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How to Find Stuff on Your Windows 7 PC - svecc

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How to Find Stuff on Your Windows 7 PC
A typical PC has many files – thousands and thousands of them. If you are like me
and you collect a lot of stuff, you may even have several million. So what do you
do when you want to find one of those files? If you know the name or part of the
name of the file, you can just stick that in Start- Search. Or if you know the folder
location, you can use the Windows Explorer search bar and enter the file name
and search through the folder. Depending on your settings for indexing, Windows
7 can be pretty good at turning up the file in those cases.
Advanced Query Syntax
In Windows 7 something called Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) was introduced. It
uses a set of operators and properties that allow searches to be narrowed down
in a large variety of ways. The set of possibilities is far more than I can cover here
but here are the basic parameters:
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File kinds- folders, documents, pictures and so on
File stores- specific databases and locations
File properties- size, date, title and so on
File contents- keywords
Here are just a few examples of the many possible search queries. In each case
the query is to be entered into a search bar.
Purpose of search
Search query
To find all files with extension mp3
ext:mp3
To find files modified yesterday
date:yesterday
To find pictures (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.)
kind:pics
To find pictures but no JPGs
kind:pics NOT jpg
To find pictures modified this week
kind:pics date:this week
There are numerous ways to search picture and music files for various properties,
ways to search emails, ways to serch documents, and many other possibilities.
Here are two Microsoft references with details:
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Advanced Query Syntax
Using Advanced Query Syntax To Find Files in Windows 7
Using natural language to search
Windows 7 also has a search feature that is often overlooked. It is called “natural
language search”. It allows search queries to be phrased a little more loosely than
the Boolean kind. It is not enabled by default. Here is how to enable natural
language search:
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Go to Windows Explorer for any folder
Open the drop-down menu “Organize”
Select “Folder And Search Options”
In the Folder Options dialog box, click the “Search” tab
Check “Use Natural Language Search”
Here is an example of the simplification provided by natural language search. The
search “kind:pics date:yesterday” can be reduced to “pics date yesterday”. No
great reduction, but every little bit helps.
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