How to Search for a File in Windows XP

Have you ever had one of those times when you go to find an important file you recently saved, you open the folder you saved it in, and it’s not there?  You then have a moment of panic wondering whether you actually saved it.  Frantic by this point, you open Window’s Explorer and search every folder to find your lost file.  There is, however, a much quicker method that is, surprisingly, underused.  Windows provides a search facility for just this eventuality.  If you have never used this, then these are the steps you need to take.

1.    Click on Start.
2.    Navigate to Search near the bottom of the right hand side of the menu and open the program.
3.    Now you need to select the type of file you are looking for on the left hand side of the window.  The options are:

I.    Pictures, music or video.  For any graphics, music or movie files.
II.    Documents.  For any text files.
III.    All files and folders to check for any type of file.
IV.    Computers or people, for a particular computer on the Internet or a person in your email address file.

4.    Once you have made your selection, you will need to complete the requisite tick boxes and enter any required information.

I.    With graphics, music or video files you will need to state which of the three options you’re looking for and enter all, or part, of the file name.
II.    With the documents option you will need to select the time period within which you last saved the file, if you can remember, and all or part of the file name.
III.    With the all files option you will need to enter either part of the file name, or a word or phrase within the file, as well as the area you wish to look in.
IV.    With the last option you simply need to choose whether you want computers or people and fill in the details.

5.    After you have completed this information click Search.
6.    Once the search is complete it should bring up the file with a location.  If nothing has been found the program will give you a number of options for refining the search.  If you are certain you have correctly saved the file then follow the prompts to keep searching.
7.    Once the file has been found, double-click on the file in the results window, to open it, and re-save it in your required location.
Searching for missing files is a simple procedure, but many people tend to take the long route without realising there is an easier method.  Follow these instructions and hunting for lost files will no longer seem like finding a needle in a haystack.


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