File Management


Using Windows Explorer Windows Explorer Image

Windows Explorer can be thought of as a file cabinet with folders inside filing drawers that contain sheets of paper.
Left Side of Window:
     My Computer 
          Various Drives 
               Folders and/or Programs
* the indentations indicate the directory structure
Right Side of Window:
Files and Folders within the folder selected at left.  The selected folder on the left appears to be open with the contents seen on the right.

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Click on the left side to see how the subfolders and files are shown on the right side of the window.
  3. Use the scroll bar to move the contents in your window up and down...and left to right.
  4. Click on the items on the menu bar to see the options provided.

Saving Files
Although you do not save files using Windows Explorer, you need to be familiar with the directory structure in order to successfully save the files you work on.
Save As - Image
When saving files:
  • Click on 'File', 'Save As'
  • When the window opens, click on the drop down menu (the triangle button at the end of the 'Save in:' box) to display your drives.

  • Save-As Image 2

  • Scroll to the drive letter (C: or A:), then double click on the folder (directory) to which you wish to save the file.  You will see that folder in the the 'Save In' box.
    • Note:  You may wish to create a new folder if a folder is not already available that seems to be a likely place to store your new file. (See Creating and Deleting Folders)

    • Save-As Image 3

  • In the 'File name:' (toward bottom of screen) enter your choice of a filename.
  • In the Save as type:' (lower box) note the application you are using.  (The file ending is usually already chosen for you.  You have the option of changing it by clicking the triangle to the right of this menu).
  • Finally, click on the Save button.
  1. Open Word Pad (Start, Programs, Accessories, Word Pad).
  2. Type your name, school name, and the name of any pets you have.
  3. Click on 'File', 'Save as'.
  4. Go to the C: drive.
  5. Find the 'Temp' folder and double click on it.  It will pop into the box.
  6. In the 'File name:' box, type 'test_doc' (without the ' ).
  7. Click on the 'Save' button.
  8. Now close the program and open it up again.
  9. Click on the 'File', 'Open', and follow the same procedure as above to locate the file.
  10. When you locate it, double click on the file to open it into Word Pad.
  11. Close the program.
Finding Files
When you forget where saved your file, you can search for it using the Windows Find feature.  You can locate files based on file name, a portion of a name, date, and/or the text included in a file.
Your search results screen will list the file or files which match your criteria.  The screen functions like a window in Explorer or My Computer.  Here you may open, delete, move, and copy files.


  1. Open Explorer by clicking Start, Programs, Windows Explorer.
  2. Open the 'Find' program by clicking on Tools, Find, Files or Folders.
  3. In the 'Named:' box type *.doc
  4. IN the 'Look in:' box click Browse and select C:
  5. Click on Find Now.
You should see all the documents with the .doc extension on your C: drive (hard drive).  When you find a file you are searching for, you can double click on the file name and it will launch the application and open your file.

Creating and Deleting Folders
Create folders by performing these steps:
NOTE:  Sub folders can be created under already established folders in the same manner.  On the menu bar, click one time on the folder and click 'File', 'New', 'Folder'.


  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Scroll the left side scroll bar up until you [C:] and click once on [C:].
  3. Go up to 'File' on the menu bar and choose 'New', 'Folder'.
  4. Replace 'New Folder' with 'Downloads' and hit Enter.  Now when you download something from the Web, you can put the file in this directory.
  5. Click on [C:] again and make another folder called 'GirlTECH'.
  6. Now click once on the 'GirlTECH' folder and create a folder name 'Lessons'.  You may want to create another folder for another category you may want to use.  (i.e. Images).

  7. Delete files and folders is easy--almost too easy.
  1. Close one of the Explorer windows if still open.
  2. Click on A: to reveal your files on the right side
  3. Left click on one of the files to select it
  4. press your Delete key on the keyboard.
  5. Now select another file on A:
  6. Copy that file to your Temp directory (according to instructions above).
  7. Double click on the Temp folder to see the file.
  8. Now left click on that file to select it.
  9. Drag the file to the 'Recycle Bin'.  Remeber, that file is not really gone yet.  You can retrieve it.  But once you empty the bin it is history!  Also, only files deleted from  your hard drive can be retrieved from the Recycle Bin.
WARNING:  When you delete a folder, you delete all files in that folder.  Before deleting a folder, be sure that it does not contain files you wish to keep!

Copying and Moving Files

Copying Files

You can use several methods for copying (and moving) files:
  • right clicking,
  • clicking a toolbar icon,
  • clicking edit, copy on the menu bar,
  • pressing 'control c' on your keyboard, or
  • dragging your files to another location.
  • As you gain more experience and confidence, you will probably use the dragging option more frequently. Initially, you may prefer the other options.
    Basically when copying files from one directory or drive to another, you are going to select the file, then use one of these methods to copy it to another location.


    Try the following ways to copy files using the different methods:

              KEYBOARD           DRAGGING
    NOTE: You need both directories visible to use this option. Or you can open up Explorer again and move the windows around for good viewing.
    Drop it precisely on the folder to which it will go. A small box will be visible around the selected folder, so that you can drop it within that folder.  If you miss, check the folders above and below your selected folder to see if the file landed there. Otherwise, you may have to search to locate it.

    TIP: You can copy several files at a time by


    Perform these copy maneuvers:

    Now let's try another copying maneuver. You are going to copy several files from one drive to another using 2 windows: Moving Files

    The process of moving files from one place to another is essentially the same. When right clicking, or choosing Edit from the menu,

    Note: Dragging files only copies files -- they remain in 2 places. Also, remember you can move multiple files in the same manner as described under 'Copying Files'.


    Try moving a file by doing the following:

    This material was adapted from the original version written by Susan Boone.

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    This website is maintained by Hilena Vargas (

    Updated: February 16, 2006

    GirlTECH is made possible by support from the National Science Foundation through EPIC, and Rice University.

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