Getting Around

Your computer has files and folders. Depending on what sort of user you are, you may store everything in the My Documents folder. Or maybe, on your work computer, you save everything in the network folder.

There’s more than one way to get around a computer’s folders. And once you get that down, you’ll have all sorts of new ways to save and sort things on your computer.

First, open up My Documents or My Computer. By default, the My Documents displays only the folder. The left side of the window gives you some options for the folder or the things in it. Great. Now, let’s change the settings. If you’ve never played with this, it’s going to look huge and scary and overwhelming at first. Relax, do as I tell you (heh, that’s always good advice!) and it’ll be okay.

On the top of the My Documents window, there’s a button labeled Folders. (BTW: You are using Windows Explorer to view My Documents.) Click the Folder button. Now, the left side of your window will show ALLLL the folders and drives and everything on your computer.

Deep breaths. Lets look at the list– what are we really seeing? Well, at the top is Desktop. As far as Windows Explorer is concerned, the Desktop is the root of everything. If you clock on “Desktop” you will see everything on your desktop, but as little icons inside the Explorer Window. See– it’s just a different way to see the same stuff.

Okay, what else do we have here. Under Desktop is My Documents. See the little plus sign next to it. Squint! Ah, there it is– circled in red. This plus sign lets us Expand the folders. So, if you click it, the folders that are inside the My Documents folder will expand. You won’t see any files on the left– only folders (and drives, which are like giant folders.) Click the expand button.

(An expanded folder has the inner folders showing and a minus sign, circled in blue)

Notice how the view on the right didn’t change? Why make the computer load all the images… this is one way Explorer is faster for getting around.

Now, you can see the folders. You can select a folder or another plus sign. When you get to the folder you want, you can select it by clicking on it once, and the contents will load in the right side of the screen.

You can nest folders almost limitlessly. And name them anything you want.

And, another bonus, if you need to go to another folder, you can simply click on it on the left. You don’t have to go “Up” or “Back.” Just find it and click. Quick and easy. Try it, click around. And if you think you’ve moved or clicked something wrong, you can always Undo.