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Windows 7 Advanced Search

written by: unsel•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 5/23/2011

This article describes how to search for files on a Windows 7- based computer using advanced search options.

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    Windows 7 Advanced Search Options

    Whenever you’re searching for a document, or any other file on your PC, you simple type in the name of the file in the Search field, and usually that works. But what if you need to find something that is hidden somewhere deeply within your folders? There is no need to sweat. The best option for you is to make full use of the various search filters provided with Windows 7.

    In the Windows Explorer window, you will observe that by clicking inside the search field, the “Add a Search Filter” option appears in a drop-down menu. You will see a number of filters listed according to the drive or folder that is currently displayed on the Explorer window. The most common filters are:

    Date Modified: This allows you to search files based on when you modified them last

    Date Taken: If you’re searching for a picture file, this option displays results according to the date you snapped the photos.

    Date Created: Search for photos (say), according to the date you saved them on your PC. A little calendar appears where you can conveniently select the date. If you don’t remember the precise date, simply choose one of the following options: A Long Time Ago, Earlier This Year etcetera.

    Size: You can also search by the file size: Simply specify in kilobytes (kb) or megabytes (mb), the size of the file.

    Kind: This lets you search for a file by specifying its type (say, picture, document, folder, game, movie, music etc.).

    Type: This filter allows you to search for a file by specifying its extension (say, .jpg, .doc, .pdf, .rtf etc.).

    Name: You can search for file by its name using this option. If you don’t remember the full name, it will accept a part of the name and search the file for you. Adding the asterisk (*) with the file name uses a wildcard for a string of numbers or letters, whereas adding the question mark (?) uses a single character wildcard. You can use asterisk or question mark in the beginning or end of your search term.

    Length: This allows you to search for a file by its length. If you don’t know the precise length (and chances are that you won’t), Windows 7 gives you the option to select a length from a drop-down menu.

    Tags: If you remember the tags you put against your file, then this is the search filter you need. Simply type in the tag(s) and the file will be dug out.

    Authors: You can enter the file author name if you know it, or select a name from a drop-down menu, to search a file.

    Just remember, if you are using more than one filter, the search function will display results that will match all of the search criteria.

     

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    Windows 7 Indexing

    By default, the Windows 7 Search indexer catalogs the common disk locations where your fileindexing options Windows 7  folders, email folder, Windows folder and all the libraries are located. If you choose to, you can also index a location manually. If you usually search for files in a certain folder, adding that location to the index if it is not already indexed by the indexer will speed up the search and the results will be returned to you faster than before.

    To get started, open the Windows 7 Start menu. Type "indexing options" into the Start Search box and click on the "indexing options" icon that appears at the top of the menu. This will bring up the indexing options window. At the top, you will see the total number of locations that have already been indexed. Under “Included locations,” you will see the locations that have been added for indexing.

    To add a new location for indexing, click the Modify button, any external drive or a network drive will show up in a new window. You can select a drive or expand it to select particular folders that you'd like to index. Once done, click on the OK button. Depending on how many files are in the locations, it could take a little while for the indexer to index everything.

    One more thing you can do to further speed up the search is to move the search index to another partition or disk. If you have a spare disk or a partition where the operating system is not running on, it will be a good idea to move the index so that it performs faster.

    The search features in Windows 7 are greatly improved and let you customize many search options for better and faster experience. Happy searching!