Sunday, July 22, 2007

Searching for files on WinXP

Yes, I know, I know: I work for Redhat, but I'm actually both a Fedora 7 and a WinXP user.(JBossAS needs to be run and tested on many different platforms, not just Linux).

As a software engineer what I hate most is when my computer tries to be smart. I hate that. Computers need to be as dump as possible. They need to be doing exactly what they are told to and do it well. No more, no less.

An example of the computer trying to be smart is the file search facility of WinXP. Right-click on a folder, search, type in your filename pattern and/or a search string to look for inside the files and off you go. Simple, right?

Not so simple until you discover that the search facility won't find the files you expect to find.

Why? Because WinXP (and maybe Vista?) tries to be smart and only search for files that have a known extension (and a corresponding search plug in), in order to enhance the performance of searching and avoid extraneous results. In other words, WinXP makes a wrong assumption about the file types that are of interest to you.

That would probably be OK if that option was enabled consciously by the user, but certainly not OK if this is the default behaviour, different than how Win2k worked and certainly far off from the expected outcome of a 'find . -name "blah"' Unix/Linux type of search.

To get back to the dump (and safe) mode of search, fire off regedit and set the FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions DWORD value to 1 in the following registry key:


No more smart OSes, please!


javapapo said...

Dimitri try a really smart OS...
MacOSX.Have you used Spotlight before?You will understand!

By the way you can enrich your Windowzz capabilities by using Google Desktop- utility.

Dimitris Andreadis said...

The closest thing to a Mac that I've ever used what a NextCube back in 1992 :) But I've actually heard from a few JBossians who moved happily to MaxOSx as a Linux alternative with a Desktop that just works :)

I've also installed Google desktop, basically to play with the calendar, but it's now turned off. I don't like things running in the background slowing down my machine, unless they provide some really essential feature that I can't live without. I don't even run an antivirus, still I have not being infected for the last 10 years or so.

I guess I love simplicity in every possible form :)