Windows 10 Advanced Search Tricks with operators

We all search daily for files and folders inside our windows PC. But, very few of us know that you can use wildcards in your search strings to search for lesser remembered files . For example searching for my_2016_file can get you to the my_2016_file.png. But what if you just remember the 2016 thing and you are unsure about other keywords. Here in this article i have summarized all windows 10 searching tricks which will make you a windows 10 power user.

Search By ? operator

? is a wildcard search operator in windows. It tells windows to find all the files where ? can be any character. Let us explain by example.

For example, we have two files in our computer named cat.png and cot.jpg.

if you search for c?t, the search result will fetch all files with cat, cot, cut etc, whatever character comes between c and t.


Note that, if you search for something in windows 10 search taskbar, its important to click search my stuff for expanded search results.


You can see that searching for c?t gives both cat and cot image in search results.



Its important to note that, using ? in search will search for unknown characters in the string for exactly the same number of times, ? is used in the string.

for example if we use ? two times, it will fetch search results having two unknown character in between.



Search by * Operator

If we search with * , there can be any number of characters in between.



Search Files By date Modified

Now, this is very useful if you know when you modified or edited the file. For example if you are working on a word file and you know when you last edited the doc, you can easily search it within specific time ranges.


The above lines will search for files which were edited / Modified by you yesterday.

Note: If you have extracted a file yesterday, it will be also termed as modified.

For Today


For last week


Search Files By date Created or downloaded on Your PC

You can also search files by date created. Note that creation of files means a new txt file being created or downloaded. You can search for these type of files by date operator.

  • Date:today
  • Date:Last month
  • Date:This week
  • Date:Next year


Search Images By date Taken

This is very cool search trick. If you want to find a picture on your phone, you can search the pic if you know the month in which the pic was taken.

Example search queries are-:


This query will search for all photos on your computer taken in the month of april. Try it out.

Pics taken by standard cameras have date taken details attached with them. You can verify this trick by just doing a right click on the image and then clicking on properties and then details. The date taken field will be present there most probably.


Search with that month and you will surely find that image.


Search by File extension

for searching files with particular file extension search for your file name followed by ext followed by the semicolon and then name of the extension. Here are sample search strings for different file extensions. You can search for any extension by just attaching the extension name after semicolon.

  • ext:.doc
  • ext:png
  • ext:jpg
  • ext:.txt
  • ext:mp3
  • ext:avi


Note that in above image we wanted to search for chat file name with extension mp3.

This particular search trick can make your result sorted as you will only find search result of the file type you want.

Search By file Kind

You can directly search kind operator in file explorer or windows 10 search box. this is useful when lets say you want to find all your video files in the laptop , or lets say you want to search all your music in your pc at one place. you can also search quickly by kind of file. For example if you search for kind:song then song files will appear in results. Similarly you can search for kind:image etc.

You can also include keywords and length (short or long) to narrow down the search.


Here is a complete list of all the file types and their search operators in kind search.



Windows 10 Boolean search Operators

You can search keywords with AND, OR and NOT operators.

  • OR e.g. cat OR dog.
  • AND e.g. cat AND Singer.
  • NOT e.g. Movie NOT depp. Alternatively: Movie-depp

7 thoughts on “Windows 10 Advanced Search Tricks with operators”

  1. I tried to change this setting to turn OFF searching inside files, as searching inside files gives a million useless results so you can’t find the filenames that you are looking for. The results don’t even make a distinction between files that have the search string in the name and those that have the search string in the file. It even flags jpg files as containing the target text because, by chance, the binary code in the jpg file happens to make the ASCII character that you are looking for. I couldn’t change the setting anyway because my My File Types list is completely blank.

  2. shouldn’t be a computer on my phone can’t turn phone into a computer reporting to my fds F.B.I.

  3. How can I search for Folders that begin with PP and have a subfolder that contains FB in its title? I want the search show me only the subfolders. Joe

Comments are closed.