How to use operators in Windows 10 Search

In this post, I have discussed how you can use operators to use the integrated search in windows. It works in Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows as well.  The search is integrated into the core of the Windows operating system. I have given examples of Folder search, size search, Date search. There can be many more options, just keep trying.

How to use operators in Windows 10 Search

If you have ever noticed, a search tab appears in the File Explorer every time you search for Windows. It offers some interesting ways to search, which you can quickly type and execute once you remember it.

As an example, if you type Size:>600MB, it will search through the computer of files which have Size more than that. Then add another search pattern, lets a name, and it will filter files with that name only.

How to use operators in Windows 10 Search

The search tab offers the following:

  • Location to search
  • Date
  • Kind, Size, and other properties

Searching with Size

You can combine multiple operators, along with the file name you plan to search. So if you are using the file size is in between 600 to 900, then use the following pattern:

size:>600 MB <900 MB A31

Combine operators in search hack

Searching with Date

Type date:<dd-mm-yyyy>, and you can find all files which had been modified or created on that day. If you remember taking a picture on a particular day, you can easily search it.

date search modified time

To find files between date, you can try the same method we did for file size.

Searching within Folder

To find only within a single folder, you can use folder:<foldername> <search term>

folder search windows

Windows Search is incredibly powerful if you have the files indexed, and you know how to use these operators. While the search tab doesn’t reveal much except for single parameters, you can always combine different types of parameters to refine the search results.

Related Read: How to save frequent Windows Search in Windows


  1. This type of free form search also works in Windows XP with Windows Desktop Search installed, although the syntax is slightly different:

    size:> 2000 kb < 3000 kb
    kind:folder system32

  2. Years ago, the only way you could search with a search engine effectively was to use their special “language” of characters that would taylor your search parameters, like the ones you demonstrating for a search of the vista system.

    Do web search engines still do this? Is there still a way to find this out for say Google?

  3. I truly hate this search approach, well at least it would be better if the user could decide the way a search should be performed (vista style or XP style).
    Why I hate it? because when I was looking for something that I couldn’t reckon the name I would just type *.whatever and bahm! I got results, and sometimes I would use it with the file size attribute and badabang I got what I was looking for.

    Now, after reading a lot about “how to search in vista” I get misleading results, looking for files I get folders in the mix (and I see the same folder listed 3 times each), some known files are completely missed… 100% my fault most likely but I can’t spent time studying a new system just so I can make a simple search.

    I understand the power of the new search but often I don’t need it, just the simple xp search worked for me.

  4. Try to find a string in a bunch of files. I am looking at a unique string in a text file and trying to get WDS to find it – impossible.

    I cannot believe I will have to develop a Powershell script to get this basic functionality that existed since Win 2000.


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