Coly Computer Help



MANAGING FILES AND FOLDERS




A file: is a single item such as a document, letter, photo, spreadsheet, music track, video clip.

A folder: is a storage space for several files.A standard folder icon
Folders are usually yellow like this but some are yellow with an additional special symbol; e.g., the My Music folder has a music note on its front surface. Never try to delete or re-name folders which have pictures or symbols on them

File and folder names: The name can have  up to 125 characters including spaces. The name should be meaningful so that you can select the file/folder easily next time you want to read it or edit it. For example:
          Granny at Seaton 03-08-06
This tells enables you to find that photo of Granny taken at Seaton on 3rd August 2006.

Important: Always use hyphens for dates. Never use the forbidden character /

Forbidden characters:
A file or folder name must not use the following characters
            * / \ > < ? " : |

Renaming a folder or file: Right click the file or folder and then click Rename. The current name will be highlighted in blue. Don't delete the name, just type the new name then press the Enter key.

Start by exploring your hard drive. Double click the My Computer icon on the Desk top . (If My Computer is not on your Desktop find it on the Start button menu). Look for the item C:\ or Local Disk (C:) and click it with the RIGHT mouse button. Then click Properties . A picture of your hard drive will appear showing how much free space you have left. Click OK and close down the My Computer window.

Desktop. Except for the folders My Documents , My Pictures and My Music, never put files or folders on the desktop.
The Desktop must be reserved strictly for program shortcuts and for shortcuts to frequently used folders.

To create a new sub folder within a folder.

 Create anew folder

For example, in the family tree of folders shown above, there is folder called Personal. Inside that folder you could create a sub folder for Business letters and a sub folder for Family letters. To do this you would double click the My Documents icon on your Desktop.   Double click the Personal folder to open it. Then on the top menu bar you would click File then New . Click Folder . A new folder will appear with the name New Folder . You would change that name by typing in the name of your new folder (in this example, Business ), then press the Enter key. Your new folder icon will not be in alphabetic order yet, so click View on the top menu bar and then click Arrange Icons by... Then click Name . The icons will now be in alphabetic order.

To put any business letters in the Business folder: Place the cursor on the icon of a business  letter file, then by holding down the left mouse button, drag and drop the file onto the Business folder icon. Do this to each business letter file until all your business letters are tucked away in the Business folder. Now you could create a folder called Family and drag and drop all your family letters into the Family folder. Double click your new folders to open them and prove to yourself that the files have been put into the folders.

Saving to the appropriate folder: When you create a new file, always use File-->Save As... to name it and save it in the appropriate folder. In the Save As...  window, click the little down arrow on the right of the Save in: field (at the top), then choose a folder to save your file in.

Important: All the data files and the folders that you create must always be stored (saved) in the folders within the My Documents folder and in its sub-folders (data files means the files you created or downloaded yourself such as letters, spreadsheets, photos, video and music files).

My Documents is a protected folder so that your data remains intact even if you upgrade Windows or any other program. Windows expects your data to be in My Documents and you will confuse the computer by storing files outside My Documents . Having everything in the correct place simplifies searches and back ups.

The folders are arranged like a family tree in your main storage device (the hard disk) something like this:

Folder structure

The diagram above shows several levels of folders.
The top level is your hard disk, in this example it is the Hard Drive C: usually (but not always) called C:\ or Local Disk C:
If you move down the levels you will eventually come to the My Documents folder where you must store everything that you create.

To simplify things you only need to concern yourself with the level containing the My Documents folder and the level below that. If you put a shortcut to My Documents on the Desktop you can go straight to My Documents without bothering with any higher level folders. If you don't have this shortcut on your desk top, this how you do it:-
Click Start, on the Start list , RIGHT click the icon labelled My Documents (right click means click the right hand mouse button). A menu will drop down. Click the item labelled Show on Desktop so that a tick appears next to it. A shortcut icon for the My Documents folder  will have appeared on the Desktop . Double click that icon at any time and you will go directly into the My Documents folder. 

To go down a level , double click the folder you wish to go down into.
Inside each folder you will find more folders at lower levels. It is very important to learn how to move up and down the levels. Moving around the folders is called Navigating or Browsing . You will always feel lost and confused until you learn to navigate easily.

To go up a level: The 'up a level' icon
Click the Up a Level icon on the Tool bar. The icon is the yellow folder with a curved green arrow.

In Windows XP, do not click the Back button to move around the levels, sometimes this works, but inevitably, you will get lost in a maze of folders.

If your tool bar is missing restore it as follows:
Click View-->Toolbars . Then click the one labelled Standard.

Practice exercise: Double click the My Documents icon on the Desktop. You will see several yellow folders, double click one, open it and see what is inside it. Opening a folder moves you down one level. To open any folder just double click it.
Use the Up a Level button on the Toolbar to move up a level.

Practice navigating until it becomes second nature, then you will be in full control of your folders and files.

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