If you cannot find a particular file by browsing, even after changing the view or sorting, you have another option: You can search for it. You can search for several different file types. From the search results, you can then open, print, copy, or move the file.
The other tabs are more useful for reviewing information and making advanced changes. For example, you can click the View tab to select advanced settings for file view (such as displaying the full path for files or folders in the address or title bar, or selecting whether hidden or system files are displayed). Use the File Types tab to review the various file types with the associated program. This information is important because if you double-click a file icon, Windows uses the associated program to open that file. You can view the extensions, file types, and details from the File Types tab.
Follow these steps to search for a file:
Click the Start button and then click the Search command, or click the Search button in a file window. You'll see the various search options (see Figure 16.12).
Figure 16.12. Help Windows XP narrow your search by selecting the type of file you want to find.
Select the type of file you want to find. You can search for pictures, music, or video files; documents (word processing, spreadsheet, and so on); or all files and folders.
To use additional search criteria, click the link for More Advanced Options. You can then limit the search to particular folders, choose whether subfolders (folders within the current folder or drive) are searched, select whether the search is case sensitive (whether capitalization has to match the word or phrase exactly as you've typed it), and more.
Enter the search criteria. The available options vary depending on what you selected to search for. Figure 16.13 shows searching for all files or folders. You can type all or part of a word or phrase in the filename, select the disk to look in, as well as set other search options, including the last time the file was modified, the approximate size of the file, and other advanced options.
Figure 16.13. To search, enter the search criteria that you think will best help Windows XP find a match.
Click the Search button. Windows searches and displays a list of found files in the right pane of the window (see Figure 16.14). You can open, move, copy, or delete any of the listed files. For instance, you can double-click any of the listed files or folders to open that file or folder.
Figure 16.14. The results of the search are displayed in the right pane of the Search Results window.
The Search bar lists the number of files found as well as options for refining the search. If the results did not turn up the file you want, search again. Some options for refining the search include changing the filename or keywords, looking in more locations, and changing which files and folders are searched.
To close the search results window, click its Close button.
The Absolute Minimum
It's easy to misplace a file. Luckily, Windows XP has several ways to help you locate a file, including changing how the contents are displayed, sorting files, grouping files, and finally searching for files. For finding lost files, use the following guidelines:
The view of a file window can help you find a particular file. For instance, if you are looking for a picture, use Thumbnails view to see a small image of the picture. If you are looking for a particular type of file, use Details view. You can even select which file details are included in the view.
To change the view, display the View menu and select the view, or use the Views button in the file window's toolbar.
You can sort files by name, type, size, or modification date. To do so, use the Arrange Icons by command in the View menu.
Another handy feature for working with files of the same type (or other grouping) is to sort and then group the files. For instance, you can group all worksheet files together, all word processing documents together, and so on.
To further fine-tune how you work with a file window's contents (whether you single- or double-click, for instance), change the folder options.
You can also search for a file, and Windows XP provides many search options. You can search for a file by type, modification date, name, or contents. You can also limit the search to a particular drive or folder.