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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Windows Tricks in Windows 8 and earlier versions of Windows

Windows Explorer is extremely helpful. It is allows you to see all of the things that are on your computer and work with them. This post will guide you through using Windows Explorer or File Explorer (in Windows 8) to set up your computer and to understand what is in it.

Getting to Windows Explorer


Earlier Versions of Windows
Right click on the "orb" or little colorful windows icon that is in the bottom left of the screen when you start up the computer. One of the choices that comes up is Windows Explorer.

Windows 8
To get to File Explorer which is the same as Windows Explorer first choose the Desktop from the Ribbon Menu. Then click on the file folders on the bottom left of the screen.

A Walk Through

When the window first opens on the left you see a list of all of the things that are in your computer. When your arrow is pointing to them you see little triangles next to each item. These triangles mean that there are sub folders inside each of the folders. When you click one of these triangles it will change the left side list by showing you what is in the folder, but it will not change the right side at all.

The right side shows what is inside whatever folder or item is select. Try clicking on different icons and you will see how the right side changes. 




Changing the Look

Sometimes it helps to have the programs and folders on your computer look a different way so that you can find them easily.  For example this is shows the same list of files as above in Detail View. This is nice because you can see the size of the file and when it was last edited. You do that by choosing the icon that shows the way that you want the files to look. The picture above is in Windows 8, but a very similar picture can be found in other Windows programs.

Folders Creating and Organizing

To create a new folder right click on the area where you want the new folder to show up. A window will appear. Look for the word NEW and put your mouse on it. Another window will open up that says Folder (or Library) and when you click on it a new folder will open up. You can change the name of the folder by typing in the name you would like it to have. 

You can think of a Library as the top level in a system of file folders. It is like the drawer of the file cabinet. Inside the library are folders that have files in them. Libraries can even have documents in them that are NOT in a folder. You decide how all of this is organized.

Windows comes with four Libaries to start with: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. Inside each one of those are files and folders. When you save a file you can choose to save it anywhere that you want to, but this structure is supposed to make it easy to find your work. 

Let's say that two people are using the same computer. You may want to have a Folder for each person and then inside that folder create Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders to keep the two accounts separate. There are other ways to do this that are beyond the scope of this post.

Moving and Deleting Files or Folders

I think that using Windows Explorer is the easiest way to move and organize my files.  
1. Get the left side arranged so that all of the folders needed are showing. 
2. Click on the folder that contains the file I want to move so that I can see it on the right side and drag it to the left side to move it where I want it to go. 
3. When the folder is highlighted let go of the file you are moving and it will drop into the folder.

Cut or Copy and Paste?

If you want to MOVE the file so that it is in the new place and there are not two files in different locations choose to CUT and PASTE the file.

If you want to have one copy of the file in the original location and create a second copy in another folder you can COPY and PASTE the file. 

If you press down the "ctrl" key when you are moving the file it will switch between "copy" and "cut".

Clicking Once or Twice

People I know and have worked with seem very concerned about when you click once and when you click twice. This has never bothered me. I click once and wait. If nothing happens I click twice. I guess that doing that for a while has made me intrinsically understand when to click once and when to click twice. I usually just do the right one, but programmers have made these rules. It could be that some people learn better by knowing the rules and applying them, so here they are:
1. To open any program on your desktop click twice.
2. To open any program listed at the bottom of your screen click once.

You can also change how many clicks or how quickly you must click by going to  mouse in the Control Panel and looking at what settings there are.

Right and Left Click

Almost everything is a Left Click. The left click should be your default. Right Clicks do EXTRA things and are very helpful. Usually they bring up a list of choices of things that you can do for the item you are clicking on. For example if you right click on the desktop you can create a folder, change the background picture, personalize your computer, sort the folders on the desktop, etc...

This post was inspired by a class on Windows at the Austin Groups for the Elderly Computer Center in Austin Texas. It is a great place to come for low cost computer classes.http://www.ageofcentraltx.org/computer_lab.php


2 comments:

  1. It took me awhile with my laptop with windows 8. I've been use to windows 7 so much that I considered 'taking a loss' and downgrade. Going through your tricks made it much more bearable. I'm' surprised they made such a huge leap in terms of convention.

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