Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
 

How To Use File Search In Windows 10

How To Use File Search In Windows 10
By

Windows 10 offers a number of ways to search for files. In addition to the File Explorer found in previous versions of Windows, the new OS includes the My Stuff feature and search by voice recognition using Cortana. This tutorial covers all three methods.

In Windows 10, it's easier than ever to find the files you're looking for. There are numerous ways to search your computer for files. Not only can you search the standard search method by using File Explorer you also now have Cortana, which allows you to search for files by voice recognition or the new Windows 10 My Stuff dialog, among others.

MORE: How To Set Up And Use File History In Windows 10
MORE: How To Add Windows 10 To A Domain
MORE: Windows 10 How Tos

Search Box

Let's first go over the simplest way to find files by using the search box. As with Windows 8.1, you still have the option to search for files directly from the search box. Just type in the file name or part of the file name and Windows 10 will attempt to find the files matching your query or will present you with an option to perform a deeper search.

You can see from this screenshot that I'm trying to search for all files with a PPTX extension. Since Windows 10 cannot find any, it's giving me the option to perform a deeper search by giving me the option to "Search for documents" matching the PPTX extension.

If it does find some entries, it will display them directly in the menu categorized by type. However, this is only a subset of the files that are matched.

Windows 10 My Stuff

If you'd like to see a more thorough listing of files, you will need to click on the My Stuff button. This brings up a bigger summary of the items that are found. However, this is still not the entire list. The only way to truly get the full results is by clicking on the See all link displayed by each of the categories in the My Stuff box. 
You can see in this screenshot that I have a link to see all 32 folders that were found with the string "temp" in them somewhere.

Notice also that you have the option to sort the results and also to filter on the specific category. Since we're only talking about files, you can click on the Show combo box in the My Stuff window to only show results by folders, documents, music, photos and videos. Unfortunately, there's no way in this window to show all files and nothing else.

Cortana

If you'd rather not spend all that time typing, you can also use your voice with Cortana. By using Cortana, you can just ask Windows 10 for your files, and they will be presented to you. To do this, click or tap on the Cortana microphone and say what you'd like to search for. Let's say I want to search for pictures. I would say "pictures" once Cortana prompts me. I can then click on My Stuff, which would bring up a summary of all the items that match pictures.

Once this is done, I can then drill down deeper and ask Cortana in a natural language to get more specific. I can say things like "Show me all pictures from last Tuesday" or "Show me all photos from California." Cortana then searches the metadata inside of the pictures and only returns results that match the query that I say. Cortana can do a lot more around searching as well as many other things. Here is an excellent guide that goes over all of Cortana's features.

RELATED: