Exploring Your Documents

You might not have realized it before, but the Control Panel, My Computer, and My Network Places as used in Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows were simply different faces for Windows Explorer that allowed you to view and work with the features of your computer in different ways. Although these various faces for Windows Explorer weren't tightly integrated, Windows 7 corrects this, so that Windows Explorer behaves more like a console or browser shell—its many faces are now all well integrated, so that you always have similar functionality and features.

As you start working with Windows 7, you should know right away that Microsoft renamed My Computer and My Network Places as Computer and Network. One of the key reasons for this change was to simplify the naming and make them easier to reference.

As Figure 6-1 shows, Windows Explorer has:

• An Address bar for quickly navigating disks and folders

• A Search box for fast searches

• A menu bar for performing common tasks

• Options for organizing, sharing, and previewing folders and files

Figure 6-1. Use Windows Explorer to find your documents

As also shown in Figure 6-1, Windows Explorer organizes information according to a specific layout setting that includes several standard view panes, including a Navigation pane for making quick selections and a Results pane for viewing the folders and files stored in a selected location. Unlike summary details provided in Windows XP and earlier releases of Windows, the current version of Windows Explorer provides visual summaries of the types of content in your folders when you are working with certain views. A folder containing pictures will show a thumbnail graphic for some of those pictures stacked within the folder graphic. A folder containing documents will show a preview of those documents within the folder graphic.

When you select an item, you'll see details about that item in the Details pane. The details listed depend on the type of item.

For disk drives, you'll see a visual summary of space used. You'll also see drive designator, disk type, filesystem type, free space, and total size (Figure 6-2).

Figure 6-2. Summary for a disk drive

Figure 6-2. Summary for a disk drive

For devices with removable storage, you'll see similar information (Figure 6-3).

USB Disk (M:) Space used: < m ■ Removable Disk Space free: 10.8 GE

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File system: FAT32

BitLockerstatus: Off

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