Windows 2000: tuning the new OS

Windows 2000 replaces the simple Find Files or Folders with a more Web-like Explorer window called Search. It's got more useful features than Find - but using it well requires a little finesse. On the Start menu, select Search-For Files or Folders, and a two-paned window pops up with a search form in the left pane. The first three boxes in the form neatly combine the three most common search criteria - file or folder name, text within files, and the folder or disk to search. By default, Search roots through subfolders in any folder or disk that you select.

Search uses fairly basic criteria - just keyword or phrase, without more sophisticated Boolean logic. You can use the asterisk (*) and question mark (?) as wild-card characters in the file or folder name and text fields. You can use the asterisk as a prefix (*.doc), suffix (boo* could return boogie, Boolean, or bootstrap, for example), in the middle of a string of characters (tr*ble could fetch trainable, tribble, and trouble), or some combination of uses (*My*). Each question mark stands for a single character (boo? could return book or boot).

For more sophisticated searches - based on file date, file type, or size - click the Search Options heading, and click a check mark next to the relevant search criterion. Click Date, for example, and you're presented with a list box that enables you to narrow your search to files created, modified, or last accessed within a timeframe of days or months, or in a date range. The Type and Size criteria enable you to narrow a search to any registered file type of a given size. In addition, the Advanced Options include the abilities to switch off subfolder searching, enable case sensitivity, and search so-called slow files - that is, files that reside on removable storage media.

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