Sometimes, finding a file on your disk is like hunting for a lost robot on Mars— time-consuming, often futile, and sweaty. Here are tips and workarounds to help you find what you need fast—whether you're looking for a budget document from last year or an MP3 Martian music file you downloaded last week.
Windows XP's search tool, Search Companion, offers some very basic search tools for finding lost files. While Search Companion isn't going to help you find the Holy Grail, it's not bad for quick retrievals of files you know are lurking somewhere on your computer. And if you mix in some of the advanced search tools, described later, you can really beef up your search capabilities.
You can launch the Search Companion in any of these ways:
Choose Start→ Search.
From anywhere, press Windows key+F.
In an Explorer Window, press F3.
In an Explorer Window, choose Search.
Many people find the animated canine companion—dubbed Rover by his creators—more annoying than comforting. To turn off Rover, choose Change Preferences→ "Without an animated screen character." If you're a fan of animated characters, but Rover skeeves you out, choose Change Preferences→ "With a different character," and then choose from a list of other animated alternatives.
Search Companion offers four types of searches. You can choose one to limit the files Windows ...