Searching for Arbitrary Files on Vista

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 9 Sept. 2008 / Last Updated on 3 July 2008]

The quickest way to find an arbitrary file on a Vista computer.

If you press Windows Key+F to open Search Explorer on Vista and try to search for some arbitrary file such as a DLL, chances are you won’t find it. This is because by default the Windows Search service doesn’t index all file types and doesn’t index all locations on your computer.

What can you do then if you need to quickly find some arbitrary file on Vista but don’t want to reconfigure the indexer and wait for the index to be updated? The solution is to open an elevated command prompt and type dir filename /s where filename is the full name of the file you want including its extension.

For more information on using search on Vista, see the Windows Vista Resource Kit, Second Edition.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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