What are files and folders?

Back to basics for this one with a look at Files and Folders, which I know many find confusing.

The best way of thinking about the structure of your PCs folders and files is to compare it to a real filing cabinet and how you store information in ‘real’ live tactile form.

clip_image002In the first illustration we can see a standard metal two drawer filing cabinet.

Inside those drawers we have a series of hanging folders, one for each customer.

Inside those customer folders there are individual document wallets for the various subjects associated with that customer. Billing, Letters, Sales etc;.

Finally inside those folders we keep the individual letters, invoices, statements etc;.

clip_image004PC systems use the same concept for organising your file storage.

Using the real filing cabinet as a comparison we can see that our main User Folder (usually called by your user name) correlates directly to the old filing cabinet.

Inside that User Folder we find our ‘hanging folder equivalents’, the folders called Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music etc.

Inside those we can create our ‘plastic wallet equivalents’, various subjects to keep things in order such as Business, Home, Finance etc. or in the Pictures folder things like Holidays, Family, Web Images, Birthdays etc. These are known as sub-folders.

Finally inside those sub-folders we keep our actual files. Whether that be a word processed letter, a photo from holiday, invoice from the window cleaner etc; etc.

As you can see by comparing the two illustrations, looking at your data in this way has a direct correlation to the ‘old’ world of masses of paper organised in cabinet in a logical manner. As with the filing cabinet we could throw our correspondence directly into the drawers and not bother with using hanging folders and paper wallets, but if we ever wanted to find something we’d have to sift through masses of paper to find it. Similarly on the PC, if you make the effort to store ‘like’ items in folders and sub-folders, rather than just saving everything on the desktop or in the main Documents folder, then you will find it a lot easier to locate the item that you are searching for.


Taff Lovesey

About taffybach

Author of the young adult fantasy novel series, The Portal Chronicles, including The Spider Gem and The Shimmering Gate. When not writing and promoting Taff runs a small IT support company, LITES PC based in Bourne UK.
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