Files, Folders and Defrag – Help Organise Your PC

A file on your computer is much like a file that you would keep in your filing cabinet. Each file has a unique name and is kept in a specific location. Each computer file has a three character extension which is separated from the file name by a period. The extension is often hidden however there is an option in Windows to display this if you wish. The extension relates to a specific program. This tells the computer which program to open it with. For example, a file extension xls or xlsx relates to Microsoft Excel.

Some file extensions, such as.mp3 can be opened in a variety of programs.

What is a Folder?

A folder usually contains a collection of files similar to a folder in a filling cabinet. You can have folders within a folder. These are known as subfolders. You may sometimes hear folders referred to as directories.

What is a Path?

A path relates to the exact location of the folder leading to the files. For example, the location of the files for a program installation on a Windows PC is commonly c:program files.

File names can be whatever you like however there are some characters which cannot be used. e.g. *! % etc.. If you store files in the manner which you would in a manual filling system then you should be easily able to locate the one you are looking for.

Any file can have a shortcut, which is like a bridge to the original file and can be placed in any location on the computer. The Desktop is a where you are likely to find several shortcuts.

Keeping Your Desktop Tidy

It is good practice to keep you desktop tidy and uncluttered. Remove all unused shortcuts and create folders for scattered files. In Windows there is a desktop clean up wizard to help with this process.

To access this right click on the desktop, choose properties, then select the tab, desktop. Then click the button customise desktop button. There will be an option to clean the desktop. You could of course just delete any unwanted shortcuts or icons.

Performing a Defrag on a hard disk for a Windows based computer is a useful way to help speed up access to files and folders on your computer.

What is Defraging (Defrag)?

If you were to index a filing cabinet, you would probably organise it alphabetically with labels on the individual files to enable you to find them easily. If someone moved around the draws on the filing cabinet and switched the labels on your files to

a random order, beside being a tad annoying to say the least, it would take a great deal longer to find a particular file. Now a computer saves files wherever it finds space. This can be almost anywhere on the hard drive. So when the computer accesses a file it may have to look across the entire hard drive to find it, so over time this process will take longer. What a defrag does is to group together files of similar types thereby increasing the speed of access to them. So carrying out a defrag on a regular basis can help optimise the time your computer takes to access files and folders. Windows 7 and Windows Vista have an option to schedule a defrag at regular intervals.

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