The Windows Explorer Environment

Windows Explorer is used to manage files, folders, and drives. It can be used to create folders for storing information, re-arrange files or folders locate files or folders, and delete files or folders that are no longer needed. Windows Explorer also provides functions for burning CDs and mapping network drives, as well as a variety of other file management tools. This document describes many of the components of the Windows Explorer dialog box and provides you with descriptions of the different functions found on the toolbar. 

  • Opening Windows Explorer
  • The Windows Explorer Window
  • The Windows Explorer Command Bar
  • Opening Windows Explorer

There are several options for accessing Windows Explorer on campus computers, including the right click option and the Start menu option.

Opening Windows Explorer: Right Click Option

  1. On the Taskbar, right click START» select Explore
    Windows Explorer opens.

Opening Windows Explorer: Start Menu Option

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs » Accessories » Windows Explorer
    Windows Explorer opens.

Opening Windows Explorer: Creating a Shortcut Option

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs » Accessories
  2. Right click WINDOWS EXPLORER » select Send To » Desktop (create shortcut)
    The shortcut appears on the desktop.
  3. From the desktop, double click WINDOWS EXPLORER
    Windows Explorer opens.
  4. The Windows Explorer Window

This section describes the various parts of the window and their respective purposes.

Part of WindowPurpose
Navigation toolsIncludes buttons to move forward and back in the navigation history, as well as an address bar and a search bar
Command barContains a dynamic set of commands, decided by which file or folder is currently selected
Navigation paneProvides access to the drives and directories available
File listDisplays the contents of the selected drive/folder
File/Folder details paneDisplays information about the selected item

Windows Explorer Basics

In order to make working with Windows Explorer simple and easy, it is important to learn some basic techniques, terms, and conventions involving Windows Explorer.

This document covers the following basic information:

  • Moving Around in Windows Explorer
  • Terms
  • File Naming Conventions

Ø  Moving Around in Windows Explorer

As you work with Windows Explorer, you are likely to encounter the following activities. Included with each activity is a brief description of how to accomplish it.

Displaying the Contents of a Folder/Drive

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. In the Navigation pane, select the appropriate folder/drive name
    The contents of the folder/drive you selected will appear in the Contents pane.

Displaying the Contents of a Subfolder

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Select a folder/drive
  3. To expand a folder, click EXPAND ( Description: Expand folder/drive/file arrow)
    Description: Folder List Example
  4. To view the content of a subfolder, click EXPAND (Description: Expand folder/drive/file arrow) next to the folder/drive name.
    To collapse the folder listing, click COLLAPSE (Description: Collapse drive/file/folder button).
  5. Terms

The terms file, folder, and path are key words to know when working with Windows Explorer.

File
A file is a single document that is saved on a flash drive or hard-drive.

Folder
A folder is where files are stored.

Path
A path is the line of folders you must follow to locate a specific file; it begins with the drive designation and includes the folders. For example, c:\data\reports\status.doc is a file named status.doc that is on the C: drive and is in the reports subfolder of the data folder.

About Long Filenames

When working with Windows7, you have a lot of flexibility with filenames. Windows7 supports long file names so you can have up to 255 characters including spaces. When naming your files, you can use all of the alphabetic characters, numeric characters, and spaces. The only characters you may not use are control characters (characters that require a keyboard combination to create) and the characters listed below.

\ / : * ? ” < >

Ø  Creating Folders

Creating a new folder is a valuable technique for organizing and separating files.

  1. On the Taskbar, right click START» select Explore
    Windows Explorer opens.
  2. Navigate to the location where you want to create a folder
  3. Right click a blank area in the Files list » select New » FolderThe new folder appears in the desired location with a default name highlighted.
  4. To rename the folder, type the name of the new folder
  5. Press [Enter]
    The folder is named.

Ø  Deleting Folders

When a folder is no longer necessary, you may delete it.

WARNING: Deleting a folder will delete all its contents. If you have files you want to keep, be sure to save them outside the folder before deleting.

  1. On the Taskbar, right click START» select Explore
    Windows Explorer opens.
  2. Navigate to the location of the folder you want to delete
  3. Right click the folder » select Delete
    OR
    Press [Delete]
    A confirmation dialog box appears.
  4. Click YES
    The folder is deleted.

Working with Compressed Folders

Compressed folders allow you to condense many files into one folder so they take up less space. For example, if you need to send many files to someone, sending one zipped attachment can be much easier and saves more space. This document introduces you to the processes of adding files to a compressed folder and extracting files from it.

  • Adding Files to a Compressed Folder
  • Extracting Files from a Compressed Folder

Ø  Adding Files to a Compressed Folder

Compressed folders allow you to condense many files into one folder.

  1. On the Taskbar, right click START» select Explore
    Windows Explorer opens.
  2. Navigate to and select the files you wish to add to the compressed folder
    HINTS:
    To select contiguous items, hold [Shift] and click on the desired files.
    To select non-contiguous items, hold [Ctrl] and click on the desired files.
  3. Right click the selected files » select Send To » Compressed (zipped) FolderA new compressed folder appears in the File list with the name highlighted.
  4. OPTIONAL: Type a new name for the folder
  5. Press [Enter
    The compressed (zip) folder is created.

Ø  Extracting Files from a Compressed Folder

Before you can access files from the compressed folder, it is recommended that you extract them. This decompresses them back to their original file size.

  1. Using Windows Explorer, locate the compressed folder from which you want to extract files
  2. Right click the folder » select Extract All…The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders dialog box appears.
  3. In the text box, type the desired location for the files to be extracted
    OR
    To find the location,
    1. Click BROWSE…
      The Select a destination dialog box appears.
    2. Navigate to and select the location
    1. Click OK
  4. OPTIONAL: To view the files after extraction, select Show extracted files when complete
  5. Click EXTRACTThe files are extracted from the compressed folder.

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