File Management on Windows Computers

File Management is very important, because if they are not stored in an ordered, methodical way you may never be able to find them again. Secondly, files need to be backed up. USB’s, CD’s and even hard drives can become corrupted. It is also possible to delete important files by mistake - human errors occur frequently when a person is very tired - leading to the loss of that important assignment. If only there was another copy on another disk...

What is a File?

Computer information is stored in a file. When you create data on your computer, at your direction the computer will save it as a file. You designate the file name. You should give your file a name that not only has meaning now, but will also have meaning in the future.

(Eg CP1010_Designing_a_Multimedia_Page)

Disk/Hard Drives

Disk/Hard drives are the storage devices for your files. In the GATCF Labs, you will be required to store your data on:

  • Removable USB Flash Hard Drives (F :\)

  • Removable CD/CD-Writer/DVD Drives (D :\)

  • Temp Drive (E :\)

The Drive letters may be different on different machines SO BE CAREFUL.

Temp Drive (Shared)

There is a temporary communal storage space, this means that if you place your document on this space ANYONE can look at your documentation. Furthermore this space is temporary and all files and documents will be DELETED in the early hours of each morning.


Folders (directories) are storage units, in which you can create folders to store your files, to make them easier to locate. The concept is similar to that of a filing cabinet. If files were placed in a filing cabinet in no particular order, then they would be difficult or even impossible to find. They are therefore placed in drawers, folders and subfolders.

Equivalently, your disk can be broken up into a series of folders and subfolders.

File Explorer

File management on the GATCF computers is done using File Explorer. Open File Explorer, by double clicking on the File Explorer icon located on the desktop Task Bar
File Explorer icon.
You will see a list of devices available to your computer.

File Explorer window

You will have access to save or read data from a removable USB stick (F:), to save data to the Share Drive (E:), to save or read data from a CD Rom or DVD (D:). To see what is in these drives you can double click on the drive (E: F: or D: ) and the contents of the drive will display in the Contents pane to the right of the window.

You can explore further by double clicking on each folder until you ether locate the file you are searching for or the location you wish to save your file in.

Warning: The first time you try to save from applications like Microsoft Office they will default to the “My Documents” folder. Be aware that this is a local folder and ANY data saved to it will be wiped on logout. Remember to save to a USB or CD/DVD F:\ or D:\ Drive to ensure you don’t lose your work overnight.

Copying Files or Folders in File Explorer

To copy a file or folder from drive to drive:

  • Click (with the right mouse button) on the file or folder that you want to copy.

  • Select Copy from the drop down menu.

  • Then navigate to the folder or drive/disk you want to place your copy into.

  • Right click within the folder or drive and select Paste

To exit File Explorer, click on the cross in the top right corner or choose the menu File, then Exit.

Creating Folders

To create a new folder, open File Explorer and double click on your disk or drive. From the menu bar (top of the screen), choose File then select New and choose Folder. You will then be prompted for the name of your new directory (New Folder).

You can now type in your chosen name for this folder. Folder names should have meaning so that it is easy for you to know what is stored in that folder. (Make sure that the New Folder name is highlighted before you name the folder.) If you wish to put a folder within a folder, open the existing folder (by double clicking on it) and create and name a new folder as before.

Saving Files

You should save files regularly. If for some reason the computer shuts down or hangs, while you are in the middle of your work, you will lose everything since your last save. You can save files on your USB or a DVD/CD-Writer. If you are in a pinch you could save your file to the shared drive and then save it as an attachment and email it to yourself. Another idea is if you copy and paste the file in your email body and the send it to yourself (This is handy if your file is all text)

To save a file simply click on your File menu then click Save As, then in File name you should put a name that has meaning for easier management. If you have already saved a file you can go to the File menu and click on save.

Saving File on Home Drive

Copying Files or Making Backups

It is important to have more than one copy of a file, since disks can be damaged and you can lose them as well. Backing up your files will prevent the misfortune of lost data, which is equivalent to lost work and time.

If you want to copy only one file or document from drive to drive, disk to drive or vice versa you can use File Explorer. To copy a file or folder from Disk to Disk the best way is to make a 'Temporary' file on the Temp Drive. Next copy the file or folder you want to that 'Temporary' folder. Check that the file has copied correctly to the 'Temporary folder'. Then click on a hard drive. Now insert the other disk you want to put the file or folder in and copy from you 'Temporary' folder to your other disk drive.

The same procedure applies for copying from disk to CD or USB and vice versa. Copying drive to drive or disk/temp/CD to drive you do not have to make the 'Temporary folder' you can copy straight into the drive or disk/USB/CD.

Remember that the files or folders will only stay in the Temp Drive for a limited time (content is erased around 2am every morning) and ANYONE can look at these file or folders.

Moving Files

Files can be moved to different folders (directories) or from one disk drive to another. To move a file between folders, you will need to view the available folders. Folders are arranged like a 'tree'. The 'tree' may have a number of 'branches'. To see all the folders available expand the branches of your file tree. Each branch should have a plus sign beside it if you click on this plus sign then the 'tree' expands. If it has a minus sign, then click on this to collapse the branch. To move a file between folders and which are on different drives, open the folder that currently contains the file, by double clicking on it. Click on the file using the left mouse button (this should highlight the file). Hold the shift key down. While holding the left mouse button down, drag the file to the new folder. If you are moving folders or files in the same drive in File Explorer just drag and drop.

Deleting Files

Click on the file that you wish to delete. To delete the file click the file you want to delete, and then from the menu bar choose File and then delete. You will be asked if you want to delete this file, if you do choose yes and the file will be deleted. Otherwise choose No.

Deleting Folders (directories)

You can delete a folder and its contents if you wish. Click on the folder that you wish to delete and continue as per Deleting Files.

Note that deleting a folder will delete all files and folders within that folder. Be sure that this is what you want to do before answering yes to the prompts. When asked if you want to delete the folder and its contents. Once you delete a file in File Explorer it's gone for good!