How to Search for a File in Windows Vista

By Nancy C. Muir

Use the Search function in Windows Vista to search for and find a lost file — you can search for a file even if you don’t remember its entire name. Windows Vista makes it easy to find lost files, which is a good thing — because nothing is more frustrating than forgetting where you’ve saved a file and not being able to find it.

1Choose Start→Search.

You can find the Start button in the lower, left-hand part of the screen. Or try using the new feature Instant Search, which provides a search box right on the Start menu. Just click Start, and type a search term in the box labeled Start Search. Click either the Search the Internet or See All Results link that appears. The Search window appears, and you can use the procedures in this answer to refine or get results of your search.

2Enter a search term.

In the Search window that appears, you can enter your search term into the Search field.

3Select search options.

If you want to, you can choose from different options in the Search window to narrow your search. You can choose what location to search in. You can click the type of item for which you want to search along the top of the window (for example Picture, Music, Document, or E-mail). And you can click the Search Tools button and choose Search Options to modify search parameters.

4Click the Search button.

The search begins, and results are displayed.

5View your results.

Click any of the column headings (Name, Date Modified, and so on) to sort your results by that item. Click Views to cycle through the options of various size icons or text listings, or click the arrow on this field to choose your preferred view from a list.

6Double-click the file.

After you locate the file you wanted, double clicking the file opens it for you.