Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Chapter 12. Searches on the hard disk

    You can get the need to search for files. Maybe you have retrieved some files from the Internet, and now you cannot find them, or maybe some document got lost on the disk. Then you just need to use the search function.

    The Search function

    You can find the Search dialog box in different ways. You find the menu item Search in the Start menu. But in this exercise we will do it in a different way:

    1.    Open Windows Explorer and select My Computer[n16]  in left window.

    2.    Now you can either press F3[n17]  (I prefer that) or click on the search button:

    3.    Then the Search panel opens in Explorer’s left window. There is a box with different options. Click on ”All files and folders” like here:

    4.    Then you see a new box, where you need to enter search criteria. Let us see what files there are on the hard disk with the suffix 123. Type *.123 in the top field. Then you are searching for all file with any name (the asterisk indicates that, it is called a wild card), and with the suffix 123. Then click on Search:

    5.    Then the search starts:

    6.    The file is soon found. It appears in the right Explorer window:


    7.    Click on the Folder button in the tool bar to conclude the search function.

    This was a brief example of a search for a file, where you know the file’suffix. But there are many other options …

    Additional search criteria

    You can search files and folders in numerous ways. The most important are probably:

  • Search by first name or a part thereof, or search by the file’s suffix (as in the precediing exercise).

  • Search by a word or a text string, which is to be found in the file. That can be used to seach for many types of documents that contain text, such as Word-files, txt-files and HTML-documents.

  • Search by dato or time when the file was last saved.

    These criteria can be entered in the Search field. Try this exercise:

    1.    Press F3[n18]  again to start the Search function. Choose ”All files and folders” again.

    2.    Then type the file name *.* (you are looking for all filess, regardless of their name and suffix). Type the text Windows XP as search string in the other field:


    3.    Now you are looking for all files that include the text ”Windows XP”. What can come out of that? Press on the Search button!

    4.    The search will take some time, since the program has to analyze all files on the hard disk to see if the text ”Windows XP” is found in them. After a while you will see the result. In my computer I found around 30 files, which were a mixture of ini-, txt-, htm- and other files, which are scattered throughout a great number of folders on the hard disk. My Windows installation is on the D-drive, so that is where I have those files. Yours may be on the C-drive:


    5.    When you have such a great list of files, it can be a good idea to sort the list. That is easy. Try to click on the column heading Size:

    6.    Then you see the biggest files in top of the list. If you see the smallest on top, you just need to click once more in the same place.

    7.    You can also sort the list by clicking in the other column headings. Try that and then close Windows Explorer.

    Search by date

    You can also search files by their date. Each time a file is saved on the hard disk, date and time is recorded. You can use that in searches. In some situations you might know that a given file was saved today, and you need to find it again. Try that:

    1.    Open Windows Explorer again and select the function Søg på samme måde som tidligere[n19] .

    2.    Enter *.* again as file name. Delete the search string ”Windows XP”, if it is still seen in the other field.

    3.    Then click on the small arrow to the right of ”When was the file modified?” like here:

    4.    Now you need to search all files that were modified today. You do that by clicking on ”Show dates” as below. Then the date fields ”from” and ”to” are automatically completed with the current date (which will not be 24-01-2002 in your case, but some other date!):

    5.    Click on Search, and see what happens. There may be several files that were modified just today. Most are system files, which belong to Windows XP. Try to look through the list and see if some of it makes sense.

    This was the last search method that I will show you. Remember the Search function (which is activated with F3[n20] ). It is very useful for many tasks!

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