The purpose of this article is to provide beginner and intermediate computer user with a clear understanding of computer's filing system: how electronic information is stored and organized. Upon completion you will be able to master all phases of file management, efficiently completing tasks such as saving, moving, renaming and deleting files including storing and backing up valuable information. End result will be an organized and efficient filing system. All of information on your computer is stored in files. There are two types of files: program files and data files. Your electronic files can be likened to a paper filing system in a filing cabinet, both being stored in a similar fashion.
In a filing cabinet paper documents are stored in file folders; each given individual names. Information is grouped by subject and all data dealing with a particular subject is placed in same file folder and then placed in filing cabinet. These folders are then arranged in numerical or chronological order, ensuring information is easily accessible.
Organizing and labeling files in this manner can be applied to your electronic documents. Information is stored in individual data files. Each document or data file has an assigned name. Data files containing similar information can then be grouped together in electronic file folders, and no two files in same folder can have same name. Each folder is then assigned its own label. The computer's filing cabinet is its hard drive and floppy disks.
Windows Explorer is file manager that allows you to view and maintain your computer's filing system and keep it current. Using Explorer, you can copy, move, delete, and rename files. You can create new folders and subfolders to contain your growing data.
The main window of Windows Explorer is divided into two display areas. On left-hand side is ALL FOLDERS pane which displays all of main directories and folders stored on your computer. The right side or CONTENTS displays contents of your selected drives or folders.
You can use Windows Explorer to view contents of your hard disk. Load Windows Explorer by clicking on START, go to PROGRAMS and then Click Windows Explorer. In left pane, click letter that indicates your hard disk; usually this is a represented by a (C:) The contents of your hard disk (drive) appear in right pane.
Folders can contain both files and more folders. Some of these are associated with specific programs. These are program files placed on your system when you install a new software program. Other folders can be set up by user, these files are called data files and can be stored in organized, logical areas. To display contents of any folder, click folder in Directory Tree (left) pane so that it opens. Contents will be displayed in right pane.
Files are normally arranged alphabetically. You can also arrange files by type, date, or size. Click View menu, and then select Arrange Icons. A submenu comes up from which you can choose different arrangement options. This feature can be useful in finding files, when name is not clear.
A paper filing system is maintained on a regular basis as business changes and grows, so should you regularly maintain your computer's filing system. You will want to discard documents as they become out of date. You will find need to move folders and/or documents to another location. You may even want to rename a file. Windows Explorer provides many commands that help you create and maintain a filing system specifically suited to your personal needs. Below are listed some of commands on file menu that will aid you in keeping your filing system in order.
Important File Menu Commands for File Management 1. New -- To create a new folder of subfolder 2. Delete -- To delete a file or folder 3. Rename -- To change name of a file or folder
To save a file click on FILE in menu bar, select SAVE. In dialog box type name you want to give file and click on Save button. The document is now saved on your hard disk.
To create a new folder in Windows Explorer click once on hard drive icon (usually (C) to make it active. In this way new folder won't become a subfolder of another folder). Click FILE on menu bar, select NEW and click FOLDER. A new folder will be created. The new folder is highlighted so you can type in a name for folder. Notice in left pane of Windows Explorer that there are plus signs to left of some of folders. If you click on a plus sign it will change to a minus sign and several subfolders are displayed under the folder icon. Still some of these folders may have a plus sign indicating subfolders within then. Click on different folders in directory tree, and watch how tree will continue to expand and display its different branches of folders and subfolders Files can be easily deleted. First select folder in which file is being stored by double clicking on it. Remember folder will be on left side of Explorer window. The files will now be displayed in right pane. To delete file, click on file icon or file's name. Click FILE on menu bar and click DELETE command. A dialog box appears asking you to confirm that you want to delete file and send it to Recycle Bin. This is an safeguard to double-check your command to delete file. Click Yes button to confirm your decision. The file will be removed from your folder and placed in Recycle Bin where it is stored should you decide to restore file at a later time. The dialog box and recycle bin both protect against deleting a file by mistake.