We show how Windows Vista can make light work of organising your files and folders
Whatever you use your computer for, you’ll inevitably have to spend some time moving files around the hard disk.
Photography, web design, video editing, letter writing and even playing games all require decisions to be made about where different files and folders should be kept.
The problem is that over time, it’s easy to end up with hundreds or thousands of files and folders, but without a system to keep them all organised.
If you have a copy of Windows Vista, though, there’s some good news. Vista has a far improved set of file management tools, so keeping files organised and finding them when they get lost is easier than ever.
We’ll explain how to use the new tools to keep your files in check, leaving you with more time to get on with the computing tasks you actually enjoy. Our instructions are for Windows Vista Home Premium unless noted otherwise.
Where am I?
To get started, open Windows Explorer: the simplest way to do this is to hold down the Windows key and press the letter E. Anyone who has used Windows Vista will have noticed the information at the top of every Explorer window.
This displays the path of the currently open folder: if your documents folder is open, for example, it’ll normally show your username, then ‘documents’. This is known as a breadcrumb trail as it allows you to retrace your steps back through any folders that you opened to get to the current one simply click on any folder in the list to go there.
Clicking on the dropdown menu arrow next to a folder name in the breadcrumb list displays all the other folders contained within that directory so you can jump quickly to those, too. Something even more useful can be found on the left side of any Vista Windows Explorer window: the Favorite Links box. This contains a list of folders that you often use, allowing you to jump to them with just one click. Adding a folder is simple: just drag and drop it into the Favorite Links box.
If you have ever used colour-coded tags to bring order to a large, disorganised folder of notes before, you’ll know that investing some time tagging pages with labels can pay dividends when it comes to quickly locating a particular file. You may also have already come across the concept of 'tagging' photographs on social networking websites such as Facebook and Flickr, allowing you to mark who is in each particular shot.
Windows Vista takes exactly the same concept of tagging and applies it to files on your computer’s hard disk. It works at its best with digital photographs, as the Windows Photo Gallery software uses tags to make large libraries of photographs more manageable. Other files such as Microsoft Office documents can also be tagged, though. Once you have applied a tag to a file, you can easily find it with Vista’s search tool see 'The Searchers' below for details.
Each file can also be given more than one tag. This makes it possible to do clever things like tagging recipes according to the ingredients they require, then searching by the ingredients you have to hand to find suitable dishes. Not all files can be tagged using Windows Vista, but photos and music files are easy to label in this way.
Updating your subscription status