How to Find Saved Files on an External Hard Drive (5 Steps)

By C. Taylor

External hard drives offer massive storage with convenient portability.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Sometimes you save a file, but later realize you don't know where. You might know you saved it on an external hard drive, but you just can't find it. This is where Windows 7's search feature comes in. You can specify that Windows 7 search for your file on an external hard drive through Windows Explorer. If you don't know the file name, you can also search by size or date to help narrow down the results.

Step 1

Click the "Start" orb, and select "Computer" to launch Windows Explorer.

Step 2

Double-click your external hard drive in the right-hand pane.

Step 3

Enter the file name, or portion of the file name, in the top-right search box. Results automatically appear below as you type.

Step 4

Click the search box, and click "date modified." Click a predetermined time period, such as "last week" or "yesterday." Alternatively, click a specific date in the calendar. Hold the "Shift" key and press a second date to specify a range of dates between the two selected dates. This limits the search to files and folders that were modified in the given time period.

Step 5

Click the search box again, and click "Size." Select one of the predetermined size ranges, such as "Tiny (0-10 KB)" or "Gigantic (>128MB)." This further filters results to those that meet this criteria.