Microsoft: How To Search On Windows 8 – File Search, Settings Search, App Search

Written by: Shailpik Biswas - Published: Friday, October 21st, 2011 - Comments

Earlier this week, Microsoft published a blog post on the Building Windows 8 blog that talks about how the search has been improved in Windows 8 and how you can now search for files, settings and apps.

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The Different Search Types On Windows 8: File Search, Settings Search, App Search

windows 8 types of search

Windows 8 has the following different types of search — file search, settings search and app search. Each of these have their own short cuts too — WIN+W for searching through settings, WIN+F for files and WIN+Q for applications search. Another very intuitive way of searching through apps is simply to start typing whilst you are on the new Start Screen. This will immediately begin to filter through all your installed apps and show you apps matching your query. Also, the more you use this feature, the more the system will learn which apps you use more often. These frequently used apps will be placed higher than other apps that also match the query. An example used by Microsoft is this:

For example, if you type “paint” in the developer preview you get 2 apps back as search results – PaintPlay and Paint. If you predominantly just use Paint, it will be ranked higher than PaintPlay as you use it more often.

WIN+R still brings up the traditional run command and it will switch to desktop view automatically. Run does everything that it has been doing so far. So overall, it has been an overall improvement without destroying features that were already useful.

Faster, More Efficient Searching On Windows 8

Continuing their efforts at having a transparent dialogue with the Windows user and developer communities, Microsoft pointed out exactly how search on Windows 7 was inefficient and limited. The organization of search results was unpredictable because it panned several different types of data like apps, emails, files, etc. This data is now organized in Windows 8 by having different search types instead of just one unified search. Windows 8 also interacts differently with search data.

Windows 8 has an ‘app-first’ approach when it comes to indexing data for quick search results. It asks developers to present their app’s data to Windows 8 for indexing; making sure that it is properly filtered, categorized data that contributes to a rich search experience. Since search will now receive an organized set of data from apps, the results will be better organized and more relevant to what you are looking for.


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Written by: Shailpik Biswas
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8 Responses to Microsoft: How To Search On Windows 8 – File Search, Settings Search, App Search

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Hendu Henderson said:

    It would have been great if this type info was on the download page of windows 8… If nothing else you have a point of comparison to start with that you will not need to spend half a day trying to find.

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Tom said:

    Embarrassingly enough, I actually had to do a internet search to find out how to search for an App on Windows 8. Didn’t think to just start typing. They’ll have to do some massive marketing of that feature to get it widely known before launch.

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Al said:

    Won’t search for files on my external hard drives. Big drawback to me!

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    oliversk said:

    Al, have you tested if “Everything” works on Windows 8? It’s a search tool that indexes your hard drives really fast and then you can search everything in SECONDS. It’s the most sophisticated tool I know for ultra-fast searches.. just not sure if it works and indexes external hard drives

    Download is here http://www.voidtools.com/download.php

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Al said:

    Oliversk, Thanks for the reply. Search works fine and it is fast for every thing on my hard drive. But, I can’t find a way to include indexing or searching my two external hard drives. Surely there must be a way!!

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    oliversk said:

    Al, we will have a tutorial on that later this week, if you can wait that long you will find it on our homepage and I’ll drop you a mail

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Ken said:

    Why is each new window more complicated than the previous. XP was so much simplier than 7 and 8. There are more everyday older users than wiz kids who are interested in news, travel, research and personal conversation, TV, radio and music than games.

    I returned a new $1200 computer with 23 inch screen and Windows 7 because of all the extras which I didn’t want and those I wanted were only for sale. Buy Apple.

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Wingeek said:

    @Al – go into the control panel, choose “Indexing Options”, put check marks on your external drives. Done.

    @Ken – Maybe a Mac is better suited for your simple needs. For those of us who work for a living we need something more than an iPad.

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