Working with Folders and Files

Working With the My Computer Desktop Icon

From the desktop double-click the My Computer desktop icon to reveal its window. All currently available resources are displayed within this window, including all currently mapped network drives. The system's Printers folder is available within My Computer as is the Control Panel folder. The very first icon on the toolbar (reading left to right) moves you back one folder level when you click it. You can get the same affect by pressing the Backspace key on your keyboard. If you hold your mouse pointer directly over each icon for a second or so, a tooltip describing its function will appear. The second icon on the toolbar will permit you to map a local drive letter to a network share. The next toolbar icon will disconnect you from the currently-selected networked drive. The next three icons provide the familiar cut, copy, and paste options as they now apply to folders and files. The next icon tool, a left-pointing arrow, is the Undelete icon. The icon directly to the right of that one is the Delete icon (a handwritten X). Adjacent to the Delete icon is the Properties icon. The final four toolbar icons consist of window view options. These icons determine how drive letters, folders, and files should be displayed within the window: large icons, small icons, list view, or details view.

Windows File Manager

The Windows File Manager is still available but there are not icons for it because Microsoft is try to encourage people to use the new Windows NT Explorer. There are some cases, like working with Mac network shares, where you will want to use the File Manager.

The Windows NT Explorer

The new Windows NT Explorer is the replacement for the File Manager tool. The Explorer provides you with a global view of all of the resources available to your computer on the network. The Explorer's window is very similar to the My Computer window and the Network Neighborhood window. The Explorer window is divided into two panes. The left pane contains the folders view, and the right pane displays the contents of each folder as you click each folder icon in the left pane. The listing of folders and subfolders can be expanded wherever you see a plus sign (+) next to a resource in the left pane. You can contract the list wherever you see a minus sign (-) next to a resource.

You may move, copy, rename, and delete files in all of the ways that have been mentioned in this chapter. To successfully drag and drop files or folders from the right pane over to the left pane of the Explorer, locate the file(s) or folder that you want to move or copy in the right pane. Next, navigate your way to view the destination folder, the target to where you want to copy or move the files, on the left pane by clicking the plus signs only. (Clicking the folders themselves on the left pane change s the content's view on the right pane.) Once you are able to see both the source file(s) in the right pane and the destination folder in the left pane, you can perform the drag-and-drop procedure.

Explorer views can be customized. For instance, if you want to view the contents of folders located within C:\WINNT, you can run the Explorer from the command prompt, specifying these arguments: Explorer /e, root, c:\winnt. When you run the Explorer this way, you can specify what the highest level folder view should be.

With built-in tools such as the Explorer, My Computer, Network Neighborhood, and its new object-based desktop interface, Microsoft has successfully blended Windows NT Server's robust performance and security with Windows 95's ease of use and its improved, functional design. Windows 32-bit computing now has the same look and feel on both the client and the server which is good news for network administrators.

Moving files versus copying

If you're using NTFS permissions to secure access to specific files or folders, you'll want to pay close attention whenever you move or copy a file. Here's why. When you right-click a folder and adjust its security settings, every file you create in that folder inherits those attributes. So, if you save a file in a Drafts folder whose default permissions give the Everyone group full control, anyone who can see the file will be able to read, edit, or delete it.

But what happens when you finish your draft and transfer the completed document to a folder whose default permissions give the Everyone group only read and add rights? That depends. If you copy the file, it picks up the permissions from the new folder. If you move the file, it retains the original permissions--and in this example, the file you think is safe in its protected folder will actually be available for anyone to change or delete. Figure A shows the file permissions allowing read access for the Everyone group for a file that we moved from an unrestricted folder to a restricted folder.

One exception to this rule occurs when you move files between folders on different volumes. When you do so, the files will inherit the permissions of the destination folder. Therefore, you'll always need to remember to reset the permissions for files that you've moved or copied between volumes. As a general strategy: Never move a file. Instead, copy the file to its new location and then delete the original.

The Recycle Bin

The new Recycle Bin is a central repository for homeless, unwanted files. The amount of hard disk space that you want allocated to this resource is configurable by right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon and selecting Properties. The Recycle Bin window works very much the same as the My Computer window and the Network Neighborhood window. Double-click its Desktop icon to open the window. You can choose to recover one, some, or all of the deleted files stored in the Recycle Bin by selecting the files you want undeleted and then clicking File | Restore.

You can completely empty the Recycle Bin by clicking File | Empty Recycle Bin from the menu bar. This option will permanently eradicate all of the files that are present. After performing this step, there is no chance of recovering those deleted files with the tools that currently ship with Windows NT. If you do not empty the Recycle Bin the files are still taking up disk space.