The Computer feature allows you to access the various drives installed in the computer. With Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click Start and select Computer. With Windows XP, this feature is called My Computer, and you can access it by double-clicking the My Computer icon on the desktop.
Windows Explorer allows you to navigate the file system. The navigation pane in Windows 7, as displayed in the figure, includes the path of the currently accessed folder or file at the top, a search bar on the top right, a toolbar directly under the path listing and search bar, a navigation panel on the left, and a viewing pane to the right of the navigation panel. You can use the search bar to find a specific application, file, or folder. The toolbar allows you to organize files, add new folders, change the layout of files in Windows Explorer, display a preview pane for files and folders, and open the help feature for Windows. The navigation panel includes a default list of folders, including Favorites, Libraries, Computer, and Network. You can use the viewing pane to access or manipulate applications, files, and folders.
Windows 7 adds the following features to Windows Explorer:
- Search box - Access previous searches. You can also filter search results.
- New folder button - Create new folders with one click.
- Arrange by - Organize items easily according to different criteria.
- Preview pane button - Turn the preview pane on or off as needed.
Launching Applications and Opening Files
You can launch an application in several ways:
- Click an application icon on the Start Menu or the Taskbar.
- Double-click the application executable or shortcut icon on the desktop or in Windows Explorer.
- Launch the application from the Run window or command line.
You can open files in the same manner as applications. When you open a file, Windows determines which application is associated with the file. Windows compares the file extension with the installed applications that are capable of opening the file. For example, if you open a .docx file, Windows launches Microsoft Word and opens the file.