The Explorer file manager is used to view files as well as create, copy, move and delete files and folders. In its left windowpane, Explorer displays the folder hierarchy on the internal hard drive and any external drives that are connected, including USB drives. If there are CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs in the optical drive, their contents are also visible in Explorer. To learn more about how files are organized, see Win Folder organization.|
When you click on a folder in the left Explorer window, its content appears in the right window.
You can launch two or more instances of Explorer and drag and drop between them, although you can use Cut, Copy and Paste with only one instance of Explorer (see Win Copy/move files/folders). Following are the basic Explorer operations:
Right click Start menu and select Open Windows Explorer (Win7) or Explore (Vista and XP).
DISPLAY CONTENTS OF A FOLDER
Click the folder in the left windowpane, and its contents are displayed in the right windowpane.
OPEN FOLDER IN A NEW WINDOW
To open a folder into a new window, right click the folder in the left windowpane and select Open in New Window (Win7) or Open (Vista and XP).
DISPLAY NAMES OF SUBFOLDERS ("Expand the Tree")
An outline of a right-facing triangle in Win7/Vista and a plus sign (+) in XP to the left of the folder means that the folder contains subfolders (other folders inside). Click the right-facing triangle or + sign to reveal the subfolders beneath, and the triangle becomes dark and points downward, or the + sign changes to a - sign.
DISPLAY CONTENTS OF A SUBFOLDER
Click once on the subfolder icon in the left window, or double click on the subfolder icon in the right side.
This is an Explorer view of a Windows 7 machine. Note the right-facing and downward-facing triangles (arrows), indicating whether the folders contain subfolders. In this example, the contents of folder "n" are displayed in the right windowpane.
In the left window, click the drive or folder icon in which the new folder will be placed and select File/New/Folder. The new folder will be created at the bottom of the right window.
DELETE FILE OR FOLDER
Right click the file or folder icon and select Delete.
RENAME FILE OR FOLDER
Right click the file or folder icon and select Rename.
Click the drive icon of the drive you want to change to.
COPY AND MOVE FILES AND FOLDERS
There are several ways to copy and move files and folders with Explorer. See Win Copy/move files/folders.
SELECT MULTIPLE FILES THAT ARE NOT IN ORDER
To select several icons that are not next to each other, hold the Ctrl key down and click the icons one at a time.
SELECT CONTIGUOUS FILES
To select several icons that are contiguous, click the first one and then hold the Shift key down and click the last one. You can also lasso them by clicking to the right of the file name on top or bottom and dragging to the diagonal corner. See Win Highlighting items for more detail.