How to configure Windows Search for maximum productivity.
Configure Windows Search for Max Productivity
by J Martin Ward for Daves Computer Tips
Windows Search has been much maligned. There are forums all over the internet where it has been vigorously discussed, often in vitriolic terms. Typical complaints are that it can’t find a file even when you know the file is present, and, most often, “it just doesn’t work!”. For instance, this Microsoft Forum thread has been going for years now, and still occasionally gets new comments, mostly bad. (But then, how many people go out of their way to comment that something is brilliant?)
I’ve done a lot of research on Windows Search, and one conclusion is that its poor reputation is entirely Microsoft’s fault, but not for the reason you might think. It’s because Microsoft’s documentation on it is poor to non-existent. Useful tips on advanced searching are hidden away on two out-of-date Microsoft web pages, which you could be forgiven for thinking Microsoft doesn’t want you to see.
The other conclusion is that Search does work, and very well indeed, albeit with a few quirks. In fact it’s an impressive feat of software engineering, entirely let down by the fact that few people know how to get the best out of it.
When you type something at the Start Screen in Windows 8, or in the menu Search box or File Explorer Search box in Windows 7, Windows should go away and find relevant results, and it usually does. The new implementation in Windows 8.1 allows you to specify what types of thing you’re looking for (Files, Settings, Everywhere, and so forth). Click on a result and off you go, although it can take a little time for the results to come up if you have a lot of documents, photos, music files, and so on.
All well and good, but sometimes you are looking for something that you know is there – somewhere – but that Windows will stubbornly not locate. To make things more difficult, maybe you know only part of the filename, or a word or two from the contents. You can spend a long time trying to work out why you are not getting the results you expect. What can you do to improve matters?
In the long run, it’s best to take time out to rebuild your search configuration from the ground up so that you know that your particular type of search will efficiently give you what you want. Here is how to prepare Windows Search to work to its full potential on your PC; in a later article I’ll cover what we know of its detailed search capabilities and how to use them.
These excerpts are shared with permission from davescomputertips.com.
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