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File management on MCS Windows PCs

How to manage your DS filespace using an MCS Windows PC. Much of the information will be the same if you have your Desktop Services filespace mounted on the desktop of your own Windows PC.

Note: file management under Linux is entirely different; details are in the MCS Linux page.

Looking at your filespace

Double-click on the icon for your filespace (labelled My Documents (drive U)). You will see the icons for your files and folders. Some files will have been created by the system or applications you have used. To see more information including size and date, click on the View menu, then click on Details. For full details, click on its icon and then select Properties from the File menu.

To check how much of your allocated filespace you are using, look at the Filespace icon at the bottom of the screen.

To see files and folders on a USB stick, ZIP disk, or CD, or on the local hard disk, click on Start > My Computer, and then on the appropriate icon.

To see a Society's filespace, click on Start > My Computer, then on the icon labelled Ux (\\filestore) X:, then on the folder SOC, and look for the name of the society. Note that much of what you find may be material for the Society's web page, which is better viewed through a web browser.

Many useful operations on files can be carried out by clicking with the right-hand mouse button on the file icon. This brings up a menu of actions to choose from.

Deleting a file or folder

Either right-click on the file or folder icon and then click on Delete on the menu, or drag the icon to the Recycle bin icon on the desktop. In the standard view, you can select the file and then click on Delete in the File and Folder Tasks list on the left.

If you want to delete several files or folders at once, select each in turn by holding down the Ctrl button while you click on the icon. When they are all selected, you can drag them as a group to the Recycle bin.

Opening a file or folder

Double-click on the file or folder icon; if the file was created by a particular application such as a word processor, this will normally cause the application to be started up and the file opened.

Plain text files will usually open using the Notepad application, in which you can do simple editing. If the system can't work out which application to use to open the file, it will present you with a list of applications to choose from; Notepad is a safe option for plain text files.

Editing a file

Most PC files will automatically open the application (for instance Word®) that was used to create them when you double-click them, and you can then edit them as required. However, you may sometimes want to edit a plain text (.txt) file, and the PC may not be able to attribute the file to a known application.

Most plain text documents can be edited using the Notepad application; if the system asks which application to use, scroll through the list till you get to Notepad.

If you have a plain text document you would like to put into Word, open Word first and then open the document by selecting File > Open (you may have to ask to see All Files not just All Readable Files).

Moving files

To move files between folders or between disk and DS filespace, open the relevant folders by double-clicking and then drag the files across using the mouse. To move multiple files, you can select a set of files by holding the Ctrl button down as you click on each file after the first. You can then drag all the selected files as a unit.

Easily move files or folders to a removable device (CD, DVD, USB memory stick etc.) or to your DS filespace by right-clicking on the icon, selecting SendTo from the pop-up menu, and clicking on the desired destination. The original file is unaffected, so you finish up with a copy in each place.

If you move files around within your filespace (or within a single disk), the file disappears from its original place. Hold down the Ctrl key as you drag to leave a copy of the original file in its current location.

To move files across the Internet, or between users, see the file transfer page.

Creating a new folder

Open the location where you want to put it (for instance your DS filespace), and select Make a new folder from the Files and Folders tasks list on the left. You can then type in a name for the new folder.

Finding a file

To find a file having a particular name, click on Start > Search, and click on Files or Folders (or Documents if appropriate). Check the Look in: box (you may want to search your DS filespace, or a hard or floppy or ZIP disk, and you can see a list of the possibilities by clicking on the arrow at the right-hand end of the box). Then type the filename, or any part of it, in the File box.

You can also find files according to their date of last modification or size, or find all files containing a particular string of characters (click on the More Advanced Options button).

File names and extensions

File names on a Windows PC are often in the form name.ext where name used to be limited to eight characters and ext is usually three.

The extension (ext) often signals to the operating system the type of file, and determines which application to use to open the file. For instance .doc denotes a Microsoft Word file, and .xls a Microsoft Excel file.

Some extensions signify that a file has been compressed or encoded in some way, and needs to be decoded before use.