How to Find Files on Windows 7 Without Using File Names

It is not always the case that when you are looking for files on you machine that you know their name. Sometimes you need to search for other conditions, for example files over a certain size or files created on a certain date.

Within Windows 7 you can use Advanced Query Syntax to form queries that allow you to find files based on attributes.

Try this in the search box in Explorer:-


The results show files in the current folder and sub-folders that are bigger than 10mb. You can search using file attributes, like size, simply by putting in the attribute and condition in this format attribute:value

Some other examples:-




When dealing with spaces in either the attribute or the search value you have to follow some simple rules. Remove the space from the attribute, for example, above the space between date and modified has been removed. If the value has spaces, put that value in quotes

authors:"Alan Le Marquand"

To help with file sizes, Windows has some keywords that map to size ranges
Empty: Files that are 0kb in size.
Tiny: Files 0kb to 10kb in size.
Small: Files 10kb to 100kb
Medium: Files 100kb to 1mb
Large: Files 1mb to 16mb
Huge: File 16mb to 128mb
Gigantic: File bigger than 128mb

So the example I used at the very top could be written as:-

Step 4: Control-Click on the "Book Depository" folder and choose "Folder Actions Setup..."


The search syntax has some special operators to. * and ? are accepted:-



The ".." operator denotes values between a range, so to find all files created between July and August this year enter:-


If you do make extensive use of attributes on files to orgainze and track your files, one seach you might need is to find files that have that attribute blank. For example,


Finds all files without the title attribute set. The [] denotes an empty value.

There are well over 300 attributes files can have, so you can experiment with them and see what results you get.

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