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Windows XP

Explorer Environment

Windows Explorer is used to manage files, folders, and drives. It can be used to create folders for storing information, rearrange files or folders, locate files or folders, and delete files or folders that are no longer needed. This document describes many of the components of the Explorer dialog box and provides you with descriptions of the different functions found on the toolbar. For information on using Explorer to manage files, refer to Working with Files

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.

return to topOpening Windows Explorer

There are two options for accessing Windows Explorer on campus computers -- 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 topExplorer Window

This section describes the various parts of the window and their respective purposes.

Windows Explorer

Part of Window Purpose
Title Bar Identifies the current window and drive/folder being viewed
Standard Buttons Toolbar Shortcuts for accomplishing tasks with Explorer (icons described later in this handout)
Address Toolbar Displays the location of the selected folder
Folders/Drives List Displays the drives and directories available
List of Contents Displays the contents of the selected drive/folder
Status Bar Displays information about the selected item


return to top The Standard Buttons Toolbar

The Standard Buttons toolbar provides shortcuts for accomplishing tasks. With the toolbar, you can move from folder to folder and select the view in which you would like to read the Explorer window. The display of the toolbar is an option that you can turn on and off. 

To display the toolbar:

  1. From the View menu, select Toolbars » Standard Buttons
    The Toolbar will appear.
    Standard Buttons toolbar

About the Toolbar Icons

Icon Purpose
Back/Forward buttons
These arrows allow you to move backwards or forwards through your folders, much like the BACK button on web browsers. 
NOTE: Before you can use the FORWARD button, you must use the BACK button.
Up button
Move up one level in the directory/drive hierarchy.
Search button
SEARCH allows you to search for files and folders in a specified location.
Folders button
When FOLDERS is selected, the a list of folders is displayed on the left side of the window.
Views button
Allows you to select how the icons are displayed.
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