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Working with the File Explorer

From: Up and Running with Windows 8

Video: Working with the File Explorer

If you're anything like me, you're going to accumulate a lot of files over time. For me, that tends to mean lots of photographs, a fair number of video clips and plenty of documents. And when you want to manage those files, you'll want to use the File Explorer, and this actually provides a great way for managing a wide variety of documents within Windows. Let's take a look. I have a tile for File Explorer on my start screen, but you can also go to the desktop, and by default, you'll find the File Explorer on the task bar, so you could simply click on that shortcut to launch the File Explorer. And here we can see a wide variety of files.

Working with the File Explorer

If you're anything like me, you're going to accumulate a lot of files over time. For me, that tends to mean lots of photographs, a fair number of video clips and plenty of documents. And when you want to manage those files, you'll want to use the File Explorer, and this actually provides a great way for managing a wide variety of documents within Windows. Let's take a look. I have a tile for File Explorer on my start screen, but you can also go to the desktop, and by default, you'll find the File Explorer on the task bar, so you could simply click on that shortcut to launch the File Explorer. And here we can see a wide variety of files.

In fact, we can get to any file just about on our entire computer system, that includes additional storage devices connected to your computer. For example, I have a USB drive plugged in at the moment. We can also access our local hard drive, our documents folder, music folder, pictures, videos, you get the idea. We can access all of the locations on our computer, and copy or move files between those rename files, preform basically a wide variety of file management tasks. Let's take a look at an example.

I'll click on the documents folder, and here I have a couple of copies of a particular magazine that is published in electronic form. And as I accumulate more and more copies of this magazine, I might want to get them a little bit more organized. For example I can place them into a new folder. What I think you'll find is that on the ribbon, up at the top of the File Explorer, just about every command you might otherwise want to issue can be found at a click of a button. That ribbon is divided into sections. So for example, we have the File menu essentially, where we can open a new window for the File Explorer, we can clear our history, get help or close File Explorer altogether. On the Home tab, you'll find most of the commands you're likely to use. But we can also share files directly through the Share tab. We can go to the View tab to change the view settings. For example, using medium icons as opposed to the details display. We can also adjust the sort order for our files, so for example I can sort by date modified as opposed to the file name.

I can add columns if I want to see additional information in this details view and we can also establish a couple of different options. So for example, if I want to show item check boxes so that I can very quickly and easily select particular items, I can choose whether or not to show file name extensions and whether or not to display hidden items, items that have a hidden attribute assigned to them. That gives you a pretty good idea of some of the overall workings of the File Explorer. Let's take a look once again at creating that folder we talked about.

I'll go back to the Home tab, and you'll see that I have a New Folder button. That will create a new folder in the current location. So that means inside of my documents folder, where I'm looking right now. So if I simply click the New Folder button, a new folder is created. The name of that folder, by default, is New Folder, but notice that I'm in rename mode. If I simply start typing, I'll rename that folder. I'll go ahead and call this Pixology. That's the name of the magazine here. Then I'm going to place into that folder, and then I can select those individual files.

So I'll go ahead and select the first file there, the first copy of Pixology that I have, and then I'm going to hold the Shift key, so that I can click on the second copy of Pixology and select everything in between. In this case, it's just the two files, but if I click on one item and then Shift-click on another item, all the items in between will be selected. If I hold the Control key on the keyboard, I can select or deselect individual items. So now at this point, I just have those two issues of Pixology, those two documents selected, and I can move them into a new location That new location, of course, is the Pixology folder, which happens to be in the same location. But I'm actually going to use a slightly different approach here, because in some cases, I won't have the destination in the same location as the source, as the actual documents that I'm moving.

So instead, over on the left side here in my Navigation pane, I'm going to click to expand the documents folder so that I can see the My Documents folder underneath and Pixology below that. Now I'll go ahead and select those two copies of pixology magazine. So on the right side, I've selected the files that I want to move or copy and on the left side I'm able to see the navigation structure and more specifically, I'm able to see the destination. Now I could simply drag and drop, and in this case that would cause those copies of Pixology Magazine to be moved into the Pixology folder.

But that's not always the case. If I were dragging files from a different drive letter, the behavior would be different. So, for example, down below here, you'll see that I have that USB jump drive. If I were to click and drag, instead of moving, as would happen if I were to drag to a folder on the same drive. If I drag over to the jump drive, you'll see that the default is Copy. In other words, if I drag to a destination on the same drive letter, the default operation is Move. If I drag to a different drive letter, the default operation is Copy.

The thing is, sometimes I lose track of whether I'm going across different drive letters or not, and so my recommendation is when you're using the mouse, to use the right mouse button to drag and drop. When you do that, if you hold the right mouse button down and then drag and drop to the new destination, the default, you can see, is still move in this case, but when I release the mouse, instead of an action simply being taken, I'll get a pop up menu that lets me choose which specific action I want to take. And in this case, it is indeed a move that I want to perform, so I'll click the Move Here option.

You can see now, those documents have been moved into the Pixology folder inside of My Documents. Now of course there are a wide variety of tasks you might perform in the File Manager, and you'll find all of those on the various menu items that are available on the ribbon display. The most important thing, I think, is to understand the basic concepts involved with a file explorer, and to know how to find your way around so that, whatever it is that you need to do in terms of managing your files, you'll be able to accomplish it easily.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Windows 8
Up and Running with Windows 8

46 video lessons · 3743 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      2m 3s
  2. 31m 6s
    1. A Windows 8 overview
      3m 53s
    2. Changing your environment
      3m 5s
    3. Customizing live tiles
      4m 14s
    4. Helpful keyboard shortcuts
      3m 41s
    5. Using gestures
      4m 18s
    6. Handwriting recognition on a tablet
      3m 7s
    7. Creating and using a picture password
      3m 25s
    8. Working with your account
      3m 0s
    9. Power options
      2m 23s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Basics of Metro applications
      3m 24s
    2. Working with a typical application
      4m 10s
    3. Updating applications
      2m 27s
    4. Browsing with Internet Explorer 10
      5m 58s
    5. Managing contacts with People
      4m 29s
    6. Configuring and using Mail
      5m 41s
    7. Connecting with Messenger
      4m 16s
    8. Staying organized with Calendar
      6m 7s
    9. Finding places with Maps
      6m 3s
    10. Getting more applications in the Windows Store
      3m 43s
    11. Purchasing applications
      2m 54s
    12. Organizing the Start screen
      2m 59s
    13. Accessing all applications
      2m 47s
    14. Running applications side by side
      3m 28s
    15. Closing applications
      2m 11s
    16. Unpinning or removing applications
      2m 4s
  4. 28m 0s
    1. Working with photos
      5m 56s
    2. Sharing photos
      3m 29s
    3. Copying videos to your computer
      3m 36s
    4. Watching movies and TV shows
      2m 23s
    5. Playing music
      4m 9s
    6. Using the Reader
      3m 59s
    7. Sharing with SkyDrive
      4m 28s
  5. 28m 13s
    1. Accessing and personalizing the desktop
      4m 55s
    2. Using desktop applications
      2m 23s
    3. Window sizing
      2m 57s
    4. Creating a desktop shortcut
      3m 8s
    5. Working with the File Explorer
      6m 11s
    6. Safely removing a device
      2m 51s
    7. Using the Recycle Bin
      3m 12s
    8. Snipping for screen captures
      2m 36s
  6. 18m 7s
    1. Changing Windows settings
      4m 20s
    2. Protecting your PC with Windows Defender
      5m 20s
    3. Adding devices
      2m 56s
    4. Printing
      2m 53s
    5. Backing up your files
      2m 38s

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