How To Filter By File Name In Windows Explorer - gHacks Tech News

How To Filter By File Name In Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is the basic file browser and manager for the Windows operating system. It has quite a few usability problems which sparked the creation of quite a few third-party Windows Explorer replacements and add-ons.

One problem that is encountered by users is the inability to filter by file name.

Imagine downloading dozens of songs from several music albums that are all placed in one directory. Some users might want to create folders for each album for manageability reason while others may be fine having them all lumped together in a single folder.

If you want to sort songs manually into album folders, it may take a long time in Windows Explorer if the sorting is not listing all songs of an album next to each other, for instance if songs all begin with a track number. This makes it much harder to copy the files to their directories in Windows Explorer.

Note: Newer versions of Windows Explorer may display tag information, e.g. album name or artist. But that is only helpful if those exist for all files.

windows explorer

The Windows Explorer plugin Stexbar extends the functionality of Windows Explorer. One of the new features that is added by the extension is the ability to filter by file name.

The software program adds a new toolbar to Windows Explorer. It might be necessary to restart the computer or the explorer.exe process before the toolbar can be selected under View > Toolbars. It can then be moved around in the toolbars to customize the look and feel of it.

The form at the end of the toolbar can be used to filter by file name. Pressing enter after entering characters in the form will display only files and folders that are matching the phrase that has been entered by the user.

The extension comes with additional features that could be interesting to some users like the option to copy folder or file names and the system path, open a console window or to create custom commands.

The most recent version adds a new tab to the properties dialog. Timestamps provides you with options to modify date and time values of the selected file or folder.

software image
Author Rating
no rating based on 0 votes
Software Name
Operating System
Landing Page

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

Previous Post: «
Next Post: »


  1. Alessandro said on September 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    hi! but does not search in subfolders.
    You must open the subfolder

  2. Q said on September 9, 2009 at 2:33 am

    This article is inaccurate.

    Windows Explorer does have the ability to filter file names. It is done On Windows 2000/XP, in a folder, the F3 key will enable search for the current directory. From there a search may be performed by name, which effectively filters by name.

    On Windows XP, the search assistant should be first disabled or removed to gain access to Windows Search.

  3. elark said on September 9, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Nice find!!! This is possible with QTTabBar also; but with the advantage that it filters-as-you-type. Is faster, and also has the ability to add tabs to explorer. Been using it for years, works flawlessly, and you can change ths skin. Wonderful app.

  4. nico_nyc said on April 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Q – Unfortunately while you can search by file name using F3 in XP and above, it is not very powerful or customizable, and is definitely not the same as a filter.

    For instance, for whatever reason I find myself with a directory of hundreds of files, many of which have the string ” — ” (space, dash, dash, space) as part of the file name. I also have many with the string ” – ” (space, dash, space) as part of the file name.

    I would like to find just the files with the single dash in the filename.

    Using the built-in tools in Windows Explorer I do not believe this is possible.

    I am hoping that one of the other tools mentioned in this article and comments might have this functionality.


  5. Arseny said on October 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I have installed the Stexbar but I can’t see the toolbar in Windows Explorer. I have restarted my computer and I have checked the Stexbar in toolbars menu but I cannot see any new toolbars. My system is Win XP SP1.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.

Be polite: we do not allow comments that threaten or harass, or are personal attacks. Please leave politics and religion out of discussions!