Windows wildcards are used to search with. As we saw in Folder Options, the name of a file is a two part, the file and its extension. For example file1.txt the first part of the name is file1 the second part is “txt” the period separates the two parts. The “txt” it is also called an exstension, and it can contain alphanumeric characters, basically letters and numbers. Some of these extensions are very suggestive, like the “txt” We call all figure out that this is a text file. So the extension tells the Operating System what type of file it is dealing with. These extensions are created automatically, but they can be created manually by the computer user. So for example if you change the extension from a “txt” into “html” then the Operating System believes that the particular file is an “html”. An html file is the file which you mostly encounter on the World Wide Web, the Internet. These types of web pages are opened by Internet Browsers like Internet Explorer®, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.
So if you pull a Tom and Jerry plus the mouse hunting racket, and you rename the “txt” file into an “html” just like Jerry renames the Mouse hunting racket into a Cat hunting racket. You obtain similar results. The racket will hunt for cats, and your file will be opened by the internet browser, instead of Notepad. Well that works only in the cartoon world because we all know that the internal structure of the racket has to be changed to transform it from a mouse racket to a cat racket. The same has to be done with your file, its internal structure has to be changed. The Operating System will see it as an “html” file, and it will associate it with an Internet Browser.
The Windows wildcards mean this “*.*” and they refer to all file names and all extensions or any file name by any file type. If you do a search for a file named file1.* the OS will search for all files named file1 with any extension. If you search for a file named file1.txt then the OS is going to narrow down the search only for that file. You can also search for any file *.txt of the text type.
To search for a file in Windows® 7 just open any folder or location and in the top right corner type in the desired file name followed by an extension of a wild card. Windows wildcards, are not used only in the Windows operating system. These wildcards can be used in programming scripting and also command line.