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PCs For Dummies® Windows®, 7 Edition by Dan Gookin

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Chapter 20. Know What a File Is

In This Chapter

  • Understanding the whole file thing

  • Describing a file

  • Naming files

  • Understanding file types

  • Viewing filename extensions

  • Creating files

There's a lot of stuff to absorb when it comes to computers. There's hardware. There's software. Things are given weird, technical descriptions or silly names that make no sense. Acronyms litter the landscape like leaves after a windstorm. And, to top it off, the computer is simply cold and cruel. How do some people manage to get by?

Well! I'll tell you: The secret to getting the most from any computer is to understand the basic element of computer storage, the file. When you can get your arms around the concept of a file, the rest of this computer nonsense begins to make sense. This chapter helps you start down that pleasant pathway.

Behold the File!

I would guess that a big percentage of folks who use a PC don't have the slightest idea what a file is. Yes, there's a File menu. You save files. You open files. That's about it.

Allow me to properly introduce you to a computer file:

A file is a chunk of information stored in a computer. That's it.

The word file is used because, in an office setting, information is traditionally stored on paper, and those papers are grouped into file folders, stored in a file cabinet. The same analogy applies to computer files, though I don't think that the comparison has been successful.

When you think of a file, don't even think of a paper file. Instead, think of a file as a container. ...

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