Nav­i­gate your PC

It’s all about the files on your com­puter: doc­u­ments, pro­grams, set­tings and more – dis­cover how to find and ac­cess them

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

We’ve seen how the desk­top can pro­vide you with a means of pin­ning favourite pro­grams and files within easy reach, but it’s only the start of your jour­ney into nav­i­gat­ing Win­dows 10. Let’s start with File Ex­plorer – the tool you use to browse and man­age your com­puter’s con­tents. You’ll see its folder icon on the Taskbar, so click this and it’ll open to one of two views: ‘Quick ac­cess’ or This PC – you can change the de­fault view by switch­ing to the View tab on File Ex­plorer’s rib­bons, click­ing the Op­tions but­ton and mak­ing your choice from the ‘Open File Ex­plorer to’ drop-down menu.

‘Quick ac­cess’ is a spe­cial folder that con­tains short­cuts to both re­cently opened files and fold­ers you fre­quently open. It’s also pos­si­ble to ‘pin’ favourite fold­ers to the ‘Quick ac­cess’ menu that ap­pears in the Nav­i­ga­tion pane on the left of the File Ex­plorer win­dow – the quick­est way to do this is sim­ply to drag a folder into the ‘Quick ac­cess’ list where you want it to sit and re­lease the mouse but­ton (you can later re­move the folder from this list by right-click­ing it and choos­ing ‘Un­pin from Quick ac­cess’).

The left-hand pane also has short­cuts to OneDrive, This PC (a list of all your user fold­ers as well as the drives at­tached to your PC), se­lected ex­ter­nal drives and your Net­work. There’s a Homegroup en­try too – but only for now, it’ll be dis­ap­pear­ing as of the Spring Cre­ators Up­date along with Homegroups them­selves.

Win­dows 10 in­tro­duces lots of handy new fea­tures in File Ex­plorer that will be new to you if you’re mov­ing from Win­dows 7: switch to the View tab on the Rib­bon and tick ‘Item check boxes’ if you fre­quently need to se­lect mul­ti­ple files in a folder – this en­ables you to sim­ply tick them to do so.

Also keep an eye on the Rib­bon when se­lect­ing in­di­vid­ual files of a spe­cific type – for ex­am­ple, se­lect a photo and a con­text-sen­si­tive Pic­ture Tools op­tion will ap­pear. Click this to re­veal ad­di­tional op­tions rel­e­vant to pho­tos, such as ro­tat­ing im­ages or view­ing the folder’s con­tents as a slideshow.

Search your PC

File Ex­plorer also has a search tool built into it for search­ing the cur­rently se­lected lo­ca­tion (nav­i­gate to the This PC level to search your en­tire PC). Type your search terms and a list of match­ing en­tries will ap­pear. De­pend­ing on where you search, the process may take some time if you’ve in­cluded fold­ers that haven’t been in­dexed – in­dex­ing records a folder’s con­tents in a small data­base that al­lows for much quicker searches since the index is searched rather than the folder or drive it­self.

In­dexed con­tent can also be searched us­ing the new Cor­tana search tool, which is built right into the Taskbar. Just type what you’re search­ing for and a list of match­ing items will ap­pear. Click ‘Fil­ters’ to re­strict your search to a spe­cific type of item (such as doc­u­ments, set­tings or web re­sults). The step-by-step guide be­low re­veals how to con­fig­ure Cor­tana, as well as how to dis­able the per­sonal as­sis­tant en­tirely so the box only func­tions as a con­ve­nient search tool for items on your PC without any pri­vacy con­no­ta­tions.

In­dexed fold­ers tend to be those where per­sonal data is likely to re­side, such as your user fold­ers. To see what fold­ers are be­ing in­dexed, type ‘in­dex­ing’ into Cor­tana’s search box and click In­dex­ing Op­tions. You’ll see a list of in­dexed lo­ca­tions – click Mod­ify to se­lect fold­ers to add to this list. You can eas­ily unin­stall un­wanted apps and pro­grams via Set­tings.

Man­ag­ing apps

Should you wish to make changes to, or re­move, a desk­top pro­gram or Mi­crosoft Store app, you will need to head to Start > Set­tings > Apps. Se­lect a pro­gram from the list and you’ll see op­tions to mod­ify, re­pair or unin­stall it – just as with the orig­i­nal ‘Pro­grams and Fea­tures’ Con­trol Panel. Win­dows apps also come with two ad­di­tional op­tions: Move, which en­ables you to move the app on to a dif­fer­ent drive to free up space on your main sys­tem drive; and an ‘Ad­vanced op­tions’ link. This lat­ter op­tion en­ables you to re­set the app, some­thing that re­moves all user data and re­turns it to fac­tory-fresh con­di­tion (handy if you’re trou­bleshoot­ing a prob­lem or want to start from scratch).

While Win­dows 10’s own tools are ad­e­quate for man­ag­ing apps, down­load and in­stall IObit Unin­staller Free (www.iobit.com/en/ad­vance­dunin­staller.php) if you want to be able to re­move apps in­stalled along­side Win­dows, such as Pho­tos or Skype – these can al­ways be re­in­stalled through the Mi­crosoft Store. IObit Unin­staller also searches for pro­gram left­overs to en­sure they’re re­moved more thor­oughly, so help­ing to keep your PC clut­ter-free.

“Should you wish to make changes to or from a desk­top pro­gram or Mi­crosoft Store app, you will need to head to Start > Set­tings > Apps”

The ‘Quick ac­cess’ folder puts re­cent and per­son­ally se­lected fold­ers within easy reach.

Cor­tana en­ables you to search your PC from the Taskbar with a sin­gle click.

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