To work with files and folders you need to navigate the folder tree, expanding and collapsing parts to show just what you want. You will want to use different panes or folder styles, depending on what you are trying to do.
For example, Large Icons or Thumbnails view helps you spot the right image or document. Small Icons view lets you select a large number of files quickly. Details view lets you see various properties like file size or file type or the date created.
In this lesson you will practice with the folder tree and changing the folder view style.
Step-by-Step: Manage Views
|What you will learn:||to open a Computer or File Explorer window
to expand and collapse the folder tree
to change the folder view style
Open a window that shows your drives and files:
Method 1: Desktop icon
Double-click the Desktop icon for your computer: or or
Method 2: Taskbar icon
Click the folders icon on the Quick Launch bar or Taskbar .
Then, if necessary, click on Computer or This PC in the folder tree.
A default style window opens using the size and display settings it had when it was last closed. It shows the drives on your computer. Of course your window will look different from the illustrations since you likely have different drives and devices and the view settings may be different, too.
Inspect the drives that appear and the panes that your window shows.
Your drives may be quite different from any of the illustrations.
Can you find these?
Details pane - (WinXP - section at bottom of Common Tasks)
(Vista and Win7- on the bottom) (Win8 and Win8.1- hidden on the right)
The folder tree shows all of the computer's drives and folders in a nested arrangement, and can also show some special areas like the Control Panel and Recycle Bin.
Double-click on My Computer or Computer or This PC in the folder tree to expand that part of the folder tree and show its contents in the right pane.
Click on or beside drive C: to expand that branch of the folder tree without changing what shows in the Contents pane. You may not see the or until your mouse pointer is over the folder tree.
or means that the drive or folder has subfolders in it that are currently hidden.
or means that this drive or folder has been expanded in the folder tree to display all its subfolders.
You may or may not see an icon for a drive that is attached but is empty, like a CD or DVD drive. The default is different in different versions of Windows and can be customized, too.
You may see a 'drive' that is actually another kind of device, like the Photosmart printer in the Win8 illustration and the Drive H: icon for Win8.1 that looks like a printer. In both cases the printer has slots for removable media, but the slots were empty. The WinXP illustration includes several drives for removable media which were part of a built-in panel on the computer itself.
As you collapse and expand parts of the folder tree, what is displayed in the Contents pane at the right does not change, if you clicked on the symbol to the left of the item's name.
Click on the name of a drive or folder.
That item is now selected. It's name is highlighted.
The Contents pane at the right changes to show what is in the drive or folder that you selected in the Navigation pane at the left. The path to what you selected is in the Address bar.
A folder icon will change to slightly different one in WinXP when it is expanded.
In other Windows versions, the folder icon does not change when that branch of the folder tree is expanded.
Did you find drives in your folder tree that are actually empty or will not expand?
CD or DVD drive: The tray will slide open for you to put in a disc when you try to expand it or select it.
You have several choices for how to display the files and folders in the right pane of a Computer or File Explorer window.
In all views, folders are normally listed first, then files.
Click onand then on .
The Contents pane changes to show the drives as much larger icons. These are very useful when the icon is a thumbnail of an image or a document. For drives and folders, the large size does not help.
Experiment: Folder View Styles - Context Menu
Use the context menu to try out each of the other styles.
Which do you prefer for showing drives?
Scroll the Contents pane to see how each folder view style affects folders and files.
How does each view style alphabetize? Some are alphabetical across columns and other go down the column.
Examples from Windows 8:
Experiment: Folder View Styles
Select various folders and drives and try out other methods for changing the folder view style. Not all versions of Windows can use the same methods.
Special Folders : Some folders are recognized by Windows as being a special type, like Pictures, Music, or Video. These folders have a special style that is automatically applied.
Examples of photo folders: