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In Mathematica 10 you could use Composition and the new operator form of Select: Mathematica 10.0 for Linux x86 (64-bit) Copyright 1988-2014 Wolfram Research, Inc. In[1]:= Select[Not@*DirectoryQ]@FileNames["*Preferences*",{".Mathematica"},Infinity] Out[1]= {.Mathematica/ApplicationData/Parallel/Preferences/Preferences.m} In Mathematica 9 this will do, ...


All three of parameters for FileNames can affect the depth at which Mathematica searches for results. It seems like your confusion is a result of interaction among these parameters. This is easily understandable as the documentation for FileNames is not very illustrative. (Indeed my first attempt at answering this question was faulty for the same reason.) ...

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