File And Folder Operations Information Technology Essay

The increased simplicity of the ¬le systems provided by modern operating systems has enabled a concentration on e¬ƒciency, security and constrained access, and robustness. Operating systems provide a layer of system-level software, using system-calls to provide services relating to the provision of ¬les. This obviates the need for each application program to manage its own disk allocation and access.

Computers are all about the processing of information. The information has to be organized in a systematic way so that computer can find it when need it. A file is a piece of information which is stored on a computer. A file can be anything as basic as a text document to something as complicated as a Video. Files are often accessed from within another program and are defined by a specific file extension. There are two principal types of files: text files and binary files (program files, word processor files, spreadsheet files, digital image files). Each item of information is stored as a file. Files are organized into Folders. A folder is basically a box or container in which files are held. Folders are used to group together related files and separate them from other unrelated files. Folders can contain Subfolders. Subfolders are simply folders which are placed within another folder.

File management is the process of naming, placing, and organizing files and folders in a apparently logical manner. In other words, file management would consist of sorting and arranging a group of files into specific folders so that similar or related files are located together. When organizing the contents of one’s computer, it is essential to understand how files and folders are connected. A well organized computer will consist of many folders and subfolder which are located in a logical sequence. The order, or rank, in which folders and file are linked, is often referred to as file hierarchy and the route to a file is known as its path.

File hierarchy is similar to branches and leaves of a tree. The main system drive is the trunk of the tree, and each folder represents a branch which extends from the trunk. Files within this first folder are represented by leaves on the branch and subfolders are represented by more branches. This carries on until all the subfolders on the computer continue creating more branches and all the files on the computer are leaves growing off of their appropriate branch.

Organization of Files

To manage the files, folders and sub folders in Windows OS we use Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer is a file manager application which provides a graphical user interface for accessing the file systems. It is also the component of the operating system that presents many user interface items on the monitor such as the taskbar and desktop. It allows one to manage and browse the contents of their computer

Windows also has a variety of different option concerning how files and folders are displayed. There are pros and cons each one, and in most cases, the display mode is strictly personal preference. One may change these settings by clicking on the View button at the top of the window or Right-Clicking on an area of empty space within the window. By doing so, a new menu will appear with the ‘View’ options. Of the various view modes, all display the file / folder name and are represented with a icon, which corresponds to the type of file (such as the Microsoft Word icon for Word Documents).

Naming Files

Most Windows files have names with two distinct parts separated by a period. For example: FILE. EXE

The word before the period or dot (.) is the name of the file assigned either by the programmer. The word after the period or dot (.) is called the “file extension”. File extensions are usually, but not necessarily, three characters long. Extensions define the type of file and are very important because they are what Windows uses to determine what kind of file it is and how to process it. Windows should be configured to always display the file extensions. However, as delivered, Windows does NOT display these extensions.

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Saving Files

One of the most basic and commonly used skills that the computer user should be familiar with is how to save a file. Whether a few seconds or a few hours passed while creating a file, by saving it we can return to that file later and continue working. There are two ways to save a file: ‘Save As’ and ‘Save’. ‘Save As’ is used the first time a file is being saved and allows the user to dictate where the file is to be saved and permits the user to give the file a name. ‘Save’, which is used after the file has already been given a name and location, is the method that the program uses to apply changes to the file. Within most applications, both ‘Save’ and ‘Save As’ can be accessed by clicking on the File button. There are three characteristics of files that you must specify when saving a file: The file location, the file name, the file extension (file type).

Viewing Files and Folders

There are two basic formats for the interface used to display the contents of the computer

The single-pane view – used for most folders and in My Computer

It shows one folder with its sub-folders and files. The contents can be viewed in several different ways according to your needs. It contains:

Thumbnails – Displays a picture of the contents of the file or folder when possible

Tiles – Displays large icons along with the file name.

Icons – Displays small icons along with the file name.

List – Displays just a list of the file names.

Details – Displays file name, type, size, date created and other options information about each file.

You can choose the view you want by clicking on the “bingo card” icon on the tool bar

The double-pane or Windows Explorer view

It is a tree-like view which can show the entire contents of the computer. As in the “My Computer” view, contents can be viewed in several different ways

File and Folder Operations

Selecting Files and Folders

From within any file browsing application, it will be essential to know to select individual files / folders and groups of files / folders. A single file or folder can be selected by hovering the mouse pointer over the prospective object and making a single Left-Click with the mouse. Selecting a group of files and folders is a bit more difficult. To do so, hold down the left mouse button within the empty space of a Windows Explorer window and then drag your mouse over the objects you want to select. Finally, release the left mouse button. You may also use the Shift key to select a group of files by holding down Shift and left clicking over the files you want to group together. To group together multiple files which are not consecutive one may hold down the Control key (Ctrl) and manually click on all the files you wish to group together.

Copying Files or Folders

You can copy files, folders, subfolders, sub-subfolders, etc. Copying of file and folders creates a duplicate of the original

In the same folder with a different name

In a different folder with the same name

In a different folder with a different name

The original remains in the same location unchanged.

Copying files and folders can be done like this:

Open Windows Explorer and select the objects you wish to copy.

Right-Click and then click on Copy when the pop-up menu appears.

Navigate to the location in which you would like to paste the copies. Once there, Right-Click and select Paste. If everything worked correctly you should be able to find the files and folders you copied in both locations.

Moving Files or Folders

The main step in developing a good system of file management on your computer would be to organize your files and folders logically. This often requires the movement of files and folders to new locations. To move a single file follows these steps:

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Left-Click once on the file that you desire to move and hold down the left mouse button. While keeping the left mouse button pressed, drag the file to folder in which you would like to deposit it.

Drag the file on top the folder you want to put it in. Then your file will now be found within the folder you placed it.

To select multiple files or folders that are listed contiguously, left-click on the first one, then shift-left-click on the last one. They will all be selected.

Renaming Files or Folders

We can change the name of a file or folder at any time. But we must be careful not to change the file extension. There are several ways to do this. We can rename the file or folder by Right-clicking on the file or folder you want to rename and Choosing Rename from the context-sensitive menu. File names may not contain any of the following characters: / : * ? ” < > or |.

Deleting Files or Folders

Often, our computers get cluttered with junk and useless files which are not needed any more. If these files have no purpose and are doing nothing more than taking up hard drive space, a simple way to dispose of these files would be to delete them. To delete the file or folder Left-click on the file or folder you want to delete to highlight it and then Press the DELETE key. Normally, deleted files or folders are sent to the Recycle Bin. If you delete a file by mistake, you can restore it from the Recycle Bin.

How Windows Manages Files

There are many ways to manage the files in Windows operating system.

File Extensions

File extensions are a code of at least three letters, preceded by a period, that represent the format of the file or the application in which the file was created. File extensions also represent the type of data found within the file and certain extensions will determine which application will allow the file to be viewed or edited. Within Windows, there are unique file extensions which distinguish between certain file types. Some of the commonly used file extensions are:

.doc – Microsoft Word Document  –  This extension opens with programs such as MS Word and Open Office.

.html – HyperText Markup Language –  This file extension is used in Web Pages and .html files are displayed within a web browse like Internet Explorer or Firefox.  .html files can be created with HTML editors such as Dreamweaver.

.gif – Graphics Interchange Format –  Graphics file format commonly used throughout the web due to its small file size.  .gif images only support 255 colours but can be used in multiple frame animations.

.jpeg/ .jpg – Joint Photographic Experts Group  –  Used commonly for photographs taken with a digital camera and photos found on the web.

.mp3 – MPEG Audio Layer Three  –  Form of digital audio encoding which falls into the category of lossy compression and is a very popular format for streaming on the web.

.wma – Windows Media Audio – Compressed audio format developed by Microsoft.

.avi – Audio Video Interleave –  Developed by Microsoft, this multimedia container format combines audio and video together for simultaneous playback.

.exe – Executable – Basically, .exe files are programs that run on your computer and complete (execute) a task.  For example, explorer.exe is the user shell which is seen as the taskbar and desktop.

.ppt – PowerPoint Presentation –  Slide show presentation which can be created, edited, and displayed in applications like Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice.

.xls – Excel Worksheet  –  This file extension opens within Microsoft Excel and stores a spreadsheet, which can contain lists, graphs, tables, and much more.

File Associations

Software that is assigned to do something with or to a particular type of file is said to be “associated”. All file types will have at least one possible action called the Default Action. The Default action is the one that double left-clicking brings about. When a user invokes a particular file by double-clicking, the operating system consults the Registry

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A list of all the file types registered on a particular computer together with their associated actions and software can be seen by going to My Computer|Tools|Folder Options|File Types.

Managing File Associations

Many of us have had the experience of installing some new software only to find that, without asking, the installation has changed our file associations so that some of our favorite programs no longer work. Knowing how to manage file associations will allow you to take back control of your computer. There is a simple procedure to change the default action or to occasionally use a different program to open a file using the “Open With…” command.

Right-click on a file of the type whose associations you wish to edit.

Selecting this entry will bring up a list of programs from which a selection can be made to open the file.

If the list does not contain the desired program, select the entry Choose Program.

This will open the dialog box “Open With” and in it you can look for an appropriate executable from all the files on the computer.

Finding Lost or Misplaced Files

If you’re having trouble trying to locate a missing file or can’t remember where you downloaded a file to, then the built in Windows Search might be able to help. After specifying a few basic parameters, the Windows Search Utility will browse the contents of your computer and help find and access the lost file.

Open up Windows Search by clicking on Start and then on Search.

Set the parameters for the search.  You can choose between searching for Media files (music, pictures, or video), Documents, or within All Files and Folders. Depending on which type of search you desire to perform you may be asked to set a few more settings, such as when the document was last modified. 

Enter part or all of the filename.  Also, under advanced search options the user may specify a specific phrase within the document to search for.

Click Search and wait until the search has finished.  You’ll be notified when the search is complete and will be able to view the search results.

Hopefully, the Search Utility will have successfully located the file.  However, if the search yields unsuccessful results you can try again by altering the parameters.


Good file management skills can lead to improved productivity, reduced stress, and an increase in one’s efficiency while working on a computer. Pretend that your computer’s hard disk drive is a toolbox and the files on your computer are the tools in the box. When the hammers, screw drivers, pliers, and other tools aren’t arranged in any particular manner it is difficult to find specifics tool and valuable time is wasted while searching. So, if you are one who uses your toolbox often, it would be wise to organize your tools so that you won’t exhaust any more time aimlessly searching. The same thing can occur when the files on a computer are haphazardly scattered around. Believe me, it is very stressful to filter through hundreds of folders and files in search of the needed documents. By developing good file management skills and sorting your files in a logical manner you may relieve unneeded stress and complete your work more efficiently.

Another important file management skill is simply knowing your way around the the contents of your computer. When you know where commonly used objects are located, it is much easier to retrieve and modify those objects. Also, by knowing where your files are located, you will be able to save newly created files to their appropriate location the first time, and never have to worry about organizing and moving that file afterward.

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