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A Try to type in at least part of the missing file or folder's name. That keeps the Search Companion from searching through every file.
A Remember a folderyou stored the file in? Tell the computer to search there. Search Companion will search inside that folder and inside any folders stored inside that folder. Try searching in My Documents before searching My Computer. Many programs automatically save your information in that folder.
A Remember when you last saved, created, or edited that file or folder? If you remember that you created it within the past week, for instance, the search becomes faster still.
A CD-ROM discs take a long time to search, and when you tell Search Companion to search My Computer, it also searches any CD you've inserted in your drive. Remove CDs before clicking My Computer for searches.
A Search for words least likely to turn up in other files. For example, the words dirty and hydrator are more unique than like, an, or the. That means they're much more likely to bring up the file you're searching for.
A When a search turns up too many files, narrow down your search. Be more precise about when the missing file was created or downloaded, for example, or add a larger portion of its name.
A If you have a large hard drive with lots of space, choose Change Preferences from the Search Companion's main menu, and then select With Indexing Service. Your computer then makes an index of your computer's files, speeding up searches dramatically. (Unfortunately, the index can consume quite a bit of room.)
Finding lost pictures, music, or video
When you don’t remember much about a file — but gosh darn it, you want to find it anyway — the preceding section shows how to route it out of your computer’s innards. But sometimes you know a little bit
Chapter 7: I Can't Find It!
more about your missing file. You can’t find that digital picture you transferred yesterday from the camera, for instance, or that MP3 song you pulled off a CD last week. Perhaps you’re missing a short video you downloaded from the Internet.
The Search Companion can easily extract these types of missing files from your computer’s digital jowls. Click the lime-green Start button and click Search. When the menu appears, choose the option marked Pictures, Music, or Video.
Yet another menu appears, offering three search options: 1) Pictures and Photos, 2) Music and Sound, or 3) Video. Click in the box next to what you’re searching for, and type any part of the file’s name in the second box.
Click Search, and the Search Companion finds all the files meeting your specifications.
A Unfortunately, unless you remember at least a portion of your file’s name (which is very difficult to do with digital photos), the over-eager Search Companion will find all of your pictures, music, or videos. To increase your odds of a match, click Use More Advanced Options. When that menu appears, add more clues: where your file is located inside your computer, when it was saved, or its approximate size.
A Check out the “Finding files fast” sidebar for more tips on quicker searches.
Finding lost documents
Lost a key Word or Excel document? Search Companion’s ready to help out here, too. Because you know it was a Word or Excel document, this search is fairly easy. Click the lime-green Start button, click Search, and click Documents (Word, Excel, etc.).
When the box appears, type in the missing document’s name. Click the round button next to the time the file was last changed or saved.
Click Search, and the Search Companion ferrets out your file.
Chapter 7: I Can't Find It!
Note: Quick-witted readers will wonder how this search differs from the
Find Any File search described earlier in this chapter. Well, Search Companion can tell which program created your files. So it limits its search
to Word or Excel files, speeding up the search.
Finding computers or people
Like a teenager who’s watched too many sci-fi flicks, Windows XP lumps computers and people in the same category. Neither is all that exciting, unfortunately, but here goes.
The computer search is for people working only on networks, mysteriously bundled bunches of computers, covered in Chapter 9. Don’t know if you’re on a network? Click the Start button, click Search, and choose the Computers or People option. Finally, choose the A Computer on the Network option to begin.
Normally, Windows XP wants you to search for a computer by name. But what if you don’t know the computer’s name? Here’s a trick: Just click the Search button. A list of computers connected to your own computer appears. (If just one computer appears, don’t get excited. It’s probably just your own.)
The people search isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds, even for singles. It only searches for people you’ve already entered in your Outlook Express address book. Ho hum. There’s a little trick, however, but even that’s pretty boring: When the Find People box appears, click the downward-pointing arrow next to the words Address Book. That lets you choose between several Internet services that list people’s e-mail addresses. None of the services is very complete, and most are loaded with fake names.