A couple of years ago I wrote about how you can use Notepad++ to find text in files simply by pointing it to a folder. While it’s a handy feature it’s not something a lot of people think of using Notepad++ for, and so a dedicated app for finding text in files might work out better. In that case the free and open source AstroGrep might be just what you need.
AstroGrep is a Windows version of the popular grep utility often found on UNIX machines. One of the key things AstroGrep offers is that instead of being a command line version of grep it wraps the usefulness of the utility up in a GUI so that it’s easier for most users. All you have to do is point it to a folder, specify the file types you want it to search, and enter the text you want it to search for. it will then begin the hunt for you.
AstroGrep is able to use regular expressions as well in case you have something a bit more complex to search for, such as all email addresses referenced in a set of files. The results are displayed in two different panes with the top pane showing a list of matching files, and the bottom pane a list of lines that match your query from within the selected file. It tells you the line number and displays the entire line so that you have a little context to help determine if the line is truly relevant. Plus if you expand out the advanced search options you’ll be able to restrict results by size, date modified, and more.
We have covered a couple of other similar tools in the past including MariuSoft File Searcher and FileSeek, but the powerful yet simplistic nature of AstroGrep gives it a strong advantage over those other apps.
AstroGrep Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)