Microsoft Windows

Windows 7 Foundation

Working with Files and Folders

Windows organizes your files into folders on your storage device, aka hard drive. Folders can contain both files and subfolders, allowing you to go as deep as you want in file structure and become as organized as you want. In this section of the Windows 7 tutorial, we’re going to discuss the Windows 7 file structure, how to manage folders and files, creating zip archives, using the recycle bin, and creating shortcuts.

First, let’s start with the Windows 7 folder structure: libraries.

Windows 7 User Files

Microsoft Windows creates a series of libraries to store your personal data in. You can find your libraries by clicking on the Start menu and then clicking Computer. Click on the Libraries link on the left:

This will open the libraries on your computer. A Library is not a real folder, it’s really a collection of files or folders in different locations around your computer. This enables you to, for example, store all of the music on your computer in a single library but in different locations across your hard drive.

As you can see in our Videos Library, it includes 2 locations (it shows you at the top).

If you click on the 2 Locations link at the top of the library window, you will see a list of all of the folders and folders in the library. You can Add a location to the library by clicking on the Add button. When you add other locations, you will start seeing those files in the library.

Creating Folders

A folder is a directory of files and folders on your computer. There are several ways to create a folder. Here’s the most common:

  1. Open up the folder or hard drive you want to create a folder in. We’re going to create a new folder in the Documents library.
  2. Click on the Start menu. Click on Documents.
  3. Click on the New folder button at the top of the Explorer window.
  4. A new folder is create in the current directory. You can start typing to rename the folder.

Renaming Objects

In an explorer window, click once on the file you want to rename, pause a couple of seconds, then click on the file name. It should highlight so you can rename it.

Alternatively, right-click on the file or folder and select Rename to rename the object.

Moving and Copying Files/Folders

The most frequent way to move or copy files is to drag and drop them. When you drag and drop a file or older from one place on a hard drive to another place on the same hard drive, Windows moves the objects. If you drag and drop files from one hard drive to another, Windows copies the files.When you drag and drop, you can do so with your right mouse button and at the destination, a popup window will appear asking you which action you’d like to take, like this example:

Select which you’d like to do, Copy the file, Move the file, or Create a shortcut.

You can also use your standard windows keyboard short cuts – copy a file using CTRL+C and paste it using CTRL+V. You can move a file by cutting it using CTRL+X and pasting it via CTRL+V.

Deleting and Undeleting Files/Folders

When you delete a file or folder in Windows 7, it isn’t completely deleted. Instead, the record of the file locator is moved into a special storage area called the Recycle Bin. It is removed from display from where it is currently residing, but it can be brought back if you deleted it on accident. This is also important to remember if you’re deleting something confidential – make sure you read the section of this tutorial which discusses the Recycle Bin. If you delete a file or folder on a removable drive such as a thumb drive, it is likely deleted forever.

Click on the file or folder you’d like to delete once and press the Delete key on your keyboard. You will be asked for confirmation.

Alternatively, right-click on the file or folder and select Delete on the pop up menu. You can also drag and drop the object into the Recycle Bin and this will delete it as well.

Creating Zip Archives

A zip file is a compressed file containing one or more files or folders. Windows integrated in zipping and unzipping files into Windows Explorer in Windows XP. This feature allows you to combine several files into one, compress it, and then send it to someone or just use it to reduce space on your computer.

If you are compress several files, copy them into a single folder to make it easier to compress. Right-click on the folder and select Send to then click on Compressed (zipped) folder. This will compress the folder into a single zip file.

The file icon of the zipped file appears to have a zipper on it. You can unzip a zipped file by right-clicking on it and selecting Extract All. The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders wizard appears allowing you unzip the contents of the file.

Using the Recycle Bin

When you delete a file in Windows 7, the file isn’t deleted. Instead, Microsoft moves the record pointing to the file into the Recycle Bin and stores it there until the Recycle Bin is emptied. This allows you to easily recover files if you accidentally deleted them. Keep this in mind if you’re deleting sensitive files – they may still be around on your computer somewhere. (In fact, even once you remove them in the Recycle Bin, they aren’t really gone yet. A full deletion/cleaning utility will permanently remove the files).

When you open the Recycle Bin on your desktop, you will see a list of files and folders you deleted.

There are several options available to you:

  • Empty the Recycle Bin (remove all of the files from the list and delete them permanently)
  • Restore all items (return them to their original location)
  • Restore files one at a time

Restoring an Item from the Recycle Bin

  1. Open up the Recycle Bin.
  2. Click on the item you would like to restore.
  3. Click on the Restore this item button at the top of the window.
  4. The item is restored to its original location.

You can also empty the entire Recycle Bin by right-clicking on it and selecting the Empty Recycle Bin option.

Note: when you are deleting a file, you can permanently delete it without sending it to the Recycle Bin by pressing Shift+Delete after selecting the file.

Creating Shortcuts

A shortcut is a link to a file somewhere else on the computer. A shortcut is commonly used to create icons which link to programs on the computer, but you could create a shortcut of any file or folder anywhere it is convenient for you on your computer.

Right-click and drag and drop a folder or file into the location you want a shortcut. When you release the right-click button, a popup menu will appear. Select Create shortcut here to create a shortcut.

If you’d like to create a shortcut of a file or folder on the desktop, there is a quick way to accomplish that. Right-click on the file or folder and select the Send to menu. Click on Desktop (create shortcut).

In this section of the Windows 7 tutorial, you learned how to work with files and folders. In our next section, we’re going to explore how to manage Users in Windows 7.