Windows Explorer|XP Filing- Hands on a keyboard. There is a PDA, Keyboard and Computer Monitor in the background



"Relax, we'll make it OK!"


Have you ever said or heard, “Where is that file? I just downloaded (saved, copied, moved) it. I can never find anything on my computer.” Where or what is Window Explorer XP? Sound familiar? Let’s fix this now on Windows and Macintosh computers.


1. All the files that you create should be stored in one Central Location (path). Therefore whenever you save a MS Word, Excel, Access, WordPerfect or (other program) file it will be easy to find. More importantly they will be easier to back up for safekeeping in the event of a hard drive failure or other catastrophe (theft, damage, fire, earthquake).

2. By the way, we recommend PC BackUp version from (formerly Backup Exec Desktop by Veritas, Backup MyPC from Stompsoft and PC Backup by Migo Software) for Computer Backups of systems running Vista, Windows XP and 2000. You may also read a review of our recommended Computer Backup software.

3. Before we get started, lets do the following:

a. Open Windows Explorer, not the browser Internet Explorer, (right mouse click on the START button, left click on EXPLORE).

b. To learn how to use in Windows Explorer to create folders click on HELP, HELP TOPICS and then INDEX. Type in “Creating Folders” as the Keyword, click on DISPLAY and then print it out for reference.

c. Give some thought to how you want your computer file system structured and organized. Then write it down. For example do you want your MS Word files organized by month, project, client, contract and so forth.

4. Alright, again let's use Windows Explorer (right mouse click on the START button, left click on EXPLORE) to create a Data Folder. You could use the existing default (standard) MY DOCUMENTS folder as your Central Location. However, let’s create a new Central Location (path) and name it the DATA folder (refer to the reference about Creating Folders that you just printed out).

5. In Windows Explorer, left click once on Drive C: or Local Disk C:. Then click on FILE at the top of the Screen, next click on FILE and finally click on FOLDER. Type in the word DATA. Press the ENTER or RETURN key on the Keyboard. The new DATA Folder is created.

6. Use Windows Explorer to create sub folders for each program from which you are saving files.

7. For example, the path to save documents in MS Word would be C:\DATA\WORD. For MS Excel we create a folder named C:\DATA\EXCEL. These folders can further be divided into projects, years or whatever suits your fancy.

8. For example, at your company or home office the Excel sub folder could be divided into folders for each client or account. Therefore all the files for the Smith account would be saved to C:\DATA\EXCEL\SMITH. All the Word files might be saved by year or month. For example the March files would be saved to C:\DATA\WORD\MARCH 2005. Get the picture?

9. The next step is to change the default (standard) location for saving files in your program (MS Word, ACT 2005, MS Excel). Each program is a little different. Therefore, consult the HELP INDEX under the HELP menu at the top of your program’s screen. Look under the subjects: Default Working Folder or File Location to start.

10. The last step is to move files to the new folders based upon your new filing system. Write down or Screen Print the location of the old default (standard) file location (path) for each program. Again we will use Windows Explorer to CUT and PASTE the files from their old location to the new one.

For further reference, Duke University has a good tutorial on using Windows Explorer at complete with illustrations.


The principles for the Macintosh are the same as those for detailed in the Windows section above. The goal is to collect all the files that you create in one location for easy retrieval and backup.

Open the folder for your Hard Drive. Make sure the resulting window is the Active Window.

Click on FILE, then NEW FOLDER.

The MAC assumes that you want to CHANGE THE NAME of the new folder. Therefore just start typing the desired name for example DATA. The desired name will appear. If you make a mistake, just backspace over the error and correct it. Click anywhere else or hit the keyboard RETURN or ENTER key and the new folder name is saved.

Open up your empty new folder and repeat the process for sub folders.

Review the principles (not the exact instructions) in the Windows instructions above and apply them for creation of your MAC filing system.

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This article summarizes how to manage Window Explorer|XP Filing.

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