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XSearch Online Help

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Using Search Panel

The search panel is the most important area in XSearch. You use the search panel to specify the options to search for files. Basically, you must at least specify a folder to search for files in it, you can leave the other settings in their default values, this will let XSearch get all files in the folder you specified.

File names

You can specify what to find in the first input box "All or parts of the file name". It supports wildcard characters and multiple parts, so the following are all valid examples:

You can leave the file name box blank. If you don't specify any file name, it means that you want XSearch to search for all files in the specified folder.

» Logic options:

The logic options work like the Google advanced search, you use one of those options to tell XSearch how to use the specified file name parts. The "All of the parts" is the default logic option, means that the found files must contain all file name parts you have specified.

» Case sensitive:

In Windows system, file names are all case insensitive, but you can enable this option to force XSearch to do case sensitive search.

It's possible to exclude files with the -"string to exclude" format in file names, see Exclude files from searches.


You can specify words in the input box "One or more words in the file", to let XSearch search for files which contain the words you specified here.

Word box works like the file name box, only it doesn't support wildcard. The wildcard characters will be treated as the characters themselves.

» Logic options:

The logic options in word options work in the same way of the file name logic options, only the default one is "Any of the words".

» Case sensitive:

The "Case sensitive" by default is enabled, this can save a lot of time for word searches.

» Hexadecimal:

Once this option is enabled, XSearch threats the inputted words as hexadecimal values. The words you provided must be valid hexadecimal values, otherwise the search won't be performed. Valid hexadecimal values can be started with "0X" or "X". It will still support multiple words in hexadecimal search.

The following are valid hexadecimal value examples:

When hexadecimal is enabled, you can not do case insensitive search or let it search for Unicode or utf-8, because it will try to find the exact values in the files.

» Unicode & UTF8:

With this option enabled, XSearch will try to search for the Unicode and UTF-8 version of the words you specified. Note XSearch will still search for the basic ANSI version of the words, so this means it will search for all of the ANSI, Unicode and UTF-8 version of the words.

Word searches take many more time to perform, XSearch needs to open and read each of the found files, so only perform the word search when it's necessary.


You specify the folders to search for files in the "Search in" box, this is the most important area of XSearch, it won't do any search if you don't specify a valid folder here.

You can input the path to a folder directly in to this box, or you can select a folder from the drop down box. The drop down box has listed all the drives in the system, and the folders you have done search in them in the past (history). You can click the "Browse" button to browse and select a folder.

XSearch supports multiple folders in this box, which means you can do a search for multiple folders. You can specify multiple folders in the box, each folder can be separated by "|". You can click the right side arrow icon of the "Browse" button, and choose "Browse and Append" to select a folder to append it to the existing folder(s) you have specified.

XSearch version 0.1 used ';' to separate multiple folders, it was changed to '|' since version 0.2 to avoid confusion (because folder names can contain ';' too). The ';' can still be used in most cases for compatibility, XSearch is smart enough to understand and make the correct choices.

You can use also the environment-variable strings in folders, e.g.: %temp%.


To use Size options, you must first select a size type: Bytes, KB, MB or GB, by default it's "Don't care" so XSearch won't care about the file size when performs searches.

There are two size areas can be used, so you can combine them with logic AND, or use any one of them, and leave another to be "Don't care".

The arrow icon next to the size type drop box is for quick size selection, you click it and a shortcut menu will pop up, you can select a predefined size range such as "Large (1 - 16 MB)" and XSearch will automatically fill the size options for you.

Date Time

Date time options are similar to the Size options, by default it's "Don't care" so XSearch won't use date time. You must first select which date time you want XSearch to use if you want to use date time options: date modified, date created, or date last visited.

Like the Size options, XSearch provides two date time areas so you can combine them with logic AND, or use just one of them and leave another to be "Don't care".

You can let XSearch search for files by date time, date only or time only. For example if you select "Time" and specify the time to be "12:00 AM", then it will get files those that the time is 12:00 AM, doesn't care what the date is.

There is also a quick selection icon next to the date time type drop box in this area, you can click it to quickly select a date time range such as "this week" etc.

You may have noticed the option Use seconds in time in the quick selection icon, see Use seconds when search by date time for more information.


The advanced area is useful when you want to get only the files with special attributes. All options are selected by default, if you disabled all options in this area, XSearch won't find any file.

» Search normal files / Search read-only files / Search hidden files / Search system files:

These options let XSearch search for the files with the selected attributes.

» Search in sub-folders:

This is a very important option, if you disable it then XSearch won't search files in the sub-folders of the folders you specified. It's not recommended to disable this option unless you know what it means.

» Include folders in result:

You may have already noticed that the XSearch (and most of other search programs) will also list the found sub-folders in the search result. Sometimes it's just useful to only show the found files, so we provide this option in XSearch. If you disabled this option, then XSearch will not include the found sub-folders in the result.


Click this Search button, XSearch will then perform the search with all the options you have specified in the search panel. This Search button will become Cancel during searching, you can click it to cancel the search at any time.

If you click on the arrow icon of this button, it will pop up a menu and give you more options:

» Cancel Search:

Cancel the search, this is same to clicking the button while the search is in progress.

» Search in Result:

It can be used to filter the search result with the new search settings you specified. XSearch lists the result in its main window after it did a search, or loaded a search result file. You then can specify new search settings such as the new file name parts, the new date time options etc., and then choose this to let XSearch get the new result from the existing result, items don't match the new options will be removed from the result.

All options in the search panel, except the "Search in" area, will affect the final result when using "Search in Result" feature. The folder(s) won't be used by "Search in Result".

» Undo Search in Result:

It's possible to undo the previous "Search in Result" operation with this feature. However, XSearch only records one level of search in result history, so if you did multiple "Search in Result" operations, XSearch can only undo one level.

When a "Search in Result" or "Undo Search in Result" operation is in progress, you can click Cancel or Cancel Search to cancel the operation too.

Other Menu Items and Features

Load/save/export search results

Search results can be saved by choosing the menu File - Save Search..., and the saved search result files can be loaded by choosing menu File - Load Search....

You also can export the current search result to a text document by choosing File - Export Search..., the exported file can be loaded by Microsoft Excel or similar programs as a tab delimited text file.

Search result files can be opened by XSearch directly when you double-click on them. To do this, you need to register the file type to the system, see Shell extensions.

Shell operations (copy, rename etc.)

XSearch supports the common file operations on the found items in its result window, such as copy, cut, rename etc., the common hotkeys also are supported.

You also are allowed to drag the selected items to the desktop, any explorer window, or any program that support the drag and drop.

View modes

You can switch the view mode of the result window, such as Details, List, Tiles, Icons and large Icons, under the menu View. Note: not all view modes can be used on some old systems, the Tiles and Large Icons modes may not work under Windows 2000.

Sort & group

You can sort the result by choosing the menu View - Sort By, and group the result by choosing the menu View - Group By.

Sorting can also be done by clicking on the column headers. Clicking on those column headers will also affect the groups if the groups have been enabled for the result.

Sorting and grouping can be done automatically if you setup XSearch to do so, see Options.

Default search

Default Search is the default search settings that the XSearch will load each time it starts. Default search is actually a search result file without the result list. Each time the XSearch starts, it tries to load the default search file.

To create the default search file, setup the search settings on the search panel, then choose menu Tools - Default Search - Save As Default Search. You can save any search as the default search, the found items will not be saved, only the settings will be saved.

XSearch loads the default search at startup, you also can load the default search at any time by using the menu Tools - Default Search - Load Default Search.

The Save Search Settings to... under the same menu can be used to save the search settings to a file. This is actually similar to saving the search result under the File menu, the only different is that it won't save the found items. You can use the search settings files to keep your most used search settings so that you can re-load them quickly, or use them with command line switch /In=[filename].

Shell extensions

XSearch doesn't need to be installed, it won't register itself to the system, so the search result files created by it can not be opened directly when you double-click on them in any Explorer window, because Windows doesn't know what the files are.

You may also want to register XSearch to the context menu of Windows Explorer, so that you can right-click on any drive or folder and choose "XSearch" to search files in it.

These can be done by using the menu Tools - Shell Extensions..., the dialog box itself already explained these features, the only thing we need to explain here is the UAC (User Account Control) of Windows Vista/7.

Because enabling these features needs to register the software to the system, the administrator privileges are needed. With UAC enabled, you are actually a limited user under Windows Vista/7, even your account is in administrator group. Thus, XSearch need to elevate access rights. When it does this, the Windows will ask you to confirm, you must allow it so that it can register itself to the system.

Deregistering also needs the administrator privileges.


Choose menu item Tools - Options... to open the options dialog box.

» Keep last sort and group states

If you have done sorting and/or grouping with the previous result, XSearch will perform the same sorting and grouping after it completed a new search.

» Sort items automatically after finished search

Performs the default sorting operation after finished a search. The default sort is sorting by file name in ascending order. Note if the "Keep last sort and group states" is enabled and performed, this option will be skipped.

» Group items automatically after finished search

Performs the default grouping operation after finished a search. The default group is grouping by modified date time in ascending order. Note if the "Keep last sort and group states" is enabled and performed, this option will be skipped.

» Do not keep folders on top of the list when sort items

Treats the folders as files, so folders will not be kept on the top (or bottom in descending order). Most of the search programs including XSearch will keep the folders on top/bottom of the list when you sort the found items, XSearch provides this option so that you can overwrite that behavior.

» Remove non-existent items from list when load search result

When XSearch loads an existing search result file, it checks each item in the result file, and removes the items that are no longer existed in the system.

» Allow operations (Open etc.) for multiple selected items

If you selected more than one item in the list, the following menu commands will be disabled: Open, Open Containing Folder and HexView. With this option, XSearch will allow you to use those menu commands when multiple items are selected.

» Ask to confirm when cancel search

Pops up a dialog box to ask you if you want to cancel the search.

» Do not obtain information for EXE, DLL, URL, LNK files etc.

Those special files contain additional information, XSearch will automatically obtain the information in addition to the basic information. That information will be shown on the details panel (status bar) if you select a file, or be shown in a tool tip window when you point mouse cursor over a file.

If you enabled this option, XSearch will not obtain that information, it treats those special files as normal files. This can save time and system resources.

» Do not show search progress

Does not show search progress information on the details panel during searching.

» Do not search words if file size larger than

Searching large files for words will take many extra times, XSearch needs to open those files and read each byte of them. If you specify a value other than 0 (zero) here, then all files that are larger than that size (MB) will be skipped when XSearch needs to search words in files.

By default this value is 0, all files will be scanned.

» Do not use "Open With" menu item

"Open With" menu item will show other programs that can be used to open the selected file. Each time you select a file, XSearch reads the system registry database and constructs the menu.

It will affect the speed of the menus, so you can enable this option to turn the "Open With" feature off.

» Do not save search history

Search history such as the inputted strings in the file names box, words box and the folders box, will not be saved if you enabled this option.

Note that the existing search history will NOT be automatically deleted even if you enabled this option. You need to use the menu Tools - Clear Search History... to clear the existing history.

» Font

You click the "Font..." button to change the font of XSearch. The font will be used by most of the user interfaces of XSearch.

Font color will not be used, XSearch always use the system color settings.

Command line switches

You can use XSearch in command scripts with its command line switches. The common command line format of XSearch:

XSearch.exe [Folder] /switch[=value] ...

» [Folder]

Example: XSearch.exe C:\Windows

If you specify a folder in command line, XSearch will automatically use it as the folder in the "Search in" box.

It also can be a search result file, and XSearch will load the result file instead, in this case it is same to the switch /In=filename.

» /In=filename

Example: XSearch.exe /In=D:\MyResult.xsearch

XSearch will load the specified result file when it starts. Normally this is a search settings file created by menu Save search settings to.

» /Out=filename

Example: XSearch.exe /Out=D:\MyResult.xsearch

XSearch will perform the search and save the result to the specified file, and then quit. If you use this switch, XSearch will always quit after finished search.

» /DelayDoNow

XSearch will perform the search immediately after its main window is displayed, does not wait for you to click the "Search" button.

» /Quit

Forces XSearch to quit. We normally do not use this switch, it's for special tasks.

» /HexView[=filename]

Starts the HexView and opens the file specified in filename. If you do not specify a file name to it, then it starts a blank HexView window.

File/folder names must be enclosed by quotation marks if there are spaces in the path, e.g.: "D:\My Folder".

» Use multiple switches to perform tasks

Switches can be combined, for examples:

HexView Tool

XSearch provides a HexView tool to help you view files in hexadecimal. With its buffering technology, HexView can open huge files (2 GB or larger) immediately, there is no size limit.

To view a file in the result list, select a file in the list, then choose menu File - HexView..., or you can right-click on the file, then choose HexView...

HexView can be used to view any file, not only the files in the search result of XSearch. You can choose the menu File - Open... or Open in New Window... to browse for a file and open it.

HexView also can be used directly without the need of launching the XSearch, by using the command line switch /HexView=[FileName]. For more information, see Command line switches.

There is no need to learn how to use this tool, because it works as a read-only editor, you can easily use it as you use other editors.

The Edit - Copy can be used to copy the selected portion to clipboard. The Edit - Copy as Hex can be used to copy the selected portion in hexadecimal to clipboard.

You can use HexView to search for any words in the opened file, with menu item Edit - Find..., the searches in HexView also support ANSI, UTF8, Unicode and Hex, only please note that you can only specify a single word to let it search, the SPACE character will be treated as space character itself.

Jump to... is a useful command, you can use it to jump to the specified offset of the file quickly without using scroll bar.

Tips & Tricks

» Font will be bold for non-default settings

There are options groups such as "File name options", "File Size" etc., they can be expanded and will show additional options when you click them.

If you changed the default settings under an options group, its caption will become bold after you clicked it again to collapse it. Changing the default settings will affect the search results, you can easily know if anything was changed under an option group with this feature.

» Double-click on details panel to start/cancel search

Double-clicking on the icon portion of the details panel (the status bar) is same to clicking the Search button. You double-click on it to start the search, and double-click on it again when the search is in progress to cancel the search.

This is useful if you have expanded some of the options groups on the search panel, the Search button has been invisible and you have to scroll the search panel to the bottom to access the search button.

» Exclude files from searches

It's possible to exclude files with the format -"string to exclude" when you specify the file names. The excluding string must be enclosed by quotation marks and must start with a leading minus sign, it supports wildcard characters and there also can be multiple excluding strings.

For example: *.txt -"abc" -"k*.txt" will exclude all files that the file name contains 'abc' and the first character of the file name is 'k', while searching for all .txt files.

» Use seconds when search by date time

By default, XSearch allows you to specify the time in the format HH:MM when search by date time, which means that it won't care about the seconds in the file time. You can click on the quick selection icon (right after the first drop down box under File Size options group), and choose Use seconds in time.

That option will allow you to use seconds in time, such as "12:00:01 AM" instead of "12:00 AM".

» Limits on Windows x64 editions

In order to work on both 32- and 64-bit systems, XSearch was created as a 32-bit program, because a 32-bit program can work on both 32- and 64-bit system, but a 64-bit program can only work on 64-bit system.

This causes a problem with Windows X64 system and the WOW64 file redirection, some of its features may not work correctly when you search for files in the Windows folder (C:\Windows) under a 64-bit system. It can find the files without problem, but you may not be able to access the files found in the System32 folder.

We didn't create a 64-bit version XSearch because we think that most of you will not need to do searches in the Windows folder. However, if you do want to do that, let us know and we will consider to create a 64-bit version.

» Limit: Renaming may not work correctly for multiple items on XP

XSearch can rename multiple files, if you select more than one item in the result and choose the menu File - Rename. It works by calling the system APIs, there will be no problem if you use this feature under Windows Vista/7, but it may not work correctly under Windows 2000/XP.

» Example: Get all non-ready-only files in a folder

By using XSearch, you can do many advanced searches those that the Windows Search and most other search tools can not do.

For example, if you want to get all the non-ready-only files in a folder, you only need to change the settings under the "Advanced" options group, clear the selection of the option "Search read-only files" (and if you only want it to return the files, clear the option "Include folders in result").


Version 0.23

Version 0.22

Version 0.21


XSearch is a freeware. Your donations are always important to us, donations can help us improve the software, and create new products.

XSearch 0.23 Free

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/2008/7/8



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