This is just a quick guide for anyone that is unfamiliar with the structure of your folders (Directories) and where to put your files on your windows pc. The screenshots in the guide are taken from Microsoft Windows 7, though other versions really look similar, but the principles of this guide are the same no matter what version of Windows you are running, vista, 8, 8.1, 10 or even XP or earlier.
The normal folders that you see on your pc are your “Desktop”, “Downloads” and your “Libraries” Section which normally contains “Music” , “Pictures” , “Videos” and “Documents”. All of these folders are stored on your hard drive in a folder which in normally within the user directory. See the table below for normal structure of your hard drive.
Let’s go through these first your “Desktop” the content you see in this folder are the file and shortcuts you see on your windows desktop i.e. the main screen on your computer. Now my personal view is that most users are tempted to put your files and folders directly on your desktop, this is not the best place to put you files. This is in my view for several reasons which I won’t go into on this article if you want easy access to your files and want to put them on your desktop I would recommend creating shortcuts (see below) to these.
Your Libraries section which contain “Music” , “Pictures” , “Videos” and “Documents” is really the best place to store your files so you will always know where your files are. writing each of these your are best to create sub folder / directories i.e if you have photos from your camera from say a wedding , you create a sub folder within “pictures” the name is what is best for you, myself I create a folder of the date ie “2015-14-29” (year/month/date) or your could name it the name of the persons wedding ie “Jack and Jill’s wedding” and then copy those photos into that directory. You can create as many sub folders as you want. The same goes for music ie Music/artist and album, Videos can be the same as my recommendation for photos.
For everything else use your “Documents” folder this can be whichever suits your own filing system ie work, games, years etc. and then again create sub folders under these. Ie an example I have just used for someone wanting to run a master system emulator. Within documents create a folder called “emulators”, then inside that create a folder called “master system” and then within that master system folder you can put all the files to do with this emulator and then when you download games for this put these files within that folder. This makes it very easy to locate the file you want, so even if you can’t remember where you have put your files ie in the above example the master system games, it is logical where they would be.
Your “Downloads” is normally the default directory where files you download from the Internet though your Web browser, ie edge, Internet Explorer , firefox, Chrome etc. You can keep the files you download in this folder or for future retrieval I would copy the files to your pictures, documents etc. This just makes it easier to find your files in the future.
When downloading or saving files you can specify the directory you want the files in, normally you would get the standard windows save dialogue box / screen which looks like the below image. On the left hand side you will see the list of the folder locations ie the ones discussed above. To the right of these you will see the sub folders (if any) and the files within that folder i.e. if you want to save a file into your “documents” folder click the documents folder on the left and then if you want to create new folder you can do this by clicking on the “new folder” button above the folder lists, normally next to organise. Once you click the new folder you will see a folder called “new folder” within the file list if you don’t click anywhere else you will be able to rename this ( as the name will be highlighted in blue” by just using the back space key and typing your preferred name. Once done double left click on this folder, then you can just click on “save” at the bottom of this window. You can also rename the file if needed by typing in the box next to the words “File Name”. The screen you see for saving files is normally the same one for opening so the principle is the same other then a save button there will be an “open” button
To create shortcuts to your folders or files, ie putting a link on your desktop for easy access, there are several ways to do this but I will cover two easy ways, Using Windows Explorer navigate to the file or folder you want to create a shortcut for and either 1. right click on the file, then click create shortcut, then using left button click on the newly created shortcut and then drag onto your desktop. 2. right click and hold the file and drag to your desktop then choose “create shortcut here”
One question I get asked sometime is that within your folders you see files that you don’t recognise that i.e. on your desktop you see files saying desktop.ini . Files like this are normal filesystem files that windows use but normally the user shouldnt see these files. If for some reason you are seeing file like this your pc may not be set to hide “hidden” files. This is easily done by opening up the “Windows File Explorer” normally the yellow folder icon on your task bar (the bottom bar with the status orb button) then clicking “organise” then “Folder and Search option” under the View tab MAKE SURE ticks next to “don’t show hidden files, folders or drives” & “hide protected operating system files” once done click “OK” from within this section you can hide file extensions ie the letters that are used for file association ie jpg, zip, doc etc as for most users you don’t need to see these file extensions, as if a novice user and you rename a file and these extension letters get deleted windows won’t know the type of file that it is and won’t open your default program for that file.
Most people reading this article will think this is normal knowledge but I have wrote this article for computer novices that don’t really understand the way files and folder work on your pc. I normally explain this to novices by using the adage of a physical filing cabinet, ie the file cabinet is your hard drive and the drawers and folders within this are just like the folders on your pc. It is always good to keep your files organised on your computer as this saves you searching around for a file that you know you have but just can’t find it. I hope this has been a help and I will be expanding on this article in the future, so follow this site for updates.
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