Short Walks - Whatever happened to WinGrep?

September 16, 2017

Unix users will know the joy of being able to use grep to simply find text somewhere in a file in a directory, or its sub-directories. In Windows, we used to have a tool called WinGrep; however, I tried to navigate there today, and it had been taken down.

There were problems with WinGrep - it was slow, and cumbersome; but it did do what it said on the tin. Now that it’s gone, what’s to replace it?

Fortunately, when I had a look around, I found a nice little tool in powershell called findstr. You can use it like so:

 findstr /spinm /c:"mystring"

To find out what /spinm does, type:

findstr /?

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] [/OFF[LINE]] 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. /OFF[LINE] Do not skip files with offline attribute set. /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 for. [drive:][path]filename 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-y] Range: any characters within the specified range \x Escape: literal use of metacharacter x \ Word position: end of word

Or follow the link at the bottom.


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A blog about one man's journey through code… and some pictures of the Peak District

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