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Refining Cortana’s Search

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, File & Disk Management, Windows 10

A reader is having problems searching with Cortana: “Windows 10 Cortana search works well on the web but very limited on this DELL Inspiron laptop. The 17-year-old Windows XP OS search was slow but very good and able to dig out just one word from thousands of documents, so why has the latest Windows 10 proven to be so useless in this respect? How can we configure Win 10 word search to do the same as that oldĀ  WIN. XP OS?”

Cortana has some pretty powerful search capabilities. To find results for words contained in your documents, you just need to refine the search parameters. In the example below, I’m looking for a word in a document on my PC. If I just enter the word and search, the results seem pretty vague.


Let’s refine the search. Start by clicking the arrow at the top right of the Start Menu.

You’ll see the option to filter by apps, settings, documents, folders, and more. Click on any of these items to filter by that category.


Better yet, if you know where you want to look before you type in your search. Choose Documents before you type in your search word.


As you can see below, once I filtered my search by documents, I have lots of relevant results.


~ Cynthia


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3 Responses to “Refining Cortana’s Search”

  1. Lonnie Hobbs says:

    Windows 10 original search worked well nearly as well as that of Windows 7 but updates from Microsoft has killed it in the Pro version on my laptop and the Home version on my wife’s. I have asked several times for fixes to this loss but get nothing for answers. I am not the only person with this complaint.

  2. Dirgster says:

    Thanks, Cynthia, for that great tip! I never had explored the filter option in Cortana before and will find it very helpful. I’ve learned a lot from your tips, and they are much appreciated. Keep up the good work!

  3. Ceryl Southard says:

    Not helpful. When I try to search for programs on my computer using Cortana it sends me to Bing search. I was trying to find my calculator. I typed in find calculator. Among the search results were calculator app, calculator on computer and calculator in Windows 10. When I clicked on each of those it sent me to Bing search on Edge. I was using a Dell Inspiron all in one with Windows 10 OS.

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