How to Search for Files from a Certain Date Range in Windows 8 and 10

Key Takeaways

  • Easily search for files within a specific date range in Windows 10 and Windows 11 by typing “modified:FirstDate .. EndDate” in the search box. The date must be written as mm/dd/yyyy, or whichever format your PC uses.
  • Use the File Explorer UI in Windows 10 to search for a range of dates by clicking the Date Modified button and selecting from several predefined criteria.
  • In Windows 11, enter an asterisk (*) as a wildcard character in the search bar to search for everything, then navigate to Search Option > Date Modified to search for files modified in a specific range.


Say you’re searching for a file, and you know it was last modified during a certain period of time. You can limit your searches to date ranges in Windows, but it’s not immediately obvious how to do it in Windows 10 or Windows 11.


How to Search a Date Range with the Keyboard on Windows 10

First of all, if you like using the keyboard, you can easily select a date range by typing it in the search box in any folder, just like in previous versions of Windows. Just use the following syntax:

modified:6/3/2023 .. 9/6/2023

The key is the two periods between the dates, which tells the search engine to use it as a range. You could also use “Datecreated:” or just “date:” instead of “modified:” if you wanted to.

The search box in File Explorer with a

And if you’re a real keyboard junkie, know that Windows uses the Advanced Query Syntax for search commands. This means you can search using Boolean operators, file properties, kinds of files, and a lot more. In fact, when you select options using the File Explorer UI, Windows is really just inputting those text searches for you.

How to Select a Date Range with the User Interface on Windows 10

Speaking of the File Explorer UI, it is still possible to search for a range of dates using just your mouse. This is where those hoops come in. In the File Explorer ribbon, switch to the Search tab and click the Date Modified button. You’ll see a list of predefined options like Today, Last Week, Last Month, and so on. Pick any of them. The text search box changes to reflect your choice and Windows performs the search.

The

Windows 10 once had a small calendar that could be used to refine the search range, but the feature has been removed.

Don’t forget, once you’ve selected your date range, you can also add other parameters like file name or file type to your search. And if you think it’s a search you’re likely to perform again, go ahead and save it by clicking the Save Search button. Next time, your search will be just one click away.

How to Search a Date Range with the Search Bar on Windows 11

The search process on Windows 11 is identical to Windows 10 if you’re using the search bar. Click on the search bar in the top-right corner, then enter:

modified:6/3/2023 .. 9/6/2023 

to search for files that were modified between the third of June and the sixth of September, as an example. The two periods between the dates are critical — they’re what tells Windows 11 you’re looking for a range of dates. Like Windows 10, Windows 11 will also take other arguments besides modified, like datecreated or date if you find those options more useful.

Searching for a range of dates on Windows 11.

How to Select a Date Range with the User Interface on Windows 11

Windows 11 doesn’t show the search options in the File Explorer ribbon until after you interact with the search bar, which forces you to enter something before you can refine the time range you want to search. Once you do that, you’ll notice “Search Options” appear at the top.

If you want to see everything, just enter an asterisk in the search bar to get “Search Options” to appear. Asterisk is the wildcard character and tells Windows: “Find everything.”

To limit the dates you want to search on Windows 11, navigate to Search Option > Date Modified, then select the range you want to search.

The drop-down menu with date-related search options.

You have further refinements you can add, too. You can limit the search to only include certain types of files, filter by size, and other useful criteria.

Windows 11 does not let you save the search parameters to a file like Windows 10 did, but you can pin a specific search to your Quick Access Menu if it is a search you’re likely to need to reference frequently.

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