Exploring the Filing Cabinet

What We'll Learn

  1. How information is stored on your computer
  2. How to explore what is stored on your computer

Files, Folders and Drives

Everything on your computer is stored in tiny containers called files.   The computer uses folders to group, or organize related files.  These folders are stored on a physical device called a drive.
Windows provides a "built-in" program called File Explorer that allows us to "look" at the contents of the drives on your computer. Any time you access a drive or a folder, your computer automatically opens File Explorer.

Exercise 1 - Exploring Drives

Use these steps to start exploring:
  1. Click the Start Button.
  2. Look at the right side of the Start Menu.
    • In Windows XP click My Computer
    • In Windows 7 click Computer
  3. A File Explorer window opens up, showing the drives on your computer
  4. Double-Click a drive to view its contents.
    • Note the difference between how the computer displays Files versus Folders
  5. Double-Click a folder to view its contents.
  6. Use the Back-Arrow to go back up a level
    • In Windows XP you can also use the Up Arrow on the File Explorer Toolbar
    • In Windows 7 you can also click on the levels in the location bar.
Try the above, exploring your filing cabinet, until you are comfortable with moving around.

File Explorer

Everytime you access a Drive or Folder, the computer will use File Explorer.  It's important to be familiar with this program since it is used quite often.  First a couple of notes:
  • File Explorer shows the location of where you are in your drive in the Title Bar
  • File Explorer has a number of features to help you explore your computer, and it looks quite different in Windows XP and Windows 7.  A view of both is shown below:

File Explorer in Windows XP


File Explorer in Windows 7

Exercise 2 - Changing the View

Locate the Set View button and see how you can change the appearance of the icons in the view window.