Time Saving Tuesday

Vista SearchThere is no doubt that my favorite feature in Windows Vista is the integrated search. It is everywhere you need it to be, and it can do so much more than you realize.

The search operators that I am about to mention also work using the Windows Desktop Search 3 (WDS), which is available for XP. It isn’t quite as integrated into the operating system compared to what’s available in Vista, but what it is capable of is quite similar.

A search operator is something that you can use in addition to terms that you’re searching for. For example, you can use the “site” operator when performing a Google search to filter results for a specific site. To pull up all Vista-related articles on our site the search would look something like this: vista

There are similar operators available in both Vista and WDS that will make finding documents and files even faster. I’ll point out some of the most useful ones below:

Operator Examples Notes
NOT or vista NOT linux
vista linux
Finds items containing vista, but not linux. If using the NOT operator make sure to put it in all uppercase letters.
date date:today
date:last week
Finds items containing Vista that match the specified date. You can also specify date ranges as seen in the last example.
size size:>100kb
This can be quite useful when trying to find a particular file with a certain filesize.
kind kind:docs
This kind operator is nice because you don’t have to remember which extensions pertain to which files. With it you can quickly search music, videos, documents, and much faster.
modified modified:today
modified:last week
Finds items according to when the files were last modified.
file file:vista Finds items by searching only their file name. Without using this operator the search would return matching results from both the filename and content of documents.
album:“greatest hits”
lyrics:“happy birthday”
These are various operators that can all be used when searching for music.
taken taken:today
taken:last week
Finds pictures according to the date they were taken.

The list of operators that you can use in Vista goes on and on. The Windows Vista Blog has done a good job of listing out all of those operators for easy reference, and I’m sure someone will put it together in a cheat sheet format.

Multiple search operators can be combined to make one detailed search. An example of this would be:

home kind:image date:last year

That search will return all images that were taken last year and have the name “home” in it. If you find yourself repeating searches over and over again, you an always save them in Windows Explorer so that they are only a click away:

Vista Saved Searches

If you’re still craving more search power then don’t forget about Start++, which was developed by a Microsoft employee. It is very customizable so that you can add your own commands to search either the Internet or just run your favorite programs by typing just a few letters.

Vista tip: If you didn’t notice, as soon as you click on the Start Orb, the search box is focused. I didn’t realize that initially and found myself clicking in the search field before I started typing, when in reality all I had to do was click the Start Orb (or press the Windows Key) and start typing. Props to Microsoft for thinking about focusing on the search box!