How to Find a File on Your Hard Drive

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Use your computer's Find function when you have forgotten where you stored something, or if you have forgotten the name of the file you want. These instructions are for Windows 98.

Things You'll Need

  • Hard Disks
  • Mac Hard Drive
  • Macintosh Computers
  • Computers
  • Microsoft Windows

Locating a File When You Don't Remember the File Name

Step 1

Repeat steps 1, 2 and 4 as listed above.

Step 2

If you remember key words or phrases contained in the document, enter them in the field called Containing Text.

Step 3

To use a more advanced search function, click on Advanced. Select the type or format of the file that you are seeking. (For example, Word, Adobe PageMaker or Excel.)

Step 4

If you remember the approximate date that you created or last modified the file, click on Date. You can indicate whether to search for any and all files created or modified within a certain time period.

Step 5

Click on Find Now.

Step 6

Within a few moments, you will receive a listing of all files that meet the criteria you specified.

Step 7

Double-click to open, or note the location so you can open the file later.

Finding a File When You Know the Name

Step 1

Click on the Start menu, then on Find, and then on Files or Folders.

Step 2

Enter the file name in the box labeled Named.

Step 3

If you know where the file is stored, use the Browse function to select that folder. If you don't know, search the hard drive (typically the C drive).

Step 4

Place a check mark in the box labeled Find Subdirectories.

Step 5

Click on Find Now. Within a few moments, you will receive a list of every file in the folder or drive that you selected whose name includes the words you typed. (For example, if you entered "apples," you would get files called "red apples" and "golden delicious apples" in addition to "apples.")

Step 6

Double-click on the file to open it, or take note of the location so you can open it later.

Tips & Warnings

  • File searches can also be performed from many software applications, such as Microsoft Office.