How to Search Like a Pro
Sometimes even managed IT professionals, like us, are stumped by an issue. There are literally so many things that can be wrong between the hardware on your computer, the coding within a software program and more, that it would be impossible to know how to fix every single issue that could come up. Fortunately, we are extremely good at online search and can help get even the most perplexing issues resolved quickly.
Searching skills are not just limited to finding resolutions to computer issues. Everyone could use a little bit of help finding things on the internet or on your computer a little more quickly. There are a few easy ways to get exactly what you are looking for the first time, every time.
Looking for an Email
When you need to find that one email from that one guy from last month, there can be a lot of messages to wade through, depending on how organized you keep your email folders. Sometimes just typing some keywords in the search box for your email just isn’t enough. Maybe you deleted the message? Maybe you thought you should put it in a folder for safekeeping but forgot that you did so. If the message doesn’t pop up on the first go, try to expand your search to your sent box, trash, and more.
You can also narrow your search down by using some operators like AND, NOT and OR. When you search for IT AND Professional it will return any messages that have both words, but might not be in that order. If you put quotations around your search it will search for the exact phrase “IT Professional”. Using NOT will give you any results that have IT but NOT the word Professional. Using search operators are a great way to find exactly the right message.
Looking for a File
When looking for a file, the same rules can apply from your email searches. Both areas will have the same operators you can use, but looking for a file is a little more tricky. First, you want to make sure to expand your search to the highest folder possible. If you search within a specific folder, you could be leaving out results that are in the parent folder, or even a different area altogether. The operating system search is generally pretty quick, so expanding your search to your entire documents folder shouldn’t actually take much longer than a more narrow search. Files are a great place to use the * operator as well. If you aren’t sure of the exact name of the file, you can type the beginning, or the end and use an * to locate it. For example, if I want to find all of the excel files in a particular folder I could type *.xls or *.xlsx and it will pull up all of the excel files in the folder.
Looking for answers
Searching the web can use many of the same operators we discussed in the previous two sections, but Google can be much smarter than even that. Within Google, you can ask entire questions, called long tail searches, and it can direct you to the answer it thinks matches the closest. You can type “How do I fix a paper jam?” and be presented with several results for various printer models. In the past, you used to just search for keywords, but as the search engine has evolved, so has its ability to figure out what you are looking for, as long as you put in as detailed of a request as you can.
You will never have to worry about finding exactly what you are looking for again! Do a few searches on your own and see if you can stump the computer!
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.