Why is it that search in windows 8 explorer doesn't work EVERYTIME?

Windows 8 has a search bar just about everywhere needed. However, frustratingly it doesn't always work.


Click in the search bar and start typing and windows show things beginning with the first character then as you continue typing it removes the non-matching files. Works great but not every time.


Sometime I'll do a search and it will find what I want and the next search right after it nothing happens. It's not that the file I'm looking for isn't there, I may look for the exact same file again, it just stops working and you only see the folder in the browse view.


To explain further. After I installed windows 8 I moved my music and eBooks. So now the not so smart iTunes can't find 600 items. As you know you double click, it say can't find this do you want to find it I say yes. I browse to my eBook library and type the name of the book and presto, search feature kicks in and narrows my search till only the file I want is there. I click on it and done.  Next file. This time I browse to the eBook folder start to search and nothing happens. it's like it's stuck. I back space retype, nothing back space again retype and this time it works.


Now, as a techie, I like to figure out when it works and when it doesn't. So I'm trying different things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I even browse to a folder where a file is I'm looking for. I see it right in front of me but I type search and nothing. Just the browse view. Than it works, and than it doesn't again till finally it stopped working altogether.


Not just for iTunes but I've been check this out in the explorer window for months. I've searched the internet and can't find the there but this is real.


Any body seen this or got a clue.




Hi Phil,


Thank you for choosing Windows 8 and thanks for providing us an opportunity to assist you.



Based on the description provided, it looks like you are facing an issue while searching for files using Windows Explorer.



It would be great if you could answer these questions in order to assist you further.



1.      What are the troubleshooting steps that you have tried?

2.       Is the issue confined with any particular files?

3.       Have you made any changes to the computer prior to this issue?




Refer to the steps from the following Microsoft article and check if it helps

Indexing and Search: Frequently asked questions:

Search for files in File Explorer:


Keep us posted on the status of the issue.


If you need any other information about Windows, feel free to post your questions and we will be glad to help.

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2) This problem I noticed with Windows 8 from the start so no there haven't been any changes before to problem began.

3) As I mentioned it is not file specific. I will be in explorers browse view, type 1-5 characters and nothings happens. The browse view does not change, folders do not disappear, files are not eliminated from view. NOTHING HAPPENS!

Honest; absolutely nothing happens on screen and this can happen right after completing a successful search.


1) The only troubleshooting I've done is listed here.


Recently, I thought I figured it out. I found that opening a new window a makes a new search work. Or clicking on the top most folder will make a search work. However not every time.


Here's what I did...


I have over 5000 pictures have the prefix DSC0

So I type DSC02 .  Hundreds of files show up. (They range from DSC02001-DSC02999 minus the pictures I deleted as substandard)


So I type DSC027.  10 files show up.

Next, I back space and change the 7 to 8, the DSC027 files disappear but no DSC028 files appear. The files are there but windows doesn't show them. So I put back DSC027 and now they don't show up. Neither does DSC02, DSC0 nor DSC bring up any results as I backspace.


OK, so I ask myself Why?



So I close the window and open a fresh Window.

I type the DSC02 again but open a new window after adding each number 7, 8, 9 it works each time with a new window but not if I don't open a new window. However I have found that sometimes it doesn't work in a new window either.



I open a New Window

I type D  S  C. This works and all 5000 pictures show up.

I pause a little longer than add the 0. All the files disappear even though they all start with DSC0.



It appears that a pause or concluded search causes windows to carry on the search as if the added characters where a new search string and it than searches only the results that where obtained from the initial search.


So typing DSC may bring 5000 results but pausing and adding a '0' is asking windows to look among the DSC results for a files beginning with '0'.


This may or not be the problem. However, I hope this information helps you think of a solution to this issue.




p.s. I have solve several issues for Microsoft over the past 15 years under a different email and user name. I'd be glad to accept an offer of full or part-time employment from them. I could work form home. You can pass that one for me would you.


Never let the computer beat you.

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Question Info

Last updated March 19, 2020 Views 2,536 Applies to: