Can't search for tags or links in Windows Explorer if Windows indexing is on

Question: I’m looking for a way to perform a windows explorer search that would distinguish between #made, made and [[made]].
I’m using both Win10 and Win11.

What I’m trying to do

Part of the reason I switched to md files and Obsidian was to future-proof, and to always be able to search/edit/manipulate my files with very basic Windows tools (notepad, windows explorer). Turns out I’m not sure I can rely on windows search.

I just went to my Food folder in windows explorer and searched for #made. Windows search didn’t work. It returned all files that contained “made”, but could not distinguish ‘made’ from the tag ‘#made’, or from the link [[made]] for that matter.

I realize this isn’t an Obisidan problem, but it does affect how I go forward with tags and links if I can’t search for them outside Obsidian.

things I tried

To test, I added a unique tag #pencil and a unique link [[sharpen]] to my Beef Stroganoff file. I tried various searches with “#pencil” and then with [[sharpen]].

After researching and testing, I’ve come up with nothing
content: #pencil
content: ~="#pencil"
content: ~=#pencil

The closest I came to narrowing anything down was `content:=[[sharpen]], which removed files containing “sharpening” and “sharpened” .

If anyone else encounters this issue, I have found the solution:

Windows Indexing must be turned off to get exact matches that involve odd characters like # or [[ or ]].

I’m fairly certain that it is a recently introduced bug in windows (later v10 or 11).

The format for searching with odd characters and getting exact matches is to preface the search with: ~=


~=#pencil returns ONLY #pencil
~=[[pencil]] returns ONLY [[pencil]]

#pencil or [[pencil]] without the ~= return all instances of pencil including pencilcase and #pencil and [[pencil]] and [[pencilcase]]

Just to add, I have a range of desktop search programs, and all those I have tested appear to work as before. File Explorer search works too.
I have indexing switched on atm - some of my search programs use it.

I’m fairly certain my ~=#pencil type searches were working perfectly until my last Windows Update (v10.0 build 22621) on Windows 11 Home

I just spent 2 days trying to figure out why my searches would work in my c:\test folder but not in my C:\Documents\various vault folders. I looked at various issues including the possiblity that redirection was the issue (my stuff is in c:\data but windows redirected that to the Documents folder. None of that research panned out. The only thing that worked, the only way I was able to search for ~=#sometagname or ~=[[someLinkName]] was to stop indexing (or keep indexing for other folders but not the ones in which I needed to search).

Can’t explain why it is still working for you. Different WiN version is all I can think of. But it definitely stopped worked for me until I stopped indexing.

My W10 is fully up to date, but lots of difference in our processes too: I use search programs rather than native Windows features.

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