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Fishnose, finder of lost files!


Find the file you thought was gone.


You just finished working on that 400 page document in Word.  You clicked the save icon (you know, the one that looks like a little diskette) or you clicked File, Save from the menu.  As you close Word, you realize that you've got to add another hundred pages to this classic of modern literature.  You click Start, Programs, Microsoft Word.  When Word comes up, you click the open icon (the one that looks like an opening folder) and search for your document.  To your horror, you discover that it isn't there in your nice neat list of files in "My Documents".  Well, where did it go?  Let's see if we can find out.


Unless there is something wrong with your computer, it's probably still there.  It may be lurking about in the dark corners of your computer where you seldom go, but it's probably in there somewhere.  Luckily, Microsoft has given you a tool to help you locate this poor lost file.  The amazing thing about this tool is that it is not hidden from you.  I'm sure you've skipped right past it dozens of times without even noticing it.  It's right there in your Start menu.  Let's go:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Find (or Search)
  3. Click Files or Folders

A lovely dialog box is presented, allowing you to narrow your search a little.   The first thing you see should be the tab with the legend "Name & Location" on it. The first box for you to fill in is the name of the file you are looking for.   If you are absolutely, positively sure what you called the file, enter the entire file name here.  Otherwise, just type in a few characters in the name that you are sure of.  For example, if you think the file was called "Bob the clown", but you're not sure, just type "Bob" in the "Named" box (without the quotes, of course).  If you want to look for all Word documents, you could type in "*.DOC".   For all Excel files you could use "*.XL*".   Check out Help for more assistance with file names.

When you're sure that you've gotten the name fairly close, click the Find Now button.   The system will chug and scrumble until it starts spitting file names into the box below, or until it can't find anything like what you're looking for.

If all goes well, you should see the name of your file appear.  You may now applaud.

You now have a couple of choices:

  1. Rest easy that your file has been found. Don't open it.  Get a drink and celebrate.
  2. If Word is not open, simply double-click the file's icon to open it in Word.
  3. If Word is currently open, drag the file's icon onto the Word window to open it.
  4. Please note that I used Word as an example.  The procedure works the same no matter what application the file was created in.
Quick Tip:
One of the default behaviors in Word (and many other programs) is to keep a list of the most recently saved documents in the File menu.  Click File, then look at the bottom of the drop-down menu.  You should see a list of files that have been worked on recently.  You can just click on the file name to open it.





Every precaution has been taken to insure that the procedures presented here will not cause damage to your computer system.  However, Mind Over Machines Inc. will not be responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by any advice and/or procedures given anywhere on this web site.  Likewise, we cannot be responsible for malfunctions caused by defective hardware, or unforeseen problems which arise from use of the standard Microsoft tools.  If problems do arise, we may attempt to assist in the diagnosis and eventual remedy, but cannot be held liable or bound to do so.

Contents Copyright 1999-2004, Mind Over Machines Inc.

Page last updated 08/28/04.