Virtual Riders Headder - Briefings

File Management, An Introduction.

A file manager or file browser is a computer program that provides a user interface to work with file systems. The most common operations used are create, open, edit, view, print, play, rename, move, copy, delete, attributes, properties, search/find, and permissions. Files are typically displayed in a hierarchy. Some file managers contain features inspired by web browsers, including forward and back navigational buttons.  Some file managers provide network connectivity.  In Windows the program that does this is called Windows Explorer.

A few tips

Thought file management was just for paper files? Think again. It’s just as important to keep the files on your computer organized and up-to-date. Just as with paper files, the goal of computer file management is to ensure that you can find what you’re looking for, even if you’re looking for it years after its creation. These file management tips will help you keep your files accessible:

 1. Organise by file types.  

Make applications easier to find by creating a folder called Program Files on your drive and keeping all your applications there. For instance, the executables for Word, PowerPoint, Simply Accounting and WinZip would all reside in the Program Files folder.

2. One place for all.

Place all documents in the My Documents folder and no where else. So whether it’s a spreadsheet, a letter or a PowerPoint presentation, it goes here. This will make it easier to find things and to run backups.

3. Create folders in My Documents.

These are the drawers of your computer’s filing cabinet, so to speak. Use plain language to name your folders; you don’t want to be looking at this list of folders in the future and wondering what “TFK” or whatever other interesting abbreviation you invented means.

4. Nest folders within folders.

Create other folders within these main folders as need arises. For instance, a folder called “Invoices” might contain folders called “2004”, “2005” and “2006”. A folder named for a client might include the folders “customerdata” and “correspondence”. The goal is to have every file in a folder rather than having a bunch of orphan files listed.

5. Follow the file naming conventions.

Do not use spaces in file names, keep file names under 27 characters, and use all lower case. So a file named for a client should be jackdawson rather than Jack Dawson. If you break any of these rules, be consistent about it.

6. Be specific.

Give files logical, specific names and include dates in file names if possible. The goal when naming files is to be able to tell what the file is about without having to open it and look. So if the document is a letter to a customer reminding him that payment is overdue, call it something like “overdue081206” rather than something like “letter”. How will you know who the letter is to without opening it? See the next point.

7. File as you go.

The best time to file a document is when you first create it. So get in the habit of using the “Save As” dialogue box to file your document as well as name it, putting it in the right place in the first place.

8. Order your files for your convenience.

If there are folders or files that you use a lot, force them to the top of the file list by renaming them with a ! or an AA at the beginning of the file name.

9. Cull your files regularly.

Sometimes what’s old is obvious as in the example of the folder named “Invoices” above. If it’s not, keep your folders uncluttered by clearing out the old files. Do NOT delete business related files unless you are absolutely certain that you will never need the file again. Instead, in your main collection of folders in My Documents, create a folder called "Old" or "Inactive" and move old files into it when you come across them.

10. Back up your files regularly.

Whether you’re copying your files onto another drive or onto tape, it’s important to set up and follow a regular back up regimen. The search function is a wonderful thing but it will never match the ease of being able to go directly to a folder or file. If you follow these file management tips consistently, even if you don’t know where something is, you know where it should be – a huge advantage when it comes to finding what you’re looking for.A few things you should knowKeyboard shortcuts (see separate sheets which you can download from www.virtualriders.org ).  Know the basics...

Ctrl + c


Ctrl + v


Ctrl + x


Ctrl + z


Ctrl + p


Ctrl + s


  • File extensions and associations (see the next section)
  • File sizes (a kilobyte –kb is 1000 bytes).
  • The file size is normally visible in the details view of Windows Explorer
  • The meaning of certain words in computer terms (Open, Close, Save, Save As, Exit, Maximise, Minimise, Hover, Click, Double Click, Shift Click, Ctrl Click, Drag, Drop, Delete, Cut, Copy and Paste).
  • The clipboard
  • Disk drives (a:, b:, c: and mapped drives)
  • How files are saved (FAT, NTFS) and (de)fragmentation
  • Defragmentation

File Extension QuizCan you identify each of these extensions and what programs can be used to open them?


















Windows Explorer

To start Windows Explorer simply click “My Computer” (press the Windows key and choose from the right side of the menu)

file management 1

If you cannot see this menu line, it can be activated (made visible) by pressing the Alt key You can use the menu options to Organise files Sort files Search for files View filesCopy files Delete files Map drives And much more.... just click on each menu item to see the options.

Press the preview pane button and see what it does Create a directory structureGet organised – remember the notes at the beginningWrite out your file structureCreate the structure in Windows Explorer (note the shortcut keys below) Map any drives required Create short cuts Populate the directories Windows Explorer shortcut keys

 Short Cut Key's

Press this key

To do this


Open a new window


Close the current window


Create a new folder


Display the bottom of the active window


Display the top of the active window


Maximize or minimize the active window

Ctrl+Period (.)

Rotate a picture clockwise

Ctrl+Comma (,)

Rotate a picture counter-clockwise

Num Lock+Asterisk (*) on numeric keypad

Display all subfolders under the selected folder

Num Lock+Plus Sign (+) on numeric keypad

Display the contents of the selected folder

Num Lock+Minus Sign (-) on numeric keypad

Collapse the selected folder

Left Arrow

Collapse the current selection (if it's expanded), or select the parent folder


Open the Properties dialog box for the selected item


Display the preview pane

Alt+Left Arrow

View the previous folder


View the previous folder

Right Arrow

Display the current selection (if it's collapsed), or select the first subfolder

Alt+Right Arrow

View the next folder

Alt+Up Arrow

View the parent folder


Display all folders above the selected folder

Ctrl+Mouse scroll wheel

Change the size and appearance of file and folder icons


Select the address bar


Select the search box


Select the search box