We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the differences between Windows Desktop Search 3.01 for Windows XP (or Google Desktop Search) and the desktop search and organization capabilities in Windows Vista. There are many features that are different, but in particular, one feature, called Search Folders, stands out.

Search Folders are saved searches that free you from having to live in a world of strictly hierarchical folders.

You can design a Search Folder that organizes your files in virtually any way. You can create them to find files or types of files that you often need. For example, you can design one that lets you view all of your files by a particular author, on that lets you see only files that are attachments, or even one that shows you all files from a particular team project. They are simple queries, and the sky is the limit when it comes to designing them. Once you’ve created them, you can use them whenever you need to search for that group of files.

Here’s how to crate a Search Folder:

  1. Go to the Search Explorer in Windows Vista by clicking Start and then clicking Search.
  2. Design a search by typing your queary in the search box. As you type, files from a variety of locations on your computer will appear that match your text. Your search will find files based on text within files on your computer, tags, and other properties attached to the file. Find tips on how to design better searches.
  3. Once the search is completed, on the toolbar click Save Search.
  4. On the File name box, type a name for the search, and then click Save. The search will be saved in the Searches folders, which you can open by clicking the Searches link in the Navigation pane. If you create a search that you use frequently, consider adding it to the Favorite links section in the Navigation pane. To do this, in the Navigation pane, click Searches, and then drag the saved search to the position in the Navigation pane where you want it to appear.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

--Jason Kozleski