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Using the Windows Explorer In Windows 9X, Me & XP
Much of this does not apply to the new Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10
It has been totally revamped & does not look at all like the old program
Maybe someday I'll look at it & write a page about it.

But no matter what version you use,
you need to understand the concept of file management

What is it? What purpose does it serve? How do I use it?

What is it?

It is the built in program in all versions of Windows since Windows 95. What it is not is the Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, the term Explorer has been abused.

What purpose does it serve?

It is a file management program, used to find, look at and organize your files.

How do I use it?

There are many facets to using this program. Lets take them in order of importance.

1. Opening the Program. This can be accomplished in many ways. Here are some of them.

a. Start, Programs, Windows Explorer. (In Win Me, it is in the accessories menu)
b. Right click on Start, choose Explore.
c. Right click on My Computer, choose Explore.
d. Hold down the Windows key on newer keyboards (since Win 95) and touch the letter E.
e. Use a shortcut you create. ((Place a shortcut on the Desktop or in the start menu. If you use the Quick Launch Toolbar in the taskbar (Since Win 98), place a shortcut there.))

Any of these methods start the program, but may give a different appearance. You will understand this better after you understand what the program displays.

The simplest display in 95/98/Me looks like this:

In XP, it looks like this: Quite different. The functions will be the same. Adjust for appearance. Play.

This is what you get when you use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo + E. Click here for a list of shortcuts using the Windows logo Key. Notice that My computer is highlighted. The highlighting selection changes depending on how you start the program.

What does this window display? It follows the standard display of any windows with a menu area on top, a workspace in the middle and a status bar on the bottom.

You can experiment with the menus and toolbars on your own. We will only have space here to cover a few.

In the workspace in the middle, note that there are 2 frames, left and right with scroll bars for each area. Most of our work is done in the left pane. Some call this area the left window, but this is not 2 windows. It is 2 frames in one window. The total window includes both frames, the menu and status bar.

As with many windows, the appearance can be modified. The figure shown above is the default appearance except that the drives displayed depend on your computer. As you can see, I have one floppy (A), 2 hard drives (C, D), A Zip drive (D), 2 CD's (N, O), and a special drive (W). Obviously since you will be looking at your own computer, you will see the items on your computer, so don't try to compare them to mine. Just understand what is being displayed.

To modify the appearance, click the View Menu and look at the choices. This is what you should see:

Note that two items in the Toolbars menu are checked. Uncheck them one at a time and see the change in display. Then turn them back on.

Next notice the status bar is checked. Turn it off and then back on and notice the difference.

The second section lists 4 different ways to display the icons in the right pane. Try each of them as well.

The third section allows rearranging the icons in the right pane similar to what you can do with desktop icons by right clicking on the desktop. Right clicking in the right pane also brings up this menu.

The Go To menu item allows changing the window to other locations. We will stay in My Computer for now. If you goof things up, just close and reopen the window.

Lastly the Refresh menu just redraws the screen to include any changes made that are not displayed due to changes made since starting the Explorer program.

The toolbar (below the menu bar) has icon shortcuts to some of the commonly used functions from the menu selections.

The address bar shows what is being displayed. You can use this just like your Internet browser if you have an live Internet connection. Here is my web page displayed in the right window. Note the address of this site is in the address field.

This worked for me because I was on a 24/7 Internet connection on Cable Modem. I have since moved & now have Rise Broadband. Then I used the Back button to return to our previous display.

On the next page, we will cover what is displayed in the workspace..

Continue on to Page 2

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