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Windows XP

Explorer Basics

In order to make working with Windows Explorer simple and easy, it is important to learn some basic techniques, terms, and conventions involving Windows Explorer.

NOTE: Some of these instructions refer to MY COMPUTERMy Computeron the Desktop. Instead of the text MY COMPUTER, you may see your username followed by the computer name.

This document covers the following basic information:

return to topOpening Explorer

There are several options for accessing Windows Explorer on campus computers, including the right click option and the Start menu option.
NOTE: The Start menu option may not always work, due to periodic Start menu reorganization.

Right Click Option

  1. On the Desktop, right click MY COMPUTER » select Explore
    On the Taskbar, right click START » select Explore
    Windows Explorer opens.

Start Menu Option

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs » Accessories » Windows Explorer
    Windows Explorer opens.
    NOTE: The Start menu option may not always work, due to periodic Start menu reorganization.

return to topExiting Explorer

There are two different ways to exit Windows Explorer.

  1. From the File menu, select Close
    In the upper-right corner, click the X

return to topMoving Around in Explorer

As you work with Explorer, you are likely to encounter the following activities. Included with each activity is a brief description of how to accomplish it.

Display the Contents of a Folder/Drive

  1. From the Folders list, select the appropriate folder/drive name
    The contents of the folder/drive you selected will appear in the Contents listing.

Moving to Sub-Folder

If you want to view the contents of a subfolder, use the method described above for displaying the contents of the folder.

Viewing Subfolders of a Folder/Drive

If you want to see the subfolders of a folder/drive but you don’t want to see all of the contents, you can click the "plus" sign (+) next to the folder/drive name.
To collapse the folder listing, click the "minus" sign (-).

Folder Sample

return to topTerms

The terms file, folder, and path are key words to know when working with Windows Explorer.

Term Definition
File A file is a single document that is saved to a diskette or hard-drive.
Folder A folder is where files are stored.
Path A path is the line of folders you must follow to locate a specific file; it begins with the drive designation and includes the folders. For example, c:\data\reports\status.doc is a file named status.doc that is on the C: drive and is in the reports subfolder of the data folder.

return to topFile Naming Conventions

About Long Filenames

When working with Windows XP, you have a lot of flexibility with your filenames. Windows XP supports long file names so you can have up to 255 characters including spaces.

When naming your files, you can use all of the alphabetic characters, numeric characters, and spaces. In addition to control characters (characters that require a keyboard combination to create), the only characters that you cannot use are displayed below.

\ / : * ? " < >

NOTE: Spaces and special characters should not be used in web publishing or WebCT files.

While filenames with Windows XP are not case-sensitive, Windows XP will remember the case you use to create the name. This means that you cannot have the following two Word documents in the same folder:

Course Syllabus
course syllabus

Depending on the settings, Windows XP may hide the extension, which would cause the Word file of Course Syllabus to exist in the same folder as the Excel document named Course Syllabus. The Word file will have a .DOC attached to the filename and the Excel document will have an .XLS extension added to its filename.

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