How to Find a File That Has Been Moved

By Misty S. Bledsoe

Typically, when you save files, you can save them in locations such as the desktop or in designated folders so that you can find them later on. If you have other people that use those files or others that share your computer, it may happen that your file is moved by accident or on purpose. Either way, you now need to find your lost file. Finding the moved file is as easy as utilizing the “Search” function built into the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer

Step 1

Click on the “Start” button located in the lower left hand of the screen. This displays a window of options to choose from. Depending on your version of operating system, you will either see a “Search” box or you will see “Find a File” as options to choose from.

Step 2

Click on “Find a File” if necessary to populate the search box.

Step 3

Type in the name of the file. You do not need to type in the file extension. To narrow the search, you can choose from the drop-down menu of the file types you only want to search. For example, if you know the file is in “PDF” format, then the computer can narrow the search from searching all files on your computer to searching just the documents in “PDF” format with the file name you specified.

Step 4

Click on the file you were seeking when the search results populates in the window to your right.

Step 5

Click on the Office button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen or find the “File” option and click on it. From there, choose “Save As” to populate a window with a menu choice of tabs and options. Navigate through the folders to find the new location you want the file saved in.

Step 6

Click on “Save” button to save your document in the new location.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you’re having trouble finding the file, then try typing less of the file name or only parts of it. For example, if you need to find a file named “my_journal,” try searching for “my” or “journal” or “jour” instead. This may populate more files than you seek, but you will also be able to hopefully find the file you seek.
  • If someone accidentally permanently deleted the file, you will not be able to retrieve it. If the file was renamed, then you will not be able to find the file under the original name. If you suspect the file was renamed, then you can try searching for the files on the computer that were recently changed by clicking on the “Start” button, navigating to the “Recent Items” choice. This will display a list of documents that were recently worked on. Click on them to open each one to see if the contents match your original file.