M-x find-grep-dired will run find . -exec grep -s ARG {} \; -ls

which is the composite command that recursive greps.

Personally, I have the following in my .emacs:

 (defvar grep-and-find-map (make-sparse-keymap))
 (define-key global-map "\C-xf" grep-and-find-map)
 (define-key global-map "\C-xfg" 'find-grep-dired)
 (define-key global-map "\C-xff" 'find-name-dired)
 (define-key global-map "\C-xfl" (lambda (dir pattern) 
        (interactive "DFind-name locate-style (directory): 
                     \nsFind-name locate-style (filename wildcard): ")
        (find-dired dir (concat "-name '*" pattern "*'"))))
 (define-key global-map "\C-xg" 'grep)

See also DiredFindInLisp for ‘M-x find-grep-dired-lisp’.


 From: PietVanOostrum
 Subject: Re: Recursive grep for ntemacs.
 Newsgroups: comp.emacs,
 Date: 30 May 2001 10:41:08 +0200

There is a GNU rgrep that greps through a directory structure. It has a Windows port and I use it all the time from within emacs with an adapted grep function.

findstr on Windows NT

 From: Sunil <>
 Subject: Re: Recursive grep for ntemacs.
 Newsgroups: comp.emacs,
 Date: 29 May 2001 13:09:40 -0400

This is what I use:

 (defun grep2 ()
   "Run a grep using the Windows findstr command."
   (let ((grep-command '("findstr /n /s   *.cpp *.c *.h" . 15)))
     (call-interactively 'grep)))

The standard FINDSTR on NT can do recursive greps….I think this is what MS DevStudio uses anyway….I use it for simple searchs, I don’t know how well it supports real regexp’s, and such…

findstr on Windows NT (cont.)

This is even easier: (setq grep-find-command ‘(“findstr /sn *” . 13)) Then use grep-find as normal. – JeffSeifert

Use glimpse instead

 From: KaiGrossjohann
 Subject: Re: Recursive grep for ntemacs.
 Newsgroups: comp.emacs,
 Date: 29 May 2001 18:49:42 +0200

Maybe it works to use Glimpse? Does that work on NT? Also, I’m not sure about the speed; since I don’t know Codewright, I can’t compare.

Use powershell for recursive searching

MS Windows Powershell can be used to recursively search for a regular expression because I had problems with the UNIX like approach with find, xargs and grep when my directory tree had spaces in the directory or file names. Powershell comes pre-installed since Windows 7. The problem with it is that it assumes a console width of 80 characters and may cause a break in the middle of the word or even worse (because it breaks the hyperlinking in the grep buffer) a break in the file’s path name. With Powershell 3 (comes with Windows 8 and can be installed on Windows 7) this can be fixed with a Width parameter for Out-String:

  powershell -c "dir -Include *.*  -Recurse | Select-String 'end-of-line-pattern$' | Out-String -Width 250"

There is a caveat with Out-String -Width: for its formatting it buffers the input with the effect that you don’t see the matches as they are found while scanning the directory tree, but you see nothing during the search and then suddenly all the matching files in the last 10 milliseconds. And another problem is that the return code is always 0 which affects the color in the modeline.But the final line in the grep buffer itself shows correctly if matches were found or uses the expected colors for highliting the result. – RolfUnger

Just use normal grep

Recent versions of GNU grep have a -r option that does what rgrep did.

See also FindGrepDiredSearchAndReplace.