The Windows 7 search box is a wonderful thing.
As with its predecessor in Windows Vista, it can quickly and easily take you anywhere you want to go within Windows – and beyond!
With items removed from the Start menu in Windows 7, Search is commonly used as a sort of substitute to the old Run box accessed in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003; however the Search box is far more powerful than this, and can allow you to browse your PC, launch applications and even connect to other PCs in your local network.
Launch the Command Prompt
Probably one of the most common uses for the Windows 7 Search box is to launch the Command Prompt, an MS-DOS style interface that is still used by IT technicians to perform tasks such as quickly re-registering software components or accessing FTP when no client application is available.
To run the Command Prompt, simply go to Start, and in the Search box type ‘cmd’. You don’t even need to wait for Windows to search for cmd.exe – you can simply type ‘cmd’ and press Enter to run the application.
Don’t forget to type ‘exit’ when you’re done!
Find the Run Box!
Surprisingly, you can still find the Run box in Windows 7, which is still useful for quickly accessing the same files, folder locations and applications that can now be automatically run from the Search box.
To display the Run box in Windows 7, go to Start and type ‘run’ in the Search box. You can then display the Run box and use it for doing many of the same things you might alternatively have used the Command Prompt for!
This same process can be used to launch almost any application that you know the name of, such as ‘paint’ for Microsoft Paint.
Search Your PC
The most obvious use for the Windows 7 Search box is to use it to find things – something it does with amazing competence.
For example simply typing in a word that appears in a specific document or almost immediate results are a set of documents. Expect to Word documents, PDFs and more all with your search term. Must in particular about what you search, however. A search term “Accounts” would find the corresponding document (assuming the search term correctly is written) – Vice versa with a common word like “this” might take your document a little longer to find…
Type ‘Search’ into Search!
Windows 7’s search capabilities negate the need to use Google Desktop for this function – but even then, it may not be configured by default to find the particular files you might want.
To alter the Windows 7 search settings, type ‘search’ into the Search box and wait for the results. Look for Indexing Options (or Change how Windows searches) and click this to have a look at some of the options, as well as a few statistics.
Use the Modify option to add new locations (disk drives, partitions, etc) to Windows Search; meanwhile use Advanced > File Types to add or remove the types of file that will be displayed in the search results.
Launch Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer
One other excellent shortcut that can be found by using the Windows 7 Search box is the quick and easy opening of Internet Explorer (or whatever default browser you have selected) and Windows Explorer.
To open your browser, simply type a URL into the Search box and press Enter. Windows 7 will see that you are looking for a web page as long as you include the ‘www’ portion of the URL.
Similarly, you can open Windows Explorer from the Search box simply by typing the name of a drive letter, such as ‘c:’ and pressing Enter.
Five great shortcuts using the Windows 7 Search box!