Windows Explorer is essentially the graphical interface that makes Windows computers easy to use. For example, the desktop and taskbar that contain icons are part of the graphical interface. In fact, when the desktop or taskbar goes missing, restoring is often a simple matter of restarting the explore.exe process. Where Internet Explorer allows you to browse the Web, Windows Explorer allows you to browse Windows without having to type in DOS-like commands.
While Windows Explorer provides the general user interface, another smaller component of it is also called Windows Explorer. This smallest component is the Windows Explorer file manager. It allows you to discover your computer’s hard drive and file system. You can launch Windows Explorer in several ways, including:
- Click Start> My Computer
- Right-click Start> Explore (or Open Windows Explorer)
Depending on your version of Windows, Windows Explorer will have different features such as the Task Pane or Search Companion. In general, Explorer lists the various storage devices found on your computer such as the hard drive, external hard drive, network drives, and any portable storage devices that you may have connected such as USB thumb drives. , memory stick, or digital cameras. When you click on a storage device, you will see a list of folders. When you click on a folder, you will see a list of the contents of the folder as subfolders and folders.
Along the top of the Explorer window is an address bar where you can enter specific paths. Below is a menu bar containing a variety of menu lists that vary dramatically between different versions of Windows. A small search box is usually found in the upper right corner of the menu bar. The main display is usually divided into a work panel and a main panel. The layout varies depending on the operating system and user preferences since it has been changed over the years and can be customized by user.
Despite its many incarnations, Windows Explorer remains a useful tool for finding and managing files and folders. Among its many uses are:
- Search for specific files
- Search for all files of a certain type
- Dragging and dropping leaves from one place to another
- Find more information (properties) on a file or folder
- Create writer’s shortcuts
- Management of files and folders (organization, cancellation, renaming, sharing, etc.)
Not only can you manage your computer’s folders and files more easily, you can also open two (or more) instances of it. With two windows open, you can then drag and drop files from one place to another quickly and easily. Ideally, place each window side by side so you can see what you are doing. For example, if you want to move some of your folders from “My Documents” to a folder called “Old Documents,” open two Windows Explorer windows, place them side by side, and open the My Documents folder on the left and open the Old Documents folder on the right. Finally, drag and drop the files from My Documents to the Old Documents.
If you use Windows, a knowledge of Windows Explorer will help you better manage your documents, files and folders. Take some time to explore this useful tool.