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Microsoft Windows

Windows Explorer

The Explorer is the program used to manage files.  You can move, copy or delete files/folders from this program. 

Caution should be taken when working here, if you delete or move the wrong file or folder you may cause programs to stop working. 

If you are a beginner, try to stay in areas that you are familiar with, such as your working folder, the area of the computer that you store your files.  A common folder that is used for storage is the My Documents folder.

Click here for a description of the program itself.


The window on the left lists the drives and folders (directories) that have been created in the computer.   You can think of a folder as a drawer in a filing cabinet.  Every drawer is listed on the left.
Folders that have sub folders are marked with the expand icon.  When you click on this icon the list will open

The icon will change into the collapse symbol.

If you want to see a folder's listing you must select the folder. When a folder is selected, notice the window on the right shows the sub folders and files of the selected folder. The visual can be changed through the View menu option.

Selecting files
Regardless of what task you want to accomplish you must first locate and then select files to effect. Use the appropriate steps listed below.
Consecutive files
  • Select the first file
  • Hold the Shift key, (on the keyboard) either:

  • point to the last file and click the left mouse button
    or tap the down arrow on your keyboard.
    You will notice the files will become highlighted or selected.
Non-consecutive files
  • Select the first file.
  • Hold the <Ctrl> key and select the required files. If a file is selected accidentally, hold the <Ctrl> key, point to the incorrect file and click.


Copying/moving files
When working in the Explorer, the computer assumes the following:
  • When you work between the diskette drive and hard drive you want to copy files. 

  • If you actually want to move files off the target drive, you must hold the right mouse button instead of the left while dragging. Once you have reached your destination and released the button, a pop up menu will appear. Select Move Here.
  • When you work between folders on the same drive, you will move files. 

  • If your goal is to copy, you must hold the right mouse button instead of the left while dragging. Once you have reached your destination and released the button, a pop up menu will appear. Select Copy Here.


Create a Folder/subfolder
Select the location for your new directory.
  • If you want the name listed on the top level of your tree select the root directory (C:\).
  • When a name is listed inside a folder it is call a sub folder. To create a sub folder, select the name of the target root folder.
  • From the File menu, choose New, then Folder.
  • An icon will appear at the bottom of the right window with "New Folder" selected, ready for the new name. 
  • Type the name and tap the Enter key



Start a file automatically when Windows boots
This operation is completed in two stages, we must first make the recipient folder accessible (the window's startup folder), then we must locate and move the target program or file into it.

Stage one

  • Open the Explorer.
  • If the Windows folder is collapsed, expand it
  • Locate and open the Start Menu folder, then the Programs folder,
  • Locate the Startup folder.
Stage two
  • Locate the source folder where the desired file is stored.  Most often it would also be located under the Window's, Start Menu, Programs folder.
  • Select the file(s) in the window on the right side of Explorer
  • Hold the right mouse button and drag the file(s) on top of Startup

  • Release the right mouse button. Select Create Shortcut(s) Here.


Deleting files

Remember, caution should be exercised when deleting files. Depending on the importance of the object you try to delete, the system may ask you up to three times to confirm your choice. Read the messages and answer only if you understand the question.  If you need to remove a program, it might be an idea to look in Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

Select the file(s) you want to delete. 
Choose one of the following deleting actions. 

Tap the delete key on your keyboard click the right mouse button, choose Delete from the pop-up menu

If Toolbar is on

Answer Yes to the confirmation box


The Recycle Bin program

Even after you have deleted programs or files, the disk space is not immediately return to the system. All deleted files are held on your system until you empty the bin. To recover the available disk space run the program periodically.
  • Open the Recycle bin program from, either, your desktop, or, from the Explorer program.
  • From the File menu, choose Empty recycle bin

If you accidentally deleted a file or program and you want to retrieve it.
  • Open the Recycle bin program
  • Select the file(s) from the list.

  • From the File menu, choose Restore files. The file(s) will be returned to their original position on your hard drive.



Create a Program shortcut on to your desktop
When you use a program continuously, it might be easier to access if it is a shortcut is created right on your desktop.
  • Open the Explorer program. Do not have the Explorer maximized for this operation. If it is maximized, reduce using the center button on the top of the title bar.
  • Locate the source folder where the desired file is stored.  You can usually find a copy of the shortcut under the Window, Start Menu, Programs folder.
  • Select the file's starting program (usually a name similar to the program name, followed by a .exe extension) in the window on the right side of Explorer.
  • Hold the right mouse button and drag the file onto your desktop.

  • Release the right mouse button. At this point a pop up menu will appear, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here.

  • If you are finished, close the Explorer, if not minimize it out of the way.   Position the icon where you want on the screen. (this feature is only available if the Auto Arrange option is off)




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