If Windows 7 has a killer feature, it’s search. As I demonstrate in this week’s screencast, you can find search boxes throughout Windows 7—on the Start menu, in Control Panel, and in Windows Explorer. The indexed search is fast and accurate, in my experience, and the indexing process itself is barely noticeable in terms of performance. The best change, though, is the addition of the Search Builder, which replaces the clunky search forms from earlier versions and allows you to filter a results set by date, type, size, or an attribute that’s appropriate to a particular type of data such as music or photos.
Every time I write about search, at least a half-dozen commenters show up in the Talkback section to proclaim that it’s unnecessary if you know how to organize your files into subfolders. But they miss the point completely. A well-managed filing system and a fast search index work together beautifully. As an author, for example, how should I keep my files organized? Should I have every document related to a single project in its own subfolder? Or should I keep contracts in one folder, proposals and outlines in another, drafts in yet another, and finished chapters elsewhere? And even if I’ve done a perfect job of naming and organizing those files, how do I find the contract that had the clause about foreign publication rights that I need to discuss with my agent in five minutes? A good search tool can track that file down in seconds. Without it, I’d have to find every contract in every folder and open each one to see what’s inside.
This is the third of four Windows 7 demos I’ve done in this series. Look for the final screencast in the series next week at this time.
More coverage of Windows 7: