One of the many featues I like about Windows 7 is Instant Search. You can find Search boxes in every instance of Windows Explorer and in the Start Menu.
The “instant” part happens when you start typing in one of those boxes. Enter just a few characters, and Windows starts pulling up relevant results. Keep typing, and it refines the results to match the new string. The next four images show the progression of the search results as I typed “tables” into the Windows Explorer search bar. (Click on any image to see it full size.)
The Start Menu search works in a similar way, except it pulls up programs as its first-priority results and files as the second.
It’s good enough that even if I know where a file or program is, sometimes I search for it instead of browsing!