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Searching For Files and Folders
The problem with computers is that there are so many files stored on the hard drive that its hard to know where everything is or keep track of all your files. These files and folders tend to end up in various locations making them hard to find when you need them sometimes.
There will come a time when you need to find a file or folder that you forgot the location of or you may be doing some troubleshooting and need to know the location of a system file to replace it or see if it even exists. Knowing how to search for files and folders will come in very handy at some point or another so it's a good idea to know how to do this.
Windows makes it easy to find files and folders that you may have misplaced or forgotten their location. There are a few ways to go about this. We will cover some of them in this tip. The first method is to go to Start and then Search and then pick For Files or Folders. You will see a dialog box like the following image if you are running Windows XP. Windows Vista and 7 instructions are at the bottom of the page.
Generally you would want to use the All files and folders option unless you are searching for a printer or another computer.
Then you will be able to enter in the file or folder name you are searching for as well as where you want Windows to start the search. You can search one folder all the way up to the whole computer and all of your drives.
You can also search by other methods such as file size and the date it was created or modified. If you go to More advanced options you can select other options such as search hidden files and folders and search by case. If you want to search for a certain type of file you can use wildcards to narrow your search. For example if you search for *.doc then Windows will find all files with the .doc extension on the end.
When the search is complete your results will display as shown in the example.
If you view by details you can see information about file size, location and date modified as well as other details you can add to the columns.
Another way to search is to go to My Computer and select the folder you want to search within, right click it and pick Search.
You will be presented with the same search box as before except the starting point for the search will be the folder you right clicked to search within.
For Windows 7 or Vista there will be a search box at the bottom of your start menu when you click on start where you can type in your search term or you can highlight the folder you want to search and then enter your search term in the search box on the top right of the screen.
Related Computer Tips:
Windows File Management
Search Companion Opens When Trying to Access a Drive or Folder
Setting Folder Views for Windows Explorer/My Computer