What are Wildcard Characters?
Wildcard characters are used to narrow down a search for
files or folders in Windows. Before you use either of the
wildcard characters you should search using what part of a name
you do know. see below
What If I . . . ?
If at any time you feel Windows has got you stumped then
repeat the matra "What if I . . . ?" and
then try it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't. Even the
don't work results is a good results only not the one you
desired. When you stop thinking 'What If I . . .' then
Windows has defeated you. Do you really want a bunch of ones and
zeros to better you? I think not.
The Wildcard Characters in
Windows uses two wildcards: The asterisk [*] wildcard takes
the place of any number of characters, from zero characters up
and the question mark [?] wildcard replaces any single
Using The Asterisk [*]
for the Asterisk
The asterisk takes
the place of any number of characters, from zero characters up.
- win* will return any files or folders whose name
starts with win
- *ows will return any files or folders whose name
ends with ows.
- *w* or w will return all files or
folders that have a w anywhere in the name.
- win*.*s returns any files or folders whose name
starts with win and has a file extension that ends
with a s.
- win*.s* [must have the asterisk] returns any files
or folders whose name starts with win and has a file
extension that starts with a s.
- *dows will return all files or folders whose name
ends with dows.
- win*ows will return all files or folders whose
name starts with win and ends with ows.
note: Because of the way file associations work, the
rules for wildcards will work in ways that appear to be counter
to what has just been shown. That's Windows. I suggest you use
the Advanced tab in the Find [Search] utility to search using a specific file extension.
Using The Question Mark
for the Question Mark
The question mark [?] wildcard replaces any single
- h????g will return any files or folders whose name has
h????g anywhere in the name. For instance it could
return both hiking and thanksgiving.
Using Both Wildcards In A Search
You can use both wild characters in a Find, in any order, any
number of times. Just remember the question mark represents one
character and the asterisk represents zero to many
Windows Default Search
Windows defaults to the broadest possible search when you
don't use wildcards at all. For instance:
will find any file or folder that has ndo anywhere in the
file or folder name.
Remember, in Windows you use wildcards to narrow your search.
This is unlike DOS where wildcards are used to widen the search.