The Ins and Outs of Windows 8 Search

Search engines like Google have revolutionized the way we find information, but they’ve also set the expectations of finding things using keywords. Now, with Windows 8, it seems cumbersome to scroll through the Start screen to find the applications we want to open, or navigate through a maze of file folders using File Explorer.

Sometimes it’s just easier to type what you want to find.  And luckily enough, there are lots of options in Windows 8 for doing searches using the Search Charm.

Opening the Search Charm

To invoke the Search Charm to make searches:
1. On a touch screen, [Swipe] in from the right edge of your screen.
Or, with a mouse, [Hover] over the upper-right or lower-right corner of the screen
Or, on a keyboard, press -C.

2. Select the Start Charm:

Keyboard Shortcut: To invoke the Start Charm in one step, press -Q.

With the Search Charm open, you’re now ready to search.

Searching from the Start Screen

When you’re on the Start Screen, you don’t have to invoke the Search Charm to search. If not already open, press  to open the Start Screen, then start typing. As you type, the search results will appear on the left.

Searching Within Apps

You can search within compatible apps such as the News or YouTube App:
1. Invoke the Search Charm.
2. Type your search term.
3. [Click] an app on the right panel. The app will show the results for your search term on the left side.

Searching by Category

If you’re searching within an app, you can switch to searching your system’s APPS, SETTINGS, and FILES. If you’re searching from the Desktop or Start Screen, the search function will return matching APPS by default.

To view programs and applications, [Click] APPS. To view results to Control Panel settings, [Click] SETTINGS. To view matching files, [Click] FILES.

To open or run a search result, [Click] its tile on the left.

Using the Search Charm to Open a Location

To browse a folder location, enter the folder’s path (ie. “C:\”) in the search box.
Or, to open the folder that a search result file is located in, select the file ([Press and hold] or [Right Click] it) then [Click] .

See All Apps on Your PC
[Click] Apps before entering a search term. On the left side, you’re able to browse all apps.

Changing Search Settings

To change the apps that appear in Search:

1. On a touch screen, [Swipe] in from the right edge of your screen.
Or, with a mouse, [Hover] over the upper-right or lower-right corner of the screen
Or, on a keyboard, press -C.

2. Select the Settings Charm:

3. [Click] CHANGE PC SETTINGS, then SEARCH.

4. Under the heading USE THESE APPS TO SEARCH, choose which Apps to include/exclude from searches.
(Note: To delete your search history, [Click] DELETE HISTORY.)

Getting Detailed Info on Search Items

To see more information on search results, [Press and Hold] or [Hover] over the item for details like path, date modified, and file type.

Including/Excluding Files in Searches

You may not not find the file you were looking for in a search. That’s because only files in libraries (Videos, Documents, Pictures, etc.), email messages, and offline files are included in searches by default.

According to Microsoft, program and system files are typically excluded from search because they’re not often relevant for most searches.

To include/exclude a folder’s contents in searches, it’s often easiest to add the folder to a library or remove it. Otherwise, you can add or remove an index location.

Do you have any tips on making a Windows 8 search that gets results? Please let us know in the comments!

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