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Four Tips for Using Windows Explorer in Windows 7

Right click magic

Windows explorer is your file manager. You use it to copy, find and move files. Normally people just click on it. But if you right click on the quick launch icon instead, you'll get a list of your common destinations. Then select the right one and you'll open there.

Getting Two Windows

Using the Right clicking tip above, open an explorer window. Then right click and open a second window to a different destination. If you can, first open the folder you want to copy from, then open the folder you will copy to. Now Press the WINDOWS KEY and the RIGHT ARROW key. Your 2nd explorer is now nestled onto the right half of the screen. Now click inside the first explorer window so it gains focus and press the WINDOWS KEY and the LEFT ARROW. Now that window will be nestled against the left half of the screen and you'll be able to drag and drop files between drives and folders more easily.

I always setup the to folder on the right and the from folder on the left and drag into the folder area, not the file area. Sometimes dragging into the file area makes Windows think you want to send the files to a specific program. In addition,  you get feedback show exactly where you are dropping.

Normally dragging and dropping will move files (deleting from original place), but if you hold down the CTRL key it will copy instead of move.

Selecting What You Want

Most of you know this, but as a refresher, you can select multiple files by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on file names. You can also select all the files between any two files by clicking on the first file and then holding down the SHIFT key and clicking on the last file. For example, if you want to delete everything before 2011, you'd make sure you were in the detail view, then click on the date column to sort by date. Move to the first file before 2011 and click, selecting that file. Then move to the end and shift click. Now, everything between the two files is selected. Press the delete key and they are gone, or drag them wherever you'd like to move them.

Libraries Make Things Easier

Libraries are new in Windows 7 and definitely make life easer. Libraries are shortcuts to folders that you want grouped together for easier access.

To add a folder to a library or start a new one just right click on the folder you want included in a library and then select the library or create a new one.

Libraries do not move folders, they just create a shortcut to a folder or group of folders, so they are easier to find and access. Sadly, this great tool does not work for network drives. You also can't add library folders to your library, since they are really shortcuts to the real folders.

Date: April 2011

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