Windows Search: An In-Depth Guide to Boosting Productivity

Windows Search, a built-in function of the Microsoft Windows operating system, is a powerful tool that can be tailored to locate files, directories, or applications rapidly. This comprehensive book examines several strategies for using Windows Search, including examples to help you understand and utilise its capabilities.


1. Keyword Search

  • Example: Simply type “proposal” in the search box to find files containing that word.

2. Using Wildcards

  • Asterisk (*): Finds files with partial names.
    • Example: “report*.docx” will find all DOCX files starting with “report,” such as “report2021.docx” or “reportQ1.docx.”
  • Question Mark (?): Replaces a single character.
    • Example: “file?.txt” would match “file1.txt” or “fileA.txt.”

3. Search by File Type (Kind)

  • type: Specifies the file extension.
    • Example: “type:.pdf” will locate all PDF files on your system.
  • kind: Searches by general file type.
    • Example: “kind:picture” locates all image files, such as JPEGs, PNGs, or GIFs.

4. Search by Date

  • date: Finds files modified on, before, or after a specific date.
    • Example: “date:>=01/01/2021” locates files modified after January 1, 2021.
  • created: Searches by the creation date.
    • Example: “created:<=12/31/2020” locates files created on or before December 31, 2020.

5. Search by Size

  • Example: “size:>10MB” will find files larger than 10 MB. You can also use other units like KB or GB.

6. Search by Property

  • author: Searches files by the author’s name.
    • Example: “author:John” locates files authored by any John.
  • name: Searches by the file name.
    • Example: “name:report” finds files with “report” in the name.
  • tag: Searches by tags added to the files.
    • Example: “tag:project” finds files tagged with “project.”

7. Combining Search Filters

  • Example: “type:.docx date:>=01/01/2021” finds all DOCX files modified after January 1, 2021.
  • Tip: Combining filters can significantly narrow down search results and quickly lead you to the exact file you need.


Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Search Operators: You can use AND, OR, and NOT to further refine searches.
    • Example: “author:John NOT type:.pdf” will find all files authored by John but exclude PDFs.
  • Location-Specific Searches: Use “folder:” to search within specific locations.
    • Example: “folder:downloads type:.jpg” finds all JPEGs in the Downloads folder.


Understanding and exploiting Windows’ numerous search options can dramatically streamline your workflow and boost productivity. By mastering these approaches, you can swiftly and efficiently locate the required files and information. With Windows Search, you can spend less time looking and more time accomplishing your goals! Whether you’re a novice or a power user, these tips will change how you manage your files and folders.