Occasionally I use a program that will write some data to a file but I don't know where the file is. Sometimes I'm not even sure of its name. Is there some utility that will quickly list the most recent files placed anywhere on the entire HDD so I can work out what and where the file must have been?


Alternatively run SysInternals' Process Monitor and you can see exactly what it's doing to the file system, registry, etc real time.

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Windows search has an option to search for files by created date.

So if you set the created date to today and start at c:\ then it will eventually return your file. Obviously if you can narrow down your search location then it will be a lot quicker.

For the new Windows Search the option is there on the main page (on the left):

For the old Search Companion you have to select When was it modified? (on the right):

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  • Would have been my starting place. – Sarge Nov 18 '09 at 23:14
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    The original Windows XP search is not exactly fast though is it! – Matthew Lock Nov 19 '09 at 3:35

Everything is amazing, uses NTFS journaling to be lightning fast.

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    Agreed, fantastic tool. I thought about recommending it for this question as I do for most situations. But it would need to sort all files which would take a long time (don't know how long, but an "are you sure?" warning popped up. If you know regular expressions then maybe, otherwise maybe not. – outsideblasts Nov 19 '09 at 1:30

Windows Desktop Search might actually be what you're looking for. This works much better than the built in search found in Windows XP.

Hope this works for you.

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  • The link is effectively broken now; it redirects to a generic "Windows XP downloads" page. – Peter Mortensen Aug 19 '12 at 11:58
  • @Peter Mortensen, not surprising after almost 3 years. I've updated with the link with the most current download. – Chris Aug 19 '12 at 14:31

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