Working with Windows 8 File Explorer

File Explorer navigation

On Windows 8 Desktop, File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer) lets you manage and organise the files stored on your computer, network or connected drives. If you’ve used a previous version of Windows, File Explorer offers a familiar way to work with your files.

To launch File Explorer, either:

On the Start screen, move your cursor to the top right of the screen and from the Charms menu, click Search and type explorer. Click File Explorer from the results.


On the Desktop, click the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar.

File Explorer will open in a window on the Desktop.

Getting around on File Explorer
On the left-hand side of File Explorer is the navigation pane, which lists locations on your PC as well as your network and any connected drives and discs.

Windows 8 groups related items into folders to help keep your hard drive organised so, for example, applications are kept in a folder called Program Files, while documents and images that you’ve created are usually kept in your user subfolder.

In a User account folder, you’ll see various subfolders along with a Public folder. Open to all users, the Public folder is an easy way to share files with others using the same computer or another computer connected to the same network.

Click on a location in the Navigation pane to see the files and folder it contains.

If a location contains lots of folder and subfolders you can navigate down in the Navigation pane by clicking the small triangle next to the location name. The triangle symbols appear when you select a folder name with the Navigation pane. A white triangle means there are subfolders within and a black triangle means it is showing the fully expanded view.

Alternatively, double-click a folder in the contents area to open it. For example, if you want to view your photographs, double click the Pictures folder to see the files and subfolders within.

Using File Explorer’s address bar and navigation buttons
You may need to move through several levels of folders and subfolders in the navigation pane to find the file you want. As you navigate, File Explorer’s address bar changes to show the path you’ve taken to the current file or folder. For example:

 Libraries> Pictures> Holiday > Spain

This help orientate you when searching deep in your computer’s filing system, but you can also use the address bar itself to quickly navigate your folders. Here’s how:

Step 1  Click a folder name in the path to move to that folder

Step 2  Click the small arrow to the right of a folder name in the path. A drop-down list appears showing the available subfolders. Click a subfolder to switch directly to its contents

Step 3  Click the back arrow next to the address bar to revisit the previously opened folder

Step 4  Once you’ve moved back to a previous folder, click the forward arrow to move forward once again.

Step 5  You can also select a previous folder by clicking the down arrow to the left of the address bar. From the history list that appears, click the folder you want to revisit.

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