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Quick Search Tips for Vista and Windows 7

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 by | Filed Under: Shortcuts & Keyboard Tricks, Windows Explorer

Lamar, from Los Angeles asks:

When using the Windows Search Programs and Files tool (under the Start button) is there a way to return to the answer display without having to start the search all over again?

This is a good question Lamar, and one that’s confounded me in both Vista and Windows 7 (of course, it never confounded me enough to actually do anything about it). However, reader questions often provide an opportunity to find answers to our own questions.

The answer, as far as I can tell, is no, this isn’t possible. But both Vista and Windows 7 offer a couple good options. For example, rather than using the Start search, hold the Windows key and hit the F key (Win+F), and a search folder will open. You can then type your query into the search box in the upper right corner. There, you can also find any previous searches in a dropdown list. Just click anything in that list to select a previous search.


However, all searches are recorded in this list, so it helps to occasionally reduce the number of entries. This can easily be done by navigating through the list with the arrow keys and pressing the delete key at each item on the list that you’d like to remove.

Both Vista and Windows 7 also offer a Save Search option, where any search performed can be saved for future reference, to any location you choose. Just click the Save Search button at the top of a Search Results window (see Windows 7 example below).


This opens the Save As dialog box, which offers choices for naming your search and for choosing a location for your saved search. This one was saved to the desktop.


For even easier access, you can pin the saved search to the Taskbar. If you click on that, the Search Results window for that search will reopen.

The process is nearly the same in Vista, but the appearance is slightly different. Once you’ve created a search with the Win+F key combination, click the Save Search button.


This will bring up the Save As dialog box, where you can choose a name and location for your saved search.


It’s not exactly what you were looking for, but this may work better than what you were hoping to find. While you can’t directly return to your search at the Start button, it’s almost as easy, and this method offers more than just the single previous search from which to choose.

Thanks for the question, Lamar.


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