Online Training Tutorials
Windows - Introduction to Managing Files

Introduction to Managing Files

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make and use folders, and how to delete, copy, & move files around between them.

Creating a Folder

On the computer, folders are just containers. They are called folders because they are like folders in a filing cabinet: You can place many folders into the cabinet (think of the computer as the filing cabinet), and you can place files in the folders.

There is one important difference: Folders on the computer can contain both files and other folders.

  1. Right-click on the desktop. Take care not to click on any icons or other items that may be on your computer's desktop.
  2. The menu pictured below will pop up. Click on the New sub-menu (indicated by an arrow in the image). desktop_context.gif
    The right-click menu
  3. A sub-menu will pop up. Click on Folder. This option should be near the top of the sub-menu.
  4. A new folder has appeared on your desktop: icon_newfolder.gif
Renaming Folders (and Files)

Now, New Folder is not really the most descriptive name we could have picked, is it? We should rename it.

  1. Right click on the New Folder icon. Be sure to click on the icon, because you will get a different menu if you click on the desktop instead.
  2. Click on the Rename item. This is near the bottom of the menu. You should notice that the folder's icon will be a bit different, because it is waiting for you to type a new name in. Compare the before: icon_newfolder_before.gif and after: icon_newfolder_after.gif
  3. Type in: Tutorial. What you enter will replace the old name (New Folder) with a new name.
  4. Press the Enter key.

You can also use this procedure to rename a file. Nothing needs to be changed; the process is exactly the same.

Browsing Folders

Folders would obviously be useless if you could not browse them, and examine the contents. Fortunately, looking through your folders is very easy.

  1. Double-click on the Tutorial folder we created above.
  2. You'll see the folder open and this window displayed: window_folder_tutorial.gif
    Image of the Tutorial Window The contents of this folder are listed in the highlighted area in the image (Your window won't be highlighted). The reason it shows nothing is because you have not placed any files or folders in it.
  3. Create a new folder inside the Tutorial folder. This can be done in exactly the same way you created the Tutorial folder. Name this folder Subfolder.
  4. Double-click on the Subfolder icon to see the contents of that folder.
  5. Click on the Up button. This will always take you to the folder that contains the current folder. For example, since we are browsing Subfolder, which is inside of Tutorial, clicking the Up button will return you to the Tutorial folder.

That's the basics of navigating your computer's folders:

  • Double click to enter a folder. Tip: 
    You can double click on a file to open it, too.
  • Click Up to leave the folder.
Moving Folders (and Files)

Files and folders are not fixed where they are created. They can be moved all over your computer's hard drive, and off it, too!

  1. If you have left the Tutorial folder, browse back to it.
  2. Create a new folder named Other Now you should be looking at the folder Tutorial, which contains the two other folders Subfolder and Other.
  3. Click on the Subfolder icon and drag it over the Other icon, as illustrated below: window_folder_moving.gif
    Moving Subfolder into Other. After you release the mouse button, the Subfolder icon will disappear. This is because it is now inside of the Other folder.
  4. Browse inside of Other to ensure that Subfolder has been moved.

Remember, files can also be moved just as easily as folders. Just click and drag!

Deleting Folders (and Files)

Eventually, you'll want to delete something, either because you've run out of space, or simply because you don't need it anymore. Whatever the reason, it can be done easily enough.

We are going to delete the Subfolder folder we created above.

  1. Browse to the Other folder, where Subfolder was moved to.
  2. Right-click on the Subfolder icon. The right-click menu will appear.
  3. Click the Delete item. This is the one just above the Rename option, near the bottom.
  4. The computer will ask you if you are sure you wish to delete the folder. You'll see a dialog that looks like this:dialog_confirmdelete.gif
    The delete confirmation dialog Click the Yes button.
The Recycle Bin

The files have not been deleted yet. When you delete something, Microsoft Windows will move the item to a special folder called the Recycle Bin. This way, the files which you've deleted are no longer cluttering up your folders, but at the same time are still available to you if deleting them was a mistake

  1. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe we wanted to delete Other, but we wanted to keep Subfolder. Go ahead and delete the Other folder. Remember that you'll have to use the Up button to return to the Tutorial folder first.
  2. That gets us halfway there: We've deleted Other like we wanted, but we still want Subfolder back. Close the window for the Tutorial folder.
  3. Double-click on the Recycle Bin icon, which is on your desktop. It will probably look like this (It can be changed): icon_recycling.gif
  4. You should now be looking at the contents of the Recycle Bin. Move the Subfolder folder back into the Tutorial folder. Remember, just click and drag to move.window_recycling_desktop.gif
    The Recycle Bin window opened, over part of the Desktop

The folder Subfolder has been recovered and will no longer be deleted.

Emptying the Recycle Bin

Since the files still exist inside of the Recycle Bin, they still take up space on your hard drive. If you are sure that you will not be needing any of the items in the Recycle Bin, you can delete them for real. This is called "emptying the Recycle Bin".

After the Recycle Bin has been emptied, the files within are gone. They cannot be recovered easily. Be very careful about what you delete!

  1. Close any open windows, so that you can see the desktop.
  2. Right-click on the Recycle Bin icon: icon_recycling.gif You'll see the right-click menu for the Recycle bin: menu_context_recycle.gif
    The Recycle Bin right-click menu
  3. Click on the Empty Recycle Bin menu item. A dialog will pop up asking you whether you really want to empty the Recycle Bin:dialog_confirm_empty.gif
    The empty Recycle Bin confirmation dialog
  4. Click Yes.

The files & folders in the Recycle Bin have now been deleted. If you open up the Recycle Bin and look inside, you'll see that the folder is now empty.

Other Drives

You won't always want to place files on the computer's hard drive. Sometimes you'll want to use a floppy disk, or a zip disk.

This section of the tutorial will require a formatted floppy disk. If you do not have one, it is still recommended that you read this section.

  1. Insert the floppy disk into the drive.
  2. Double-click on the My Computer icon on your computer's desktop. It may look like this (It can be changed): icon_mycomputer.gif
  3. My Computer is a special folder: it contains all the drives in your computer. window_mycomputer.gif
    The contents of My Computer
    • The first one is the one we'll be working with: 3½ floppy (A:). This is your floppy disk drive.
    • (C:) is your computer's hard drive.
    • (D:) is almost certainly your CD-ROM drive.
    You may have others, but nearly all computers can be expected to have these three.
  4. Move our Tutorial folder from the desktop onto the floppy disk. This, even though its across a disk, is the same procedure used to move folders above: Just click and drag.

The drives you see in My Computer act like folders. You can move things onto and off of them.

Notice that when we moved the folder from the desktop onto the floppy disk, it was not removed from the desktop. This is because when you drag items onto another drive, they are copied, not moved
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