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Relocating Files on Your Machine

We have all had to do a little spring cleaning around the house every year. Well, sometimes your computer needs a little spring cleaning too!

You delete a file in the same way you delete a folder: open Windows Explorer, right-click on the file you want to remove, select Delete from the shortcut menu, and respond Yes to the question posed to you.

Moving or copying files to a second location, however, opens up a whole world of new techniques. For example, you can click a file you want to move; then while holding the mouse button down, drag it to its new folder.

Alternatively, you can right-click a file and select the appropriate option from the shortcut menu. You can then move to the new folder and insert it.

And, of course, with Windows XP, you can always click the folder to select it and then use the links in the middle of the screen to accomplish your task.

Because these processes are a bit trickier than they may seem on the surface, I'm going to guide you step-by-step through each method.

Dragging and Dropping a File to a New Location

You may be thinking you have the drag-and-drop feature mastered, but when it comes to using this technique in Windows Explorer, it can get a bit hairy.


Movin' can get confusin'! Dragging and dropping folders or files from one location to another can be a bit tricky. If you attempt to drag and drop a folder or file from one place on the same disk drive to another, the folder will be moved. If you drag and drop a folder on your hard drive to your floppy drive, then the item will be copied to the second location.

To be on the safe side, here are the steps you will need to follow from within Windows Explorer to drag and drop a file from one folder to another:

  1. Click on the folder containing the file you want to move and then use the scroll bars in the main Windows Explorer viewing window to bring the desired file into view.

  2. Now turn your attention back to the Folders pane and use the scroll bars to locate the destination folder. But whatever you do, do not click the destination folder! If you do, you will lose sight of the file you intended to move. If the destination folder is a subfolder, click the appropriate plus (+) sign to make the folder appear onscreen.

  3. Finally, click the file you want to move, drag it to the destination folder, and drop it into place (see Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4 It's fairly easy to see just where the selected file is being dragged.


When there's more than one file to be moved... Sure, you can go back and repeat the preceding steps to move additional folders, but wouldn't it be more efficient to move more than one file at a time? Well, you can, assuming that the files reside in the same folder. Keep these tricks in mind because you can also use them for the next file copying/moving technique I'm about to present.

To move multiple files scattered throughout a folder's listing, click the first file to be moved, press and hold down the Ctrl key (there are two Ctrl buttons on your keyboard, one on the lower left side and one on the lower right side), and then click additional files you want to move. If the files happen to be listed in sequence, you can click the top file you want to move on the list, press and hold down the Shift key, and then click the last file on the list you want to move. All the files between the two you clicked on will be highlighted. Drag and drop as usual.

Using the Right-Click Method to Copy Files

Although many people prefer the drag-and-drop technique to move files, you will need to be familiar with right-clicking to copy files. Please note that you can also use these steps to move files, but it's a bit more cumbersome than dragging and dropping. I suggest you go this route for copying files only.

You will need to do the following from within Windows Explorer to copy files to additional folders on your machine:

  1. Select the files you want to copy (using the tricks presented in the previous section if necessary).

  2. Right-click over any of the highlighted files and choose Copy from the shortcut menu. (If you are moving the files, you should choose Cut instead.) Remember that you can also use the links in the middle of the screen if you're using Windows XP.

  3. Next, use the Folders pane to click your way to the folder to which you want to copy (or move) the selected files.

  4. Right-click over the newly selected folder and then select Paste from the shortcut menu. The highlighted files will be copied (or moved) to the specified folder.

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