I install certain freeware utilities before working with Vista, one of them is an excellent search alternative called Agent Ransack.
I also use it all the time in Win98. It's small, light, simple freeware and doesn't interfere with anything else, when installed it adds an Agent Ransack item to the folder/drive context menu. It has a preview window to show the lines 'containing text' searched for, which has been expecially useful in my days with K-Meleon.
(search/sort by modified is easy)
The Vista search is beyond useless to me, like so many other things In Vista it's dumbed down, completely unintuitive to a techie, and it deliberately hides stuff. Agent Ransack is a breath of fresh air on Vista, although it doesn't use a database - which I don't like anyway.