- Most people store documents, pictures, and other types of files on the hard drive of their computer. Like a filing cabinet, it's easy to set up a clean, organized filing system. But it's just as easy to just toss files in and forget where they are. I recommend that everybody takes the time to understand how files and folders are stored on your hard drive and keep a well-organized system. File Explorer is the tool that you use to browse through the files and folders on your computer. So that's what we'll use to interact with this filing system.
File Explorer is probably pinned to your task bar. If you don't see it there, you can go to the Start menu and you can hit File Explorer from there. That'll open up this File Explorer window. For now, I just want to focus on three parts: the sidebar on the left, where I can select a location on my hard drive, the large area on the right which shows the contents of whatever I have selected, and the path bar up here near the top, This shows me the path to the folder that I'm in. This will make more sense as we go.
On the sidebar, I want to select the item labeled This PC. This is a good starting point. This is like standing in front of the filing cabinet. Everything on your computer is stored inside of here. Even though I have this selected, there's still a little bit more that I need to see. I'm going to hit this little arrow right to the left of it, and that will open up and show me some more contents. From here, underneath This PC, I see shortcuts to popular folders. I see the drives on my computer so Local Disc C, that represents my hard drive.
If you have a CD drive or a secondary hard drive, you'll see a few other items listed here. But at the very least, you should see the drive labeled C. Hard drives, CD drives and external drives are all labeled with a letter. Historically, the primary hard drive on your computer has always been the C drive. All of these folders above are shortcuts to folders that are buried somewhere in your C drive. There are lots of opportunities to use shortcuts, but before you do, it's good to know the long way to get to the folder structure.
And before we do that, we should just take a minute to get comfortable with opening folders and navigating around. One step at a time. So let's open up the C drive and take a look. I'm going to click on that and I can see a list of folders. These are folders that are on the hard drive of my computer. Opening up the C drive is like opening your computer's main filing cabinet. We see these standard folders and they have some pretty cryptic names. We're going to talk about navigating to specific folders in another movie.
For now, you should see that you can double-click on a folder and that will open it up. So if I double-click on this Users folder, it opens up and it shows me the contents of that folder, which, in this case, is just more folders. It's very common to have folders inside of folders inside of folders and so on, just like in a filing cabinet, as I said before. You can open the drawer on a filing cabinet and see one big folder with several folders tucked inside. And you can even jam more folders inside of those.
But unlike a real filing cabinet, where it can get unwieldy to put too many folders inside of each other, there's really no limit to how many times you can nest folders on your hard drive. As you're navigating through these folders, it's always important to know where you are. So I'm in This PC, I'm in my C drive, and I'm in the Users folder. But how do I know that? I'm not going to remember all that. Instead, I'm going to look at the path bar up here near the top. I'm in This PC, inside of that I'm in the C drive, inside of that I'm in the Users folder.
The path shows you exactly which folder you're currently looking at along with each preceding folder that gets you to that point. So if I open up another folder right here just by double-clicking on that and then another folder by double-clicking on that, I can see it just adds to this path bar. So I'm in This PC, in the C drive, in Users, this folder called nbraz which I'll explain in another movie inside of documents and so on. And I can click on any item on this path to jump back to that folder.
Or, if you dig through again, let me double-click on a few more folders here, I can go up to the previous layer in this folder structure just by hitting this up arrow right here next to the path bar. If I click that, it takes me up to the previous level. If I hit the back button, it takes me back to whatever I was most recently viewing. Let's pause here. We're really going to stretch our legs inside of File Explorer as we go through the rest of this chapter. For now, you should take a look around and start getting familiar with opening folders and just navigating around.
You're not going to hurt anything just by looking around. Just be careful not to move any folders. Don't drag any items from one place to another. So I would not want to drag a folder by clicking and holding and moving it somewhere else. If you do accidentally do that, try to just move it back to where it was and let go or you can use the keyboard shortcut Control Z. So if I do accidentally move a folder like this, I can hold the control key on my keyboard and hit Z and that will undo the last movement.
But for now, it's a good idea to start navigating through, just double-click on some folders, get comfortable with the interface. As we go through the rest of the chapter, we're going to talk more about getting into very specific folders and folder structure.
Learn all the essential features of Windows 10. This comprehensive course covers everything you need to know to install Windows, customize it to your liking, and start working with files and applications. Author Nick Brazzi shows how to manage folders, use Cortana to search and navigate, browse the web with the new Microsoft Edge browser, and work with Mail, Calendars, and People (aka contacts).
Plus, learn about sharing via a home network, multiuser configurations, security and privacy, and troubleshooting Windows.
- Installing or upgrading to Windows 10
- Connecting to the Internet
- Launching, quitting, and managing applications
- Creating, copying, moving, and renaming files and folders
- Zipping and unzipping files
- Using Cortana to search
- Browsing the web with Edge
- Sending email
- Installing new apps
- Sharing files over home networks
- Backing up and restoring files
- Configuring Windows updates
- Using Windows Defender
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 05/02/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that helps you confirm which version of Windows 10 you’re running, to ensure that you’re choosing the right training course.