Advanced Searches and Natural Language Search

Windows will usually search for whatever you enter in the Search box by looking in the file name, file contents, and file properties of all the files in the current view. Type "Summer," for example, and it will find files named "sunset in summer.jpg," files tagged with "summer," and files written by anyone named Summer.

Vista's Search engine uses the Windows Desktop Search query syntax. If you want to search more selectively, you can filter your search by specifying which file property to search. To filter by file property, separate the name of the property and the search term with a colon, as in these examples:

kind: music artist: Sting -> Find music files from the artist Sting.
Name: Sunset -> Find only files that have the word sunset in the file name.
Modified: 05/25/2006 -> Find only files that have been modified on that date.

You can filter by any property that appears in the file list headings. To see the complete list of properties that you can filter by, right-click the heading you want to see properties for, and then click More. Using Boolean filters is another way to perform a more precise search, you can combine them with other search filters:

tropical AND island -> Find files that contain both words "tropical" and "island".
tropical NOT island -> Find files that contain the word "tropical", but not "island".
tropical OR island -> Find files that contain either of the words "tropical" or "island".
"tropical island" -> Find files that contain the exact phrase "tropical island".
(tropical island) -> Find files that contain both words "tropical" and "island", in any order.
date: > 01/05/06 -> Find files that are more than or later than a certain value, such as after 01/05/06.
size: < 4 MB -> Find files that are less than or earlier than a certain value, such as less than 4 MB.
Note: When you type Boolean filters like AND or OR, you need to use all capital letters!

If you turn on Natural Language Search, you can perform searches in a simpler way, without using colons and without the need to enter AND and OR in capital letters. For example, compare these searches:
Without natural language: kind: music artist: (Beethoven OR Mozart)
With natural language: music Beethoven or Mozart
To turn on Natural Language Search: Open the Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Folder Options, click the Search tab, select the Use natural language search check box, click Apply and then click OK.