Finding Lost Files and Folders

Every version of Windows has a search feature that allows you to locate missing files on your computer.

Search is accessed by clicking on Start then Search. This will take you to the Search Results screen.

The first thing you may want to do is eliminate the annoying animation. You do that by clicking on Change preferences, then Without an animated screen character.

Then click on All files and folders. If you are looking for a picture, you would click on Pictures, music or video to narrow your search to only those file types.



To find a file a particular file, you need to know the name or something close to the name. You can always use the wildcard character * - an asterisk.

For example you might know the file name starts with my so you could search on my*. This would find every file or folder starting with my....

In this example, we are looking for pictures, and we know our camera names pictures starting with cim so we would click on Pictures, music or video, then check Pictures and Photos and enter cim* and click the Search button. All pictures starting with cim... will be returned.

To view any picture just double click on it.

Picture Search Results


Now lets search for a file or folder starting with my. So we would click on All files and folders, enter my* in the file name and press the Search button where we would find 139 such files or folders.

To view any, double click on the name.

my* Search


Advanced Search Options




Now let's look at the Advanced Search Options to narrow our search even more.


We can search for a phrase or word in the file.


We can limit the search to particular devices or folders.


If we know approximately when the file was created or modified, we can limit the search by that date or time period.

This is the date a file was put on your computer or last modified. If it's a picture, not the date taken, but the date copied to your computer.


If we know roughly the size, we can narrow the search by file size.


Or we can also limit the search to System folders, Hidden files or make the search case sensitive with the check boxes near the bottom.






The Windows Search capability very useful and handy to know.