One of the most popular apps or programs that people use in a Windows environment is Windows File Explorer. Now, in earlier versions of Microsoft Windows pre-Windows 8, it was called Windows Explorer. When Windows 8 came along, it was renamed to File Explorer, and there were some big changes. We're going to take a look at those changes here in Windows 8.1. To access File Explorer we can do so directly from our start screen or we could go to the desktop and access it from there.
When we access File Explorer from our start screen, that's where we'll be taken. It's not one of those modern style apps that will run in this environment. So let's just go down to the arrow that appears at the very bottom left of our screen to display all apps. We'll scroll over to the right, and in the Windows system section is where you'll find there it is, File Explore. Give it a click. Now this will take you to the desktop environment and open up. As you can see, a Window for File Explorer. File Explorer has an icon down below right on the task bar that you can access as well.
Let's take a look at the default view and some of the changes that appear in this ribbon interface. You'll even notice changes if you're coming to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8. First of all, at the very top left corner of this Window, you're going to notice a number of icons. This is called the quick access toolbar. So, you'll see a default icon for accessing properties of folders and files. There's even one here for creating a new folder. First, you'll need to select a folder to create the new sub folder.
You'll see undo and redo buttons and a drop down that allows you to pick and choose what will appear on the Quick Access tool bar. Obviously anything with a check mark is already there. If you like to use the delete button you could add it to your Quick Access tool bar by giving it a click. There it is. Now, down below you'll notice that we have some tabs. A file tab. when we click this we get the standard File Explorer commands for opening WIndows, accessing a command prompt. You'll notice a delete history where we could in there and see we've deleted in the way of files and folders and even get them back.
There's also help options over here and here's where we go if we wanted to close down this Window. Alright, let's just click the File tab once again to close that up. And now, to really get a feel for the ribbon, which is context sensitive, meaning depending on the types of folders and files you're selecting, different commands will appear. Let's go to our exercise files. I know mine are on the desktop. Down here in the navigation pane, when we click, we'll expand folders with the arrows. Select a folder, like Exercise Files, to display the contents.
And there's certain things happening here by default. If you've changed any of the view defaults, you might see different things than what I'm seeing. For example, notice a little check box that appears next to each of these files as I move around them. Notice the view, I'm seeing the name of the file. When it was modified, the type of file and the size. This is all part of the view default settings and you'll notice there's view tab up here to select. So from here we can adjust things like our navigation pane, it's turned on that's why we see it down the left hand side.
But there are other options like expanding it to open a folder, show all folders, libraries and favorites. We can also use the Preview pane. This is something that's very interesting, allowing you to get preview of the files you're selecting. Let's give it a click. Now over here on the right-hand side, we have a Preview pane. And if we go to different types of files, watch what happens up here on the Ribbon interface. We'll go to one of our JPG files, image files, cherry tomatoes. Now selecting it here, displays in the preview pane, and image, that is the image we've selected.
There's a check mark there. Now if we were to go down and select something else like flowers, notice we switch to it where. This is all part of our default view. And you'll notice here in the layout section, details is the name of this particular view. But we can change it. Maybe you don't need to see date modified, size, et cetera. List is good enough. Or maybe you'd rather have a preview without the preview pane. You could then go to icons. For example, if we go to large icons, get a little preview of the type of file that you're working with, whereas if we were to use the preview pane over here, it's taking up space.
If we go to a PDF file, like our PDF file here, you'll notice we're not seeing a preview in the actual icon, and there's no preview available over here. Same thing for a music file, obviously. Let's change our view now to medium icon. This allows us to get a tiny little preview of what we're working with. But it's not taking up as much space, so you can pick and choose the view that best suits your needs. I kind of like the details along with the preview pane and of course we can resize this Window just by clicking and dragging its borders.
You could even maximize it if you like it filling up the entire screen using the maximize button in the top right hand corner. From here with the view tabs still selected, and thus we have options for sorting, you can sort it by the type, so you can have different types together. You'll notice on the bar appears accross the top of our list of files, name, date modified. These are buttons we can actually click to rearrange. If I want to rearrange things by size, I can click the size button. Click it again, to reverse the order.
Also you'll see with the view tab selected, that those check boxes that appear when we select folders and files is great if you wanted to be able to select multiple files. You can go down the list clicking or, we can use the old shortcut, by clicking a file and now holding down Shift and clicking another file to select them all using your Ctrl key. With the check boxes, you can select and deselect files. If you don't need that, you can turn that off. Item check boxes takes you back to a more familiar look and feel.
File name extensions can be turned on and off, so if you don't need to see dot PDF because you already know the file type over here And turn those off as well. And hidden items might be turned on as well. There are often hidden files, specifically system files that you really don't need to see until it's ultimately necessary. So, you can turn off the hidden items. And you won't see any of those files, until you need them. Come back and turn this on. Let's go to the some of the other tabs now. When we go to the home tab, you'll notice that we have different groups on our ribbon.
The clipboard for copying, pasting, cutting. We also have an organize section for moving and copying files, deleting files. We have a new section for creating new folders. We have an open section for opening files. Accessing their properties. Watch what happens when we select actual files. Like our first one here, veggies. A JPEG file. When we select it, all of these commands start to become available. Here, now we have something to copy or cut. We could also move or copy this file. We could delete it.
Click the drop down. You'll see we can send it to the recycle bin or permanently delete from here as well. We could also check out the properties. Click the drop down, select properties, and you'll be viewing the properties for the selected file. Things like the type of file, the size. When it was created and accessed. You can click Cancel to close that up. But also here in the Open section you'll notice an Open button, and you'll see an icon similar to what we see here in the list representing the type of file, a JPEG.
Click the dropdown next to Open and you could open it up in different programs like Paint, or in your photos, or in the Photo Viewer. If you have graphics applications they might appear on this list as well. And we have some selection options, to select all the files, de-select all the files. Or if you've selected multiple files you could invert that selection Switching it to our other unselected files. Little tricks from our home tap. On the share tab, we have some sharing options for working with our files.
We can email them. We can compress them using the ZIP Cmd. Burn them to disks. Print them. Again, we need to have something selected, so if we went to our PDF file, for example, and selected it with a click. Notice now you could do things like zip it and fax it. Let's go to one of our JPEGs. Again, we see some of those options, including printing. We could share and stop sharing, access advanced security options from here, but another thing that's happening that's very interesting is a new tab has appeared.
It's contact-sensitive based on the type of file we selected. A JPG or image file. That's why we see picture tools at the top, right above the Manage tab. We we click Manage now, we have some tools for working with picture files. Like rotating. Obviously, we don't know if this needs to be rotated until we look over here on the right hand side, in our preview pane. So if it's not turned on, or you're not looking at large icons, for example, you would need to turn something like that on to know whether or not it needs to be rotated left or right.
And it can be done right from File Explorer right here in the Manage ribbon. You could create a slideshow from our image files, set this selected file as our background, right on the desktop If we go to a different type of file like a music file, an mp3 file. Notice now that we have a play tab under music tools. And over here in the open section with our home tab selected, we could open the mp3 file using an appropriate program. Let's go to the Play tab to look at our options, play it right from here, play all of our music files, even create playlists.
And if we go to a different type of file like a video file, of course, we're going to see a different tab under video tools, and we're going to have options for playing videos Go to the Home tab in the open section, notice the icon is changed and when we click the drop-down we can now open this in the appropriate program like the video player or Windows Media Player. And that's a quick look at some of the changes that have happened over time in Windows Explorer now called File Explorer.
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