Windows Vista has powerful new features that help you get organized and find your files faster and easier than ever.
You can find all of your personal files here, in your personal folder.
The personal folder is a fast way to get to the files and folders you use most often, such as Documents, Pictures, and Music. Some of the folders you'll find here are also available directly from the Start menu.
You might notice some differences from earlier versions of Windows. For example, the folder names no longer include the word "My," so My Documents is now called Documents. In addition, folders like Pictures and Music aren't located inside the Documents folder any longer—they're now on the same level.
While the names are different, some things never change. For example, it's still a good idea to store your files in the Documents folder.
Since you'll spend a lot of time in this folder, you can use the Views menu to change the way the contents are displayed. For example, if you want to see a lot of information about your files, such as their sizes or the dates they were last changed, you can choose the Details view. Or, if you want to see a thumbnail of the actual content of your files, you can choose one of the Icon views.
Need to open another folder? You can use the improved Address Bar.
Let's say you need to go up one folder. All you need to do is click that folder name in the Address bar.
Or you can go directly to any subfolder by clicking the arrow next to a folder and choosing the subfolder you want.
The Navigation pane is a new area in every folder that contains shortcuts to the folders you most often use. So, if you find yourself frequently opening the same folder, drag that folder to the Navigation pane, and you can always return to it with just one click.
The traditional folder view, familiar to users of Windows Explorer is just a click away as well. You can leave the Folders view open, or minimize it to reduce clutter.
Looking for a file? The new Search box on the Start menu makes it easy. Just open the Start menu and start typing in the Search box. Search results will appear almost as fast as you can type.
Or, if you know your file is located somewhere in a specific folder, such as the Documents folder, then you can start there. Every folder has its own Search box, which you can use to search the contents of the folder, including subfolders.
Not only does your search look for file names that match your search terms, it scans all the text inside documents, too. If you type a word into the Search box that is used on page ten of a document, for example, search will find that file for you.
Another way to find a file is by filtering. Suppose you're looking for files written by a particular person. Click the Authors heading and filter the view to show only files by the authors you specify.
Or you can look for information by stacking your files. For example, you can choose to Stack by Author. Each one of these stacks has all the files created by that person. Double-click a stack to see all those files.
And if you create a search that you might want to use again, you can save it so the results are always easy to find.
To access your saved searches, click the Searches link in the Navigation pane. For even faster access, you can drag your favorite searches to the Navigation pane.
What if you want to search your entire hard disk, or look for files that are usually hidden from search results? That's when it's time to use the Search folder.
When you open the Search folder and type in the Search box, you're actually searching all of your personal folders—Documents, Pictures, Music, even e‑mail—all at the same time.
If you want to search your entire hard disk, rather than just your personal folders, click Advanced Search.
Here, you can choose to search everywhere, not just your personal files.
If there are too many results to easily manage, use one of these buttons to see only the kind of file you are interested in.
In Windows Vista, finding a file is as easy as typing in the Search box, and you can organize and save your search results as never before.