XP "Classic" search in Windows 7?

It took a lot to make me change from XP, but I do like Windows 7 which I'm now running on a couple of machines.   However . . .
The thing I miss is the 'classic' explorer search function which gave a no-nonsense way of finding any set of files on your computer (indexed or not) with proper wildcarding and various other settable criteria.
OK, Microsoft search V4 (or whatever it's called) has all sorts of bells and whistles, but I'm finding it unwieldy to use and find myself opening a DOS box for speed.
Google finds a lot of posts from other people who liked the old search, but no answers.

Has anyone here found a utility which replicates the old search functionality?

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lolwatumad6 years ago
FileSearchEX is the perfect alternative to the Windows 7 search (or lack of) interface. It's almost exactly like the classic XP search window, minus that stupid dog. Just make sure you run the registry alteration (the .REG files) so that it gets applied to the right search menu and what not.


The most similar Windows 7 method to classic XP is to right-click a folder, select 'Open in new window', and then use the search bar in the upper-right corner. But that way is large, clunky (just 14 files & folders take up the whole screen), and I can't find an easy way to search just files names or just a word in a file.

I second the FileSearchEX. It is incredible. In fact better than XP's classic interface.
(And yes minus clippy and the dog.)

Essentially it does everything the XP one did PLUS it let's you do boolean queries AND it lets you do a search on a UNC path!!! Awesome. Very awesome.

It also breaks the search up into two contexts. The file delimiter and the criteria text within that scope. You can also do both or either within the search index itself.

I want to search "Just this area within my source" and when you're searching pull up ANYTHING that has "vmct" in it... (it can even search within zips and docs.)

This is similar to the Windows 7 search but it is laid out in a manner that is more intuitive. (Also IT WORKS. How many of you have done a search in a folder that you KNEW the file existed only to get the "no matches found" result? I think Win7 search is mentally challenged personally.)

first box:
"C:\Windows" <----- where
second box:
"vmbc" <--- what

OR you could do this in the first box:

or *vmbc*.exe
and so on....
If you do that then the "location" becomes the where and it simply goes subfolder from there.

So if location was \\servername\c$
it would search the entire drive.

you could narrow by \\servername\c$\windows\


There are 3 boxes.
1)"Search for Files or Folders:"
2)"Containing Text:"
3)"Look In:"

So essentially #3 is "Location" as I referenced earlier.\

AWESOME program.

AndyGadget (author)  lolwatumad6 years ago
The answer was a long time coming (18 months) but that's the one!
Just what I was looking for - Many thanks.
Actually, you had this very same suggestion by pcunite in just over a month from the creation of this topic.
AndyGadget (author)  jaylweb4 years ago
 . . . and another two years for you to post this comment. How time flies #;¬)

Nowadays I use Agent Ransack which is better than anything else I've come across.

PhilippT2 years ago

Well another alternative could be using a third party windows search tool like Lookeen.


Best Regards


AndyGadget (author)  PhilippT2 years ago

The download is a 14 day trial - I went no further.

I've been using Agent Ransack for a couple of years now. It's totally free and the best search utility I've come across.

pcunite7 years ago
Yes I am using one! It is called FileSearchEX and it works like a champ. classic search for Windows 7 is here baby! Now does anyone know how to get the UP button for folders? goffconcepts.com/products/filesearchex
Regarding the UP button, check out Classic Shell (http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/gallery.html). It puts the up button back, along with restoring a great number of other XP features that seem to have been deleted or hidden in Windows 7. -snakelips

thas right the Classic Shell, restores a lot of functions thar used to work just fine in the past, like the classic Star Menu and the UP button for folders. and it has many many other functions that can be customized too

Gregorid3 years ago

Also in Windows XP with classic search engine you can made small changes which will made that your files instant jump in results without usual waiting like that is case when you try to find some file/folder. Here you have info how to set that > http://pc-problem-solutions.blogspot.com/2013/10/make-windows-xp-file-search-faster.html

LindsayB13 years ago

Hi, I had the same issues, so I wrote my own solution.
Try File Search Classic - Free & open source.
(shameless plug)


COOL! just checked out your SourceForge page...

CAN SEARCH MULTIPLE directories at the same time.!

AndyGadget (author)  LindsayB13 years ago

Since I posted that question I've discovered Agent Ransack which does everything I want (and more), but I'll try your utility - Many thanks.

(And the absence of animated mammals is always a good thing in a search engine ;¬)

Well, the search is there - in any explorer window you open.  Go into My Computer, and look in the upper-right corner; you'll see the search.  To my knowledge, I believe it bases its search on the settings you have in Folder Options under Control Panel (with regards to searching hidden files and folders, system folders, &c.).
I think the issue is we'd like for ao fht customized choices we used to have in older versions of windows. Such as find all music on a drive before you blow it out. I don't want to do 9 different searches based upon file extensions. Same for videos.
USvet6 years ago
Thanks for the heads up. Actually I like the Dog in the XP search. It's a shame when they ""upgrade" things they don't ask what we like and dislike before they throw the baby out with the bath water! Thanks again.

markinboone7 years ago
In Win7 there's no UP button because you can click on the folder in the path at the top to go to that folder. So if you're in C:\Users\Default\Desktop you can click on Default in the path to go UP to that folder. Click on Users to go up 2 folders. It's actually a little easier if you get used to it. Want to go to a different folder that's on the same level as the one you're in? (up one, down another)... hold your mouse over a folder name in the address bar and all its subfolders are listed. Take your pick.
AndyGadget (author) 7 years ago
I'll take that as a 'no' then.