Chapter 4. Working with the Filesystem, Drives, Data, and Search

At the heart of Windows Vista are the filesystem and the files in it; without files, there’s no reason to use a computer, after all. When Windows Vista was first announced, Microsoft had big plans for a completely redone filesystem, along with powerful search tools, all built on top of a new filesystem database.

Reality intruded, and those plans had to be curtailed. Still, despite that, the ways to navigate your hard disk and find files have been dramatically upgraded compared to previous versions of Windows. Windows Explorer has gotten a face-lift, along with new capabilities for filtering and viewing files. And the new Search is one of Windows Vista’s best new features. Not only is it available almost everywhere, but it’s also lightning fast and includes considerable new ways to search, including the ability to save searches for future use. This chapter covers that, along with all other aspects of the filesystem, Windows Explorer, and Search.

Here is an alphabetical reference of entries in this chapter:


Folder and Search Options


File Compare (comp)

Folder Properties


File Compare (fc)

Indexing Options

Shadow Copies

File Expansion Utility



File Properties

NTFS Compression Utility

Windows Explorer

Get Windows Vista in a Nutshell now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.