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Finding Misplaced Files

When you save a file, you give it a name and you carefully select the location on your hard disk drive. That done, you exit from the program and go to bed knowing it will be there in the morning.

Well, what if it was late and you were in a hurry and you didn't think much about the file name and let the program decide where to save the file? When morning comes, even after two strong cups of coffee (I won't say Java so programmers won't be mad), you can't remember what you called the file or what the Save As... dialog box said in the "Save in" blank. All is not lost.

First step (after starting the program) is to use the program's File menu. Most modern programs list the most recent documents.

This sample image shows the most recent four documents I saved. To access any one of them, I simply slide my mouse pointer down the list and click the one I want. As long as I have the disk (a floppy needs to be put back in the drive), the file will open.

[Disclaimer: If the disk is damaged or you simply turned off the computer without saving the file, then... all bets are off.]

Maybe even simpler, you could look at the Windows Start menu documents list.

The astute observer might notice that the order of recent access is reversed between the program file menu and the Start menu documents list.

Of course, you might want to look at a file that you saved days, weeks, months,...millenia, eons ago. In that case, neither the program File menu nor the Windows Start menu documents list will be long enough for you.

The Start Menu also lets you search your computer for files, whether recent or ancient. The Find option on the Start menu

Select the "Files or Folders" option.

Type part of the file name into the "Named" blank. If you aren't too sure, don't type too much. Windows will find your text as part of the file name. If you are too specific, there might not be a good match. I used mouse as an example search here. If I thought it was "mouses" or worse, "mice", I would not have had the results I got. I did have to scroll down a fairly long list of matching files before I found the document I was looking for.

To save some time on a slower or very crowded computer, I can limit my search to my best guess of the dates I might have saved the file.

Of course, maybe you saved the file just once to a floppy disk that you sent to your grandmother and she thought you had sent her a nice coaster for her sweating lemonade glass...


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Personal Computer Education -
Algot Runeman
Permission granted to print and duplicate.
September 20, 1999