Chapter 20: Understanding Drives, Folders, and Files


Disk drives, disks, and memory cards

Navigating through folders with File Explorer

Clicking, viewing, and arranging icons your way

Stop losing saved files

Beginners and casual users are often thrown by terms like drive, folder, file, icon, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, and so forth. Virtually every resource you turn to assumes that you already know what these things mean. Nobody ever bothers to explain them. That's because these terms and concepts have remained unchanged for the past 25 years or so.

Of course, just because those terms have been around for a long time doesn't mean everyone understands them. In fact, for every person who knows what those terms mean, you can be sure many thousands don't. So in this chapter, we're going to break from tradition and explain those terms.

Understanding Disks and Drives

Computers work with information. That information has to be stored on some type of medium. These days, that medium is most likely to be in the form of a disk or a card. You can also store information on tape, but tape is used primarily for backup.

Your computer's hard disk

All the programs and information that are in your computer are actually stored on a disk. In most cases, you will never see that disk because it's inside a sealed case. That disk goes by many names including hard disk, hard drive, and fixed disk. You may even hear it referred to as a solid-state drive.

Essentially, all the ...

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