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Searching for things (Mario Martinez)

Searching for Things

Searching for files on a computer varies from operating system to operating system.

Searching for Files on an Apple Computer

There are two main ways to search for files on a Mac.  The first method is to use Spotlight.  Spotlight can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the desktop and is represented by a magnifying glass icon.  See below.

Type in the application or file that you are looking for and a drop down list of relevant search results appears.  See below.

The other method of searching is OCS, which is a hot key combination of "Option + Command + Spacebar".  OCS will not only help you find files and applications but it will also tell you the directory of where it is located.  Generally, searching with OCS is more flexible than Spotlight.  See below.

Searching for Files on a Windows Computer

The primary method of searching for files on a Windows computer is the Windows Explorer.  Similar to OCS on the Mac, the Windows Explorer allows a user to search for files and gives the user information regarding the directory it is located in.  Windows Explorer also allows users to narrow their search by specifying which directories or drives on the computer should be looked through.  In order to use Windows Explorer, begin by left-clicking on the start menu icon located in the lower left-hand side of the screen (a right-click may be needed instead on some versions) as shown below.  This icon typically resembles either a windows logo or a button with the word "start" on it.

After opening the start menu, select the search option followed by files or folders as shown below.  On versions that required a right-click, simply select open Windows Explorer from the menu that pops up.  This will bring up the Windows Explorer.

Once inside Explorer, type the name of the file you wish to search for into the search field located in the upper right of the window.  If desired, use the options in the left-hand column to narrow down your search to specific locations or, if available, specific file types.  These options may differ in appearance based on the version of Windows being used.  The computer will then show all files relevant to your search, as well as each file's specific location, as shown below.

In addition to Windows Explorer, some Windows systems have a secondary search function similar to the Mac's spotlight.  To access this feature, simply left-click on the start menu icon and type in the file name you wish to search for in the search field provided at the bottom of the left-hand column.  The computer will then show you all files and programs that are relevant to your search, but it will not show the locations of those files (see below).