Find Files on Your Computer

Edited by Jaheim Martin, Anonymous, Doug Collins, Eng

Are you having problems finding specific files and file types on your computer? Are you looking for a certain file on your computer but you only remember a part of the file name? Do you have trouble remembering the file name of a certain document that you have saved on your PC? Help is on the way. Windows has a powerful search feature that allows you to search files based on file names (or a part of it), file type, words on a documents and many more. All the different ways of searching for files on your computer will be discussed here.

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Searching for files using the search box on the Start Menu in Windows 7

If you are using Windows 7, you can quickly search for files using the start menu located on the lower-left most part of your computer's screen. To find any file using the Start menu, follow these procedures:

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  1. 1
    Click on the Windows icon (Start menu) on the lower-left most part of your phone's screen.
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    • Some applications would still show the task pane so you can quickly click on the Start to quickly access it. Other applications such as games take the whole screen so you either need to minimize them (Ctrl + Tab) or close them to be able to click on the Start menu.
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  2. 2
    On the Start menu, click on the search box located on the lower-most part of the menu.
    Clicking on the search box will show a blinking line indicating that the tab is now available for entering search terms.
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  3. 3
    Type in the search terms for the file that you want to search.
    The search is auto-incremental, meaning as you type, results will show up and gets filtered more specifically the more you type in more text.
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  4. 4
    Windows will now show the top matches for your search term.
    If you still cannot find the file that you are looking for, click on "See more results" to open up a folder that shows the list of matches.
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  5. 5
    On the list of possible matches, double click on a file to open it.
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    • Some files may need third party applications installed in order for you to open and use them.
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  6. 6
    You have successfully learned how to use the Start menu's search box to search for files on your computer.
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  • Depending on the size of your computer's hard drive, the number of files on it and how your files are stored into folders, the time it takes to search will vary.
  • This search method will search for all the files stored in your computer.

Use the search box in a folder, drive or library on Windows 7

If you are sure that the certain file that you are searching for is on a specific folder or library, you can search specifically from the said location. This will make the search more specific and faster since the search will focus on a certain location and not on your entire computer. To do specific location search, follow these procedures:

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  1. 1
    Go to the folder, drive or library where the file that you want to search is stored.
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  2. 2
    At the upper-right part of the folder, library or drive, click on the search box.
    Clicking on the search box will show a blinking line indicating that the tab is now available for entering search terms.
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  3. 3
    Type in the search terms for the file that you want to search.
    The search is auto-incremental, meaning as you type, results will show up and gets filtered more specifically the more you type in more text.
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  4. 4
    Windows will now show the matches on the selected folder, drive or library.
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  5. 5
    On the list of matches, double click on a file to open it.
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    • Some files may need third party applications installed in order for you to open and use them.
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  6. 6
    You have successfully learned how to use the search button on the folder, drive, or library to search for files on your computer.
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Search into other location after searching from a specific location on Windows 7

If you cannot find the file that you are looking for in the chosen location, then you can expand your search to other locations. Unlike to a new search, expanding to other locations will only search for locations that have not been part of the previous search. This, in turn, will return faster searches as locations that have been completed will be skipped. To do that, follow these procedures:

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  1. 1
    After searching in a specific location and you cannot find the file you are looking for, scroll to the bottom of the list of results.
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  2. 2
    Under "Search again in", choose the location that you want to search into.
    You can choose from these following:
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    • Libraries - search for the file on your libraries.
    • Homegroup - search for the file on your homegroup network.
    • Computer - search for the file on your computer.
    • Internet - search for the file on the internet
    • File contents - search for the file contents based on the entered search term.
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  3. 3
    You have just learned how to search into other location on Windows 7.
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Searching tips on Windows 7

You can make more out of your searches by utilizing our useful tips. These additional techniques will help you manage your searches better.

  1. 1
    Add operators to your search.
    Operators are the word "AND", "NOT" and "OR".
    • AND - allows you to search for files that both contain a certain search keyword AND another keyword. Entering "white AND beaches" on the search box will search for all the files that contain the words "white" and "beaches".
    • NOT - allows you to search for files that both contain a certain search keyword but NOT another keyword. Entering "white NOT beaches" on the search box will search for all the files that contain the word "white" but does not contain the word "beaches".
    • OR - allows you to search for files that contain a certain search keyword OR another keyword. Entering "white OR beaches" on the search box will search for all the files that contain the words "white" OR "beaches".
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  2. 2
    Broaden your search results using filters.
    Filters allow you to search files by their properties. Filter options will show once you click on the search box.
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  3. 3
    Use keywords with your search.
    Keywords help you search for items more specifically on your computer. These are the common search keywords:
    • To search for files that begin with a certain search term, use the example search term: System.FileName:~<"key"
      • This will search for the all files whose file names start with "key". The function ~< means "begins with"
    • To search for an exact match, use the example search term: System.FileName:="exact"'
      • This will search for the all files named "exact" . The function = means "exactly matching"
    • To search for files that contain a certain search term, use the example search term: System.FileName:~="example"
      • This will search for the all files that contain the word "example" . The function ~= means "contains"
    • To search for files that is not a certain kind of file, use the example search term: System.Kind:<>video
      • This will search the all file kinds that is not a video file. The function <> means "is not"
    • To search for files that was modified on a specific date, use the example search term: System.ThateModified:05/25/2010
    • To search for files that does not contain a specific search term, use the example search term: System.Author:~!"sunset"
      • This will search for all files whose author does not have "sunset" in their name. The function ~! means "does not contain".
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Categories : Tech

Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Anonymous, Jaheim Martin

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