When you use the Windows XP Search For Files and Folders to search for text - rather than file name - from file that was downloaded with WinSpool/400, you do not find any matches. You can find files just fine on Windows 98 and 2000.


In an effort to enhance search performance and avoid extraneous results, Microsoft created the filter in Windows XP to only work for file types associated with the following "common" documents:
  • MIME files (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension)
  • HTML files (HyperText Markup Language)
  • Microsoft Office files
  • Plain Text files
  • Binary files (includes most files not in the above items)
As a result, the filter works correctly when you search on a property of a file, such as file name, a part of its name, a file extension, date, size, or some other property that Windows XP recognizes. However, filter doesn't always work when you search for a word or phrase within the files themselves, even if you specify the file name or type as well. You have no way of knowing that your search failed, because you won't get an error message.
File types Windows XP may not find include:
  • Text in a comment of an HTML file, since browsers do not normally display comments.
  • Any file type the registry doesn't know about.
  • Files without extensions.
To configure Windows XP to search all files no matter what the file type:

Note: This can affect the performance of the search functionality.

  1. Get the latest service pack for Windows XP and install it.
  2. Click Start > Search
  3. Click Change preferences, and then click With Indexing Service (for faster local searches).
  4. Click Change Indexing Service Settings (Advanced).

    Note: You do not have to turn on the Index service. Indexing Service is a method of gathering information from files, and organizing it in a way that makes it quick and easy to access through the Windows XP Search function.

  5. In the toolbar, click Show/Hide Console Tree.

  6. In the left pane, right-click Indexing Service on Local Machine and then choose Properties.
  7. On the Generation tab, check Index files with unknown extensions.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Close the Indexing Service window.

    The Windows XP search engine will now find any contextual material in all file types.

Note: If you are experienced enough to modify the registry, you can alternatively set the Filter Files With Unknown Extensions DWORD value to 1 in the following registry key:

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