Working With Files And Folders

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All the data for documents and programs on your computer is stored in electronic files. These files are then arranged into a series of folders and subfold-ers—just as you'd arrange paper files in a series of file folders in a filing cabinet.

In Windows 7, you use Windows Explorer to view and manage the folders and files on your system. You open Windows Explorer by clicking the Windows Explorer button on the Windows taskbar.

WINDOWS EXPLORER

View the last-viewed folder

Change the folder view

Perform file ■ and folder tasks

Navigation ■ pane

View the last-viewed folder

Change the folder view

Perform file ■ and folder tasks

Navigation ■ pane

Microsoft Windows File Folders Views

Display file preview pane

Folder

Display file preview pane

Folder

CHANGING THE WAY FILES ARE DISPLAYED

You can choose to view the contents of a folder in a variety of ways. The icon views are nice in that they show a small thumbnail preview of any selected file.

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Working With Files And Folders

^^ Click the Windows explorer button on the Windows taskbar.

Your documents are organized into Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders. Double-click any folder to view the folder's contents.

Click the down arrow next to the Views button on the toolbar, and then move the slider to ^^ select from the Content, Tiles, Details, List, Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons, and extra Large Icons views.

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Which View Is Best? Any of the larger icon views are best for working with graphics files. Details view is best if you're looking for files by date or size. ■

SORTING FILES AND FOLDERS

When viewing files in Windows Explorer, you can sort your files and folders in a number of ways. To view your files in alphabetical order, choose to sort by Name. To see all similar files grouped together, choose to sort by Item Type. To sort your files by the date and time they were last edited, select Date modified.

Working With Files And Folders
^^ Right-click any open space within Windows Explorer and select Sort By.

Choose to sort by Name, Date modified, Type, or Size.

^^ To view more sorting options, click More.

More Sorting Options When you opt to view More sorting options, you can sort by dozens of different parameters, all of which change based on what type of file you're viewing. For example, if you're viewing music files, you can sort by Album, Artists, Bit Rate, Composers, Genre, and the like. ■

NAVIGATING FOLDERS

You can navigate through the folders and subfolders in Windows Explorer in several ways.

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^^ To view the contents of a disk or folder, double-click an icon.

^^ To move back to the disk or folder previously selected, click the Back button on the toolbar.

To move up the hierarchy of folders and subfolders to the next highest item, click that item in the address box at the top of the window.

Moving Forward If you've moved back through multiple disks or folders, you can move forward to the next folder by clicking the Forward button. ■

Breadcrumbs The list of folders and subfolders in Windows Explorer's address box presents a "breadcrumb" approach to navigation. You can view even earlier folders by clicking the left arrow next to the folder icon in the address box; this displays a pull-down menu of the recently visited and most popular items. ■

NAVIGATING WITH THE NAVIGATION PANE

Another way to navigate your files and folders is to use the Navigation pane. This pane, on the left side of the Windows Explorer window, displays both favorite links and a hierarchical folder tree.

Click an icon in the Favorites or Libraries section to open the contents of the selected item.

Click the arrow icon next to any folder to display all the subfolders it contains. Click a folder to display its contents in the main Windows Explorer window.

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NOTE

NOTE

Favorites Windows 7's Favorites include the following actual and virtual folders: Recently Changed, Public, Desktop, Downloads, Network, and Recent Places. ■

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Computer To navigate all the drives and folders on your computer, click the Computer folder in the Navigation pane. ■

CREATING A NEW FOLDER

The more files you create, the harder it is to organize and find things on your hard disk. When the number of files you have becomes unmanageable, you need to create more folders—and subfolders—to better categorize your files.

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Windows Compiled Html Help File

Navigate to the drive or folder where you want to place the new folder.

Click the New Folder button on the Windows Explorer toolbar.

A new, empty folder now appears with the filename "New Folder" highlighted. Type a name for your folder and press Enter.

CAUTION

Illegal Characters Folder names and filenames can include up to 255 characters—including many special characters. You can't, however, use the following "illegal" characters: \ / : * ? " < > |. ■

RENAMING A FILE OR FOLDER

When you create a new file or folder, it helps to give it a name that describes its contents. Sometimes, however, you might need to change a file's name. Fortunately, Windows makes renaming an item relatively easy.

Renaming File Folder Windows

Click the file or folder you want to rename.

Click the Organize button. ^^ Click Rename; this highlights the filename.

^^ Type a new name for your folder (which overwrites the current name), and press Enter.

CAUTION

Don't Change the Extension The one part of the filename you should never change is the extension—the part that comes after the "dot" if you choose to show file extensions. Try to change the extension, and Windows will warn you that you're doing something wrong. ■

Keyboard Shortcut You can also rename a file by selecting the file and pressing F2 on your computer keyboard. This highlights the filename and readies it for editing. ■

COPYING A FILE OR FOLDER

There are many ways to copy a file in Windows 7. The easiest method is to use the Copy and Paste commands on the Organize menu.

Windows Compiled Html Help File

^^ Click the item you want to copy.

Click the Organize button and then click Copy. ^^ Navigate to and select the new location for the item. ^^ Click the Organize button and then click Paste.

Copy to a New Folder If you want to copy the item to a new folder, navigate to the new location, pull down the Organize menu, and click New Folder before you click the Paste button. ■

MOVING A FILE OR FOLDER

Moving a file (or folder) is different from copying it. Moving cuts the item from its previous location and pastes it into a new location. Copying leaves the original item where it was and creates a copy of the item elsewhere.

MOVING A FILE OR FOLDER

Moving a file (or folder) is different from copying it. Moving cuts the item from its previous location and pastes it into a new location. Copying leaves the original item where it was and creates a copy of the item elsewhere.

^^ Click the item you want to move.

Click the Organize button and click Cut. ^^ Navigate to and select the new location for the item.

Move to a New Folder If you want to move the item to a new folder, navigate to the new location, pull down the Organize menu, and click New Folder before you click the Paste button. ■

DELETING A FILE OR FOLDER

Keeping too many files eats up too much hard disk space—which is a bad thing. Because you don't want to waste disk space, you should periodically delete those files (and folders) you no longer need. When you delete a file, you send it to the Windows Recycle Bin, which is kind of a trash can for deleted files.

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Click the file you want to delete.

Click the Organize button and click Delete.

Other Ways to Delete You can also delete a file by dragging it from the folder window onto the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop or by highlighting it and pressing the Delete key on your computer keyboard. ■

Icon Deleting File

RESTORING DELETED FILES

Have you ever accidentally deleted the wrong file? If so, you're in luck. Windows stores the files you delete in the Recycle Bin, which is actually a special folder on your hard disk. For a short period of time, you can "undelete" files from the Recycle Bin back to their original locations.

Working With Recycle Bin

^^ Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop to open the Recycle Bin folder.

Click the file you want to restor ^^ Click the Restore This Item button.

EMPTYING THE RECYCLE BIN

By default, the deleted files in the Recycle Bin can occupy 4GB plus 5% of your hard disk space. When you've deleted enough files to exceed this limit, the oldest files in the Recycle Bin are automatically and permanently deleted from your hard disk. You can also manually empty the Recycle Bin and thus free up some hard disk space.

Start

Start

Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop to open the Recycle Bin folder.

Click the Empty the Recycle Bin button.

When the Delete Multiple Items dialog box appears, click Yes to completely erase the files.

Fast Empty You can also empty the Recycle Bin by right-clicking its icon on the Windows desktop and selecting Empty Recycle Bin from the pop-up menu. ■

WORKING WITH LIBRARIES

Windows 7 includes a new way to manage your files, called libraries. A library is kind of a virtual folder; it doesn't physically exist on your hard disk, but instead points to the subfold-ers and files you place within it.

Click the Windows Explorer button on the toolbar to open Windows Explorer.

Windows's default libraries are displayed in the main Windows Explorer window and in the Navigation pane. Double-click a folder icon (or click the icon in the Navigation pane)to view its contents.

Windows Explorer now displays all the included folders and documents, which are located across your computer's hard disk. Double-click an item to open it.

NOTE

Default Libraries Windows 7's default libraries include virtual folders for Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. ■

All Music Windows displays all your digital music files, no matter which folder they're really stored in, in the Music library. All your digital photo files are displayed in the Pictures library. And all your digital video files are displayed in the Videos library. ■

CREATING A NEW LIBRARY

In addition to Windows's default libraries, you can create your own libraries to virtually organize files from any folder on your hard disk.

Start

Click the New Library button on the Windows Explorer toolbar.

When the new library icon appears, type a name for the new library.

Double-click the icon for the new library.

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Practical Uses Use libraries to organize files stored in various folders across your hard disk. For example, you might create a library for a project that has Word documents stored in one folder, Excel spreadsheets in another, and photos in still another. ■

Click the Include a Folder button.

^^ Navigate to and click the folder you wish to include in the library. Click the Include Folder button.

Repeat steps 3-6 to include additional folders in this library.

Live Libraries When you create or save a new file in a folder assigned to a library, that file automatically appears when you next open the library folder. ■

COMPRESSING A FILE

Really big files can be difficult to copy or share. Fortunately, Windows 7 lets you create compressed folders, which take big files and compress them in size (called a "zipped" file). After the file has been transferred, you can then uncompress the file back to its original state.

Start

Start

O Click the file(s) you want to compress. (To select more than one file, hold down the Ctrl key when clicking.)

^^ Right-click the selected file(s) to display the pop-up ^^ Select Send To, Compressed (Zipped) Folder.

menu.

Windows creates a new zipped folder in this same folder that contains copies of the selected files.

NOTE

Zip Files The compressed folder is actually a file with a .zip extension, so it can be used with other compression/decompression programs, such as WinZip. ■

EXTRACTING FILES FROM A COMPRESSED FOLDER

The process of decompressing a file is actually an extraction process. That's because you extract the original file(s) from the compressed folder. In Windows 7, this process is eased by the use of the Extraction Wizard.

^^ Right-click the compressed folder to display the pop-up menu.

Q Click Extract All.

^^ Click Browse to select the folder to which you want to extract the files.

^^ Click the Extract button. Windows now extracts the files to the location you selected.

Extracted Folder By default, compressed files are extracted to a new folder with the same name. You can change this, however, to extract to any folder you like. ■

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Responses

  • licia bruno
    How to change sort order manually of icon in folder windows 7?
    8 years ago
  • Antje
    What are the file views in windows?
    8 years ago
  • BERENGARIO
    How to retain dates of folders when moving with windows explorer?
    8 years ago
  • Rosa
    How to open windows explorer to view files and folders?
    8 years ago
  • Stephanie
    How to organise your hard disk?
    8 years ago
  • Anton Milne
    How can you sort items in a folder or library in the Explorer window?
    8 years ago
  • peony hogpen
    How to change folder view?
    7 years ago

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