View Full Version : Search Engine in Windows Doesn't work

04-12-2007, 12:43 PM
When i do a search on my Windows XP computer, it can never find anything. I searched on my desktop for the exact name of a file and could not find the file using the search. What should i do?

I have virus protection software so I'm assuming that is not the case. I also have problem where some (but not all) logins no longer are password protected.


04-12-2007, 01:26 PM
Even anti virus software can let one through....
try running "housecall" or "symantec security check" *preferibly one that is different than your installed Antivirus system- it might detect something yours does not



04-12-2007, 05:45 PM
Well, I have Norton and it is up-to-date. I'll try the other one listed. Could it be that XP just need to be repaired?

04-12-2007, 09:09 PM
XP repair disk has... Problems
i would only recommend that as a last resort, before a complete reinstall of the OS....
So i want to be sure that it is not a virus or malware (Post a Hijack this! log)
Budfred(sp?) should be able to see if anything is amiss- but first make sure it is not a virus or worm

04-13-2007, 05:37 AM
If you search a SPECIFIED PARTITION that holds lots of files [C: say] for *.* what result do you get?

04-13-2007, 10:32 AM
Sylvander, it pulled up tons of files, which was not exactly what i was expecting.

Ajmukon, I used housecall, it found some vulnerabilities but no viruses.

Is PC-cillin better than Norton? I ask because i heard it has less overhead and it says it is award-winning.

So what do i do next guys?


04-13-2007, 10:35 AM
It still isn't finding anything in my desktop or My Documents

04-13-2007, 11:30 AM
Should i try using the repair disk now? Or is there something else i can do?


04-13-2007, 11:49 AM
"pulled up tons of files, which was not exactly what i was expecting"
So it IS searching AND finding, AND displaying the results.
Are you sure you are using it correctly?
Try searching a specified "object" like a partition/drive/folder for something you know exists there, like *.txt or *.exe and see what you get.
How are you specifying your "Desktop" folder? [When you want to search it]
Where is your desktop folder?
I cannot just right-click on my desktop...
There is no "Search" in the resulting context menu.
I must right-click on "D:\Moved\Desktop" [I moved my desktop folder there using "TweakUI"] and click "Search".

04-13-2007, 02:53 PM
So it is not a virus or malware
1) Norton is good, but each has a slightly different codes used to find files that are infected
2) So it is finding things, check to make sure that you are in the correct folder in the options (make sure it is searching local Hard drives (C, any other drive letter))

Paul Komski
04-13-2007, 11:11 PM
If you want to search the Desktop (and any subfolders on it) enter %userprofile%\desktop in the look in box when using the search function.

You can also enter the same expression into the run box and Explorer should open your desktop as a folder (as long as it is still in its original location). In such a folder view you can sort by name, size, modified, etc by simply clicking on name, type, size etc at the top of the columns. Clicking a second time changes from ascending to descending order.

Desktop items on a cluttered desktop can also be "arranged by" name etc from a RClick shortcut menu on the desktop itself.

Agent Ransack (http://www.mythicsoft.com/agentransack/Page.aspx?page=download) can be a helpful adjunct to have in your armoury particularly for finding system and hidden files.

04-15-2007, 04:33 AM
Thanks guys,

This is how i search.

I right click on My Documents, Open Explore, Press CTRL+F
I click, "All files and folders"
It says, "All or part of the file name:" I cut and paste file name into box.
In the Look in combo box, i select Desktop

This time it worked. Which it didn't when if first started this thread. So i did a deeper search. I typed "fae" which should have returned numerous files since fae is a word within several files names, set the lookin to "Local Hard Drives (C:)" and it did NOT return any results.

So i RE-DID the previous search on the desktop and it DID NOT WORK! Same file name, which is "header"--an image file. Same cut and paste method.

So, it is sporadic. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Any ideas?

Paul Komski
04-15-2007, 05:37 AM
Malware aside (which commonly interferes with web searches rather than hard drive searches), if the intermittent nature of the problem is a real cause of distress then I suspect that in the absence of an effective system restore or image restore being in place, a clean reinstallation is likely to be the only effective method. You could of course try a Repair Installation (http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm) though this is mostly used for re-setting the hardware.

I also have problem where some (but not all) logins no longer are password protected.
This is a bit strange alright. Can you elaborate? Have you used any power toys?

04-15-2007, 11:44 AM
Also note:
Repair installations rarely work for OS that come from a company like DELL- they have a slightly different, or altered OS aka OEM OS

If you are going to do a clean install- BACKUP YOUR HD FIRST, but only the necessary files, like work fies, and pictures, and documents. Save these files to either a USB flash drive or an external HD. Then attempt a repair (at this point it could not hurt), try to search again.
If that does not work, then do a clean install- just let windows install itself.

Personally, i only attempt a repair and clean install as a LAST RESORT to solve a problem
Also: a clean install will correct the password problem

Paul Komski
04-15-2007, 01:38 PM
Repair installations rarely work for OS that come from a company like DELL
Wrong. Repair installations work on all previous good installations of Win2K/XP. Dell don't normally supply a Windows installation CD (which is normally required to effect a repair installation) but that doesn't mean to say that they can't be bought or borrowed. In fact you can also often repair from a copy of the relevant i386 folder and run winnt from dos or winnt32 from windows to effect the same. You would need the relevant product activation key and hardware drivers but that is a different matter.

If the Repair Installation Link had been read you would see that:

After completing [if Windows is still accessible] the steps listed to prevent data loss in warning #1 and you did not remedy the no boot situation, you can use an OEM XP Pro or Home, "retail" XP Home or Pro full or upgrade version CD of the same version Home or Pro to perform a Repair Install. OEM Restore disks or hidden restore folders on the hard drive will not work for the Repair Install.

A Repair Install will replace the system files with the files on the XP CD used for the Repair Install. It will leave your applications and settings intact, but Windows updates will need to be reapplied.

A Repair Install will replace files altered by adware and malware, but will not fix an adware, malware problem.

Note that a Dell or other OEM restore disk or partition is not a Windows Installation CD.

I have indicated to you in previous posts, in the kindest way, to not post without thinking about what you are posting and to not post about areas outside your experience/expertise. I don't want to curb the enthusiasm of youth but your obvious lack of experience does show through.

If you persist down this road you may expect a formal warning from me or from other moderators of these boards.

04-15-2007, 10:23 PM
Ok, so are you saying that doing a Windows Repair is not ill advised? It was stated earlier that it could be problematic.

I have WindowsXP Professional Upgrade. I bought my computer with Home Ed on it and upgraded it to Professional.

I guess before i do this i need to still do an backup even though my windows apps should not be affected.

thanks guys for your help.

Paul Komski
04-15-2007, 11:23 PM
Ok, so are you saying that doing a Windows Repair is not ill advised?
A repair installation done along the lines of the Michael Stevens site and taking on board his warnings is not ill-advised in the sense of making your situation worse.

Its always wise to keep important data backed up at all times and particularly when one is doing any major overhaul.

It was stated earlier that it could be problematic.
XP repair disk has... Problem is an obscure comment since the disk needed is a Windows Installation Disk.

Repair installations rarely work for OS that come from a company like DELL is simply incorrect.

But note that a repair installation is not a panacea for a system with a disrupted registry or with malware on board. It is much better to fix specific problems if one can - if only so that one can know what to prevent in the future. Repair installations can be very effective at restoring broken boot processes and when migrating a HDD onto new hardware, such as a replacement motherboard.

04-16-2007, 12:04 AM
nevermind- i have tried to explain my position, but i cannot do that effectively to my satisfaction
Jocob- try a repair, but always remember to backup data
and know that you may be doing a clean install