentmanagerdocumentmanager:jonas
Revision numberrevisionnumberrevisionnumber:4a
Date last printeddatelastprinteddatelastprinted:yesterday
Slide countslidesslides:>20

Properties for file type: Music

PropertyUseExample
Bit ratebitratebitrate:>150kbps
Artistartist, byartist:U2
Yearyearyear:1977..1987
Albumalbumalbum:”greatest hits”
Genregenregenre:rock
Lyricslyricslyrics:”happy birthday to you”
Track#, tracktrack:12
Yearyearyear:>1980<1990

Properties for file type: Picture

PropertyUseExample
Camera makecameramakecameramake:nikon
Camera modelcameramodelcameramodel:eclipse
Dimensionsdimensionsdimensions:8×10
Orientationorientationorientation:landscape
Date takentaken
datetaken
taken:last
datetaken:6/12/2006
Widthwidthwidth:33
Heightheightheight:66
Flash modeflashmodeflashmode:no flash

Properties for file type: Recorded TV

PropertyUseExample
Broadcast datebroadcastdatebroadcastdate:2005
Channel numberchannelchannel:7
Closed captioningclosedcaptioningclosedcaptioning:true
Date releaseddatereleaseddatereleased:2007
Episode nameepisodenameepisodename:zeppo

Properties for file type: Video

PropertyUseExample
Namename
subject
name:vacation
subject:hawaii
ExtExt
filext
ext:wma
filext:wma

Sourced from: Microsoft.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Nitin Agarwal is an MVP alumni and a Pro Blogger. He was awarded as Most Valuable Professional for 3 times by Microsoft in Windows Expert - Consumer category. He is immensely inspired by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and APJ Abdul Kalam.