Windows Vista FAQ

Windows Explorer

Q. So it's all about search now?
Q. If Explorer's Search is so great, why couldn't it find the Word file I created yesterday afternoon?
Q. How can I arrange for files to be included in the index?
Q. How are saved searches useful?
Q. What makes navigation easier in Vista? What is a breadcrumb trail?

Q. So it's all about search now?

A. Yes, and Microsoft isn't just paying lip service to the concept, either. Search has been built into practically every level of the operating system, including the Start Menu and Windows Explorer. Vista's Search is fast, and you can refine your inquiries through countless criteria, including date, file size, keywords, file type, and so on. You can add Boolean search terms, too, and you can even create virtual folders using saved searches--so (for example) you can keep a quick link to all the photos you've taken in the last month, right on your desktop.

Q. If Explorer's Search is so great, why couldn't it find the Word file I created yesterday afternoon?

A. You've discovered one of Search's dirty little secrets: By default, it restricts its searches to a limited set of folders on your hard disk. Search uses an index to speed up its searches; but Vista indexes only a few folders, such as your own personal user folder. If you create folders outside that area, the OS won't index them, and Search won't find them or their contents. There is a workaround: If you do an Advanced Search (select Start, Search, and click the Advanced Search down arrow), you can instruct the tool to look in nonindexed areas; just check the box next to Include non-indexed, hidden and system files (might be slow).

Q. How can I arrange for files to be included in the index?

A. Go to Control Panel, System and Maintenance, Indexing Options. From there, you can add any folders to the index.

Q. How are saved searches useful?

A. They eliminate your having to type the same search over and over. Saving a search essentially creates virtual folders with different views into all of your data. To save a search, click the Save Search icon on the toolbar.

Q. What makes navigation easier in Vista? What is a breadcrumb trail?

A. They may not have worked for Hansel and Gretel, but "breadcrumbs" are at the center of navigation in Windows Explorer--and they do the job quite well. The address bar in Windows Explorer shows a breadcrumb trail that lists every place you visited en route to your current location, such as Control Panel, Network and Internet, Sync Center, Sync Results. If you want to jump back to Control Panel, or to any other point along the trail, just click on it.

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