Windows 8 Search Tips

Windows 8 SearchWindows 8 Search Apps

Here are tips for employing ‘Search’ to find your Windows 8 applications or Control Panel settings.  However if it’s file contents that you are looking for, then call for the Windows Explorer.

A feature of Windows 8 is that a series of tiny improvements complement each other.  Each item on this page is no big deal on its own, but taken together they multiply to produce a search engine, which really is in-tune with your thinking.


Windows 8 Search ImprovementsWindows 8 Search Apps Metro UI

It seems to me that Windows 8’s search really is more intelligent than its predecessor in XP.  However, it took me a while to appreciate all the subtleties of the Win 8 version, for instance the significance of the three categories of search: Apps, Settings and Files.  Maybe it was the re-positioning of the actual Search box compared with Vista that threw me, the box is now at the top, and the results are displayed to the left.

What do people search for in on Microsoft desktop computers?  Research shows that for 65% it’s apps or programs; indeed, it surprised me that only 25% of searches are for files.  The other 10% of searches are from people trying to find settings in their Control Panel.  These usage stats explain why the default response when you start typing a few letters at the Metro interface is not a list of files, but of Apps.

In another show of intelligence, the results are not just literal but smart.  For example, suppose you type ‘Sc’, rather than offering you Apps only beginning with ‘Sc’, Windows 8 search also suggests ‘Task Scheduler’.

Windows 8 Search Apps

Search for ‘All Apps’Windows 8 Search All Apps
Assuming you are at the Metro UI, the easiest way to get a complete list is to right-click and select the ‘All apps’ icon which appears at the bottom left.  This will show an alphabetical list of installed programs grouped under ‘Apps’ Windows Accessories and Windows System.

Searching for Windows 8 Files

Note: these are tips for finding files.  As I hinted earlier, I call for the Windows Explorer (not Search) when I want to locate a file.

Windows 8 Advanced Query Syntax (AQS)

Boolean Operators
Note the secret is to use UPPER case for the operator, indeed, that uss how I discovered this useful logic.  It works by searching the contents of files for the words on either side of the Boolean operator.

  • OR e.g.  Funny OR Joke
  • AND e.g. Garbage AND Rubbish  Also you could use parentheses (Garbage Rubbish)
  • NOT e.g.  Soccer NOT Scotland   Alternatively: Soccer  -Scotland

Using Windows 8 Explorer to Search for File Extensions
The keyword ‘Ext’ acts as a filter when used in Explorer’s search box.  The way it works is to type:- Ext colon followed by a dot (period) and the three letter file extension.

  • Ext:.jpg
  • Ext:.wav

Search for Big or Small FilesWindows 8 Search Apps Metro UI
Note the rhythm of the syntax, Keyword colon operator size.

  • Size:>5mb  Greater than 6 megabytes.
  • Size:<1mb  Smaller than 1 megabyte
  • Sometimes I forget the obvious, you can pick from a preset lis of file sizes.

Search Using a Date Filter
Note the singular ‘date’, followed directly by the colon, but a space between the two keywords.  Here are examples:

  • Date:Last week
  • Date:This month
  • Date:Next year

If you are trying to find a photograph try this:

Monitor Your Network with the Real-time Traffic AnalyzerSolarwinds Real-time Traffic Analyzer

The main reason to monitor your network is to check that your all your servers are available.  If there is a network problem you want an interface to show the scope of the problem at a glance.

Even when all servers and routers are available, sooner or later you will be curious to know who, or what, is hogging your precious network’s bandwidth.  A GUI showing the top 10 users makes interesting reading.

Another reason to monitor network traffic is to learn more about your server’s response times and the use of resources.  To take the pain out of capturing frames and analysing the raw data, Guy recommends that you download a copy of the SolarWindsfree Real-time NetFlow Analyzer.

Windows 8 Search Keyboard ShortcutsWindows 8 Winkey Shortcuts

Naturally, each combination begins with the Windows key, the one between Ctrl and Alt.

At the Metro interface, pressing WinKey by itself toggles between the Start Screen and the Windows Desktop, (or the foremost running Metro app).

WinKey +a  A quick way to bring-up the Application search box.Windows 8 Winkey Shortcuts

WinKey +c  Displays the Windows Charms, but other combinations shown here are faster if you want to Search.

WinKey +e  This old faithful combination calls for the Windows Explorer rather than the Windows 8 Search.

WinKey +f  This combination brings up the file search.

WinKey +s  Search Apps.

WinKey +w  Think of the ‘W’ as Windows settings, or Windows Control Panel search.

See more WinKey keyboard combinations.

Guy Recommends:  SolarWinds’ Log & Event Management ToolSolarwinds Log and Event Management Tool

LEM will alert you to problems such as when a key application on a particular server is unavailable.  It can also detect when services have stopped, or if there is a network latency problem.  Perhaps this log and event management tool’s most interesting ability is to take corrective action, for example by restarting services, or isolating the source of a maleware attack.

Yet perhaps the killer reason why people use LEM is for its compliance capability, with a little help from you, it will ensure that your organization complies with industry standards such as CISP or FERPA.  LEM is a really smart application that can make correlations between data in different logs, then use its built-in logic to take corrective action, to restart services, or thwart potential security breaches – give LEM a whirl.

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Summary of Windows 8 Search

Windows 8 delivers a more intelligent search than Vista or even Windows 7.  However, it took me a while to realize the significance of the three categories of search: Apps, Settings and Files.  Maybe it was the re-positioning compared with Vista that threw me, the box is now at the top, and the results are displayed to the left.

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Microsoft Windows 8 File Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon  • Windows 8 Indexing  • Windows 8 ReFS

Windows 8 Libraries  • Windows 8 AppData Folder  • Win 8 Explorer Ribbon  • Windows 8 Search

Windows 8 Task Manager  • Windows 8 Search Files  • Permissions Analyzer  • Windows 8 Partitions