Windows Vista Search Tips
Nick White from Microsoft has posted some nice articles on the Windows Vista Team Blog on how to search Windows Vista faster and return more relevant results using keyboard shortcuts, the Windows Vista Search Folder, and some advanced searching techniques using operators, keywords, etc.
The first post, Exploring keyboard shortcuts in Windows Vista gives you some of the basic keyboard shortcuts, mostly the same as previous versions I believe.
One of the great things about Windows Vista is the context-sensitivity applied to many actions. For example, think of how the Slide Show command appears in a window’s toolbar when viewing a window containing photos; or, how right-clicking a photo displays rotation options in the resulting menu. In the case of the shortcuts above, notice that when you Shift+Right-Click an .XLSX spreadsheet or .DOCX document, the Open as Read-Only option appears, which is not the case when doing the same to a .PPTX slide deck. And for all of these file types, the Copy as Path option is displayed upon Shift+Right-Click, which can be very handy if you’re looking for the fully-qualified path to the document — say, in the case of creating a hyperlink to it. Source: Exploring keyboard shortcuts in Windows Vista
This article, Advanced search techniques shows some of the advanced search techniques like using operators, etc, to get more relevant results, an example given is to search for Microsoft NOT windows will show you items containing Microsoft but not windows.
The last article, Searching, part II: Using Search Folders, shows you how to use the Windows Vista Search Folder, which are saved searches, you could create one that finds all of your word documents or excel spreadsheets and the system comes with several you can use to find shared folders, recent documents, etc.