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Windows 120 Handbook
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   15 years ago

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Microsoft Windows 120
Course Handbook Supplement

By Richard Rost

Published By
Amicron Computing
PO Box 1308, Amherst NY 14226 USA

First Printing 12/6/2004
Copyright 2004 by Amicron Computing
All Rights Reserved


Welcome to Microsoft Windows 120.

This handbook is designed to be a supplement to the full 599CD video course for Microsoft Windows 120. We recommend you use this handbook to follow along with the class videos. This handbook is not meant as a stand-alone study guide.

We do recommend that you watch the course videos one time through, paying attention to the lessons covered. Follow along with the course videos using this guide. Take notes on the pages where needed. Then, watch the videos a second time, practicing the examples yourself on your computer.

Table of Contents

Welcome 2
Table of Contents 2
Files & Folders 4
Folders, My Computer, Views and the Folder Hierarchy 9
Windows Explorer and File Extensions 17
Creating a File Using WordPad 23
Opening, Copying, Pasting, & Deleting Files 29
Creating a Folder, Dragging, and Selecting Multiple Files 35
More Folders 41
Organizing Folders 48
Shortcuts 54
Recycle Bin 60
Review 66


Welcome to Microsoft Windows 120, brought to you by I am your instructor, Richard Rost.

Objectives for today’s class: File Management

· Files and Folders
· My Computer
· Windows Explorer
· Windows Folder Hierarchy
· Drive Letters
· File Extensions
· Virus Prevention Tips
· Creating New Files and Saving Copies of Files
· Opening Files in Windows Explorer
· Cut, Copying, Pasting, Deleting, and Undeleting Files
· Creating, Copying and Pasting Folders
· Dragging Files
· Window Explorer Options
· Creating Shortcuts to Files and Folders
· Creating Folders on the Desktop
· The Recycle Bin

The class follows Microsoft Windows 101 and 102 or 110. I strongly recommend that you watch all previous classes before you start with this class. We will be using Windows XP in this class, but the lessons in this class are really common to all versions of Windows.

Files & Folders

In this lesson, we’re going to learn about files and folders. In the real world, we create documents and we store those documents in file folders. Then of course we can store those file folders inside a filing cabinet.

On a computer, we’ll create files and we’ll store those files inside of file folders in the computer. And of course, those file folders are stored on your computer’s hard drive or on a floppy disk.

Let’s talk a moment about files. There are many different types of files that you can create and that you will find on your computer. For example, there are Word documents, Excel workbooks, graphics, text files, media files, web page files, compressed files, and executable files. This is just a small sample of the hundreds different types of files that you might find on your computer. We’ll take a look at how to create some of these today.

Some files, like executable program files will already be on your computer – they’re files that someone else created, like a programmer or a company like Microsoft. Other files, you’ll create yourself – like Word documents or text files - maybe even graphics.

When you type a letter to Mom, you’re going to save that letter as a Word document. Or when you make up your profit and loss sheet, you’ll save that in an Excel workbook.

You can see the different types of files on your computer by browsing through the My Computer icon on your Desktop. Let’s go ahead and open up My Computer by double clicking on it.

Here’s My Computer. On the right, I have Shared Documents, Administrator’s Documents, and Richard’s Documents.

If I scroll down, you’ll see my hard disk drives. The drives in your computer are assigned Drive Letters. C for the first hard drive (usually) and D for the second hard drive.

Let’s continue scrolling down and you’ll see I have drives with removable storage. In other words, they come out of the computer. My A drive is my floppy drive. My E drive is my CD-ROM drive.

In the old days, computers used to have one floppy drive (the A drive). Then two floppy disk drives came along as the A and B systems. After that, the first hard disk drives starting show up and logically, they were assigned C. Now of course floppy drives are less common, and the older 5-inch drives that used to be real popular are pretty much gone.

You may also have a zip drive or tape drive that might have a drive letter. But these drive letters are basically assigned for each disk drive in your computer, whether it’s a floppy drive or a hard disk drive or a CD-ROM drive.

Now if you want to see what’s in that drive, simply double-click on it. That will open up the contents of that drive for you to view all the files and folders inside of it.

Folders, My Computer, Views and the Folder Hierarchy

In this lesson, we’re going to continue working with folders. We’re going to do more with My Computer. And we’re going to learn about folder views, and about the folder hierarchy.

Here are all the file folders that show up on my C drive. You can see here on the address bar that I’m in my C drive. See how it says, C - : - \ ? That means I’m in the basement of my C drive – the very bottom level. For folders, we have Documents and Settings, PCResaleWebSite, Program Files, and Windows.

You can select these by simply clicking once on them. That highlights the folder.

To open up one of these folders, simply double-click on it. Let’s double-click on the Program Files folder. Here we can see all the different folders inside the Program Files folder. Notice the address bar. It says that I’m sitting in the Program Files folder on the C drive.

If I wanted to go back up to the root, or the basement level, I would click on this button here:

That goes up one level back to the C drive.

Once again, we can go back into the Program Files folder by simply double-clicking on it. You can see the 599CD folder, Certifica, Common Files, and a whole bunch more. Generally, you’re not going to browse through the Program Files folder. The folder that you’re going to be looking for is My Documents. So let’s go back up.

Here’s the Documents and Settings folder. Let’s open that up.

Right now, I’m logged on to this computer as Administrator, so all my folders and files are going to be in the Administrator folder. So I can open that up.

And here’s My Documents folder. I can open this up.

Here are all of my documents. My music, my pictures, my webs, my calendar, some Excel spreadsheets, and so on.

As you can see, that took some effort to find. That’s a bit of a pain to have to go through all that work to try and find My Documents folder. That’s one of the reasons why in Windows 110, I showed you how to put the My Documents folder on your Desktop.

That way, to get to your Documents folder, you can simply double-click on it here. Here’s My Documents. Notice how this window looks a little bit different. The icons for example, are slightly different. That’s because we can drop down the view button on the toolbar and see that it’s set to Details.

You can pick whichever view you’d like to see.


Tiles (which is what we had earlier):



...and Details. Notice also that the address bar just says My Documents. If we drop the box down, you can see all the different drives and folders that are sitting on your Desktop. Notice how the Desktop is at the top-most level. This address bar is arranged around your Desktop. Now as strange as it may seem, Desktop is actually a folder sitting on your C drive.

Here’s the Desktop folder. You can see the My Documents folder (and the shortcut that we put there), My Computer, and My Network Places.

Let’s take a closer look. Here we have a hypothetical layout for a hard drive. At the top level, we have our C drive – our root folder. You can have files or folders in that root folder.

Let’s say we’ve got 3 folders under that one. One is called Data. Now we're in C:\Data.

In that folder, we’ve got two documents and another folder. Let’s say that’s our Letters folder.

And in our Letters folder, we’ve got a bunch of other files. One is called Mom.doc.

We’ve got C:\, Data, Letters, and Mom.doc. That’s represented in the computer as


The .doc tells us that this file is a Word document. In a nutshell, this is how your computer is laid out. It’s called a folder hierarchy. You can use My Computer to move throughout this hierarchy – browse through your files and your folders.

Windows Explorer and File Extensions

In this lesson, we’re going to learn about Windows Explorer and file extensions. Now as cool as My Documents is for browsing your files and folder, there is a better tool. It’s called the Windows Explorer. So let’s click on Start. Click on All Programs. Come up to Accessories and then go down to Windows Explorer.

This gives you more options and a better interface to work with. Notice again at the top it starts off with our Desktop and it puts us in the My Documents folder. All the documents inside the My Documents Folder is on the right side. If you scroll down, you can see more of my files.

Over on the left, you can see My Computer. You can click on that and it opens up the My Computer folder. Notice the little plus signs. The plus simply means there’s more under that level.

If you click on one, it opens up the level below it without switching what’s on the right side. It just let’s you browse inside of the folders.

Once you find the folder you want, you can click on it and it will open up its files on the right side.

Using those little pluses and minuses, you can easily navigate through your folder hierarchy. Let’s close up My Computer and go back to My Documents.

Because the Windows Explorer is so difficult to find under the Start menu, let’s go ahead and place a shortcut to it on our Desktop. Let’s close the Windows Explorer and go find it one more time.

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, and the Windows Explorer. Let’s right click on it and select Copy. We’re going to copy the Windows Explorer to our clipboard. Let’s click on the Desktop now.

Right-click on the desktop and select Paste Shortcut.

We’ve just pasted a shortcut to the Windows Explorer on our Desktop. Now we can move it over to the other icons.

Remember a shortcut is basically a pointer to some other file – whether it’s a program or a document. Here’s a neat little shortcut for launching Windows Explorer. If you have a newer keyboard, you’ll have a Windows key on it. It's the key that has the Windows symbol on it. Press and hold the Windows key and press the E key at the same time. That will launch Windows Explorer.

We talked earlier about the different types of files. Well there’s a very important attribute to each file that Microsoft hides from you. That’s called the File Extension. The file extension basically tells Windows what kind of file it is. We can see that from the pretty little icons that show up next to the file name. But there’s an extension that actually goes on the end of the file name. The extension will tell you what kind of file it is more clearly.

Here are some of the more popular and common file extensions.

Why is this important? Knowing these different extensions can help protect you from getting viruses. A lot of viruses come through email as attachments. Even though a lot of email programs (like Microsoft Outlook) do a good job of filtering these things out, they can still sometimes get through. If you get an attachment, and you see that it ends in .doc, you know it’s a Word document. Generally, files like Word documents and text files cannot contain viruses. However executable program files can. Here’s a list of file extensions that can contain viruses and can do harmful things to your computer.

That doesn’t mean that these are all viruses. These are just program files that will run on your computer – and if you get an email attachment that contains something ending in one of these, you might want to be very careful before opening it. In fact, get yourself a virus scanner and check it out first. The bad news is unless you do the trick that I’m about to show you, you’ll never see these extensions!

Microsoft has hidden these file extensions from the average user. If you don’t turn them on in Windows, you’ll never see them. So let’s see how we turn them on. Here we are back in Windows Explorer. Let’s click on Tools and then Folder Options....

Click on the View tab.

Scroll down just a little bit in Advanced settings, and uncheck where it says Hide extensions for known file types. Click the Apply button and then the OK button.

Now take a look at your files. You can begin to see what each one of these files is without having to rely on its silly little icon.

Creating a File Using WordPad

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to create a file using WordPad. Let’s go ahead and click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, and then WordPad. WordPad is a basic word processor that comes with Windows. So just in case you don’t have programs like Microsoft Word or Excel, you can at least go to Accessories and WordPad for doing basic word processing.

This is WordPad. It’s a very basic scaled-down version of Microsoft Word, but it does the trick. Let’s make a real quick business letter and we’ll save it.

I’ll start off by pressing the Enter key and that’ll bring me down one line. You can see the blinking cursor. That’s where I’ll start typing. Let’s type in my return address and press the Enter key a couple of times.

Let’s type in the address of the recipient, the date, the salutation, the letter, and a closing.

That’s our basic business letter. Let’s go ahead and save this letter by clicking on the Save button.

That brings up the Save As dialog box. We’ll save it in our My Documents folder.

Down below, notice is says Document.rtf. (RTF stands for Rich Text Format) We can type in our file name here.

Let’s type in Letter to Mr Smith and click the Save button.

Notice the title bar now says Letter to Mr Smith.rtf. Let’s minimize this and go back to our My Documents folder in Windows Explorer. Click the Minimize button.

Scroll down to the bottom and you can see the file (Letter to Mr Smith.rtf).

Let’s come back here on our Task bar and click on our Letter to Mr Smith again.

Let’s say we want to make a couple of changes and send the same letter to a different customer. Let’s go ahead now and click on File, and then Save As....

That will allow us to save this file as different file name. Don't change the .rtf on the end. If you recall, I didn’t put an extension on the end of the file name last time. If you delete that, it’s fine because the application will automatically save it as an .rtf. Just make sure you don’t put something after the period unless you’re sure of the extension. Click on Save.

Again, let’s minimize WordPad and now we can see we have another file named Letter to Mrs Jones.rtf. We essentially created two different documents.

Let’s open up WordPad again and close it. Back in our My Documents folder, we have some files to work with. As a side note, when you’re saving your files, you can not give them any of the following characters in your file names.

Opening, Copying, Pasting, & Deleting Files

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to open files, how to copy and paste files, and how to delete files. So here we are back in My Documents. If I want to open up one of these documents, all I have to do is double-click on it.

Even though we used WordPad to create an .rtf file, Microsoft Word is basically the big brother and will open it up. So if we double click on this Letter to Mr Smith and we have Microsoft Word installed on the computer, it will open up inside of Microsoft Word. If not, it will open up inside of WordPad.

Let’s go ahead and close this. If I click on Sales Reps.xls, it will open up in Microsoft Excel.

In the last lesson, I showed you how you can make a copy of a file by simply opening up the file and saving it as a different file name. But you can also make copies of files right from the My Documents folder. Here’s how you do it.

Let’s make a copy of this Letter to Mrs Jones.rtf file. Go ahead and click once on it. Then right-click on it using the right mouse button. Select Copy. That has now copied that file to the clipboard.

Now come over somewhere to a white region of the My Documents folder, right-click, and select Paste.

That will paste a copy of the Letter to Mrs Jones in the folder.

That is the easiest way to copy and paste a file. There are a couple of other ways you can do it. For example, you could click on a file and then select Edit and then Copy or Paste from the menu bar.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts. CTRL + C for copy. CTRL + V for paste. Now I can rename our copy of Copy of Letter to Mrs Jones.rtf. Again, there are a couple of different ways to rename files. You can right-click on it and select Rename.

Or, I can click on it once to select it, wait, and then click on it a second time. Notice I now have a blinking cursor.

I’ll change the text to Letter to Mrs Williams.rtf and press the Enter key when I’m done renaming it. That’s a handier approach to take if you have a specific blank letter template that you like to work with. Make a copy of it and just make changes to your copies. That way you don’t keep losing your originals.

Now if you decide you don’t want this new file, you can simply delete it. How do you delete a file? Right-click on it, and select Delete or simply click on the file and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

A window pops up asking you if you’re sure you want to delete the file. Click Yes.

That letter has now been deleted. It has been sent to the Recycle Bin.

Creating a Folder, Dragging, and Selecting Multiple Files

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to create a folder, how to cut and paste files, move files to different folders by dragging them, and we’ll see how to select multiple files by using the Control key.

I like to break down the My Documents folder into different sub-folders – each for the different types of documents that I have. You might decide that you want to use some kind of different strategy like by customer or by the year created. The first level that I like to have is the document type. So I’m going to create a folder to store Word documents. There are couple of different ways to create new folders.

First, you can create one by clicking File, New, and then Folder from the menu bar.

Or, you can right-click on an empty area of the My Documents folder, select New, and then Folder.

There’s my new folder. It’s all ready for me to type in a name for that folder.

So I’ll type in Word Documents and press Enter.

Now I’ve created a new folder called Word Documents. You can see on the left under My Documents that I have a folder called Word Documents.

Now if I click on Word Documents, you can see that it’s empty. There are several different ways to get files into a folder. The easiest way for new users to do this is to simply cut and paste files into the new folder. Cut and paste is essentially like a copy and paste, but it removes the original. So I’m going to right-click on one of my Word documents and select Cut.

Notice when I select Cut, its icon turns pale. That’s because the file has been “cut.”

Now I’ll click on the Word Documents folder and then right-click somewhere in the white region to select Paste.

That just moved the Letter to Mr Smith over to this folder.

Let’s go back to My Documents and notice that the Letter to Mr Smith is gone. We cut it (or moved it) over to the Word Documents folder. In this particular case, there’s actually an easier way to move these files into the folder. This is how you do it. Watch this:

Simply click a file with the left mouse button, hold it down, and drag it to the folder you want it to go in.

I’ll let it go, and now I just moved the file. Click, and drag and drop it onto the folder that you want. Now be careful doing this! If you’re not that great with a mouse, you might want to stick with cut and paste.

Now I’d like to be able to select the remaining documents and move them both at once. To select multiple files, you can use the Control key. I’ll click on the Letter to Mrs Jones, hold down the Control key, and then click on TipsForNewComuterUsers.doc. Notice how that let me select two different files.

Now, let go of the Control key, then click and drag any one of those files and drag them to the Word Documents folder.

Let’s just double-check that those files made it to the Word Documents folder. And there they are! Everything looks good.

More Folders

In this lesson, we’re going to create some more folders. We’ll show you how to select multiple files using the SHIFT key. We’ll show you how to move a folder. We’ll learn more about different folder view types. I’ll show you the benefits of working with some details. And we’ll show you how set all your folders to look the same.

Back in My Documents, let’s make some more new folders to clean some of this stuff up. Somewhere in the white region, (you want to make sure you’re not clicking on a file) right-click, and move to New and then Folder. Click on Folder.

That will create another folder. I’m going to call this Excel Spreadsheets.

Then I’m going to move my spreadsheets into that folder. I’m going to click on the first one, hold the SHIFT key down and then click on the last one. The Control key lets you pick individual files, but the Shift key lets you pick a group of files together.

Now that I’ve got all those selected, I can click and drag any one of them (notice how all four of them are moving) and drop them into my Excel Spreadsheets folder.

I’ve got two more spreadsheets down at the bottom. So I can click one and use either the Shift or the Control key to select both. I can drag them both up and drop them into my Excel Spreadsheets folder.

Let’s make another one for our Access databases. We'll right-click, move to New and then click Folder. I’ll name this new folder Access Databases.

I’ll click the first database file, press the Shift key, and click the last database file to select all three.

I can click and drag these files down to the new Access Database folder I just made too. You can drag and drop stuff into a folder even in the same window pane. You don’t have to go to the left.

I’m also going to take the Backup Access Databases folder, click on it and drop into the Access Database folder we just made.

Notice now I’ve got a little plus next to the folder. I can click on the plus and I can see there's a folder in side the Access Database folder.

I’m going to create a new folder named PowerPoint Presentations. Right-click, move to New and then click Folder. I’ll select the two PowerPoint presentation files (.ppt files) and drag them to the new folder I just made.

Now I have two image files – a jpeg file and gif file. I want to put these in a new Images folder. Right-click, move to New and then click Folder. I’m going to click on one image file, hold down the Control key, click on the next one, and then drag and drop them into the new folder.

We might as well make a folder for that QuickBooks (.qbw) file too. Right-click, move to New and then click Folder. Name it QuickBooks, and drag and drop the file into the new folder.

As you can see, our My Documents folder is a whole lot cleaner than it was before. We have all of our different files saved in folders based on what type of file they are.

Now why in my Word Documents folder, do all of these guys show up with that big icon? Well that's because each folder has its own view settings.

You can see the view settings of the Word Documents folder is set to Tiles.

Let’s change that setting to Details.

If I widen my window, you can see the benefit of setting a folder to Details. You can see the name of the file, the size of the file, the type of the file that it is, the date that each file was last modified, and so on.

You might not want to see all that information. So you can change the view setting to List.

This gives you a short list of each of the files without all that extra stuff.

Personally, I like the List view. You can also sort based on each of these columns. Notice the little arrow. That means the files are sorted alphabetically – ascending. If I click on it, they are sorted descending. You can sort by size, type, and data modified.

Now if you’re working with a folder full of pictures – for example, the Images folder, you can see here we have some different thumbnails. You can view them as thumbnails:

You can view them as tiles:

And you can of course view them as Details. For a pictures folder, you might want to leave it set to thumbnails or filmstrip. The Filmstrip view let’s you click on these little buttons to scroll through the pictures.

Let’s click on our Word Documents folder. One of the pains of dealing with windows, is as you’re going through your different folders, you have to set the different folders to appear the way you want them to appear. If you want them all to look the same way, click the Tools menu and select Folder Options...l

Click the View tab. If you click on the Apply to All Folders button, then all of your folders will get the view that you have right now.

Click Yes and then OK.

Now you’ll see as I browse through these different folders that they’re all set to Details.

Organizing Folders

In this lesson, we’re going to create some subfolders. We’ll teach you some more organizational tips. We’ll learn how to move folders into other folders. We’ll teach you about a feature called Undo. We'll see how to delete folders. We’ll learn about lassoing files and folders and we’ll learn how to Select All.

Back inside of my Word Documents folder, I’d like to create some subfolders so I can further break down these documents. Eventually, I’m going to have 30-50-100 different documents in this folder. So let’s create some new folders.

Right-click, go to New, and then click Folder.

We’ll call this one Letters. We'll make one more and call it Publications.

I'm going to sort this file list by name by clicking on the bar above it.

That’ll make it easier to sort all my letters and move them up into my Letters folder by simply clicking on them and dragging and then dropping them onto the folder.

Now we’ll take the remaining file and move that by clicking on it and dragging it onto the Publications folder.

Notice on the left, I can click the Word Documents folder and it will open up.

You could even further break this down if you wanted to inside your Letters folder. Right-click, move to New, and then click Folder. We could have a Business folder and a Personal folder.

We could then move the Letter to Mr. Schwarzenhoffer.doc and the Letter to Mr. Willamson.doc into the Business folder. And move the Letter to Mr Smith.rtf and Letter to Mrs Jones.rtf into the Personal folder. You can leave files in this folder too – usually, when I get more than say 15 documents in a particular folder, I start thinking about braking it up into different folders. It makes finding things easier and it make working with Windows a little bit easier.

Watch this tip! If I take this Personal folder, and move it to Word Documents, Business is underneath Letters. And Personal is in the same level as Letters and Publications.

It really doesn't belong there, but I just wanted to do that to show you what happens. We can click on the Personal Folder and drag and drop it back on the Letters folder. It’s now back where it belongs. So you can very easily move these folders around by simply clicking and dragging on them. That’s good in that it makes managing stuff easier but it can also be bad.

Sometimes, it’s easy to accidentally move stuff where you don’t want it. If you goof, you can click the Edit menu, and select Undo Move. What is Undo? Well Undo basically reverses the last thing you did.

Let’s click the Letters folder. Right-click and select Copy. Right-click and select Paste. Now I’ve got a copy of my letters folder. I copied the whole folder – not just the letters inside of it.

So if you copy a folder, you copy everything underneath it as well – all the subfolders and all the files in those folders. Now of course we can delete that folder. Right-click on it and select delete.

Click Yes to move it to the Recycle Bin and now all those folders and files are in the Recycle Bin.

There's one more selection trick I’d like to show you here. Let’s close up this Word Documents folder and click on My Documents again. Move your mouse over in the white region. Let’s say I want get all the folders from VB Files to Access Databases. Click and drag an outline around these folders to highlight them. Then you can do your cut, copy, and paste.

There’s also a quick shortcut to highlight everything. Form the menu bar, click Edit and then Select All. (Or you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + A.)

That’ll highlight everything in the folder.


In this lesson, we’re going to show you how to create shortcuts to files on your Desktop. We’ll go over some keyboard shortcuts: cut, copy, and paste. We'll make a blank letter template. We’ll show you the Open With command. And, we’ll show you how to create folders on your Desktop.

Now when it comes to working with files and folders, I often have several files that I use all the time. So what you can do is make shortcuts to these things on your Desktop pretty easily. For example, let’s go back to our Word Documents folder. And let’s say under the Letters folder and then Personal folder, we’ll make a blank letter out of Letter to Mr Smith.rtf. I’m going to make a copy of this guy using keyboard shortcut CTRL + C and CTRL + V for paste.

These are the shortcut keys to remember. They work in Windows and throughout most - if not all Windows applications.

Now that I’ve selected the Letter to Mr Smith.rtf file, I can hit CTRL + C to copy it and then CTRL + V to paste it. That pastes a copy of the letter to Mr. Smith.

I can then rename the copy (leaving the .rtf part) to Blank Personal Letter.rtf.

Now let’s open it up using an advanced trick. Since I’ve got two applications on my computer that can open .rtf files, I can right-click on the file, and go to Open With..., and choose what program that I want to open it with. I’ll choose WordPad. This is an advanced trick – don’t worry about it. If you want, you can just double-click to open it.

Now I can come in and change Joe Smith to just RECIPIENT’S ADDRESS.

And I can scroll down and change the date to DATE, and I’ll change Mr. Smith to RECIPENT. I’ll change the content to BODY OR LETTER as well.

Now I’ll just save this from the tool bar.

Whenever I want to make a letter in the future, I basically have a template to work with. In the Personal folder, I can make a copy of the Blank Personal Letter.rtf file (CTRL + C, CTRL + V) and change its name.

Now I can open it up, make my changes, save it, print it, or do whatever else I want with it. Let’s go back to the original reason that I did this. I use this Blank Personal Letter.rtf 3-4 times a day. So I’m going to make a quick way to get to this file .Let's make a shortcut to it. Right-click it and select copy. Come down to your Desktop, right-click, and select Paste Shortcut.

Now I've got a shortcut to Blank Personal Letter.rtf on my Desktop.

Now I can slide the shortcut to the rest of my icons. To open up this document in the future, all I have to do is double-click on it and it opens right up.

You can keep all the stuff you work with on a daily basis right here. You can even put folders on your Desktop to store stuff in.

Watch this. Right-click, move to New, and click Folder.

I have a new folder on my Desktop now and I can name it Commonly Used Documents.

Then I can put all my shortcuts in the Commonly Used Documents folder – Just click and drag!

Instead of cluttering up my Desktop, I can put them all in here.

Now you can see how you can use those files and folder, and cut-copy-and paste techniques to really get organized.

Here’s a warning for you.

If you keep everything in your My Documents folder, then all the files that you’ve created are in one nice easy location to back up. Whether you burn them on CD or a tape drive, when you make a back up of all your stuff, the only thing you need to worry about backing up is your My Documents folder.

If you’ve got files all over your Desktop and stored in different folders throughout your hard drive, you’ve got to go find all that stuff when it comes time to make your back ups.

And make sure that you do regular back ups. Every hard drive will eventually fail. Your applications and Windows can all be re-installed from CDs, but you need to make sure you back up your stuff on CDs or a tape drive every week or month. If it’s really critical, back them up every night. If you are in an office that has a network, your office computer guys might tell you to save all your files on your file server because they will back up that server every night.

Recycle Bin

In this lesson, we’re going to learn all about the Recycle Bin. Let’s start out by opening up My Documents. Here’s a trick for you. You can right-click on My Documents (or any folder) and select Explore.

That will open up a Windows Explorer window and put you right in that folder.

I’m going to go into my Word Documents folder and open up my Letters folder and my Personal folder. I’m going to take my Letter to Mrs. Jones and hit the Delete key. Windows will ask me if I’m sure I want to do this and I’ll click Yes. (Watch the Recycle Bin on the far left.)

Look at that! There’s some stuff in the Recycle Bin. That’s how you delete a file. Where does it go? It goes to the Recycle Bin.

Now let’s take a peek inside the Recycle Bin. We can open it up by double clicking on it. It opens up like any other folder. You can see a list of files that are in the Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin is like a holding cell. When you delete something, it sits in the Recycle Bin for a little while. Eventually, the Recycle Bin will fill up and when it fills up, the older stuff gets permanently deleted.

Now if you decide you want this file back, you can right-click on it and select Restore.

When you select Restore, the file will disappear out of the Recycle Bin and return back to the folder that it was originally deleted out of.

If you want to permanently delete a file, there’s two ways to do it. The first way is to click on it, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and hit delete. Windows won’t ask if you want to send it to the Recycle Bin. It will ask if you’re sure you want to delete the file.

Here’s the other way. Delete it as normal and agree to send it to the Recycle Bin. Next, open the Recycle Bin by double clicking on it. Now to delete it out of here, you can click on it and hit delete. Again, you’ll be asked if you’re sure you want to delete the file. If you delete it out of the Recycle Bin, then it’s permanently gone.

There’s one more thing you can do. You can empty the Recycle Bin. What does that mean? Emptying the Recycle Bin means you’re going to take the Recycle Bin over to the dumpster and dump everything out.

Once you do this, you’ll be asked if you’re sure. Click Yes, and then all that stuff’s gone. Can you get it back by Undo-ing it? Nope! It’s gone for good!

Now there's only really two reasons why you’d want to empty your Recycle Bin. The first reason is if you want to securely delete something. You want to make sure a file is gone and no one else can ever find it. Well, the FBI and really good hackers have ways to get it! But the average user can’t do that once you’ve emptied your Recycle Bin.

The other reason you might want to empty your Recycle Bin is if you’re running extremely low on disk space and you need some disk space. You can empty your Recycle Bin and that sill clear up some disk space on your hard drive.

Primarily, the reason why you want to empty your Recycle Bin is to securely delete those files. Do you have to? No. The Recycle Bin is actually self-maintaining. What happens is the Recycle Bin gets to a certain size (pre-set in Windows) and when more files come into it, the oldest stuff gets kicked out.

Let’s take a look at the settings for the Recycle Bin real quick. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and select Properties.

I have two disk drives and they’re set to Configure drives independently.

I’m going to click on the C drive tab. Here, you can see the size of this drive is only 2 gigabytes. 40 megabytes are reserved for the Recycle Bin (25 of the drive size). You can change this setting to anywhere from 2-10% of your hard drive space if you want to although I don’t recommend it. Once the Recycle Bin fills up, the older stuff will get permanently deleted, so you don’t have to worry about emptying the Recycle Bin (unless you want to).

It’s a good idea in most cases not to empty the Recycle Bin yourself because you might discover that you deleted something you need back.


Let’s take a moment now to review what we covered in class.

· We learned all about files and folders and the Windows folder hierarchy.
· We learned how to browse through files and folders using My Computer and Windows Explorer.
· We learned how to create new files – how to cut, copy, paste, delete, and move files.
· We learned all about working with folder, creating new folders, cutting-copying-pasting-deleting folders.
· We learned about making shortcuts to files and folders on the Desktop.
· We learned all about the Recycle Bin.

Tell us what you think. Log on to and take a short survey about this course.

RICK’S NOTE: I really do enjoy getting surveys from you! Make sure you visit the web page above and fill out the survey for this class. Let me know if I’ve moved too fast, and whether or not I covered material that was helpful to you!

Take your skills check quiz at If you pass, you can print out a Certificate of Completion.

What’s next? Visit for our complete list of Windows courses.

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This course, handbook, videos, and other materials are copyright 2002, 2003, 2004 by Amicron Computing. All rights reserved. No portion of this course, handbook, videos, or other course materials may be reproduced, copied, edited, or otherwise distributed without the express written permission of Amicron Computing. Amicron Computing shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this document.

This document may not be used as part of a training course without express, written permission from Amicron Computing and the purchase of an Instructional License. For details, contact:

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