Home > ITPro, My Handy References > How to Search File Contents in Windows Server 2008 R2

How to Search File Contents in Windows Server 2008 R2

By default, windows search only search by File name. To configure windows search to search by contents you need configure the following:

You need to make sure Windows Search Services feature is activated.(Check this article for details)


Then, configure Windows Search by Open file explorer: Press Alt button –> go to tools –> Folder options –> search tab –> Here select, “Always search file names and content(this might take several minutes)”

Press okay. Now your searches will work for file content like the good old days of XP.


Another way to search the contents in file without Search configuration is to Type “contents:” in the Windows Explorer search box followed by the word, searches text files. This is a search filter which seems to be undocumented?

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Categories: ITPro, My Handy References
  1. coldfire
    February 11, 2012 at 6:55 am | #1

    I tried all this. I installed the Search service and enabled Folder option for searching file contents. It returns no damn search results still. Neither does content: . I’m throwing my laptop out of the window.

    • ybbest
      February 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | #2

      Lol , maybe try Google Desktop?

  2. Lori Kent
    March 31, 2012 at 2:59 am | #3

    1 ‘PaperSource

    I need to search the exact string from the contents of a large directory; and the search field keeps truncating the spaces between the 1 and text.

    That is frustrating; especially when I know xp can easily perform this feat, but server 2008 is not. Perhaps it is my lack of understanding, but so much for more intuitive processing.

    The search string keeps resolving to: 1 ‘PaperSource
    even when I double-quote the string.

    Quite frustrating.

  3. Lori Kent
    March 31, 2012 at 3:00 am | #4

    of course, even this website truncated the spaces between the 1 and papersource.

  4. Prashil
    October 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm | #5

    thanks, this helped me a lot

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