Concepts on files and folders

The Windows Explorer is the basic tool in an operating system because with it we can control all the information that we have stored in our hard disk, floppy, cd, etc.

To be able to work with the Windows Explorer we need to know the terminology with which it works so that handling it will be easier.

byte is the smallest unit of information. It is used to measure the size of our documents.

A kilobyte (Kb) is 1024 bytes, a Megabyte (Mb) is 1024 Kb, a Gigabyte is 1024 Mb

A File is a group of bytes. For example a text document is a file, a drawing is a file, etc.

In modern computer systems, files always have names. Files are located in directories. A file’s name within a directory must be unique. In other words, no two files in a directory may have the same name.

A file’s name and the path to the file’s directory uniquely identifies it among all other files in the computer system—no two files can have the same name and path. The appearance of the name depends on the type of computer system being used. Early computers permitted only a few letters or digits in the name of a file, but modern computers allow long names (some up to 255) containing almost any combination of unicode letters or unicode digits, making it easier to understand the purpose of a file at a glance.

Most computers organize files into hierarchies using folders, directories, or catalogs. (The concept is the same irrespective of the terminology used.) Each folder can contain an arbitrary number of files, and it can also contain other folders. These other folders are referred to as sub-folders. Sub-folders can contain still more files and folders and so on, thus building a tree-like structure in which one “master folder” (or “root folder” — the name varies from one operating system to another) can contain any number of levels of other folders and files. Folders can be named just as files can (except for the root folder, which often does not have a name). The use of folders makes it easier to organize files in a logical way.

Many (but not all) computer systems use extensions in file names to help identify what they contain. On Windows computers, extensions consist of a dot or period at the end of a file name, followed by a few letters to identify the type of file. An extension of .txt identifies a text file; the .doc extension identifies any type of document or documentation, commonly in the Microsoft Word file format; and so on. Even when extensions are used in a computer system, the degree to which the computer system recognizes and heeds them can vary; in some systems, they are required, while in other systems, they are completely ignored if they are present.

Types of Files. There are different types of files depending on the type of information they contain. There are image files, program files, text files, music files, etc. To distinguish the type of information that they contain, the files are assigned a type of file or document. When the files are Word documents, for example, they are .doc.

Names of files. The name can have up to 255 characters, it can contain letters, numbers, blank spaces and special characters like dashes, underlines, etc., but there is a group that cannot be used ( “, ? , , >, <, | ).

Folder. The folders are used to classify the files in our computer. The folders receive a name just like the files. We suggest that the folders, as well as files, be given names that are as descriptive as possible. A folder can contain files or other folders.

The folders are also known as directories.

In the Explorador the folders are represented by a yellow folder.

Basic Naming Conventions

The following fundamental rules enable applications to create and process valid names for files and directories, regardless of the file system:

Use a period to separate the base file name from the extension in the name of a directory or file.

Use a backslash () to separate the components of a path. The backslash divides the file name from the path to it, and one directory name from another directory name in a path.