This page outlines instructions on how to use the Windows XP Search capability. You can use these steps with Win 98 or Vista as well as MacOSx with some modifications. The key to finding your pictures is to have named your folders in a consistent way according to the steps outlined in the Organize pictures booklet.
STEP 1: Start the Search Utility.
Start --> Search --> For Files or Folders. If you have named your folders with enough details you should be able to locate them very quickly using the Search capability that Windows includes by default. You don’t need any special program to install or learn, you use only what comes with Windows on your PC.
How to start the search utility in Windows XP
STEP 2: Click All Files and Folders on the Search Utility screen.
You may wonder: Why not use the Pictures, Music or Video? This option will find specific files and not folders. We usually want to find the folders containing the pictures we want, so we need to search for folders.
Make sure you’re searching for all files and folders.
STEP 3: Enter parameters for searching.
Make sure you select My Pictures (or your pictures folder) in the “Look in” field. Otherwise it will search your entire computer. In the “All or part of the file name” field enter the event or place you’re looking for.
If you have named your picture folders properly you should be able to find them quickly. Enter something like:
bday, birthday, grandma, yosemite, or other events or places of interest. You can also enter part of a word (i.e. grand, yose, birth, and day) and the search utility will find what you’re looking for.
Modify the parameters for your search.
Essentials for organizing your digital photosHere are the essential products and services I have come to rely on for many years to keep my media collection organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
If you do a lot of image editing like I do, I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. But if do image editing, Adobe Lightroom is my favorite.
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In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.