Hi!  Eric Murcia here with another episode of Tech Tip Tuesday.  Today, we’re going to be talking about an unsung hero in Windows that has been around for quite some time.  I use them all the time.  Not a lot of people know that it’s there or how to really use it.  They may use it on occasion, but don’t know how advanced the functionality really is.  That is called the Windows Search Function.

Basic Windows Search

You’ve maybe used it before.  You’re in here (File Explorer).  You’re looking for a particular file, and so you type [into the Windows Search box] something like “2015”, because I’m looking for files with “2015” in the name.  That brings up so many different files.  Not necessarily what you’re looking for.

Advanced Windows Search with Operators

Maybe I’m looking for “2015 AND order”.  Well now, it’s narrowed it down to exactly what I’m looking for, because I know those two words are inside the title of that particular file.  By simply putting an uppercase “AND” in between, it adds it as a search operator.  (“2015 AND order” is more effective because searching for “2015 order” would only return files where “order” immediately followed “2015”.)

Let’s try something different here.  You’re not going to know this off the top of your head, but I do because I just looked at it recently.  I only want file types that are “.pdf”.  I can type that in and find that in that particular folder.

There Are Many Operators

If you come over here and look at these search tools, [there are many options].  You can look based on size, kind of file.  I was typing it in manually.  It can and will do it for you.  You can look at other properties.  Where was it, what name, what type, what folder path was it in?  Maybe I only want to look for “I know I modified that file in that past week or so, but I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me.”.  So let’s look at something that was modified within the last week or the last month.  Let’s cut down our search results.

Advanced Search Helps Find Lost Files

What I’m getting at here is the search function inside Windows is actually very, very advanced.  I know it’s easy to inadvertently drag and drop files from one place to another, especially on network drives and lose it altogether.  This search function, we use it all the time to recover files for our clients without having to actually go through the restoration process from their backup solution.

I highly recommend that if you’re not familiar with the search function, look up some of the basic terms or learn how to use the drop-in functionality that it offers right here inside File Explorer.  I think you’ll find that the search function is actually very, very, useful in a lot of cases.  That’s your Tech Tip for this week.  I look forward to talking to you again next week.

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