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FileSeek Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you pass a folder name to fileseek with no switches, FileSeek will treat that the same as -d. To pass a command line parameter value that includes spaces use quotes, like this: -d "C:\My Folder". Here is the complete list of command line parameters:
Set Search Directory: -d [path] (separate multiple paths with the | symbol)
Set Exclude Directory: -xd [path] (separate multiple paths with the | symbol)
Set Include Files Filter: -f [files] (separate multiple file filters with the | symbol)
Set Exclude Files Filter: -xf [files] (separate multiple file filters with the | symbol)
Set Query: -q [query]
RegEx Query: -r [query] (use this instead of -q if you want to do a RegEx search)
Load Search Profile: -l [profile name] (This starts FileSeek with the specific Profile. Any other command to modify search criteria happens after this, so you can load a profile then modify the criteria. This is only available to Pro users.)
Output Results to File: -o [filename] (This option loads FileSeek, starts a search, and outputs a file with the filename the user specified with the search results to the specified folder, then closes FileSeek. You can specify .csv, .html or any other extension for a text file. This is only available to Pro users.)
Execute the Search: -start
Start FileSeek Minimized to Tray: -tray
FileSeek allows you to query file contents using RegEx matching. If you'd like some more info on RegEx metacharacters, operators, and quantifiers, please see the C# Regular Expressions Cheat Sheet.
If you'd like to test out your regex strings before running your search in FileSeek, the following site has an excellent RegEx tester: Regular Expressions 101.
Starting with FileSeek 3.0, we've added a bunch of useful options to the silent installer. Please click one of the links below to view the details for that installer type.
Important Note:
When deploying the MSI Installer via Group Policy Software Installation, you absolutely must use the included MST (transform) file on the Modifications tab, otherwise the installation will never complete.
Older versions of the DLL required for searching within Microsoft Office documents have an issue where Excel cells formatted as numbers cannot be found. This issue can be resolved by installing the hotfix for Microsoft KB915800.
The following is a list of third-party File Handlers (iFilters) known to work in FileSeek. If you've successfully installed and used a third-party File Handler that isn't on this list, feel free to send the info to us and we'll add it to the list.
If you've got files with unknown file extensions, but know that they can be searched using existing File Handlers, you can do the following to allow FileSeek to search them. In this example, we'll use the ZIP File Handler to search MAFF files. NOTE: You should only perform the following steps if you're comfortable working with the Windows registry. Always make a backup first!
  • Open regedit, navigate to, and select HKLM\Software\Classes\.zip\PersistentHandler
  • Export that key to a .reg file (File > Export)
  • Open the .reg file in Notepad and change all instances of .zip to .maff, then save the file and close it
  • Double-click the .reg file and click Yes when prompted to import it
  • Restart FileSeek
For some unicode text files, the Windows file handler for .txt files (query.dll) doesn't guess the correct encoding. To work around this issue, you can disable the .txt file handler by following these steps:
  • On the Settings > File Handlers tab, disable the .txt handler
  • On the Advanced tab, enable "Process contents using file handlers"
  • Restart FileSeek
  • Try your search again
FileSeek uses the same installer for both the Free and the Pro version. If you don't enter a license key during the installation, you'll get an automatic 30-day trial of the Pro features.
After the 30-day trial is up, FileSeek will automatically revert to the Free version. If you'd prefer to revert FileSeek to the Free version before the end of the trial, please follow these steps:
  • Open the FileSeek Settings window
  • Click the License Key tab
  • Click the "Change to Free Version"
  • Click Apply
After performing the steps above, FileSeek will revert to the Free version, with the Pro features disabled. After reverting to the Free version, you'll no longer receive message box prompts to upgrade to the Pro version.
A FileSeek Pro license key can certainly be transferred to a different computer! The license key can be installed on a different computer if you have done any of the following on the old computer first:
  • Cleared the license key from the FileSeek Settings > License Key tab and applied the settings (reverts FileSeek to the Free version)
  • Completely uninstalled FileSeek
  • Wiped or scrap the old computer
Basically, as long as DisplayFusion is no longer in use on the old computer, you're good to use your existing key on a new computer.
Simple Searching
A string without quotes, brackets, or mustaches ({ and }) will be treated as a "Match Any Word" search if multiple words are specified. To search for an exact string, you can wrap the string in quotes and use the equality operator (see below).
Note: If you'd like to search for text that contains invalid characters (such as brackets or special characters), you'll need to wrap the string in quotes. For example, if you'd like to find part of a function in your source code files, enter the following (including the quotes) in the Query box:
Advanced Searching
You can use the +, OR and - operators to create more advanced search queries. Operators are not case-sensitive, but capitalizing them can improve the readability of your search query.
Operator: +
The + operator will only match if the text contains both of the query terms. Here are some examples:
Match anything that has both cats and dogs:
cats +dogs
Match anything that has all 4 animals (cats, dogs, horses, cows):
cats +dogs +horses +cows
Operator: OR
The OR operator is represented as a space between string matches. It will match anything that has at least one of your query terms:
Match anything that has either cats or dogs:
cats dogs
Match anything that has any of the 4 animals:
cats dogs horses cows
Operator: -
Using the - operator will match anything that doesn't have the query term in it. Here are some examples:
Match anything without the word dogs:
Match anything that doesn't contain dogs or cats:
-(dogs cats)
-dogs -cats
Using Multiple Operators
You can use multiple operators together, to form more complex queries. Here are some examples:
Match anything that doesn't contain cats, but does contain dogs, or contains fish:
-cats +dogs OR fish
((-cats) +dogs) OR fish
Operator Precedence
When more than one operator is used in a query, - is processed first, then +, then OR. To change the precedence of operators, use brackets to separate different statements in your query, much like how you would in an arithmetic expression. Brackets may also improve the readability of your queries, and do not affect performance. Here are some examples:
In this example, dogs and birds will be evaluated first because + has a higher precedence than OR:
cats dogs +birds
To change the meaning of the example above, use brackets:
(cats dogs) +birds
The example below has the same meaning as the first example, but is much easier to understand:
(dogs +birds) cats
You can use the - operator to invert the meaning of a bracketed query. The query below will search for all text that doesn't contain dogs, or doesn't contain cats:
-(dogs +cats)
The query below will search for either cats or dogs, but not both:
(dogs cats) -(dogs +cats)
You can search for exact phrase matches, even ones that contain operators, by using quotes. Here is an example:
This example will search for the exact phrase "dogs +cars are great", the + operator is ignored because it is in quotes:
"dogs +cars are great"
Escaping Quotes
To search for quotes within text, escape the character with a backslash (as shown below) to tell the query that you are searching for quotes, and not searching for a phrase.
The example below will search for "dogs" (with the quotes) in the search text:
Match Count Operator
To specify the number of times a phrase should be matched, use the match count operator. The amount can be any positive whole number, including zero.
The example below will match the phrase dogs if it is found exactly 3 times:
Equality Modifier
To match text exactly, you can use the equality modifier on a search term.
The example below will match the phrase "dogs", but will not match things like "dogs and cats":
Word Boundary Modifier
To look for specific words in text, you can use the word boundary modifier.
The example below will match the phrases "dogs" or "dogs and cats", but will not match things like "hotdogs":
You can still use other operators with the word boundary and equality modifiers, and you can also wrap terms in quotes to include spaces and other special characters
The example below will match any text that is not exactly equal to "cats and dogs":
-=="cats and dogs"
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