Win XP - can it search inside binary files?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by John S., Apr 30, 2004.

  1. John S.

    John S. Guest

    Tried to use Win XP's search function to reveal the location of
    the Inbox file (Outlook Express) by looking for a file containing
    some text known to be in the subject line of a received email.

    I'm not asking about the name and location of the Inbox.dbx file
    because I found it anyway, but I'm wondering why Win XP search
    function didn't locate the file. It appears to be that Win XP
    search won't look inside binary files to check for text the user
    is looking for.

    Earlier versions of Windows will do this (ie Win 95, 98, ME).

    I double-checked by putting a small .jpeg file on a floppy disk,
    opened it with an editor and looked for a string of text, placed
    that text into a small text file and saved that on the same
    floppy disk.

    Then I tried using the file finder (search) facilities on all the
    versions of Windows mentioned above to look for a file in A:
    containing the text string. All successfully reported both files
    as containing the target text, except Win XP (which found only
    the text file).

    I've searched for any option in the search dialogue but can't
    find any obvious switch which would allow Win XP to overcome this
    apparent limitation.

    To my mind it is a significant crippling of XP's search function
    which makes it far less useful than those supplied with earlier
    versions of Windows.

    Is there something obvious I'm missing?

    PS - this has nothing to do with the folder options and view
    settings to display hidden files and system files etc in Windows
    Explorer. Tried playing with those settings, and in any case
    wouldn't expect them to apply to a .jpeg file on a floppy disk.

    Cheers, John S
    John S., Apr 30, 2004
    #1
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  2. John S.

    Chris Hope Guest

    John S. wrote:

    > Tried to use Win XP's search function to reveal the location of
    > the Inbox file (Outlook Express) by looking for a file containing
    > some text known to be in the subject line of a received email.
    >
    > I'm not asking about the name and location of the Inbox.dbx file
    > because I found it anyway, but I'm wondering why Win XP search
    > function didn't locate the file. It appears to be that Win XP
    > search won't look inside binary files to check for text the user
    > is looking for.
    >
    > Earlier versions of Windows will do this (ie Win 95, 98, ME).


    [snip]

    From my experience, the search function in Win XP is pretty broken even when
    searching plain text files. There have been many times when I have tried to
    find text in a file and the search function didn't find it, even though I
    *know* the text is in those files. I once even copied text out of one of
    the files and pasted it into the search box and it still didn't find it. (I
    ended up writing my own search script to check files in a particular
    directory as I found it so frustrating).

    Anyone else have a similar experience?
    Chris Hope, Apr 30, 2004
    #2
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  3. John S.

    Max Burke Guest

    John S. scribbled:

    > Tried to use Win XP's search function to reveal the location of
    > the Inbox file (Outlook Express) by looking for a file containing
    > some text known to be in the subject line of a received email.


    > I'm not asking about the name and location of the Inbox.dbx file
    > because I found it anyway, but I'm wondering why Win XP search
    > function didn't locate the file. It appears to be that Win XP
    > search won't look inside binary files to check for text the user
    > is looking for.



    snip.

    Did you try the search option in OE itself?

    It searchs all messages in the selected OE folder, or newsgroup .dbx
    file....

    I agree with you about the explorer search option though it's slow, and
    pretty near usless.....

    As to locating OE's message/file store, the easiest way to find it is in OE
    itself.

    Tools
    Options
    Maintenance
    Store Folder button

    --
    mlvburke@#%&*.net.nz
    Replace the obvious with paradise to email me.
    See Found Images at:
    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/~mlvburke/
    Max Burke, Apr 30, 2004
    #3
  4. On Fri, 30 Apr 2004 22:10:14 +1200, "Max Burke" <mlvburke@%$%#@.nz> wrote:

    >John S. scribbled:
    >
    >> Tried to use Win XP's search function to reveal the location of
    >> the Inbox file (Outlook Express) by looking for a file containing
    >> some text known to be in the subject line of a received email.

    >
    >> I'm not asking about the name and location of the Inbox.dbx file
    >> because I found it anyway, but I'm wondering why Win XP search
    >> function didn't locate the file. It appears to be that Win XP
    >> search won't look inside binary files to check for text the user
    >> is looking for.

    >
    >
    >snip.
    >
    >Did you try the search option in OE itself?
    >
    >It searchs all messages in the selected OE folder, or newsgroup .dbx
    >file....
    >
    >I agree with you about the explorer search option though it's slow, and
    >pretty near usless.....
    >
    >As to locating OE's message/file store, the easiest way to find it is in OE
    >itself.
    >
    >Tools
    >Options
    >Maintenance
    >Store Folder button




    Get hold of PowerDesk 5 has a very good search utile, plus some other very
    good bits, its refereed as the stuff that MS left out..
    The GHOST of WOGER., Apr 30, 2004
    #4
  5. John S.

    Wyn Guest

    Max Burke wrote:
    > John S. scribbled:
    >
    >> Tried to use Win XP's search function to reveal the location of
    >> the Inbox file (Outlook Express) by looking for a file containing
    >> some text known to be in the subject line of a received email.

    >
    >> I'm not asking about the name and location of the Inbox.dbx file
    >> because I found it anyway, but I'm wondering why Win XP search
    >> function didn't locate the file. It appears to be that Win XP
    >> search won't look inside binary files to check for text the user
    >> is looking for.

    >
    >
    > snip.
    >
    > Did you try the search option in OE itself?
    >
    > It searchs all messages in the selected OE folder, or newsgroup .dbx
    > file....
    >
    > I agree with you about the explorer search option though it's slow,
    > and pretty near usless.....
    >
    > As to locating OE's message/file store, the easiest way to find it is
    > in OE itself.
    >
    > Tools
    > Options
    > Maintenance
    > Store Folder button


    Even easier is to switch the Store Folder to a more accessible location.

    Mine's just on the C: drive.
    Wyn, May 1, 2004
    #5
  6. John S.

    steve Guest

    John S. wrote:

    > To my mind it is a significant crippling of XP's search function
    > which makes it far less useful than those supplied with earlier
    > versions of Windows.
    >
    > Is there something obvious I'm missing?


    "grep -a" searches for text in binary files...

    You can download a Windows version of the Unix/Linux command 'grep' from
    here:

    http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/
    steve, May 1, 2004
    #6
  7. John S.

    Howard Guest

    steve wrote:

    >> Is there something obvious I'm missing?

    >
    > "grep -a" searches for text in binary files...
    >
    > You can download a Windows version of the Unix/Linux command 'grep'
    > from here:
    >
    > http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/


    Now thats a link worth having! I've been wanting grep for my windows box
    ever since I 1st installed linux 1 year ago.
    Howard, May 1, 2004
    #7
  8. John S.

    AD. Guest

    On Sat, 01 May 2004 19:36:47 +1200, Howard wrote:

    > steve wrote:
    >
    >>> Is there something obvious I'm missing?

    >>
    >> "grep -a" searches for text in binary files...
    >>
    >> You can download a Windows version of the Unix/Linux command 'grep' from
    >> here:
    >>
    >> http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/

    >
    > Now thats a link worth having! I've been wanting grep for my windows box
    > ever since I 1st installed linux 1 year ago.


    If you want lots of other unix stuff on windows, you could try either
    cygwin or the latest MS Services for Unix which is now a free download.

    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., May 2, 2004
    #8
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