In Mac Finder Search Current Folder First (Set As Default)

Mac Tips For iOS Developers

Do you find it as odd as I do that when you enter text in the search bar (upper right corner of Finder) that the search defaults to “This Mac”:

When what you really want is Finder to search the current folder first:

To make the change, so Finder will search the current folder, from a terminal enter the following:

defaults write FXDefaultSearchScope -string “SCcf”

  1. Doesn’t seem to work on my Mac running Mountain Lion. Even restarted Finder. No joy.

    • Hi Michael, I am running Mountain Lion as well…

      Can you kill Finder with the following and retry:

      killall -KILL Finder

      • Hi, I tried it on Lion (10.7.5) and didn’t work too, but I found that you can change this behaviour just in Finder preferences, under “Advanced” section.

        So in a Finder window, you should go to the top menu and select:
        Finder -> Preferences… -> Advanced -> When performing a search: Search the current folder

    • An easier one:

      Go to Finder Preferences and in “When performing a search:”
      choose “Search the Current Folder”.

      You got it! Hope it helps :)

  2. Same experience here as Michael Long: I’m on Mountain Lion (hear me roar) 10.8.2, iMac late 2009.

    I ran a quick Find and did get the “This Mac” search scope. Executed defaults write FXDefaultSearchScope -string “SCcf” from the terminal, then killall -KILL Finder (I copied these commands from the terminal and pasted them here, please check for misspellings). After the finder returned, did the quick Find again, still “This Mac”.

    So I went to Finder / Preferences / Advanced and set When performing a search to Search the current folder.

    Now the quick Find (correctly) searches the current folder.

    Thanks for the tip, without it I wouldn’t have found the Finder pref.

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