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Managing Windows Vista Files

Have you ever lost your keys? Forgotten where you placed that file you need for a meeting? Learn how Microsoft Windows Vista can aid you in managing and organizing the numerous files on your computer.
This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

  • Displaying Your Computer's Contents
  • Navigating Folders
  • Creating a New Folder
  • Displaying and Selecting Files
  • Deleting and Undeleting Files and Folders
  • Renaming a File or Folder
  • Moving Folders and Files
  • Copying Folders and Files

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 weeding out old files. Third, with a good setup, backing up files is easier. (Chapter 17, "Safeguarding Your Work," covers backing up files.)

Good file management does not take much time and involves just a few key ideas. This chapter covers these ideas and explains the important tasks for working with files.

Displaying Your Computer's Contents

Windows Vista includes many tools for file management, and the most commonly used tools are Explorers. Explorers are windows that display the contents of the folders on your computer. Vista comes with several preset folders that you'll find useful: Documents, Pictures, Music, and Computer, for instance. Explorers display the contents of that particular folder, and they contain tools to work with the contents and navigate to other folders on your computer.

To open an Explorer, click Start and then click the Explorer you want to open. For instance, click Computer to see the various drives connected to your PC (see Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 When you want to work with the drives on your computer, open Computer.

To open a folder that contains your user files (and other folders versus your drives), click Start and then click Documents (see Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 When you want to work with the folders or files on your computer, open a content-based folder like Documents.

To help you keep your documents organized, Windows sets up several special folders in addition to your primary Documents folder. These include Pictures, Music, and the new Games Explorer. You can view the contents of any of these folders by clicking Start and then clicking the folder you want to open.

Understanding Files and Folders

Folders, at heart, are containers. They can hold files and other folders (sometimes called subfolders). In Vista, folders actually look like file folders. Files are work you have created and saved, such as a word processing document, spreadsheet, database, presentation, music track, programs, and so on. Files are indicated by an icon, but these icons vary depending on the type of file (refer to Figure 3.2).

Understanding an Explorer Window

When you open a folder or drive, you see the contents in an Explorer window. Windows Vista has made the features in this window consistent to make it easier for users to figure out how to use the features in the windows. Learning the various elements in an Explorer window can help you better learn how to navigate among folders and keep your folders and files organized.

Elements you can expect to find in an Explorer include the following (see Figure 3.3):

  • The list pane displays the contents of the window.
  • Because folders can be nested within other folders, the address bar shows you the path of how the folders are nested.
  • The command bar lists the commands for working with the contents of this window. These commands vary depending on the type of window. For instance, if you are working in the Music folder, you see music-related commands. If you are working with pictures in the Pictures folder or the Windows Photo Gallery, you see picture-related commands.
  • The Navigation pane contains commonly accessed folders. Just click a folder to select it.
  • The Details pane displays information about the selected item. If no item is selected, you see only the number of items in this window.
  • As mentioned at the start of this section, the menu bar does not appear by default but is a tool that most beginners find useful.
Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 An Explorer provides tools to navigate among the contents of your computer and work with the contents of that particular folder.

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