Problem of the week

Tips & Hints

Finding Lost Files

16 May 2001

I keep losing files. I save them and when I restart the computer I can’t find them. How do I find them?

Finding lost files on a computer can be very easy if you know the name you used to save it. If you can’t remember the name all is not lost, there are a number of tricks that you can use. The important thing is learning to use your computer’s find function.

On a Windows Computer the F3 key or Start>Find>Files or Folders will get you into the find file function. The Mac equivalents are command + F or click on the Apple menu and choose Find File or Sherlock. You then have the find file box displayed.

If you can remember the name of the file type the name, make sure the find command is looking on the correct drive. Windows users should make sure My Computer is selected in the look in box and include subfolders has been ticked. On both Windows and Mac machines typing in part of the name will give you a list of all file names containing that part.

Forgetting the file name makes the search harder but not impossible. You can set the options for your search to find by date modified, file type or keyword. Date is the best if you can roughly remember the last time you saved the file, you tell the computer to search a given date range and get a list of all files modified between those dates, you may get a lot of results. If you can remember a key phrase, name or an unusual word that was in the document you can run a keyword search. This can take a long time.

The best way of avoiding losing files is to organise your data so it gets saved to the correct location each time. In this week’s small business helpdesk we look at that in more detail. The important thing to remember when anything goes wrong on a computer is not to panic, when you panic you lose data.

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