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Using the Windows 8 Interface : Working with Running Apps - Searching via the Start Screen

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4/3/2014 4:33:25 AM

If you use your PC regularly, there’s an excellent chance that its hard drive is crammed with thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, of files that take up hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of gigabytes. That’s a lot of data, but it leads to a huge and growing problem: finding things. Everyone wants to have the proverbial information at their fingertips, but these days our fingertips tend to fumble around more often than not, trying to locate not only documents and other data we’ve created ourselves, but also apps, Windows settings, and that wealth of information that exists “out there” on the Web, in databases, and so on.

Windows 8 attempts to solve this problem by combining all search operations into a single interface element called the Search pane. Using this deceptively simple pane with its single text box, Windows 8 lets you search for apps by name, for Windows 8 settings and features, for documents, for app data, and more.

To get to the Search pane, display the Charms menu and click Search. (You can also use some shortcut methods, which we’ll discuss as well.) Figure 1 shows the Search pane that appears.

Image

Figure 1. The Windows 8 Search pane.

The Search pane consists of a text box followed by a collection of icons. Here’s what they do:

Apps—Click this icon to search for an app by name. Note, too, that app searching is the default in Windows 8, so you can initiate an app search from the Start screen just by typing your search text.

Settings—Click this icon to search for a setting that’s available either in the PC Settings app or the Control Panel. Note that this is a search that includes metadata (specifically, descriptions embedded in each setting), so you don’t have to search for a specific setting name. To display the Search pane with Settings preselected, press Windows Logo+W.

Files—Click this icon to search through your user account libraries. To display the Search pane with Files preselected, press Windows Logo+F.

Within apps—The rest of the Search pane icons represent individual Windows 8 apps that implement a search contract. When you select one of these icons, you’re doing a search within that app. For example, click Internet Explorer to search the Web using Bing; click Maps to search for a location; or click Music to search for bands, songs, or albums.

As you type, Search displays the results that match your search text, as shown in Figure 2. When you see the item you want, click it.

Image

Figure 2. The Search pane displays as-you-type results.

 
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