What is special about File & Folder structure
in Windows Vista
Files and Folders: Around the Basics:
In general, a file is a container for keeping things.
We hear this term in usually in office, where the term
file is used to keep papers containing the same information.
According to computer terminology, more generally speaking,
a file is a collection of similar or related information.
In computer, all typed matter is stored in terms of
files. Any picture or a movie, music is stored and displayed,
played in terms of files. Files are opened to view information,
whether it is picture, movie, music etc. through application
On the other hand, a folder is a container for storing
files. It is a logical group which holds files under
one name. A folder can have many files and folders within
it. Folders within a folder are called subfolders. If
one stores files under one folder, then one need to
open the folder first for accessing the required file.
Any number of folders and files can exist in one partition.
The partition is a logical part of the hard disk, where
one can store folders and file.
Hard disk and partitions
The hard disk’s total capacity can be divided
into smaller units called partition. Each partition
is assigned a drive letters such as C, D, E, F and G
which will go up to Z. The letters A and B cannot be
assigned to partitions as they are reserved drive letters
that are to be used with Floppy disk drives.
To understand the files and folders concept better,
look at the following example. The example is of a Library.
In a college, which I call as hard disk, we see many
departments which we call them as partitions. Each department
is assigned a name. Likewise, the partitions are assigned
a name called as Drive letters. Now let us see our library
department, which is a partition in our example. Inside
library there are selves to arrange books. These are
called folders, in our example. A shelf contains many
racks which are equal to subfolders. The Books containing
information are assumed to be files, which may be kept
inside rack or over the shelf. Similarly, files may
be kept inside the subfolder or inside the main folder.
The files that are kept inside subfolder are assumed
like the books kept inside the rack. The files that
are kept inside the main folder are assumed like the
books kept over the shelf.
File and Path
A file can be found and identified by its path. A Path
consists of Drive letter of partition followed by folder
name which is followed by the subfolder if any, followed
by the filename. The letter “\” is used
to separate the drive letter, folder, subfolder, and
the filename. The letter “:” is used after
the Drive letter. Therefore, it is “Driveletter:\Folder\SubFolder\FileName.Extension”
is the actual path for accessing any particular file.
The extension is used to determine the type of file.
For example, the extensions bmp, jpg, gif tells the
computer that the file contains picture as data. Similarly
the extension doc is used to represent word documents
and txt for simple text documents. The extension also
decides program which opens the file.
During the MS-DOS days, the filename was of 8 characters
in length. One could give a meaningful filenames with
this length. The extension is of 3 characters. It was
from Windows 95 onwards, one was able to give long filenames.
The length of the filename was increased to 255 characters.
The Vista Generation:
Windows Vista, the next generation of operating system
in the Windows family, introduces newer set of tools,
options to its users. Among them is the look of folder
icons. A folder containing files and subfolders will
be displayed as icon containing few papers in it. An
empty folder will be displayed without papers in it.
In the earlier, one was needed to view the size of
the folder to know whether the folder is empty or not.
The files and folders will be better organized in Windows
Vista, when compared to other previous versions. The
user need not know the basic concept of well organizing
files and folders in Windows Vista, because, it automatically
creates folders in a well organized way during installation
itself, under a folder, which is named with the user
name. Such folders are called personalized folders.
One needs only to save the particular type of file in
the folder which is named for the same. The computer
does not restrict the user to save a particular type
of file into folder which is meant for it. One can save
anywhere they wish. But, it is better to save the files
in the folders which are meant for it, thus, enabling
the user to organize files.
Various common folders created by windows vista
The various common folders created by windows vista
under the folder which is identified by user name are,
One can store Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Power
point presentations, Publisher files etc. in this folder.
One can also create subfolders to optimize the file
organization more, such as one folder.
In this subfolder, one can store digital music such
as songs copied from CD’s for quicker access.
You can store songs downloaded from the internet.
One can save various video clipping from the digital
camera, camcorder etc. One can also get video clipping
downloaded from the internet and save them to this sub
One can use this folder to save files and programs
which are downloaded from the internet.
In Windows Vista, a folder has got the following parts.
The navigation pane consists of shortcuts which are
added for easier access to the folders. One can just
select the shortcut, for accessing folders or programs
or any documents. This enables one to access the subfolders
or programs or any documents easily, by just clicking
the link which is created in the navigation pane.
The Forward and back button
The Forward and back button is used to open folders
which were navigated previously, in this instance of
opened window. For example, if you have opened a folder
earlier in the same window, then one can open that folder,
if you are now in different folder by just clicking
back button. The forward button is provided to undo
the action performed by the back button. Suppose, if
you have clicked the back button for opening the folder
which was earlier visited by mistake. Click the forward
button to open the folder, which you were working in
during clicking back button.
Toolbar to perform certain tasks
The Toolbar is used to perform certain tasks for the
files and folders that one selects. The tool bar changes
its buttons depending on the type of file one selects.
Suppose, if one selects the picture file, then toolbar
will change its buttons to handle the picture contained
in the file.
The address bar displays the path to the current folder.
One can navigate to the different folder locations without
closing the current window, if one knows where exactly
he wants to go and which files he wants to access. He
can then type the exact path to access the correct folder
or can navigate by clicking over the V button provided
in the address bar.
Column Headings are used to sort the files found in
the folder. It is also used to group the folders and
files, depending on certain conditions.
The contents of folder are displayed in file list.
If one needs only certain files to be displayed, then
he can do so by searching that particular file. By default,
here, all contents of the current folder get listed.
The Search box is used to search for a particular file
or sub folder in the currently opened folder. The search
begins as soon as one starts typing into the search
box. This means as soon as one types “C”,
all files starting with “C” will gets listed
in the file list view.
The details pane displays the most commonly used properties
that are associated with the file. The commonly displayed
properties are filename, path to the filename, date
of creation, date of modification for the file, Author
of the file and many more. One can add more properties
to be displayed in the display pane.
In Windows Vista, while saving the file, one cannot
use \ / ? : * " > < | characters. In addition
to it, Windows Vista may limit the file length to 260
characters including the full path. It may even display
an error message, when one tries to copy the file with
long length names. By default, the extensions are hidden
in Windows Vista. If one wants extensions to be displayed
along with the file names, then he can choose to make
Procedure for showing extension
- Open the folder options by clicking start >
Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization.
- Click the view tab, and then under advanced settings,
to show the extensions, clear the “Hide extensions
for known file types” check box.
One can rename the extensions. But, it is not advisable
to rename the extensions as one may get some unexpected
results. Imagine that, you have renamed systems file’s
extension, which is critical to operate Windows. The
computer may not start at all if done so. However, sometimes,
the renaming will help greatly. If you want a file with
extension txt, which opens in the notepad usually, to
be opened in Internet Explorer, One method is to change
program associations. The second method is to rename
the extension to htm or html. One can rename the extensions
by selecting rename in the menu that appears when the
file object is right clicked. Just delete only the extension
and press enter. The extension will be changed. To rename
extensions, one should make extensions visible.
Vista helps to keep the files in organized manner
Windows Vista, the next generation operating system,
helps to keep the files in organized manner. But, it
will not force the user to do so. The ability to search
subfolders through the search box in the current folder
is another feature, which is not seen in the previous
versions. Windows Vista has improved a lot in terms
of files and folders when compared to previous versions.
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