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Saving The World  - - One Computer At A Time!


Welcome to our Newsletter

Keeping Your Computer Organized

Part 2

Keeping your computer organized is important. Not only does it make you more productive, but should disaster strike it allows you to know where to look to recover those files. In part 2 we show how Windows decides what to do by default and how to over-ride the functions. We also show how to simplify things by using the right-click menu.    Click Here

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Feature Article


Keeping Your Computer Organized

Part 2 of 2

A Quick Refresher

In the last issue we discussed how Windows handles three common commands: Copy, Cut, and Paste. There was also a brief explanation of the Windows Clipboard. Here they are again.

  • Clipboard - A section of memory that Windows uses to temporarily store information for the user.
  • Cut - Removes the file or object from the original location and places it in the Clipboard.
  • Copy - Copies the file or object to the Clipboard, but leaves the original in the current location.
  • Paste - Copies the file or object from the clipboard and places it where you choose.

These four items are important because three of the four items are used in combination every single time you move a file or folder. It doesn't matter how you perform the move, as it is always true.

Windows Default File Actions

By default, Windows takes into account the location you are moving the file from and to. If the file resides on your hard drive and you are moving it to another location on the hard drive Windows will perform a Cut - the file will not remain in the original location, but will be in the destination location.

If either the original location or destination location are on a removable drive Windows will perform a Copy - the file will remain in the original location and will also be in the destination location.

  • Both original and destination are an internal hard drive - the file will not remain in the original location, but will be in the destination location.
  • Either original or destination on a removable storage device - the file will remain in the original location and will also be in the destination location.

To move a file using Window's default methods navigate to the original location of the file. Open My Computer or My Documents so you have two folders open and navigate to the location or folder where you would like the file to end up. If one of the locations is the desktop you will only need one folder.

Place your cursor over the file you would like to move. Press down on the left mouse button and hold it down. While holding the button down move your mouse to the location where you would like the file to be. Release the mouse button. This is called "dragging and dropping". That sure is a lot easier than typing a text command and the path. Isn't Windows wonderful?

Note: An external hard drive (one that connects with a USB or Firewire cable) is considered removable storage by Windows and will, by default, perform the copy function.

Here is an example of a file being moved from one location on the internal hard drive (desktop) to another (Documents).

Hey! That's just great! Now you know that Windows will perform a copy if one of the locations is removable storage, so your original file will still be in the same place. You also know that if both locations are on an internal hard drive that Windows will perform a cut and the original location won't have the file anymore

But what if you want to perform a cut when copying to/from a removable drive? What if you want to perform a copy when moving files around on your internal hard drive? Microsoft thought of that too!

Windows has a hidden menu for each file. If you hover your cursor over a file and click the right mouse button you will find a menu of options will appear.

Do you see Cut and Copy? These do exactly what is described above. Clicking Copy will place a copy of the file in the clipboard. Clicking Cut will place the original file in the clipboard. I bet you want to know how to get your file back from the clipboard?

Navigate to the location where you would like the file placed. Right click on the folder to see the hidden menu. Notice anything different?

Clicking Paste will move the file from the clipboard and place it in the location you right clicked!

Note about the clipboard: The clipboard can only hold one item. If you place something on the clipboard and then cut or copy another item, the first one is gone. You could lose a file. Be careful.

There you have it! That is a basic overview of how files are moved are in the Windows operating system. In the next issue I'll go a little more in depth and talk about creating folders, working with groups of files, and renaming a file.


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