How To Search File Contents In Windows

As an Amazon Associate and affiliate of other programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

We often forget the file name/title or location after we read, store or create something on our PC. But if you remember some of the words or text inside the file, finding the file becomes easy. Windows allows users to search for content inside a file using a shortcut or from ‘Start Search’ which is replaced with Cortana in Windows 10. In this article, we will mention three ways to search file contents in Windows PC easily for any type of file – Word, PDF, text etc. Moreover, we have also shared a tip to search files faster on Windows in this guide.

Search For Text Inside Files On Windows PC

On Windows 10, sometimes you can find the file by just inserting text or sentences into the search bar at the top right side. But it does not work most of the times. So here is the better option:

1. Open your File Explorer and go to the folder where you think your file is located. For example, Download, Documents, Local Disk (E:) (F:) etc.

2. Click on the search bar at the top right corner.

search file contents windows 10

3. Type ‘content:‘ in the search bar. (Don’t forget the colon)

search contents of files windows 7

4. Now type the content you are searching in front of ‘content:’. Example ‘content: River Bhogwa‘.

Search File Contents In Windows

You will see the file(s) that carry the content you are searching in just a second. Click on the file and explore your content.

In any case, if you don’t reach the desired file this way, you can use another method given below:

How To Search File Contents In Windows 10 Quickly

1. Click on ‘Cortana search‘ at the bottom left of your screen.

windows 8 search file contents

2. Type the words of the content you are searching for. You will see all the suggestions for web searches. Ignore it and tap on the ‘Documents icon‘ at the top of Cortana.

windows file content search

5. You will find your file. Click on the file to view the content.

search file content shortcut windows

To make the steps shorter, directly type ‘Documents:‘ followed by content words in the Cortana. For example, type ‘Documents: Microfinance institutions‘ and the files containing that text will be displayed.

Now, there are many file types that the Windows search does not show usually. Like when you search for content that might be in PDF files, you will not see any PDF files in the search results because of the default settings of the Windows. Here is the method to search file contents in Windows for all file types including the content in PDF files.

How To Enable Advanced Content Search For All Files In Windows

1. Click on the ‘Start Search‘ or ‘Cortana Search‘ at the bottom left side of your PC and type ‘Indexing options’.

2. Click on the ‘Indexing options‘ in the search result.

windows advanced file search - content

3. Click on ‘Advanced‘.

windows 10 advanced search

4. Then click on ‘File Types‘ at the top.

windows advanced search file contents

5. In the ‘File Types’, Choose ‘Index properties and File Contents‘ and then click on ‘OK‘.

windows advanced indexing options

6. You file indexing for quicker search will start. When the indexing is finished, close that window and search whatever content you need.

Now, there are chances that you still won’t find the content on PDF files. This is because the PDF iFilter might be missing from your PC. It will show ‘Registered IFilter is not found‘ in the Filter Description for PDF. I faced the same problem. Here is what you should do about it.

After the 4th step mentioned above, uncheck ‘PDF’ from file types and then follow step 5.

windows search file contents not working

Now, download and install PDF iFilter 64 from Adobe downloads. When it is installed, close the indexing window and begin once again from the 1st step. Make sure the ‘PDF’ is checked this time in file types.

After the indexing is completed, you will be able to search content on PDF files too.

Steps To Search Files Faster on Windows PC

Sometimes we search files from the search bar to reach the file quickly. But Windows file search takes forever to get the file we want and worse than that, the PC hangs while searching more often than not. Despite being offline, Windows file search takes more time than Google online search. That is because when you search for something on Google, it does basically fetch some particular keywords related to your search and for those keywords, indexing has been already done before. But the Windows file search actually searches files across the whole system, not from any index. That’s why it takes time. To give you some relief here is an easy solution to search files faster on Windows PC.

I have used a free tool called ‘Everything’ that is fast and secure.

1. Download free search tool for Windows, ‘Everything’ from

2. Install the tool on your PC by choosing your language, accepting the terms and conditions etc.

3. Now, open ‘Everything’ from your desktop and search for anything. ‘Everything’ lists everything on its homepage that is on your computer and when you type the file name, it appears in front of you even before a second.

Everything - Search files faster on Windows PC

File Search Windows - Everything

4. Double click on the file to open it in the PC’s file explorer.

This tool can be very useful as it can save a lot of your time. You can change the view and filter content according to their types, like pictures, videos, audios etc. You can also sort files on the homepage by time, size, type etc.

Everything - fast Windows file search

Best file search software Windows

Also Read: How to Sign In to Windows Without Password Bypassing Lock Screen


So, this was the simplest way you can search files quickly on your Windows PC. There are other tools available for fast file search but some of them work the same ways as Windows search and some are paid. ‘Everything’ is the best file search software that can serve your purpose. I’ve felt irritated with the Windows file search for so many years and never knew about this solution.

Also, We are sure these methods will help you in finding your files quickly. If you face any problem regarding content or file search, let us know in the comments.

Leave a Comment