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Using Software ( File, Document, Folder, Directory, etc:..)


File

A portion of a software program that is used to store data, information, settings, or commands used with that program.

A file is created by the aid of another program. For example, a user may create a text document in notepad or through the MS-DOS edit command.

Below is a listing of illegal characters that cannot be used in filenames or directories in most operating systems.
\ / : * ? " < > |

Document

When referring to a file extension, a document is a readable file. Computers running Microsoft operating systems, for example, commonly store document files in a .DOC, .RTF, or .TXT file. These files are commonly only composed of text, but in some cases, may also include graphics.
A document is also used to describe an electronic copy or hard copy of reference material for a product.

When referring to the Windows Documents this is a section of Windows where the most recently run programs are displayed. Most recent Documents can be accessed by clicking on Start and then clicking Documents.

Folder

In graphical user interfaces such as Windows and the Macintosh environment, a folder is an object that can contain multiple documents. 

Folders are used to organize information. In the DOS and UNIX worlds, folders are called directories.

Directory

On the disk are directories or collections of folders. These directories or folders could be compared to a filing cabinet. All files are stored in a directory. Most hard disks have many directories or folders and files can be stored in any of them.

Directories can have sub-directories and sub-sub-directories many levels down. The directory immediately below the current directory is called the child directory. The directory immediately above the current one is called the parent directory. The top of the directory structure is called the root directory.
Organization folder keeping all the files in your computer. Directories are found in hierarchical file system such as DOS, OS/2, Unix, etc. When referring to a directory, a user commonly indicates the name of the directory. Other common names for directories are: root directory, home directory and current directory.

Below is an example of what a directory path would like like in MS-DOS.

C:\Windows\System32>

In the above example C: is the drive letter and the current directory is System32, which is in the Windows directory.

Below is an example of what a directory may look like in a Linux or Unix variant.
/usr/bin

In the above example the bin directory that is a subdirectory of the usr directory.

To change a directory in MS-DOS, Linux, Unix and most other command line operating systems, use the "cd" command.

Below is a listing of reserved characters that cannot be used when creating a file or directory in most operating systems.
\ / : * ? " < > |

Saving Files

In order to save a new document or file you must first choose the Save command. Most modern software place this command in a menu which you access with the mouse button or Alt key. Each file must be given a filename so it can be found easily the next time it is needed.

Computers using DOS 6.X or older followed the 8.3 rule: a filename can only be 1 to 8 characters long followed by a 1 to 3 character extension separated by a dot.
Modern operating systems allow computer users to use filenames up to 256 characters. Mac users, Windows 9X & NT/2000 and UNIX/LINUX (along with a few other) use long file names but names using over 32 characters get unwieldy.
Some common rules are:
  • All files are saved on a disk or storage device.
  • A disk is usually broken up into directories and sometimes into partitions.
  • A directory or folder is a way of keeping like files in a common area.
Print
  1. The process of a computer transferring data to a computer printer and generating a hard copy of the electronic data being printed.
  2. MS-DOS and Windows command line command. See the print command page for additional information about this command.
An external hardware device responsible for taking computer data and generating a hard copy of that data. Printers are one of the most used peripherals on computers and are commonly used to print text, images, or photos.

When choosing a printer consider the peripheral equipment that you will need as well as the actual printer. Peripherals include paper, ribbons or ink cartridges, toner and occasionally print heads.

Density adjustments determine how much ink is placed on the paper or how many dots per inch (DPI). A draft copy will printer quicker but creates a fainter copy (less dense). Modern Software has a Preview option which show what the page will look like before it is printed. Portrait prints the document up and down. Landscape prints the document on it's side. Most software allows the user to adjust the margin width or the blank space at the top, bottom, left and right edge of the paper.

Exit

Command or option used to close a program or file. The method of exiting from a program or file varies depending upon the computer or program being used.

Exiting a program should free up the memory that the program was using. Having a number of programs running simply uses up resources that may be needed in another project.

Exiting properly also saves the program settings so that when you return to the application many changes that were made will still be active.

Menu

The file menu, a menu is a list of commands or choices offered to the user. Menus are commonly used in GUI operating systems and allow a user to access various options the software program is capable of performing. File menus are commonly accessed using the computer mouse; however, may also sometimes be accessed using shortcuts or the keyboard.

Many programs have a menu called File which controls things like Opening, Saving and Printing your file and Exiting the program. Many also have an Edit menu which contains the main editing commands like Cut, Copy and Paste.

The items on the menu are Commands or the features of the program. You choose the command that you want with the keyboard, mouse, trackball or touchpad. Commands control the operation of the software.

Installing New Software

Most software sold today has an automated install sequence that is activated with the press of a button. The installation process will create a directory, if necessary, to store the files related to the new program, uncompress and copy the files to the directory and often adds itself the desktop (Start) menu. Many installation processes will also copy files to other parts of the computer and register itself with the operating system by updating the registry. Some programs will associate themselves to a certain filename extension.

Older software many not have this option. The installation procedure is the same though. First create a folder or drawer to store the program and it's related files in. This makes it easy to find them and minimizes file clutter in the main directory. Copy the files from the installation disk to the folder that you will be running the program from. A lot of Software is compressed and you may need to uncompress it before you can use it. You then can create a new item, create a short cut to the program or add it to your desktop menu or utility program.

Backing up Files

An operation or procedure that copies data to an alternative location, so it can be recovered if deleted or becomes corrupted. Depending on how often the data changes, how valuable it is, and how long it takes to backup will determine how often a backup is run. 

For example, a company with valuable information such as customer records that change frequently may backup their data every day or in some cases every few hours. Even more sensitive data such as bank records may be stored on drives using some form of RAID, which helps protect the data even if a drive fails.

Compression and Decompression

Alternatively referred to as compact, compress is the process of taking one or more files and making them smaller by using a compression algorithm. Commonly, file compression will combine each of the compressed files into one compressed file containing each of the files. Compressed files enable downloading and sharing files to be easier by shrinking the overall size and allowing a user to download one file instead of dozens or hundreds of smaller files.

There are commercial and shareware programs that will compress and decompressed files for you. The most popular form of data compression is called zip or stuffit but there are others available as well.

Programs are also available to compress and decompress your files as you or the application you are using requires them. This can be a way of making more space available on a hard drive. Windows comes with a program that will compress part of your hard disk. Be sure to read the documentation before embarking on a project like compressing a hard drive.


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