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How to Find a File with Windows

Sometimes, despite all good intentions, one forgets in what folder one has placed a file. Fortunately, there are some ways of finding this file. The easiest chore is if you remember something of the file name.


Windows 7 and Vista

There are several ways to search in Windows 7. All Microsoft products have a search bar in the upper right corner of the "open files" screen which can be used the same way that you can use the search bar that you see when you click on the Windows logo in the lower left corner of the screen. Note that Windows will start presenting you with file names as soon as you start typing, winnowing the list as you add more letters.

Click on the Windows Logo in the lower left corner of the screen.

Use on of the below methods.

If you want to search file contents, just type the word. You do not nee to tap the Enter key.

If you know some words in the file name enter (without the quotes)
"name: word(s) in file name"

If you want to search by date enter
"date: 10/24/11" you can also use the > (beyond that date) or < before that date.

If you don't see what you want, click on "See more results"

For more information, see

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Windows XP

  1. Right click on the Start Button.Search Screen
  2. Left click on "Search"
  3. On the screen that appears, drop down the menu next to "Look in." Select the appropriate drive or folder by clicking on it. In most cases the file that you want will be in "My Documents."
  4. Enter the criteria to use for searching. Note you can search by either words or characters in the title of words in the file itself. Searching in the file may take a long time if you have many files. Be sure to spell the criteria correctly.
  5. If you know the information such as "When it was last modified, or its size the search will be faster if you enter this information. To do this:
    1. Click on the radio button after your choice and enter the information.
    2. When you have entered all the criteria, click on "Search."
  6. You will probably want to maximize the screen to see the results. Note that you can change the size of any of the columns by dragging the line between them either way. You can also sort by date by clicking on the date column.
  7. To open the file, click on it!
  8. To refine your search further use the options in the original search window such as when the file was modified, or its size.

Search screen results


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Created October 24, 2011

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