How to search in Windows 10

You may think you know how to search in Windows 10, though there are a lot of tricks you can use to work more efficiently. This article describes some useful methods to make swift searches for files and folders on a Windows 10 PC.

The search option is one of the most used in a Windows 10 computer. With plenty of hard drive space at hand, users often tend to overload their PCs with tons of information, making it a challenge to locate a file when needed.

Luckily, Windows provides us with a robust search system that allows us to quickly navigate to the desired files and folders in a single click.

Besides, the most recent version of Windows 10 also allows users to perform quick searches for the ongoing day. Plus, you can also search for similar images on the internet via the Bing search feature.

The Windows 10 search bar also lets you explore different websites without having to launch your web browser.

Microsoft hasn’t limited the Windows search bar to the Start Menu, but this crucial feature can also be seen in Settings and File Explorer. Hence, you can run specific searches in these apps.

Here’s how you can utilize the Windows search box to access your stuff in Windows 10 promptly!

Table of Contents

  1. How to search in Windows 10
    1. Using Windows Taskbar to search in Windows 10
    2. Using Windows search menu options to search in Windows 10
    3. Searching in Windows 10 via File Explorer
    4. Searching file contents in Windows 10
    5. Using Control Panel to Search Hidden Files
    6. Searching in Windows 10 via third-party apps
    7. Using Bing visual search for searching screenshots
  2. Wrap up

How to search in Windows 10

The best for searching Windows is via the integrated Windows search service. Nonetheless, you can also install a third-party app to conduct better searches.

First, let’s take a look at some of the built-in features you can use to find your documents effortlessly:

Using Windows Taskbar to search in Windows 10

The “Type here to search” bar present at the bottom left corner of the desktop is the most suitable search method for most users.

Here’s how you can perform a search at once with the Windows taskbar:

  • Press the “Windows+S” keyboard shortcut, or tap on the search icon to search using the Windows search feature;
  • Type the file name or app you’re looking for, and select the one that matches your preference;
How to Search in Windows 10

  • If the search results are too many, have a look at the categories at the top. This will help you in filtering the results according to the categories;

  • Once you’ve selected the desired item, press Enter key to open it. Alternatively, you can also double-click the result to view it in full-screen;
  • There are occasions when you save multiple files with the same name. In this scenario, it’s best to tap on the arrow present next to the folder/files to reveal details like the location and last modified time.

If you think the Windows search box takes considerable space on your taskbar, which you can dedicate to other icons, you can squeeze it into a search icon by following the below steps:

  • Right-click on an empty space in the search box or taskbar;
  • Go to the “Search option” in the menu, and click on the “Show search icon“;

  • Follow the same steps to bring back the search box. Just select “Show search box” instead of the icon.

Using Windows search menu options to search in Windows 10

To make search results more effective, Windows allows its users to search by categories.

For this, go to the search bar and select your desired category from the options displayed at the top of the window. You can choose between App, Document, Settings, Folders, Web, and more.

Once you have shortlisted the category, type the search term, and open it by double-tapping. The good thing about using categories is you can find the recently opened or frequently viewed items once you select the category.

Moreover, you can also type in the category and item name directly in the search box. For this, first type the category name, then enter a colon, followed by the name of the item you want to find.

In the below example, we have used “apps: Paint” as a search term.

Searching in Windows 10 via File Explorer

As mentioned earlier, many built-in apps also come with search functionality. If you are already aware of the location of the files you are searching for, then the File Explorer app must be your go-to method.

  • Open File Explorer by typing it in the Start Menu or directly clicking on it on the desktop;
  • Select the drive which contains the required files and folders. If you are uncertain of the exact location of your documents, you can utilize the “Search this PC” or “Quick Access” options;
How to Search in Windows 10

  • Insert the file name in the Explorer’s search field and hit Enter. It will take a few seconds for the Explorer app to display all the related results;
  • Find the desired file and double-click it to view the file content.

Since the results available in the File Explorer search could be pretty extensive, this method is deemed a bit time-taking. Fortunately, you can use some shortcuts to expedite the search process.

For example, you can filter your preferred files by date, file type, size, and kind by inputting the following keys or a combination of these:

  • datemodified: 2022 or any year
  • kind: video
  • file type: *.jpeg, pdf, etc.,
  • size: > 7 MB
  • datecreated2021*.doc ,size: <75 KB, folder name
How to Search in Windows 10

Searching file contents in Windows 10

Have you forgotten the file name for which you want to conduct a search? If that’s the case, then File Explorer is here to help you.

However, for this specific method, you need to remember some of the file content, so you can use the information at hand to discover the needed file.

Here’s what you need to do to do to search file contents in Windows 10:

  • Launch Windows File Explorer;
  • Tap on the magnifying glass on the top right corner of the window to disclose the search tool options;

  • Select the “Search” option, followed by “Advanced Search“;
  • Click on “Change Index locations“. An indexing option window will appear on the screen;

  • Now, tap on “Advanced” to open the advanced options containing index settings and file types;

  • Switch to the “File Types” tab. Here you will find all the boxes are already checked by default;
  • Click on “Index Properties and File Contents” and then “Ok“;

  • A rebuild index warning will pop up on the screen. Select “Ok“;
  • Finally, tap “Close” on the indexing options tab, and the file contents will be enabled.

Using Control Panel to Search Hidden Files

If you have hidden some data to protect it from outsiders, you wouldn’t be able to locate it using the general search.

Hence, you would have to first unhide the files and folders for them to become searchable.

  • Open the “Control Panel” app from the Start Menu;
  • Now, click on “Appearance and Personalization“;

  • Next, select the “Show hidden files and folders” option beneath the “File Explorer Options“. A new tab will open up;

  • Under Advanced Settings, click on “Show hidden files, folders, and drives“;

  • Lastly, select “Ok“. Now, you can utilize the usual searching method to conduct searches in Windows 10.

Searching in Windows 10 via third-party apps

At times, using the Windows 10 search feature might be a bit annoying since it could potentially make your Windows PC slower and consumes a significant amount of time. Thankfully, there are a bunch of decent third-party apps that you can integrate into your system to perform efficient searches.

One recommended app is “Everything“; which is a free utility with a clean interface and enables instant results with minimal burden on the PC.

Once you launch the app, it will run in the system tray to provide you with real-time updates.

A significant drawback of this application is it doesn’t offer the search file text functionality like Windows. Yet, it’s a great tool to have on your computer.

Using Bing visual search for searching screenshots

The recently added visual search feature in Windows 10 helps its users in finding the actual source of the images inserted into the document. To search via this feature, follow these steps:

  • Tap on the “Search with a Screenshot” button in the Start Menu. When you click there, the snip and sketch tool will become functional;

  • Snap the part of the image you want to search similar results for. Once the snipping action is done, the Windows screen will load for some time to get similar images on the web. The search result for similar images will appear in the Microsoft Edge browser.

Wrap up

Locating your desired file from a pool of hundred others can be quite hectic, especially if you are in a hurry. Hence, at times like these, it’s better to make full use of the already integrated search functionality in Windows.

Furthermore, if the built-in search feature doesn’t sound easy to you, you can go for third-party apps like Everything, AstroGrep, and SearchMyFiles, which are pretty straightforward to operate, and, most importantly, free.

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