Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Create a folder structure

The most effective way to organize your files is to create a folder structure that fits how you use your computer. For example, you might have folders within My Documents for:

•Finances: Documents related to your budget and taxes
•School: Class notes and reports
•Work: Your résumé and other work-related documents
•Shopping: Notes comparing different products and stores
•Home: Records relating to home maintenance and improvements

To create a folder structure

1.Click Start, and then click My Documents.

2.Click the File menu, click New, and then click Folder.

3.Type the name for your new folder, and then press ENTER.

My Documents window with new folder

4.Repeat steps 2 and 3 to create additional folders.

Note: You can create sub-folders within folders for multiple levels of organization.

After you have created your folder structure, you can move files into your new folders

1.In My Documents, select the files or folders that you want to move. To select multiple files, hold down the CTRL key and click each file you want to select.

2.Click the Edit menu, and then click Cut.

My Documents Edit menu with Cut selected

3.Open the folder you want to store your files in. Click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.

Edit menu with Paste selected

4.Repeat steps 1-3 until you have moved all of your files to their new locations.

Now that you have an organized system of folders, when you save new files, be sure to save them in one of your folders to keep things organized.
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Browsing files

Sometimes you know where a file is stored, but there are so many files in the folder that it's difficult to find the file you want. The best way to search through a large folder is to use the Details view. The Details view allows you to quickly sort your files and view different types of information about all the files in a folder.

To use the Details view

1.Open the folder you want to browse

2.Click the Views button, and then click Details.
Folder with Details selected from expanded list of view options

3.To sort the files, click the column heading that you want to sort by. For example, to sort files from oldest to newest, click the Date Modified heading. To reverse the sort order (for example, to sort from newest to oldest), click the column heading twice.

Folder with images sorted by date modified

4.By default, the Details view shows the file name, date, size, and type. You can add other information as well. To add or remove columns, right-click a column heading, and then click More.

Adding detail information for images in a folder

5.In the Choose Details dialog box, select the columns you want to see in the Details view. For pictures and videos, you can add Dimensions to sort by size. For music, you can add Artist, Album Title, and Genre to make it easier to find the songs you want.

Choose Details dialog box

6.Click OK to add the columns to your Details view.

Choose Details window with OK button selected

When you modify the columns in the Details view, it affects only the folder you are viewing. To change the layout of all folders on your computer, read Specify how folders open.
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Searching for files

If you don't remember which folder you saved a file in, you can search for it. To search for a file

1.Click Start, and then click Search.

Start menu with Search selected

2.In the left pane, click the type of file you want to search for, or click All files and folders.

Search pane

3.Based on the type of file you chose to search for, specify your criteria. If you know part of the file name, type it. Then click Search.

Search pane with file type selected and file name text typed in text box

4.Windows XP searches your computer, which may take several minutes. Windows XP then displays the search results, which you can browse just like files in a folder. Once you are done searching, click Yes, finished searching.

Tip: If you want to view any of the search results, double-click the file and it will open in the relevant application. You can do this as many times as necessary to find the file you need.

Search pane, with Search results

Note: For even faster search results, download and install the MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search. With Windows Desktop Search, you can find files on your computer in just a few seconds.

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