Microsoft DOS findstr command

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About findstr

About findstr

The findstr command is short for find string and is a command used in MS-DOS to locate files containing a specific string of plain text.

Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS users who dont have support for this command can use the find command.


The findstr.exe command is an external command that is available in the below Microsoft operating systems.

Windows 2000
Windows ME
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7


Searches for strings in files.

FINDSTR [/B] [/E] [/L] [/R] [/S] [/I] [/X] [/V] [/N] [/M] [/O] [/P] [/F:file] [/C:string] [/G:file] [/D:dir list] [/A:color attributes][strings] [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

/B Matches pattern if at the beginning of a line.
/E Matches pattern if at the end of a line.
/L Uses search strings literally.
/R Uses search strings as regular expressions.
/S Searches for matching files in the current directory and all subdirectories.
/I Specifies that the search is not to be case-sensitive.
/X Prints lines that match exactly.
/V Prints only lines that do not contain a match.
/N Prints the line number before each line that matches.
/M Prints only the filename if a file contains a match.
/O Prints character offset before each matching line.
/P Skip files with non-printable characters.
/A:attr Specifies color attribute with two hex digits. See "color /?"
/F:file Reads file list from the specified file(/ stands for console).
/C:string Uses specified string as a literal search string.
/G:file Gets search strings from the specified file(/ stands for console).
/D:dir Search a semicolon delimited list of directories
strings Text to be searched.
Specifies a file or files to search.

Use spaces to separate multiple search strings unless the argument is prefixed with /C. For example, 'FINDSTR "hello there" x.y' searches for "hello" or "there" in file x.y. 'FINDSTR /C:"hello there" x.y' searches for "hello there" in file x.y.

Regular expression quick reference:

. Wildcard: any character
* Repeat: zero or more occurrences of previous character or class
^ Line position: beginning of line
$ Line position: end of line
[class] Character class: any one character in set
[^class] Inverse class: any one character not in set
[x-z] Range: any characters within the specified range
\x Escape: literal use of metacharacter x
\<xyz Word position: beginning of word
xyz\> Word position: end of word


findstr "computer help" myfile.txt

In the above example, any lines containing "computer help" would be printed to the screen.

findstr /s "computer help" *.txt

Similar to the first example, the above example would find any lines containing "computer help" in any txt file in the current directory and all sub directories

findstr /x /c:"computer help" *.txt

Match .txt files that contain an exact match on "computer help"; therefore, files that contain "computer helps" or other non-exact matches are not shown. It is important to realize that using /x must be a line that exactly matches "computer help"; in other words, if anything else is on the same line, it's not an exact match.

findstr /n /i /c:"computer help" *

Search for any file containing "computer help" regardless of its case and display the line where the text is found. Below is an example of how the results in the above example may look.

tables.htm:20: src="" width="96" height="69" alt="Computer Hopes free computer help." border="0"></a></font></td>
v.htm:10: content="computer help, computer, hardware, help, hardware help, support, video card, video card support, video card help, vlb, vesa, local, bus">
wissues.htm:8: <meta name="keywords" content="windows 95 help, dos help, computer help windows issues, boot, ">
xdoseror.htm:20: src="" width="96" height="69" alt="Computer Hopes free computer help." border="0"></a></font></td>

Additional information