Sorry if this common sense or has been answered, I have also not been able to find a satisfactory answer to this question.
I got my start in 3DS Max before switching to Blender. In Max, when you join two meshes, you can enter Edit Mesh/Edit Poly mode, which is the equivalent of Blender’s Edit mode. However, in Max, in addition to Vertex-Edge-Polygon selection, you also can select Face (which I have found pretty useless, it’s like selecting one of the two triangles that make up a quad polygon), or MUCH more importantly, you can select by OBJECT. What this means, is that if you have joined two meshes together, in Edit Mesh/Sub-Object selection, you can select one of the ENTIRE joined objects with just one click!
In Blender, I have been having to use workarounds. Frequently, I can use Island Selection (Ctrl-I, or Ctrl-L, i forget which at the moment), and I imagine this will be people’s immediate response to this question. However, this is NOT sufficient. This only works when the two joined meshes DO NOT overlap. If they DO overlap, using Island Selection will in fact select BOTH joined objects. As a work around, I have to select a vertex specific to my desired sub-object and then grow the selection (Ctrl-+) until I have the entire thing selected. But this is incredibly tedious, ESPECIALLY if the joined object has many, many vertices. I can easily waste my time having to press Ctrl-+ 20 or 30 times.
Question: In Edit Mode, is there a way with one-click or one keyboard shortcut so select an entire sub-object, a complete mesh that has been joined to another mesh, in the same way that 3DS Max has sub-object > object selection? Specifically, Island Select does not work with overlapping meshes. Is there another keyboard short-cut to select an entire sub-object, or is there a way to make Island Select work for overlapping meshes?