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Windows Vista Instant Search


If you are anything like me then at one time or another you have combed your hard drive for your missing budget file or the great picture of the sunset that you took during your last vacation. As much as you try to keep your documents organized and filed in a great directory structure at some point a file will be misplaced and it is usually the file you need right at that moment.

One way to help locate a file on your system is to use the search feature of Windows Vista along with tagging your files with additional information to make finding it easier. Below is information about using both of these features to help improve your file management and retrieval.

Instant Search
The instant search feature of Windows Vista allows you to easily search for files by file name, file properties or text within the file and then groups the search results the following categories:

  • Programs Favorites/Internet History

  • Files (media and documents)

  • Communications (email, tasks, contacts and events)



To search for an application, file, email or Internet shortcut click on Start, or use the Windows key on your keyboard, then type your search terms in the Instant Search Box (the box that says Start Search). As soon as you start to type the operating system starts to search for your search phrase in the name of your applications and files along with the metadata (keywords) and full text within the file.

In addition to be located on the Start Menu instant search is also located in the upper right corner of the documents, music, pictures and search explorer along with the Control Panel and Internet Explorer (depending on the version). This can make search easier as it narrows down the search location instead of searching the entire computer which occurs when searching from the Start Menu.

Tagging Files
One way to make searching for files easier is to tag files with metadata which
is information about the file such as keywords or comments. When a file is saved standard metadata is applied to the file which includes filename, create date and author. Additional information can be applied to the file in the using the Details Panel at the bottom of the Explorer window. Information that can be added or modified includes:

  • Authors

  • Tags

  • Title

  • Comments

  • Categories

  • Status

  • Content Type

  • Subject


Though it seems like a lot of work to assign additional information it can be beneficial when trying to locate the file later.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Allison Nunn. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Allison Nunn. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Allison Nunn for details.

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