File Management and Protection/File Management

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search
OtagoPoly Logo S.png

File Management

Welcome to Unit 1: File Management. This unit will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills on how to manage files in your computer.

If you thought file management was just for paper files? Think again. It‘s just as important to keep the files on your computer organised and up-to-date. Just as with paper files, the goal of computer file management is to ensure that you can find what you‘re looking for, even if you‘re looking for it years after its creation.

OP icon outcomes.gif


On completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  • search for and locate files
  • structure files and folders, file names, storage of files in a folder
  • manage files.

Understanding Data and Program Files

Nearly all the work you do on a computer has do to with files. When you work with a file, it is stored in the computer‘s memory. When you are not working with a file, it can be permanently stored on a removable storage device. There are two major types of computer files: program files and data files.

Program files are applications that allow the user to solve some type of problem, such as a word processing application that lets the user create and maintain documents for a company. Program files are step-by-step instructions that direct a computer to do something—resolve the user‘s problem. Program files are also called application packages, software packages or software. Generally, you purchase programs so you can create data files. Data files are files that contain information generated by the user (you), typically with an application program. Most often, only an application program can use data files directly. Data files are also called documents or document files.

A name must be assigned to each file so that Windows (an example of a computers operating system) can identify and locate it. Certain rules must be followed when you name files:

  1. A file name must be unique
  2. The name length must range from 1 to 255 characters
  3. The file name is broken into two parts: a file name and a file extension. The file name describes or identifies the file, and the file extension identifies the type of data in the file. In Windows, the file extension is referred to as the file type
  4. File names cannot contain the following characters: \ / : * ? ― < > |

Program files have predetermined names: Winword.exe for Word and Excel.exe for Microsoft Excel. Data files, on the other hand, are named by the user. You may call a file anything you want, such as 'Letter to my sister', as long as you follow the naming conventions. You will find that, typically, a program such as Word will assign a file extension to your data file (document), so that the actual file name becomes 'Letter to my sister.doc'. Now you, Word, and Windows know what program created the data file. Data files are generated by specific application programs, and the information or data in them can be altered or viewed only within the respective program.

A data file may be used only in conjunction with the application program that created it. Again, the job of Windows is to locate and carry both program and data files in and out of memory and to and from a disk (reading and writing).

Understanding File Extensions

The part of the filename that tells Windows what type of file (Document) it is known as an extension for example .doc is a Word document, .xls is an Excel worksheet, .ppt is a PowerPoint presentation. The extension allows the specific program to recognise it e.g. Word recognises .doc is one of its files.

Program files run programs to carry out the user‘s commands. Program files are generally located on your C drive in the Programme Files folder.

These file management tips will help you keep your files accessible:

  • Filing cabinet
    Create folders

    These are the drawers of your computer‘s filing cabinet, so to speak. Use plain language to name your folders; you don‘t want to be looking at this list of folders in the future and wondering what TFK or whatever other interesting abbreviation you invented means.
  • Nest folders within folders
    Create other folders within these main folders as need arises. For instance, a folder called Invoicesmight contain folders called 2009, 2010 and 2011. A folder named for a client might include the folders customer data and correspondence. The goal is to have every file in a folder rather than having a bunch of stray files listed.
  • Be specific
    Give files logical, specific names and include dates in file names if possible. The goal when naming files is to be able to tell what the file is about without having to open it and look. So if the document is a letter to a customer reminding him that payment is overdue, call it something like overdue081206 rather than something like letter. How will you know who the letter is to without opening it?
  • File as you go
    The best time to file a document is when you first create it. So get in the habit of using the Save As dialogue box to file your document as well as name it, putting it in the right place in the first place.
    Back up your files regularly. Whether you‘re copying your files onto another drive or onto a removal storage device, it‘s important to set up and follow a regular back up regimen.

OP icon activity.gif


Please note: the following tutorial will open in a new window/tab. When you have finished the tutorial, simply close the window/tab and you'll return to this page.

  • Complete this online tutorial on Getting to know your computer's OS. Be sure to watch the short video on Page 1. Whilst this video focuses on Windows 7, most of the concepts can be applied to any operating system.