In the first part of these 3 part series I gave a general overview of the organizational features in Windows Vista.  Even though there are some very impressive new desktop search capabilities in Windows Vista that fulfill many search needs, they are not designed to address every information management need. For instance, they do not readily help you find collections of similar files, such as files from the same project or author, and then share those files with other people, organize them, or move them around on your hard disk.  That's where the powerful Explorers extend the benefits of the new Windows Vista desktop search capabilities to the next level by combining Instant Search with the ability to auto-organize content across your PC based on file properties. Rather than having to remember specific locations or folder names to find your documents, music, pictures, and e-mail, you can rely on the ability of Windows Vista to search file properties known as "metadata."  

One of the great tools that utilizes the metadata is the Enhanced column header controls.  The new column header controls feature innovative menus so you can filter all of the files currently in view. For example, choosing the Type column header control will display all of the different file types across the visible documents. Using simple check boxes, you can pick the types that you want to see. Selecting .ppt and .xls, for example, filters out all other document types on the screen, leaving only your Microsoft Office PowerPoint and Excel files visible.   You can further enhance the viewing of the content with: Stack View and Group By View.

  • Stack View organizes currently displayed files based on values in a specific column. For instance, if you select the Author column header and choose to stack files, all the files currently in view—irrespective of their hard disk locations—will be rearranged and "stacked" by author.
  • Group By View, on the other hand, merely ranks displayed items according to the values in a particular column header. So, grouping files by author gives you a more detailed view of which documents belong to which author than the more simplified Stack View.

Watch the Screencast here:

Screencast: Windows Vista Organizational Features 

Enjoy and please let me know what you think!

Here is Part 1: Windows Vista Product Guide screencast - Search and Organization Overview Part 1