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Searching the VMware Knowledge Base (9268797)

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This article provides information about searching the VMware Knowledge Base (KB).


This article details:

  1. How to Search
  2. General Search Tips
    1. Filtering after search
    2. Auto-suggest results
  3. Search Operators

How to Search

To search the Knowledge Base:

  1. From the KB home page, enter search terms in the search field.

    Note: If you know the Article ID, you can enter that in the View by Article ID field to the right of the Search field.

  2. Optionally, choose a product from the dropdown menu.

    • Specifying a product name (for example, Fusion) in the search field is the same as choosing the product from the dropdown menu.
    • If a product version is selected, articles tagged with that product and version are returned first. Articles tagged with other versions of that product are still returned.

  3. Click Search.

    By default, all KB articles that contain those search terms (or at least three of the search terms, if more were entered) are displayed in the search results.

  4. To repeat the same search in the product documentation or in the community forums, click the Product Documentation or Communities tab above the search results.

    By default, articles are sorted by relevancy, with the most relevant at the top.

  5. To sort the articles by creation date, document rating, or publication date, select the appropriate option from the Sort By dropdown menu at the top of the search results.

  6. Click an article title in the search results to view that article.

General Search Tips

You can improve the accuracy of your searches by using these tips:

  • Search for a specific error message whenever possible. For example, if you search for vMotion fails, you receive over 200 search results. If you search for the vMotion error Migration to host failed with error timeout (0xbad0020), you receive approximately 35 results. The first article in the search results matches the error exactly and is most likely the article for your issue.

    Note: Do not include identifying details from the error message, like your user name or your virtual machine's name, as those details are not in any articles. Search for the first or last part of the error message that does not include those names.

  • To reduce the number of search results, be as specific as possible with your search terms.

  • If your search does not find any results, use more general terms or fewer words.

  • Documents with titles that match words in your search terms have the highest search ranking (that is, they are returned first). The ranking is influenced directly by the number of search terms that match title words, and more matching terms lead to a higher ranking.

Filtering after search

If your search returns more than 10 results, search filters are presented to the left of the results:

Click an entry from the list to apply that as a filter to your search results. You can continue selecting filters as long as you need to.

The filters are shown in the order added; click a filter to return to that point in the filtering process.


The initial search here was for the term snapshots, and the search is automatically restricted to show only KB articles. The search was next filtered by the Informational category, and then by the VMware ESXi 5.1.x product version. To remove the last filter applied, and return to when the search was only filtered by the category, click Informational. To remove all filters and return to the original search, click the search term snapshots.

Auto-suggest results

As you type search terms, suggestions appear below the search box. These suggestions match what you type, and fall into two categories: articles titles, and article tags (hyphenated phrases).

  • Select an article title from the suggestions to see a list of results that includes that article title and any articles with similar titles.
  • Select an article tag to see all related articles. Tags fall into three categories:

    • Desired action (for example, connect-to-internet)
    • Issue (for example, cannot-see-network-storage)
    • System component causing the issue (for example, operating-system)

    Not all articles are tagged, but the most commonly used articles have tags. For more information, see our blog post, What if we gave you a different search experience?.

Search Operators

Use search operators to broaden or narrow the scope of your search. These options are available:

Note: You cannot combine operators.

  • Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard. For example, searching for install* returns articles that contain any form of that word, including install, installing, installed, installs, and installation.

  • Use quotes (" ") to find exact terms. For example, if you search for vMotion fails, only articles that contain that phrase are returned.

  • Use two minus signs (--) to exclude terms from the search. For example, if you search for vMotion fails --migration, any article that contains the word migration is excluded from the results.

  • Use a plus sign (+) to join search terms. Only articles that contain all search terms are returned. For example, if you search for convert + Windows, only articles with both of these terms are returned. This is different from using quotes in that the order of the two terms does not matter and the terms do not need to be adjacent.

  • Use OR to search for documents that include multiple search terms. For example, if you search for Fusion OR Workstation, the search results include any article that contains either term. If you search for network OR internet connection, the search results include any article that contains either network connection or internet connection.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:

Update History

06/21/2011 - Added information on using OR as a search operator. 03/13/2013 - Added information about Narrow Focus filters.


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