Search for Files in Windows - dummies

By Dan Gookin

You made and saved a file in Windows. You thought you knew exactly where you saved it. But it isn’t there. If you’ve misplaced a file, Windows can help you find it.

In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, use the Search box on the Start button menu. Type the information you’re looking for. You can type a filename or type some text that you’re looking for inside a file. The results appear right on the Start menu.

Windows XP has a bit more involved form of search. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Choose Search from the Start button menu.

  2. In the Search window, choose a category from the left side of the window.

    For example, to search for a picture file, choose Pictures, Music, or Video. When you’re unsure, choose All Files and Folders.

  3. Fill in the dog’s balloon, coughing up as much detail as you can about the topic you’re searching for.

    The more details you can offer, the more exact the search.

  4. Click the Search button.

    The results are displayed in the window.

You might find a shortcut file rather than the original. Shortcuts may still exist even though an original has been deleted. Therefore, search the Recycle Bin next.