Chapter 3. Managing Files
IN THIS CHAPTER
As you work with a computer creating more and more documents, you need to find a way to keep this information organized. Without a good organizational method, all your files are lumped together in one place. This is the equivalent of shoving all your files into one filing cabinet.
Keeping your files organized provides many benefits. First, you can more easily find the folder or file you want. Second, you can keep your disk running in good shape by periodically
Good file management does not take that long and involves just a few key ideas. This chapter covers these ideas as well as explains the important
Opening My Computer
Follow these steps to open My Computer:
To help you keep your documents organized, Windows sets up several special folders in addition to My Computer. These include My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music. You can view the contents of any of these folders by clicking Start and then clicking the folder you want to open.
Opening Drives and Folders
In addition to your hard drive (drive C:), you may have a floppy drive (drive A:). Your computer may also have additional drives including other hard drives or additional media drives (such as CD or DVD drives). If you have more than one drive, they are named D:, E:, and so on. If you have a CD drive or a DVD drive, it also is named with a letter.
By default, Windows XP groups the drives by type, as shown in Figure 3.1. Opening a drive is easy: Double-click the icon representing the drive you want to open (see Figure 3.2).
Figure 3.2. The contents of the hard drive D:. Note the different icons for folders and files.
Each page icon represents a document (file). Each folder icon represents a folder on your hard drive. You can nest folders within folders to organize the contents of your hard drive. To open a folder, double-click its icon. You can continue opening folders until you see the file or folder you want to work with. To close a window, click the Close button.
Each folder window includes a toolbar that you can use to navigate from folder to folder. You can go back and forth among previously
Table 3.1. Folder Window Toolbar Buttons
Using the Folders Bar
If you want to see a hierarchical listing of all the folders on your system, you can display the Folders bar. You might prefer this view when working with folders and files because it allows you to see the contents of the selected folder as well as all the other drives and folders on your computer. The Folders bar makes it easier to move and copy by dragging, for instance. Click the Folders button to display the Folders bar (see Figure 3.3).
Figure 3.3. Displaying the Folders bar lets you view all the drives and folders on your computer.
The top level is the desktop. Beneath that, you see the drives and folders on the desktop. You can expand or collapse any of the folders and drives in the list by clicking the plus or minus sign next to the drive or folder. For instance, click the plus sign next to My Computer. When you click a plus sign to expand the folder or drive, the icon changes to a minus sign. Likewise, you can click the minus sign to hide the contents of that item. For instance, you might hide content that isn't relevant to the task you are performing.
To close the Folders bar, click the Folders button again or click the Close button for the bar.
Using the Task Pane
Windows XP also displays a task pane with common tasks as well as Other Places and Details areas. When you click an icon, you can see information about the icon in the Details area. For instance, in Figure 3.4, you can see information about the selected file. You also see commands
Figure 3.4. Check the Task pane for common tasks as well as information about the selected item.