Using File Explorer to Locate Files on a PC

by | 2022-06-21

When gathering files from a client’s Windows PC, photos and videos are likely to be found in the system default Pictures and Videos libraries:

It’s vital to find and gather all your clients’ photos and videos, but your client’s photos and videos may be stored in other locations on the PC.

Preserving Information about your Client’s Files

Using Search in File Explorer is very helpful for locating files, but, gathering files by selecting and copying them directly from search results to your EHD is not recommended because folder names will be lost.

However, Search can be used to locate files if the Folder column is visible. Once you know where those folders are, the entire folder can be copied to your EHD.

Preserving information about photos and videos is very important, and folder names often include information about the files they contain. If files are selected from the search results and copied to an EHD, any meaningful information in folder names will be lost.

The Importance of Preserving Folder Names

Meaningful folder names can later be converted to Keywords and added to the files in that folder. The name of the folder in a screenshot below is ‘Sarah’s Wedding’, and I would add the Keywords ‘Sarah’ and ‘wedding’  to the files inside. (actually, I’d use Sarah’s first and last names).

If a folder’s name includes a date, that date may be important if the folder contains photos that have missing or incomplete Exif date metadata, or if video dates are difficult to determine.


Using Search in File Explorer to Locate Files

  1. In the Search bar, enter either “” or * to generate a list of all files:
    As soon as the search has started, you can specify what kind of file you are looking for.
  2. Click on Search options:
  3. Click Kind:
  4. Select the type of file you want to be displayed in search results:
  5. Set the View to Details:
  6. Show the Folder column:
  7. When you find photo or video files you have not yet gathered, make a note of the folder’s name and location. Copying the folder path an taking a screenshot are two addition methods for keeping a record of the folders location.
  8. Close Search, navigate to a folder you made note of, and copy that folder to your EHD.