Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Search for more than one kind of file at once

I had occasion the other day to try to locate some files on a damaged hard drive, and I discovered that Windows file manager windows support searching for several different file patterns at once. You separate the patterns with semicolons.

This means that you can be viewing a folder in Windows, hit Ctrl-F to bring up the find panel, and enter
to search for text and executable files as a set.

This is magically powerful. I shortly after verified that my favorite free Windows search utility, Agent Ransack, supports the same syntax. I'm sure it's been around forever, but I bet a lot of casual users don't know about it.

Do you have a temp folder?

Do you have a temp folder at the root of your hard drive? If not, why not?
I always create a folder c:\temp on any machine I use. I use it as a scratchpad workspace for creating collections of things to be zipped up to send to someone, or for temporarily storing a download, or whatever. Using tab-completion, c:\temp is a super-quick path to reach in any Windows dialog box or command line. And making a habit like this makes it even quicker.

The key fact about anything in \temp is that it can be deleted without heartache. I don't put anything there if I need to keep it. If I run low on space, I can always empty this folder (not that space issues comeup much on today's huge hard drives...).