I did some testing this morning on my Windows 8 system.
From desktop mode, if I press the Windows Key + F, I am thrown back into Metro, and what I see is shown in Picture #1. I did a general search for all DLL's (*.dll), which came back with nothing.
I then closed out of that, and went back to desktop mode, and did the search from inside Windows Explorer (the search box near the top right of the window). See Picture #2, and the box is indicated by the red arrow. I did not have to make any changes (that I know of) for that box to show up.
If I then do a search for all DLL's (*.dll), the results are shown in Picture #3.
If I click on the Search Tab in the explorer Window, and then advanced files, I see the following options (see picture #4). As another confirmation of this, I went and looked at the Folder Options again, and went to the Search Tab (see Picture #5). I have not made any changes to either screen, so I would assume that is what the defaults look like.
Finally, I did search for "sapi.dll" from Windows Explorer. It took a bit, due to the system files not being indexes, but I did find 8 results (see picture #6).
So, as far as I can tell, the Search Feature inside of Windows Explorer (again, shown in Picture #2) does work as expected to find any file on the hard drive.
I then went to try to figure out what needed to be changed to get similar results to show up when I search using the Windows Key + F option.
My first place to look was the "Indexing Options" from inside of Control Panel. Since I'm not sure exactly where that is, I did a search inside of Control Panel. My results are shown in Picture #7. The option I was looking for is indicated by the red arrow.
Clicking on that I get the Index Options window. Clicking the "Modify" button gives me the "Indexed Locations" window, as shown in Picture #8. As you can see, the only item that is indexed are files/folders inside of the Users directory.
Before making any changes, I did a test again with the Windows Key + F search, and went looking for .jpg files. Sure enough, I found 198 files (Picture #9). I then went to a new explorer window, and went to the User directory, and did a similar search from there. Sure enough, I am able to find 198 JPG files contained in C:\Users (Picture #10). Well, Windows Explorer Search in the pic shows 199, as I am making the screen shots for this post as I go along!
But, the point is, the searches match exactly.
So, I then went back to the Indexing Options, and added a check mark next to the Windows Folder, and then hit the OK button.
The "items indexed" number started to climb. I let it get to just over 20,000 and I went back to the Metro Search (Windows Key + F), and did my *.dll search again. My results are shown in Picture #11.
Since I did not let the index operation complete (its still running), that is why only 639 DLL's were found instead of the over 20,000 that I found using the search inside of Windows Explorer.
However, I feel that this proves what is being searched inside of Metro (Windows Key + F). It will only search indexed locations. This somewhat goes along with what I read in the Windows Help section "Indexing and Search: Frequently asked questions ".
Which file and folder locations are indexed?
Your libraries, email, and offline files are indexed by default. Folders that typically store program and system files arent indexed, because most people dont need to search these very often.
Reading the above tells me that in Microsoft's eyes, "Most" people are only searching for things that would be in your user folder (Pictures, Movies, documents, and so on). The "Typical user" won't be looking for EXE's, DLL's, or other system files. This is probably why the search from inside of Metro only uses the Indexed locations. This would also go along with the fact that when a user presses Windows Key + F, you are put inside of Metro to do the search, and not placed into a search on the desktop (similar to what did happen in Windows 7). Most users (even the ones that are not to tech savvy), know about Windows Key + F to find stuff. Also knowing that Microsoft is trying to "push" Metro on everyone, it would be logical in their eyes (yes..Logical to them, not to the rest of the world) to keep you in Metro when you search, and only return things that a "Typical User" would be looking for....which of course is how the default indexed files are setup: Everything in the Users directory.
To get Metro Search to work just like the Windows Explorer Search, you just have to modify what folders are indexed. To get an exact match, you would then just index your entire hard drive.
Of course, Microsoft does not recommend you doing this
Can I index my entire PC so all searches are fast?
It's not recommended to index all of the files and folders on a PC. If you make the index too large, or if you include system file locations (such as the Program Files folder), your searches will get slower. Its best to add only those folders that you search a lot.
I do not know enough about the Windows Search overhead in doing such a thing. But, if you had a system with enough CPU and RAM, and a large enough hard drive to hold the index information, I don't really see what harm it would cause. Sure, it may take a LONG time to set the index up initially, but at least then both searches (Windows Explorer, and Metro / Windows Key + F) would return the same results and work exactly the same.
Sorry for the length of this post, and all the pictures, but I hope it helps you see the differences between "Explorer Search" and "Metro Search", and how best to set things up to work the way you would expect them to.
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