A basic question about XP file organization

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Jon_Are, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,038
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a general understanding about Windows file organization, but something has always confused me.

    In MY COMPUTER, it shows how the files/programs are organized into different directories and drives. Easy enough. But on my screen it lists DESKTOP first (on top), and within DESKTOP is everything else (including A, C, D drives, etc.)

    Also within DESKTOP, there is a MY DOCUMENTS folder, which resides outside of and separate from MY COMPUTER (which houses all the drives).

    What I don't get is how MY DOCUMENTS and DESKTOP can exist outside of the hard drives (C and D, in my case). In my limitied capacity to analyze this, it seems logical that all of the files/programs/settings/whatever should be listed within one of the hard drives.

    What am I missing?

    I'm asking because I am going to eventually back everything up, format the drives, and do a fresh install of XP. I just want a good handle on where everything lives.

    Thanks,

    Jon
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    67
    Real Name:
    Al
    Jon, you're correct, all files & folders are really located withing the physical drives. The Desktop and MyDocuments folders are really under the 'Documents and Settings' folder.

    What Windows is doing is attempting to appeal to the non-computer literate user by abstracting out physical location. Specifically, Windows takes certain known locations and "artificially" displays them higher in the folder hierarchy so you can get to them easily.

    As ar as backing up datas goes though, I would not recommend trying to back-up and restore these pseudo-virtual locations. I'd put files you want to restore in non-Windows locations (e.g., create your own folders) and back up those. Obviously, when you do a complete backup you get everything and sometimes this is useful to restore a corupted file. But I find that when fighting Windows on control of locations such as Desktop & MyDocument, I usually lose.
     
  3. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,038
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the explanation, Al. I should have known it was Microsoft - and not me - who was being illogical.

    Jon
     
  4. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wonder if I could piggy back here? I'm new to XP and am only on it because my Windows 98 machine died.

    One of my problems is, where are the cookie and TIF files? I used to manually control these on 98, particularly if I wanted to keep certain sites' cookies on board.

    I have found the directories, have enabled file-extensions, and enabled seeing of hidden files. But I never see anything in the cookie or TIF directories except a Dat file. Anyone know what gives?

    I'm not happy just using Tools, which deletes all cookies, TIF's etc.

    TIA
     
  5. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    John,

    Cookies are found in Documents and Settings/[username]/Cookies folder. Cookies have the *.txt extension.

    You can see all of these files thru Control Panel > Internet Options > General tab > Temporary Internet Files Settings > View Files
     
  6. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,937
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Rommel, thanks, I can now find them through the Settings > View Files route. I've never clicked on settings before.

    I can't find them in the Documents and Settings route tho.

    But at least I can control which I want to keep. Thanks
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'd like to piggy-back as well...

    You know how you can move icons (on your desktop) anywhere you'd like? When you open a new folder and view by Icons, how come I can't move the icons where I'd like them?

    I like how Macs allow you to position icons (inside folders) to exact locations. Is this possible in WinXP??
     
  8. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Icons in the Desktop are pretty much all shortcuts for a program. It's not a good idea to move any program around, but it's shortcut is...
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sorry, I actually meant shortcuts. I want to put a bunch of my shortcuts (from the desktop) into a folder and have the freedom to arrange them wherever I'd like (like I do on the desktop).

    Is that possible?
     
  10. Mike Wilk

    Mike Wilk Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, you can change the display to show "details" and then sort by date, name, etc. and then return to an icon only display. My beef is that I cannot arrange "recent documents" to show the most recent ones at the top of the list.

    YMMV
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    Oh DUH! I just figured it out...

    View by Icon, then deselect "Auto Arrange" from the right click menu.
     

Share This Page