Using File Explorer, this video explores how files and folders are organized in Windows. Open File Explorer and see the basics of navigating around in folders.
- [Instructor] Most people store documents, pictures, and other types of files on the hard drive on their computer, like a filing cabinet that you might have in your office. File Explorer is the tool that you use to browse through the files and folders on your computer and interact with this filing system. So let's introduce File Explorer. Now, I have the icon for File Explorer pinned to the taskbar, so I can open it up very easily from there. If you do not have that pinned to the taskbar, you can go to the Start menu, scroll through your list of all applications, go to the folder labeled Windows System, and you'll find File Explorer there.
So you could launch it from here. But I think it's a really good idea to have it pinned to your taskbar, so if it's not already pinned to the taskbar, you can right-click it here, go to the More menu, and you'll see an option there to pin it to the taskbar. But, either way, I want to launch File Explorer either from here or from the taskbar. And that takes us to the File Explorer window. And, for now, I just want to focus on three parts. There's the sidebar over here on the left, where I can select a location on my hard drive. There's the larger area over here on the right, which shows the contents of whatever I have currently selected.
And then up here near the top, there's this line here. This is called the path bar, and we'll be using that in this movie as well. And that's just going to make more sense as we go. Now, on the sidebar, I want to start by selecting the item labeled This PC. When I have this selected, I can see the contents of it over here on the right. So everything that's stored on your computer is stored somewhere inside of This PC. So from here, I can see a few shortcuts to popular folders that you would typically use.
And then below that, I can see a list of all of the drives I have on my computer. If you have a CD drive or a secondary hard drive, then you'll see a few others items listed here. But, at the very least, you should see one drive labeled with the letter C. I can see that right here. Hard drives, CD drives, and external disc drives are labeled with a letter. And, historically, the primary hard drive on a Windows computer has always been the C drive. So all of these folders above are shortcuts to folders that are buried somewhere inside the C drive.
There are lots of opportunities to use shortcuts, but before we do that, we should take just a minute to get comfortable opening folders and navigating around, one step at a time. So I want to open up the C drive and take a look around. And there are two ways to do that. I could double-click on the C drive right here, and now I see the contents of it. Or I could go back to the sidebar on the left, and when I point at an item on the sidebar, a little arrow appears next to it. I can click on that, which opens up, and I can see some more options.
And I can see that the C drive is stored inside of the This PC category. So I could select the C drive right here, and, again, I see the contents of it over here on the right side. So opening the C drive is like opening your computer's main filing cabinet. We call this the root. And now we see a bunch of folders. And some of them have some pretty cryptic names, so we're not going to identify specific folders quite yet. For now, I want you to see that you can double-click on a folder to open it up.
So if I double-click on this folder called Program Files, it opens up, and now I see the contents of that folder. And the contents of that folder is just a bunch of other folders. You see, it's very common to have folders inside of other folders inside of other folders and so on. Just like in a real filing cabinet, you can open up a drawer and see one big folder with several other folders tucked inside. And you can even jam more folders inside of those. But, unlike a real filing cabinet, where there's a physical limit to how many folders you can put inside each other, there's no limit to how many times you can nest folders on your computer's hard drive.
So as you're navigating through these folders inside of folders, it's always important to know where you are. So right now, I'm in This PC in the C drive in a folder called Program Files. But how do I know that? I'm not going to remember that. Instead, I'm going to look up here at the path bar. So this line shows me exactly where I am on my computer's hard drive. I'm in This PC in the C drive in a folder called Program Files. And I can actually use this path bar to back up in the path.
I can click on any item in this path. So, for example, if I click on the C drive here, it backs me up to the root of the C drive. And from here, I could open up another folder. Let's just go back into Program Files. And you can see that is on the path bar again. Now, there are a few other ways to back up on the path. If I go to this arrow pointing to the left, this is the back button. And it takes me immediately to whatever I was looking at previously, which is usually one step back in that path, but not necessarily.
Let's open up Program Files again. Another way to back up along this path would be to hit this up arrow. That just takes one step up in the hierarchy, so, again, that just takes me back to the C drive. Okay, so let's pause here. For now, you should take a look around and start getting familiar with opening folders and navigating around in File Explorer.
- Launching applications
- Interacting with windows, menus, and ribbons
- Multitasking to switch between multiple applications
- Switching to tablet mode
- Managing files and folders with the File Explorer
- Browsing the web with Edge
- Working with email, contacts, and calendars
- Using and installing apps
- Managing display and account settings
- Backing up Windows 10
- Troubleshooting Windows 10
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 12/08/2017. What changed?
A: The following topics were updated: understanding essential folder structure, including the user folder; using shortcuts to files and folders; and creating 3D objects in Paint 3D.