Finding Files on Your Computer

Within Windows finding files can become complicated. Get it all cleared up with this free lesson.

Finding your files

In the previous lesson, we talked about how folders can help to keep your files organized. However, there may be times when you have trouble finding a certain file. If this happens to you, don't panic! The file is probably still on your computer, and there are a few simple ways to find it. In this lesson, we'll show you different techniques you can use to find your files, including searching and looking in common places.

Watch the video below to learn more about finding files in Windows.

Common places to look for files

If you're having a difficult time finding a file, there's a good chance you can find it in one of the following places:

Searching for files

Let's say you recently downloaded a few photos that were attached to an email message, but now you're not sure where these files are on your computer. If you're struggling to find a file, you can always search for it. Searching allows you to look for any file on your computer.

To search for a file (Windows 10):

In the Cortana Search Box next to the Start button, type to search for a file. The search results will appear above the search box.

To search for a file (Windows 8):

Click the Start button to go to the Start screen, then start typing to search for a file. The search results will appear on the right side of the screen. Simply click a file or folder to open it.

screenshot of Windows 8

To search for a file (Windows 7 and earlier):

Click the Start button, type the file name or keywords with your keyboard, and press Enter. The search results will appear. Simply click a file or folder to open it.

Screenshot of Microsoft Windows

Tips for finding files

If you're still having trouble finding the file you need, here are some additional tips.