StartMy Documents

This command opens up your My Documents folder, which, until Windows XP, appeared as an icon on your desktop. It’s designed to hold the data files you and your programs create.

Of course, you’re welcome to file your documents anywhere on the hard drive, but most programs propose the My Documents folder as the target location for newly created documents.

Sticking with that principle makes a lot of sense for three reasons. First, it makes navigation easy. You never have to wonder where you filed some document, since all your stuff is sitting right there in the My Documents folder. Second, this arrangement makes backing up easy, in that you can drag the entire My Documents folder right onto a Zip disk or blank CD.

Third, remember that Windows XP has been designed from the ground up for computer sharing. It’s ideal for any situation where different family members, students, or workers share the same PC. Each person who uses the computer will turn on the machine to find her own separate, secure set of files, folders, desktop pictures, Web bookmarks, preference settings—and My Documents folder. (Much more about this feature in Chapter 20.)

Get Windows XP Professional: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.