Ever searched a set of files under Windows XP knowing that the search string you are looking for is there, but having the machine tell you it can't find anything?
This is caused by Windows trying to be too clever for its own good. If a file ends with a particular extension, then it looks for a filter that knows how to search that particular type of file and gives you back some useful results. In principle this is not a bad idea but they neglected to set a default on the file type system. If you do a lot of programming, then there are a lot of files which are text but end with an extension that is not recognised e.g. (*.c, *.java, *.php). Even if you associate the file with a text reader it doesn't make any difference.
There is a Microsoft Support document explaining how to correct this problem but it's not very easy to find. I have added the guts of it here so that others won't have to waste as much time as I did looking for it.
Microsoft say there are two ways to correct the problem: change the registry to add a text filter to that extension, or a set a default for all file types.
Adding an extra filter is a waste of time as you will only have to do the same thing again next time it happens.
Things can get lost in the ether so am taking a copy of the Microsoft page and reposting it here:
- Click Start, and then click Search. If your Start bar doesn't have Search, then load Explorer and click the Search button at the top. Or click the task bar and press F3.
- Click Change preferences
- Click With Indexing Service (for faster local searches). If you already have indexing switched on, this will read Without Indexing Service.
- Click Change Indexing Service Settings (Advanced). Note that you do not have to turn on the Index service.
- On the toolbar, click Show/Hide Console Tree icon.
- In the left pane, right-click Indexing Service on Local Machine, and then click Properties.
- On the Generation tab, click to select the Index files with unknown extensions check box, and then click OK.
- Close the Indexing Service console.
You don't have to log in again for the changes to take effect. And that's it - Happy Hunting!