The FIND command in Windows CMD is used to search for a specific string of text within files or input provided through standard input. It outputs lines that contain the specified string, making it useful for filtering text or verifying the existence of a substring in files. This command is particularly effective for simple text searches in batch scripting and command-line operations.


The basic syntax of the FIND command is:

FIND [options] "string" [drive:][path]filename
  • "string": The text string to search for (note the quotes are required).
  • [drive:][path]filename: Specifies the file or files to search. If no file is specified, FIND reads from the standard input.


  • /V: Displays all lines NOT containing the specified string.
  • /C: Displays only the count of lines containing the string.
  • /N: Displays line numbers with the output lines.
  • /I: Ignores the case of characters when searching for the string.
  • /OFF[LINE]: Do not skip files with offline attribute set.


  1. Basic Search:

    FIND "hello" sample.txt

    Searches for the word “hello” in sample.txt and displays all lines containing this word.

  2. Count Occurrences:

    FIND /C "error" log.txt

    Counts and displays the number of lines that contain the word “error” in log.txt.

  3. Search with Line Numbers:

    FIND /N "user" config.ini

    Displays lines containing “user” along with line numbers in config.ini.

  4. Case-Insensitive Search:

    FIND /I "network" settings.txt

    Searches for “network” in settings.txt without considering case sensitivity.

Common Issues

  • File not found: Ensure the correct path and file name are specified. Use absolute paths for clarity.
  • Case sensitivity: By default, FIND is case-sensitive. Use /I for case-insensitive searches.
  • Handling special characters: Special characters in the search string need careful handling or escaping.


FIND can be combined with other commands for more powerful operations:

  • Combine with DIR:

    DIR /B | FIND "2023"

    Lists files and directories containing “2023” in their names.

  • Piping with other commands:

    TYPE log.txt | FIND "error" | FIND /V "warning"

    This command chain first displays contents of log.txt, filters lines containing “error”, and then excludes lines that contain “warning”.

  • FINDSTR: Offers advanced features for searching strings in text files, including regular expressions.
  • GREP (when using Unix-like tools on Windows): Another powerful text search utility with regular expression support.

For further details, refer to the official Microsoft documentation: FIND command