As you probably know, the Windows XP Search Companion provides users with a lot of bells and whistles designed to make searching for files on hard drives much easier. But sometimes all of these extra features just get in the way.

If you're longing for Windows 2000's basic search tool, it doesn't have to be in vain. The basic search tool is still available in Windows XP, and you can activate it with a quick registry edit.

Follow these steps:

1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CabinetState.

3. Go to Edit | New | String Value.

4. Name the new value Use Search Asst.

5. Double-click the new value, type no in the Value Data text box, and click OK.

6. Close the Registry Editor, and restart the system.

To switch back to the Search Companion, just go back to the Registry Editor, and change the Value Data to yes.

NOTE: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.