My hard drive on this laptop alone is 500 gig of which just over 300 gig is used so that means there are tens of thousands of files stored.
I have all my downloads in a separate folder which I have categorized the best way I can.. I was even naive enough to by a WSO which was able to sort out all my files and make them so easy to find when needed, It was only after buying that I realized I had to enter each file manually first. This defeated the object as it would have probably taken me years to do.
The Windows 7 search function does do the job but it brings up hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of what I would call unrelated entries and more to the point it takes ages to do this.
Once again I researched the net for a program to make this easier and I came across a free program called ‘Everything‘ by Voidtools.com (strange name but it’s a valid site).
Everything is a free tiny (only 334kb) search engine installed on your system that searches your computer almost instantly.. It listed every file on my C drive in under 10 seconds. The beauty of this program is it will also search any external hard drive, usb memory cards or in fact any media which has been formatted with the NFTS system (almost every drive under 7 yrs old will use this format, from XP to Win7)
It picks up all media added automatically and you can also instruct it to ignore drives too. It will search for specific folders, files, extensions or any type you want. The options on how results are displayed can be totally customized.
There is a full FAQ Here relating to the program
Take a look, give it a try and I bet you never go back to your normal means of searching.