Explorer is Windows's file manager. It is the easiest way to make folders and open files.
Where is it?
On Windows 7, search 'apps' for 'File Explorer'.
On other Windows, click on the Windows button at the bottom of the screen. Then click on 'All Programs' and, then select 'Utilities' or 'Accessories'. When the next menu pops up, it should be there.
Click on the Windows button at the bottom of the screen (or right-click left end of task-bar in Windows 7 desktop). Click on 'Run...'. Type 'Explorer' into the long box, and hit 'OK'.
The four important features of Explorer:
You make directories in Explorer by navigating to the directory or disk where you want the new directory, right-click on it and select 'New' > 'Folder'
In the above, 'parent' is the directory we want to make a new directory inside.
'Cut and paste'
Most Windows programs use the same keys to do common functions, and most use the 'Control' key (labeled 'Ctrl') pushed at the same time as a letter key. These common functions are present in Explorer as...
- 'Ctrl' + 'A' To select everything in a folder.
- 'Ctrl' + 'C' Copy a file or folder highlighted by clicking it with the mouse.
- 'Ctrl' + 'X' Cut a file or folder highlighted by clicking it with the mouse, and save it.
- 'Ctrl' + 'V' Paste a or folder cut or copied, into the folder where the mouse was last clicked.
- 'Ctrl' + 'Z' Undo the last action.
If you cut and copy files or folders they go into the 'clipboard'. You can usually only have one thing at a time in there, and cut files can be overwritten by other copied files while in the clipboard.
You can search for files, folders, or types of files.
- Open the directory you want to search, and type the search term in the search box in the top right of Explorer.
- For filenames you can use 'wildcards', letters representing gaps or several letters. For example, '*.java' would find all the Java source files.
Rename and open
This takes a little getting use to and experimenting with.
If you click to select a file or folder, be highlighted blue. If you then wait a second and click again within the name, it should let you rename the file. If not, right-click and choose 'Rename'.
Alternatively if you rapidly double-click a file or folder, it should open it for you. However, often the default application may not be Notepad++ (we cover Notepad++ in this tutorial). If it isn't you may need to right-click the file and select 'Open with...', and choose Notepad++.
If the file extension isn't one the computer recognises, it should ask you what you'd like to open it with. You should be able to find Notepad++ in the list.
You may find that if you've saved Java files as a '.txt' file accidentally, or IE has done it for you, that the compilation doesn't work. This may happen, even if it looks like the filename is '.java'.
This is because Windows sometimes hides the extensions it knows, so a file shown as 'myProgram.java' may actually be called 'myProgram.java.txt'. In the file description column you should see something like 'Text Document' if this is the case.
There are two ways of dealing with this: the first is to open the file, copy and paste it into a new Notepad file and save it with the correct name. The second is to uncheck 'Hide extensions for known file types', which you can find under Explorer's 'Organize' menu:
Windows 7: go to 'View' then the small triangle under 'Options' and pick 'Change Folder and Search Options' then the 'View' tab and you should find the checkbox there. Once you uncheck this, you should see the full filename.
Other Windows: go to 'Tools' then 'Folder and Search Options' then the 'View' tab and you should find the checkbox there. Once you uncheck this, you should see the full filename.
When you're ok with this lot, head back using your browser's back button.