Previous Page   Index   Windows Manual Contents   Windows Tips   Next

Windows Manual
 copyright 1996, 2001 by Tracy Marks
Boston area Windows Training, Tutoring and Consulting

PLEASE NOTE: This Windows manual has not been updated since
1998 but most of it - especially the file management sections - are still
very relevant to Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP users.

LESSON TWO: My Computer, Explorer

A. About My Computer and Explorer

In Windows, you can locate and manage your files and directories (folders)
in either My Computer or Explorer.  My Computer is most convenient for
viewing one directory or window at a time; Explorer is your best choice when
you want to view or reorganize files in different parts of your computer.

In My Computer, you choose a drive, and by default, view icons or a list of
folders and files in that drive. Your view is one window at a time, unless you
choose explore in My Computer to move to Explorer, which makes it easy
to work in a particular folder, but difficult to move between folders.

When you open a folder in My Computer, a new window opens; when you
open a folder within that window, another window opens. Soon your screen
is cluttered with windows, unless you initially choose, in view, options to use
a single window.

In Explorer, you have a dual pane view (like in Windows 3.1 File Manager).
You view your drive and root folders in the left pane, and the contents of
chosen folders in the right pane. You also have two choices not included in
My Computer - a tools menu which enables you to choose go to if you wish
to open a file, and find to locate a file.

B. My Computer: Orientation

When you open My Computer, you may want to change your settings so
that you can view your toolbar and your status bar. Click the View menu,
and click to place a checkmark besides toolbar and also the status bar (if
they are not already checked).

Drive C, My Computer

SCREEN SHOT: A view inside the c drive within My Computer. Note
the folder icons for folders and the different kinds of icons for files
of different types. In this example, the user has both Windows 3.1
and Windows installed, in separate directories.

In My Computer, you double click a drive icon (a for your floppy drive, c for
your hard drive to open its directories. Directories are the same as folders.
Just as cardboard folders contain papers, computer folders contain files -
programs, documents, multimedia etc.

When you click on File in the File menu of My Computer, you have
numerous options. What you see in the File menu varies, depending upon
what you have selected in My Computer. Choices include: Open (file or
program),  Find (file),   Explore (open Explorer),  Format (a drive or disk),  
(New (folder),  Send to (send file elsewhere),  Create shortcut (for a file or
folder),  Delete,  Rename, and Properties.

Many of these options are also available when you right click a drive icon
within My Computer. When you right click a floppy drive icon, you also can
copy a disk.

In properties, general, you can view the amount of used and free space in
a drive. In properties, tools, you can check for errors, do a backup, or scan,
defrag or compress a drive. As part of your system maintenance, you
should scan and defrag (defragment) your drives at least once a week.

The yellow folder icons are folders (directories) containing files. Boxy icons
with thick lines across the top are program files. Most other icons are files -
their icons indicate the program which opens them.

C. My Computer: The View Menu

In the View menu of My Computer, or any drive you open within My 
, you can select different views - large icons, small icons, list
and details. You will want to use details to view file size, type, and date
and time modified.

All files details view of directory

SCREEN SHOT: All file DETAILS view of a subdirectory
within the Corel Draw directory on My Computer.

In View, use arrange icons to arrange icons by name, type (file extensions
or association), size and date. Arranging by type is useful when you are
looking for files of a particular extension. The date option can enable you
to find files created on a particular date. Selecting by size can be helpful
for determining which files will fit onto a floppy disk, or for deciding
which files to delete from your computer in order to create more space.

Refresh enables you to update your screen - useful when you have been
moving and copying files.

In View, Options, the folder tab allows you to determine whether or
not you want to browse folders using a separate window (so that many
windows open on your screen as you navigate through levels of your file
system), or whether to use a single window (so that opening folders
switches your view within the same window.) When you want to view
two directories simultaneously, you may wish to use separate windows.

In the view tab, you can choose whether to show all your system files (so
that you see every file on your computer) or hide files of a specific type
(so you do not mistakenly move or delete a crucial file).  You can also
choose whether or not to show ms-dos file extensions - so that you can
immediately determine a program file (.exe), a text file (.txt) etc. Showing
file extensions is recommended.

From the files type tab, you may associate file types with a particular
program, so that double clicking on a file of that type will open its program.
Here, you can also change the standard icon used for different programs.

a. With a floppy disk in your a drive, right click the a drive icon. Note
    the options available for your floppy drive.
b. Right click your c drive icon. Note your choices.
c. With your c drive still selected, click file, properties. Note the free
    space in your c-drive. View your other choices in properties.
d. Double click your c drive icon to open it. Maximize the window.
e. In the view menu, make sure that toolbar and status bar are checked.
f. View your drive in four different ways- click view - large icons, small
    icons, list then details.
g. Scroll down to your windows directory and double click it. View your
    directory's files in four ways by choosing view, arrange icons - by
    name, type, size then date.

NEXT: Opening, Creating, Selecting Files      continue


Previous Page    Windows Manual Contents     Next Page  
Top of Page    Site Index     Services    Bookstore    Windows Tips    Email us

copyright 1997 by Tracy Marks    Windweaver    Arlington, Massachusetts    (781) 641-3371                    Webmaster:  Tracy Marks        Contact information

Since  February 17, 1997,  you are visitor