Creating a new folder

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Staying organized saves a lot of time in everyday life. The same holds good in computing. The more organized you are, the more efficient you will be. You will accomplish more in less time.

When it comes to working with documents, whether in home or in office, organizing usually means sorting the documents and keeping them in different folders properly labeled. Then the folders are put in a systematic way (e.g., alphabetically) in a filing cabinet. In a large office, more than one cabinet may be needed, and each cabinet need to be properly labeled.

In computing, we basically work with different documents or files and they need to be systematically arranged in folders (modern term for directories) so that when needed they can be found easily. In your home or office, how do you begin to get organized with papers or documents? You first get a filing cabinet, and some folders to hold your papers, right? The same holds good for computers. You first need to create some blank folders and label them, so that you can put your documents inside them in an orderly fashion. That way you will never feel lost when it becomes necessary to find or retrieve a document. In my experience, the beginner in computing, often do not understand this simple concept. And this causes a lot of frustration when they are unable to find a file they "saved" five minutes ago! They usually don't have any idea where to (and how to) look for them.

So let us begin at the beginning. Let us first learn how to create new folders. We will create the new folders in our computer's hard drive. Since the hard drive will hold our folders, it will act as our filing cabinet.

1. On your desktop, double click on "My Computer". My Computer window opens.

2. Look for the icon of your hard drive (usually drive 'C'). Double click on it. The hard drive window opens.

3. Place your mouse pointer on any empty space and right click once. On the resulting menu, look for the word "New" and place your mouse pointer over it. Another fly-out menu will appear. On that new menu look for the word (and icon) "Folder" and click once over it with your left mouse button.

4. The menus will disappear, and a Folder icon will appear on your hard drive with a label named "New Folder" blinking beneath it. See screen shot below.

Folder icon with'New Folder' label blinking beneath it appeared
Folder icon with "New Folder" label
blinking beneath it appeared.

5. Without touching anything else, first hit the Backspace button. The blinking "New Folder" will disappear. Write a name for the folder (for example, Correspondence) and hit the "Enter" button. The folder is now renamed.

6. In the screen shot above, the New Folder has appeared on top of an older folder almost obscuring it. Don't worry. You can drag the new folder with your mouse pointer to a more suitable position easily. Better yet, click on "View" on the tool bar, slide the mouse pointer down to "Arrange Icons" and then on the sub-menu click on "by Name". Like a magic the icons will all be positioned perfectly, alphabetically arranged!

Want to change the name of a folder? No problem. First click on the folder whose name you want to change to highlight it. Then click "File" on the tool bar. A drop down menu appears. Find the word "Rename" and click once on it. You will notice the name you intend to change is blinking. Hit the Backspace button to erase that name, type in a new name, and hit the Enter button. The file name will be changed!

If for any reason you want to delete a folder (along with its contents), that is easy too. Just like before, first highlight it, then click on "File", then select (by clicking on it) "Delete". A file delete confirmation box will appear asking you if you really want to send that item to the Recycle Bin. Click on the Yes button. The folder will be deleted (sent to the Recycle Bin).

Anytime after renaming or deleting a file or folder, you can rearrange the icons by following the method described in paragraph 6 above.

Since you will need a few different folders to keep your computer documents organized, why don't you create half a dozen new folders in your hard drive right now and name them as follows. You can rename them or delete them later. This will give you a good practice of what you will need almost every day to work with computers. Call your new folders:
          a. Insurance Claims
          b. Complaints
          c. Recipes
          d. My Poems
          e. Personal Letters
          f. Photos
Within the "Photos" folder (double click on it to open it), create two folders named "Family Photos" and "Vacation Photos" respectively. To go back from the "Photos" folder to your hard drive window, click on the folder "Up" icon just over the address field of your "Photos" window. Once all the folders are created (and named) in your hard drive, arrange them alphabetically. If you have done this little exercise successfully, you have learned how to create and name a folder. You will never forget it!

Notes:

1) Normally, you will organize your documents in folders located in the hard drive of your computer. For free standing computers (e.g., home computers) this is usually drive "C". But if you work in a large office, your computer may be part of a Local Area Network (LAN). In that case, you will want to save and store your documents in folders located in the network's hard drive. The LAN administrator will allocate a part of the network's hard drive to you where you should store all your documents. In my office, the network's hard drive allocated to me by the LAN administrator is designated by "Sen on I drive" where I save all my documents. The advantage is if my individual computer's hard drive crashes, or I log-on to another computer of the same network using my password, I can still access my documents saved in the network's hard drive. Ask your LAN administrator, the letter code of the drive where you should save your documents.

2) If your computer's hard drive ever crashes and you lose important files, you will no doubt be greatly inconvenienced but it is not necessarily the end of the world. There is still hope. There are data recovery software utilities available that can help you get your files back and get on with your life!

If you need help using the Internet, check out the companion site:
Internet Basics For Seniors
If you need help with Windows XP, check out the companion site:
Help with Windows XP (New)
If you are an absolute beginner in computing, check out:

ABC's of Computing

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