Search in Windows 8

How to Search for Apps, Settings, and Files in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

information   Information
This tutorial will show you different ways to search in apps, everywhere, files, settings, web images, and web videos in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Note   Note
In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will now provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources (the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take) to provide the best “answer” for your query.

The Windows 8.1 Update to be released on April 8th 2014 via Windows Update, adds a Search button on the Start screen.

For additional details and information about Search in Windows 8 and 8.1, see:

Search keyboard shortcuts:

Shortcut

Description

Win + type

Apps search

Win + W

Settings search

Win + F

File search

Tip   Tip
Searches for Files will only show search results from what locations and file types you have included in your indexing options. You may need to rebuild the index to force it to update if it hasn't already done so.

Be sure to have the Windows Search service set to be enabled, running (started), and Automatic (Delayed Start).


To have more accurate search results, you might consider setting your search settings to be like this below.

Open Folder Options, click/tap on the Search tab, check all options, and click/tap on OK.

Folder_Options.jpg





OPTION ONE

How to Search using the "Search" Charm in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1


1. Do either step 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 below for how you would like to open Search.​
2. While on your Start screen, just start typing the name of what you want to search for, and go to step 7 below.​
NOTE: In Windows 8, you would do this while in "Start" view on the Start screen.
3. While on your Start screen in Windows 8.1 Update, click/tap on the Search button at the top right corner, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)​
Windows_8.1_Update_Start_Screen_Search_Button.jpg
4. Press the Windows :winkey: + Q keys, and go to step 7 below.​
5. Open the Charms bar, click/tap on the Search charm, and go to step 7 below.​
6. Open the Power User Tasks Menu (Windows+X), click/tap on Search, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshots below)​
Power_users.jpg Windows_8.1_Win+X.jpg
7. Do step 8 or 9 below depending on if you have Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installed.​
8. If you have Windows 8 or Windows RT
A) As you start to type what you want to search for in the search box, you will see your recent search history display below it to make searching for these again easier by just selecting it. (see screenshot below)​
search-history.jpg
B) As you type what you want to search for in the search box, you will see how may items to the right in apps, settings, and files that match your search. You can click/tap on Apps, Settings, or Files to view the specific search results in each one of them. If you do a generic search in Files, say for files that start with "T", then you will notice that the search results are also available in types (ex: All, Documents, Pictures, Other, etc...) to help narrow down your search. You can also switch to search within other apps (listed in right pane under apps, settings, or files) that work with Search. (see screenshots below)​

Tip   Tip

  • Searches for Files will only show search results from what locations and file types you have included in your indexing options.
  • When searching for Files, you can hover over a file in the search results to see it's details pop-up.
  • If you're in an app that works with Search, you'll see the search results for items that are in that app.
  • You can go to a location in File Explorer by entering a path in the search box and tapping or clicking Apps. For example, if you enter C:\, a list of the folders on your C drive appears below the search box. Press the Down Arrow key to select a folder, and then keep typing until you get to the path you want. You can do the same with network folders by entering the path as \\server\share. You can also run an .exe file by entering its file name in the search box.
  • If search suggestions appear below the search box as you type, you can use them to search more quickly. When you search for files, Search looks only in common file locations, such as libraries. The suggestions and results you get depend on where you store your files and folders, so it's best to save your files in libraries.
  • If you want to see more details for a search result, you can tap and hold or hover over the result to see info like path, date modified, and file type.
  • To see all the apps you have on your PC, tap or click/tap Apps without entering a search term.

Apps.jpgSettings.jpgFiles.jpgGeneric-Files.jpgapp.jpg
9. If you have Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, or Windows 8.1 Update
A) In the Search charm, click/tap on the menu arrow, and click/tap on where you want to search in. (see screenshots below)​


Note   Note
Everywhere = Searches for what you type from everywhere (all below) on your PC and online with Bing (if turned on). Bing may also give you ads in your search results.

Settings = Searches for what you type from Windows settings, and not online.

Files = Searches for what you type from files on your Windows 8 PC when the locations and file types have been included in your indexing options. Does not search online.

]Web images = Searches for what you type from images online with Bing (if turned on). Bing may also give you ads in your search results.

Web videos = Searches for what you type from videos online with Bing (if turned on). Bing may also give you ads in your search results.


Search.jpg
B) As you type what you want to search for, you'll see a list of search suggestions from your search history display underneath as a quick search. When finished typing, either press Enter or click/tap on the search Search_button.jpg button to start searching. (see screenshot below)​
Searching-1.jpg
C) Here are some example search results you may see depending on where you search (step 9A), and if you have search with Bing turned on or not. (see screenshots below)​
Tip   Tip

  • Clicking/tapping on an item in the search results will open it.
  • Hovering the pointer on an item in the search results will show you a pop-up with more details about it.
  • You can right click or press and hold on a single item in search results for more options like Open file location and Copy. This does not apply to "Settings" search results.
  • On the top left bar in search results, you can click/tap on the back arrow Back_Arrow_button.jpg button to view the previous search.
  • On the top left bar in search results, you can click/tap on the search Search_button-2.jpg button to go back to the Search charm to perform another search.

Everywhere_Bing_search_results.jpg
Everywhere_Search_results-1.png
Settings_search_results.jpg
Files_search_results.jpg




OPTION TWO

How to Search in File Explorer in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1



NOTE: Searching in Windows Explorer allows you to use more advanced search options in Windows 8. Search in Windows Explorer looks in all folders and subfolders within the library or folder you're searching.
1. Open File Explorer by pressing Windows + E keys and release, then navigate to the folder or drive you want to search in and open it.​
2. Click/tap in the search box in the top right corner in Windows Explorer to have the Search Tools appear. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: You will also see your recent search history display below the search box to make searching for these again easier by just selecting it.​
explorer-1.jpg
3. You can use the Search Tools to modify and fine tune your search results before and after typing what you want to search for in the search box. (see screenshots below)​

Note   Note

  • Searching for all items with a particular file extension. To search for all files with a particular file extension, such as .txt, you can enter it like this: *.txt.
  • Searching file names and contents. For common locations, such as libraries, Search looks for text in file names, contents, and properties (such as tags). If you're searching in such a location, you can use special keywords if you want to search only file names and not file contents. For example, if your search term is "letter," enter it like this: System.FileName:~="letter". Note that Search looks only for items whose name begins with the characters you enter. For example, if you enter 2012 and have two files, one named Budget2012 and the other named Budget 2012, Search will find only the latter.
  • Searching for a file based on its properties. To search for a file based on the date it was last modified, what kind of file it is (such as "Picture"), or other properties, tap or click the Search Tools tab and use the options in the Refine group.

Tip   Tip
As you enter your search terms, your results will start to appear with your search terms highlighted. If you can't find what you're looking for in a specific library or folder, you can expand the search to include different locations in Search Tools.

When the search results appear, under Search again in you can choose:
NOTE: The actual options available will vary per system.
  • Libraries to search across all your libraries.
  • Computer to search across your entire PC. This is the way to search for files that aren't in common locations. However, the search will be slower.
  • Custom to search specific locations.
  • Homegroup to search shared files across your Homegroup.
  • Internet to search online, using your default web browser and your default search provider.
  • File Contents (if it's available for the location you're searching) to search within files for your search term.

Explorer-2.jpgexplorer-3.jpg


That's it,
Shawn


 

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Last edited:
Hello Bobbo,

If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
I am finding search the most disappointing thing about Win 8.1
It might work for some but the way I use search (and everyone I know) Windows 8.1 falls WAY short. Far easier in Windows 7. I just upgraded 4 PCs at my business and went with Windows 7. I will stick with it until they stop support or MS releases something better.

I use Win 8.1 at home on a laptop and it's the ONLY Windows 8 PC I will have. I would rather use Vista.....and that says a lot. Windows 8 must be good on phones because I am VERY disappointed on the desktop version.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom builds
    CPU
    AMD 1099T Six core
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Samsung
    Hard Drives
    2 X Western Digital 1 TB
    PSU
    Corsair 500W
    Case
    Cooler Master Elite 341
    Internet Speed
    12 Mb
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    MS MSE - Defender in 8
    Other Info
    I have built 40-50 systems. I have 3 desktops and just got a new laptop.
Hello Nate,

Does the information in the yellow top box at the top of the tutorial help any?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G7 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
Something that seems to be missing in 8.x is searching by date modified according to date range, e.g. 1-Apr-2011 to 31-Dec-2013. I'm trying to sync drives so I have all the latest files together but there are a huge amount of files and my memory is foggy about when and where I made changes.... :think:


Edit: found it! Type "datemodified:" into the search box, a calendar appears. Click and drag for a range on the calendar, or type "datemodified:1/2/2011..28/2/2011" (in your country's date order format e.g. MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY) and there you are. That's one more thing I didn't like about 8.x solved :) Maybe someone might like to add it to the tutorial. It's in the Win7 tutorial.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Update Pro x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Own build
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 4670
    Motherboard
    ASUS H87M-PRO
    Memory
    8GB (2x4GB) Kingston ValueRAM 1600MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    On-die Intel HD Graphics 4600
    Sound Card
    Onboard "Realtek ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC"
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U2412M
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD; Seagate Expansion 2TB (external USB 3.0); WD My Passport Essential 500GB (external USB 3.0)
    PSU
    SilverStone ST50F-ES 500W
    Case
    SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E
    Keyboard
    Diamond Digital KM303
    Mouse
    Kensington Expert Mouse Optical Trackball
    Internet Speed
    ~13/1Mbps ADSL2+
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
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