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Search by Date in Windows XP

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

Yesterday I was working on a video project that I have edited (renamed) a lot in the last few days and I can’t find them all. How can I look for these files?

I know what you mean. I save every graphics project I am working on more than once, just in case of any mishaps. Sometimes I rename it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I alternate between two programs when I am working on a project and need to consolidate them. With all of this in mind, here’s an easy tip that has saved me a lot of times, and will probably help you, too.

Let’s start by finding where we go to being a search.

One easy way is to point to Start, right-click, and left-click on “Search” and your search window will pop up. If you would like to go this route, then you can skip ahead to the SEARCH OPTIONS part of the article.

If you want to use the search box located in your Start up menu, here’s how:

In WinXP, there are two different types of Start menus. The first is the “Classic” way; it is like the Start menu from previous versions of Windows.


As you can see, after pointing to the Start button, you can just take your cursor straight up and there’s the Search button. When you hover over it, a new menu appears to the right. Since you are going to be looking for files on your computer, you will be left-clicking on For Files or Folders…

The other type of Start Menu is a little different than the Classic. When you point to Start, the menu pops up with two columns. On the right side, all the way down, you will see that I have pointed to Search.

The other type of Start menu looks like this:


The Search window that pops up when you begin your search is the same, no matter where you choose to search from.


You are now going to point to All files and folders and left-click. It may seem like you should click on Pictures, music, or video, but remember you are editing a video file, not a true video.

After you click on All files and folders, this window will pop up:


As you can see, there are a few options to choose from when you begin a search. In this case, we would like to know where any video file you have been working on in the past few days is located. Thus my cursor is pointing to When was it modified? After you click on this, you will get a window that looks like this:


Here you have more options. Since you are looking for files you have edited in the past few days, you want to choose the option Specify dates.

In the from field I have entered 1/1/2010.

In the to field I have entered 1/4/2010.

Since you don’t know what your file is called, just click on Search. Do not enter anything in the Search box. The Search window will pull up everything you have done from 1/1/2010 to 1/4/2010. Just look for the type of video file you have been working on. Not only will you get everything you have accessed during those days, you get the location and when it was modified. In this case the video files that you edited and can’t remember the names of will all come up. In fact, you can change the dates to look for some you did not just a few days ago, but a few months ago.

The downside to this is that it will pull up everything you have done, not just your video projects. In this case, do all of the things listed in this article, but instead of just hitting the search button, type in the extension of the files you are looking for. When looking for a Word doc, for example, you type in *.doc. In your case, you would use the extension that is used for your specific video editing program.

So go look for those video files! You’ll find them – and maybe other things you forgot about, too!


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