How to find missing files in Windows 10

James Walker

Looking for more How To posts? Check out our How To Page for all the latest tips on Windows, Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn, and more!

Looking for an elusive file or program? Windows Search might be able to help you find what you’ve lost.

Search is deeply integrated into Windows and its interface. To start a new search, just press the Win+S keyboard shortcut. Try typing for a known word or set of characters within the file you’re looking for. With luck, the item will show up straightaway.

Searching in Windows 10

You can narrow your search using the categories at the top of the search interface. Choose “Apps”, “Documents”, “Settings” or “Web” to show only results from each respective category. Under “More,” you get additional useful filters that let you drill down by file classification – you can choose Music, Videos or Pictures.

If what you’re looking for still isn’t showing up, you might need to adjust how Windows indexes your PC. You can get detailed guidance on setting up enhanced search indexing by following our dedicated how-to guide. Windows Search works best once it’s built a comprehensive index of what’s on your PC, so it’s a good idea to check it’s covering your most-used folders.

Searching in File Explorer

To access more advanced search options, try using search from within File Explorer. Launch File Explorer and browse to a directory in which you think the file might reside. Click in the searchbar and type something you remember from the filename.

You can now use the “Search” tab in the ribbon to customise the contents of the search results. Properties you can filter by include file type, approximate file size and modification date. This may helpful if lost content isn’t showing up in the taskbar searchbar.