Finding files on a computer with Windows XP, 7, 8, 10

Terabytes of information accumulate on users' computers, among which finding the files you need at the moment is not always easy. In the arsenal of the operating system has built-in search tools, using which you can find objects that match in whole or in part with the query. Windows tools allow you to search by various methods, which greatly expands the possibilities if the user has inaccurate information about the item you are looking for. Consider the ways in which you can search for files in Windows 7, 8, or 10.

Rules for finding files on a computer with Windows.

Using the Start Button

In Windows 7 already, as it was in XP, it’s not necessary to search with dogs or other helpers, but this does not mean that the option has completely disappeared from the functional. Finding data of any format on the device is very simple using the search line in the Start menu. In the corresponding field, it is enough to enter the name or part of the name of the object to be searched for - the results will not take long, starting to appear after entering the initial characters. The search process will be performed among applications, settings, files and other categories. At the same time, it is possible to narrow the search in Windows 7 using filters. Among the resulting results, sorted by category, select the desired file.

The Start menu does not always contain all the items found, and if there are many options in the list, but there is no one you need, the bottom will read “Read other results”, clicking on it opens the Explorer, where all items will be shown on request. In addition to the standard search on the Seven, a search by content is also available, which is useful to apply when you don’t remember the names of the object you are looking for. If the option is configured, the output will also contain elements containing the text entered at the request.

The tenth version of the windows offers more opportunities. Here an immodest search box is available directly on the taskbar (if you hide it and want to return it, right-click on the taskbar, bring up the menu, select “Search” and check the option to show this field with a bird), but you can also perform the task from the Start button. To do this, select “Search” in the menu called by LKM or select “Find” from the list available when you press RMB - a line similar to that in the Seven will be available.

Due to the absence of the Start button in Windows 8, the file search is performed differently. Here, the search for parameters in the control panel is opened with the Win + W hotkeys, the search for applications is Win + Q, and the search for files is Win + F. You can start searching by clicking on the magnifying glass icon from the start screen or in the pop-up sidebar on the right side, as well as from the context menu of the Windows button (“Find” option).

Using a special search interface

The search is carried out in the system in various ways, one of them involves the launch of a special search tool. This option is not popular, but the opportunity to the Seven is still present. Consider how to find the file on a computer with Windows 7, using the search interface:

  • The tool opens with the key combination Win + F.
  • In the appeared window in the search line we drive in a query. As in the previous case, performing a search for objects on the device, the system produces results.

The method is a bit primitive, so more often users perform a task through Start or Explorer. In addition, on the computer, you can use additional tools to search for, for example, Total Commander.

Through the conductor

The standard system tool allows you to quickly access files and folders stored on your computer. The appearance and functionality of Windows Explorer differs in different OS versions, but the interface remains simple and straightforward. If you do not remember the location of the desired file, then you can easily find it in Windows XP, and in 7, 8, 10 using the search string on the top Explorer panel by part of the name or the full name of the item. The evolution of the data tool on the computer had no effect on the location of the search option. At the same time in XP, when you are looking directly from an open program, you need to click the button with a magnifying glass on the Explorer toolbar, after which a panel with process controls - an assistant will appear in the side section. Here you can set the criteria by which the search work will be performed.

If you have an idea of ​​the directory in which the desired object is located, you can go directly to it, otherwise look on the disk (or on all disks). For example, in Windows 7, select "My Computer" ("This Computer" for the Top Ten) and search from the explorer search field, then the system finds data on all hard drives. In Windows 10, locate the file by part or full name also from the line at the top right, selecting the search area (directory, drive, or the whole PC). If among the options found on your computer, according to your search, there were not too many required objects or objects, it is better to follow the procedure, specifying the necessary criteria for the search.

Quick search by file type

Conditions for the search process can be set using information known about the object. So, if it was not possible to recall either a part of the name, or even less, the full name of the element, then there is an opportunity to find the necessary file by its type, because you know exactly what you are looking for. On the top toolbar, in addition to the search field, there is a “Search” button, where you can specify the type, size, and other properties. The same search option by file extension is also available when applying the filter in the search line of the Start menu. Each user knows that objects of different formats use different extensions, with their help you can also find the element that we need. This means that the criteria should specify the extension used by the file:

  • Documents. If you are looking for Word files, enter the query “* .doc” (for office 2003 package) or “* .docx” (for office 2007-2010). An asterisk means any sequence of any characters. Exel documents use the "* .xls" and "* .xlsx" extensions, respectively. For text documents from Notepad, the extension "* .txt" is used.
  • Pictures and photos. They may have different formats, so if the format is unknown for sure, you will have to apply the most common ones ("* .jpg", "* .jpeg", "* .bmp", "* .gif", etc.) to the search.
  • Video files. Popular video formats use the extensions "* .avi", "* .mpeg", "* .mp4", "* .3gp", "* .mov", "* .flv", "* .wmv", etc.
  • Audio files. Audio formats also have various extensions, for example, "* .mp3", "* .mp4", "* .aac", etc.

If you went through different types of files, but did not find the desired item on your computer, try setting other criteria. In Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, you can set several parameters, search by location, type, size, time range, as well as other characteristics (for example, tags, folder path, etc.).

Content search

If you want Explorer to search for objects not only by name, format, size and other properties, but also by content, which makes the search procedure even more thorough, the option will require customization. In Windows 7, follow these steps:

  • Click "Arrange" at the top of the toolbar.
  • Here you should select from the list that appears the menu "Folder and search options".
  • On the “Search” tab, check the box next to “Always search by file name and content”.
  • We press the button "Apply".

After these manipulations, the Explorer searches for words for the query you specified and inside documents, and the process will become longer. If it is no longer necessary to use the option, it is advisable to turn it off, the tool will find the data soon. To check the contents of elements, in Windows 10, you can enable indexing options:

  • Go to the control panel.
  • Open from the "Indexing Options" list.
  • Click "Advanced" and go to the "File Types" tab.
  • Extensions have already been noted, check the box under “Index properties and file contents”, click “OK”.
  • After that, we will see the “Rebuilding Index” window, indicating that the process takes time, agree, and upon completion we close the window.

Setting up a search for the contents of a file in explorer is also simple:

  • From the "File" menu in Explorer, select the function "Change folder and search settings."
  • In the “Search” tab of the window that opens, check the box next to “Always search by file name and content” and apply the settings.

How to use filters to search

In any of the versions of Windows OS, search filters are implemented, they will help you quickly and accurately find the object of interest. If users understood everything in XP, the assistant gave out hints, and the menu was visually designed very conveniently, then the next versions of the operating system look quite different, and the design confuses many users searching for computer files. At the same time, the search capabilities are significantly expanded with each version of the OS, so that the filters have not gone away, and even replenished. If you need to search among any files, then you should not narrow the circle, it is better to get all the objects in the results on request. Otherwise, you can limit the category of elements by applying filtering.

So, in accordance with the information that is available about the object you are looking for, you need to select the appropriate filter. You can increase the accuracy of the results in Windows 7 by entering a query in the drop-down line. Here you need to select a filter and set the required value, for example, specifying the file type. With Windows 10, this is even easier - by clicking on the Search button, in the Refine box, you can choose to search by date, size, type, or other criteria. Filtering is also available when working with the Start menu. When you enter a query, you will be able to choose which filters to apply.

How to save the search terms

If you always look for data on the device and use the same criteria, to save time, you can save a list of conditions. In Windows 7 Explorer, you need to do the following:

  • First, we set the conditions and wait for the results.
  • On the toolbar, click “Save search conditions” and in the new window specify the name for the file and save.
  • Now, when you need to return to the same criteria, the saved set of criteria will be available from the Favorites folder in Explorer.

The same option is also available in the Explorer Tens:

  • After the results are displayed, click the “Search” button on the toolbar.
  • In the “Parameters” block, click on “Save search conditions” (a diskette icon).
  • We press the button "Save".

How to clear the search terms

If you need to find other files or change the criteria, you can erase the information entered in the search field by clicking on the cross at the end of the line. It is possible to clear the log of previous queries in different ways from Windows Explorer or using the registry. Click on the “Search” button and in the “Parameters” block we select “Previous search queries”, click “Clear search log”.

In addition to the standard Windows tools, third-party programs are also used to comfortably search for information on a computer. Popular is a convenient and simple tool Search My Files, which does not require installation. A good and even simpler search tool in Windows 7 is also Effective File Search. The interface of such software solutions is intuitive, the applications also have the ability to customize search criteria.