An Explanation Of The Windows 10 Folder/File System

Folder And File Path Names Explained

You may of noticed that sometimes a window's Address Bar is filled with text separated by right-arrows    The combined text is known as the PATH NAME because it is the path (road or address) used to locate a folder or file. The Edit Box surrounding the path name is part of the Address Bar and it allows the editing and displaying of an Internet Address (i.e. or a Path Name (i.e. C:\Users\John\Documents). So a path name is similar to someone giving directions to your House Address, but they are giving directions to your Folder or File instead.

In the example below there are two Wedding files inside a folder called IMPORTANT. The path name to that IMPORTANT folder is    THIS PC    Storage (F:)    Important  and the path name to each Wedding file is    THIS PC    Storage (F:)    Important.    Wedding Expenses.xlsx   and    THIS PC    Storage (F:)    Important.    Wedding Plans.docx respectively.

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.0  The path name for both Wedding files is: THIS PC    Storage (F:)    Important

To view any of the two Wedding files you first need to be inside the IMPORTANT folder. This is done by first double clicking on the THIS PC desktop icon to open (get inside) the THIS PC folder. When opened you will see regular folders such as DOCUMENTS, MUSIC and VIDEOS as well as folders associated with the Removable Devices currently connected to the computer. Removable devices such as a Flash Drive, Digital Camera, USB Hard Drive and WebCam.

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.1  Double Click on the THIS PC desktop icon to continue

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.2  Inside the THIS PC folder - Displaying 2 Hard Drive Partitions, 1 DVD RW Drive and 1 Flash Drive

If you look at the THIS PC folder's Address Bar you will notice its edit box is displaying its path name, which is    THIS PC    Clicking on the first    (Drop-Down menu) means you can then select the Network folder, the User Name folder, the Desktop folder, Recycle Bin folder and so on as your starting point, as opposed to THIS PC being your starting point (like in this example). Those folders are more computer based/related, hence the computer icon to the left of the first    (Drop-Down menu).

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.3  Click on the first    (Drop-Down menu) to choose a folder related to the computer

Continuing with the example of viewing any of the two Wedding files inside the IMPORTANT folder. So far you have opened the THIS PC folder by double clicking on its desktop icon. The next step is to open (get inside) the Storage folder, which in this case is a flash drive - Storage (F:). You can open it by either double clicking on its folder within the THIS PC folder (so double clicking on the sub-folder called Storage in other words) or by selecting it from the first or second    (Drop-Down menu). The second    (Drop-Down menu) relates more towards removable devices, as well as local computer folders (such as DOCUMENTS, DOWNLOADS and PICTURES), as the choice for a sub-folder.

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.4  Click on the second    (Drop-Down menu) to choose a sub-folder of the THIS PC folder

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.5  Double click on the IMPORTANT folder to open it

Assuming you are now inside the Storage (F:) folder, which is a folder in its own right but also a sub-folder of the THIS PC folder, because you selected Storage (F:) from either the first or second    (Drop-Down menu); the next step is to open the IMPORTANT folder. The IMPORTANT folder is a folder in its own right, but it's also a sub-folder of the Storage (F:) folder and a sub-sub-folder of the THIS PC folder. To open it you can either double click on it (Fig 1.5 above) or select it from the    (Drop-Down menu) on the right side of Storage (F:). Either way, you can then double click on a Wedding file to open it and therefore view its contents (Fig 1.7 below).

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.6  Click on the    (Drop-Down menu) on the right side of Storage (F:) to open the IMPORTANT folder

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.7  Double click on any of the Wedding files to open it (view its contents)

So to clarify: In this section a Wedding file can be opened (its contents viewed) in one of three ways. The first way is to double click on the THIS PC folder, double click on the STORAGE (F:) folder, double click on the IMPORTANT folder and then double click on a Wedding file. So basically double click your way through everything.

The second way is to double click on the THIS PC folder, select the STORAGE (F:) folder from a    (Drop-Down menu) on either side of the THIS PC path name, select the IMPORTANT folder from the    (Drop-Down menu) on the right side of the STORAGE (F:) folder and then double click on a Wedding file. So basically a mixture of double clicking and using drop-down menus from the path names inside a folder's address bar.

The third way (not shown above) is to type a folder's or file's path name directly into the Address Bar edit box of the folder you are currently inside. So in the example below I am currently inside the THIS PC folder and have just typed F:\Important\Wedding Plans.docx into its Address Bar edit box whereby if I now click on the address bar's ARROW (GO) button or press the ENTER keyboard key it will open the Wedding Plans.docx file.

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.8  You can type the path name of a folder or file directly into the Address Bar edit box

If I would of typed F:\Important only, without the Wedding file name, I would of been taken inside the IMPORTANT folder instead. And that is the difference between the two path names - The first path name is classed as a Full Path Name because it is the complete/full address of the Wedding Plans.docx file whereas the second path name was only the address of the Wedding Plans.docx file's folder (IMPORTANT). So when someone asks you for 'the complete path name' to a file for example you give them the complete/full path name. Incidently, I could of also written This PC\F:\Important\Wedding Plans.docx but did not need to because Storage (F:) is classed as a main folder in its own right and therefore classed as a starting point.

This above said is the same for a complete/full URL (website address), for a website folder or website file. For example: If the complete URL was the URL to the downloads folder (MUSIC) only would be Remember, the Address Bar edit box can be used for computer folder and computer file path names as well as internet folder and internet file path names (known as: URLs or Website Addresses).

NOTE: With computer folder and file path names you use the backslash (\) and with website folder and file path names (urls/website addresses) you use the forward slash (/).

If you want to come out of one or more sub-folders you can either click on the current folder's BACK button , again and again if possible, or click on a previous folder's folder name within the Address Bar of the current folder.

Pathnames Explained

Fig 1.9  Click on a previous folder's folder name to get out of the current sub-folder

Apart from Path Names, you may sometimes hear people tell you FILE, OPEN. FILE, SAVE and so on. In Books, Magazines and Internet Web Pages you may see written FILE >> Open, FILE >> Save, etc. These are all telling you the same thing - Click on the FILE menu and then select the OPEN, SAVE or whatever menu-item. It is a kind of shorthand. As you use the computer more and read more computer books, magazines and web pages you will (if you like it or not!) pick up the shorthand jargon. Just the same as mobile phones - You might start texting your friends with "Hello. How are you?", but sooner or later you will be texting "Hi. How R U?".