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copyright 1996, 2001 by Tracy Marks


B. Finding Files: Basic Searching

Windows allows you to locate files based on file name, a portion of
a name, date, and/or the text included in a file. To conduct a search, you
can use your START menu and choose FIND,  files and folders, or you
can access the FIND dialog box via Explorer's Tools menu. Another
alternative is to right click My Computer, and choose FIND.

Using a basic search, you indicate the file name or a portion of the file
name (if you don't know it all) and search either your entire computer,
or any drives or directories that you choose.

Your search results screen will list the file or files which match your
criteria. The screen functions like a window in Explorer or My Computer.
Here you may open, delete, move, and copy files.

Find: All Files

If you don't know the exact name of a file you are seeking, use wild cards
- question marks or asterisks, in accordance with the following guidelines.

If you're not sure of one or two letters or numbers, use a question mark
to replace those letters or numbers in the file name. Example: a Word
file with a .doc extension that begins with the letters appr followed by
two digits of the year, but you don't know which year - enter appr??.doc
as the file name you are seeking.

If you're not sure of a group of letters or numbers of the file name or the
extension, use an asterisk to replace each group of letters of numbers
which you don't know. An asterisk basically means: one or more letters
or numbers follow.  Example: a text file beginning with the letters appr
followed by an unknown number of letters and an unknown extension
 - enter appr*.*  as the file name.

NOTE: In Windows, unlike Ms-Dos, the wild card does not have
to be the last letters or numbers in a file name. You can now place
wild cards at the beginning, middle or end of a file name.

1. In FIND, type the name of the file for which you are searching in
     the named box.
2. Check include subfolders to search subfolders included under your
    chosen folder.
3. By default, the look in box reads drive c. To search all your drives,
    click browse and navigate up to search MY COMPUTER. To search
    another drive, choose that drive.
4. If you know the folder in which the file resides, choose that folder.
    The more you narrow your search, the faster it will occur.
5. When ready to begin your search, click FIND NOW.
6. When the file you are seeking appears, you can click the STOP
     button to stop the search.
7. Once your file is visible, you can treat it as you would a file in any
     file window - opening it, moving it, renaming it etc.

Begin a new search by clicking the new search button. To save the
criteria used for your search, choose file, save search; save your
search results by choosing options, save results.

1. Look for the old Windows 3.1 file manager file, winfile.exe, located
    somewhere in your Windows directory.
2. Look for all windows help files on your c drive - files that begin with
    the letter w and end with the extension .hlp.
3. Look for an icon file beginning with the word shell followed by two
    numbers, and with a .dll extension.
4. Look for all the .tmp files on your computer. These files may be
    scattered throughout your computer if you have had a few crashes,
    and do not have a .tmp directory to collect these files. All but those
    with today's date can and should be deleted.

NEXT:   Finding Files: Advanced Searching       continue


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