How To Take a Screenshot

Part of the “How To …” Series

What is a screenshot?

It is a picture of your computer screen. An exact replica of what you can see on your monitor right now.  As if you had pointed a camera at your screen.

Why take a screenshot

There are many reasons to take a screenshot. One that you may come across is if you are trying to explain an error message, or other oddity, on your PC. Rather than muddling your way through unfamiliar language (“I’ve got this sort of box, that says something about cookies”, “It’s a yellow thing with a blue bit on it. Near the top!”), you can take a screenshot, and send that to the person helping you! They will be able to see exactly what is going on!

Other reasons include giving a designer examples of things you find on the web (e.g. if you are wanting your own webpage, or find some jewellery you like, or a house you would like to buy).

Maybe you play games, and want to record your High Score!

How Do I Take a Screenshot?

First, have your screen ready, with whatever you want to “shoot” visible. Remember that the Screenshot will be exactly what you can see on screen!

Now, look on your keyboard. To the right, above the Arrow Keys, will be a set of keys. One of these will say “Print Screen”, or it may be abbreviated to “Prt Scr”. (The key may also have “SysReq” on it. Ignore this. It is a Programmer’s tool that you will not need.)

Print Screen
Print Screen Key

All keyboards are a little different, so don’t worry if your key is a in a slightly different place, or marked slightly differently.

Press this key once.

You will not notice anything happen, but the computer will have taken a snapshot of your screen. A Screenshot!


Multiple Windows
More than one Window open

If you have multiple windows open, and are only interested in the contents of one of them, you can either Maximise that window to fill the screen, or you can hold the ALT key (bottom left of keyboard) while you tap PrtScr (“ALT-PrtScr”). This will only put the contents of the Window that has Focus into the clipboard.

Now What?

Paint on the Search menu
“Paint” on the Search menu

The computer has taken a Screenshot, but it is stored in its short-term memory (“Clipboard”).

You will want to move it into a more permanent form.

The usual way of doing this is to open a Picture Editor, and Paste the Screenshot into it.

Windows 10 includes the “Paint” program (or App) for just such occasions!

Click on your “Search Bar”, or hold the Windows Key and press “S”. Type “Paint” without the quotation marks!). A Menu should appear, with Paint at the top. Click there. The Paint program (or App) will open!


In the top left, you should see the Paste button. This will take whatever is on the Clipboard, and place it in the Picture.

You should now see a copy of your screen replicated inside Paint! It may be a good idea to Zoom out (from the View Ribbon) a couple of times to see it better.

You can now Save the Image, or if you are feeling confident, you can edit it first.

Saving the Image

Save Options
Save Options

Above the Paste Button is the File Menu. Click this, and choose “Save”. You will be presented with some options.

Navigate to the place you wish to save the picture (Click on “Pictures”, on the left). Then click where it says “Untitled”, delete this title, and type your own title (e.g. “Screenshot1”).

It is worth checking what File Type you are saving as. There are many types of Image file!

For most purposes, you will want to use .jpg (pronounced “Jay-Peg”), as this preserves detail, while keeping the File size lower. Click “Save as Type …” and choose .jpg from the list.

Then Click SAVE!

You now have a Screenshot saved into your Pictures Folder!

This is the exact procedure I have used to make the Pictures in this Blog. I have done some minor editing, so that only the relevant parts are shown, but apart from that, exactly the same!

What to do with the Screenshot

Obviously, this depends on why you have taken the screenshot!

  • A picture of your High Score on a game can just be kept for posterity, and shown off when your friends visit!
  • An error message can be attached to an email, or posted in a Facebook Message.
  • Designs can be sent to Designers.

The main thing is that you now have the screenshot!


Why not send me some of your screenshots!

Or let me know what problems you had when trying to!

Working with Multiple Programs

As mentioned before, the Windows Desktop (your main screen, when you first switch on your computer) is an analogy for your physical desk. And like your physical desk, you can have more than one item on it at a time!

You may have your diary (Calendar), a typewriter (Microsoft Word), a telephone (Facebook Messenger), and a pack of cards (Microsoft Solitaire Collection) all on the desk. You don’t pack them all away (Close Program) as you swap between them.

In Windows, there are several tools to help you organise your Desktop to keep track of the open Programs.

Firstly, we shall look at the “Minimise” and “Maximise”/”Restore” Buttons. At the top right-hand side of any open window there will be the the familiar “X”, used to close the window. Next to that are two other symbols.

Three Little Symbols
Three Little Symbols

As we know, the “X” is used to Close the window. The “Dash” is use to “Minimise” the window, and the “Squares” to “Maximise” or “Restore”. What do we mean by that?


When you “Minimise” a window, the program will stay open, but it is removed from the Screen, and tucked away (“Minimised”) onto the Task Bar. When a program is Open, it’s Icon will appear on the Task Bar, with a blue “underline”, as illustrated here:

Multiple Open Programs
Multiple Open Programs

You can re-view the program by clicking on it’s Task Bar Icon.

You can also Preview any Minimised programs by hovering over their Task Bar Icon:Previewing My Chrome Browser Previewing My Chrome Browser

The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Why not try this! You are currently using an Internet Browser (probably Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome). Go to the bottom of the screen (Task Bar) and click the File Explorer Icon. It will open an Explorer Window. Depending in how your PC is set, it may fill the screen (Maximised) or only take up a part of the screen (Restored).

Click the “Dash” in the top right of the Explorer Window, and it will disappear (hopefully with no puff of smoke!). You should see that its Icon has the blue “underline” to show that it is still Open. Click it to bring it back (Restore)!

Now try Minimising your Browser. Click the “Dash”.  BYE!

Hello again! Notice how this page is still open! If you had Closed your browser, and then re-opened it, you would have been presented with your Home Page. But by Minimising, and then Restoring, this page stayed open, as you did not Close the program!


Now let’s take a look at the “Squares” (“Maximise/Restore”) button. In the top right hand side of your window you will see the Three Little Buttons:  Dash, Squares and X.

If you click the Squares, it will change the window between Maximised (filling all of the Screen) and Restored (filling part of the Screen).

Re-Sizing Arrow
Re-Sizing Arrow

When the window is Restored, you can alter the size and shape of it. This is done by “grabbing” the edges and “dragging” them. Click your Squares until the Browser window is Restored, and then move your mouse to the edge, until you get a double-headed arrow Symbol. While you have this symbol visible, you can hold down your mouse button, and move the edge of the window! This works on the sides, and also on the top/bottom!

A 'Restored' File Explorer Window
A ‘Restored’ File Explorer Window

It can be a little tricky to grab the window just right, so practice this! You will find a size that works for you!

So we now know how to Minimises, Maximise and Restore, but how does this help with Multiple Programs?

Well, like your Physical Desk, you can work on two (or more) things at once! You can be typing a letter, while having your Diary open to check dates. You can be browsing the internet, and have a game of cards as well. Or you can read a Tutorial Blog while having a File Explorer Window open to try the techniques!

Moving between Programs

If we have two programs open, and wish to move between them (for example, a Tutorial Blog open in your Web Browser, and File Explorer to see/organise your files), we get our old friend “Tim Toady” to help us!

TIMTOWTDI: There Is More Than One Way To Do It!

From what we have just learnt, we can see (Teacher Talk for “I’m going to have to explain it, aren’t I?”) that you can Minimise one Program, and Maximise the other, using the Dash (top right), and the Blue-Underlined Icons on the Task Bar. Feel free to try this.

A short-cut is to skip the Minimising part, and just click the Task Bar Icons!

If we think of “Minimising” as “Pushing to the back of the Desk” (still open and active, but not in our direct Working Area i.e. not visible), and clicking the Task Bar Icon as “putting in our Direct Working Area, then skipping the Minimise is equivalent to having two Notebooks (one with Internet, one with File Explorer), and swapping which is on top. The other one is still open on the page you left it at.

So, now we can switch back and forth between open programs!

Another way , our friend Tim Toady tells us, is to have two windows both Restored, rather than Maximised.

Two Programs open!
Two Programs open!

Here we see my File Explorer (viewing my Documents Folder), and my Web Browser (viewing my “Edit Blog” page!).

You can re-size the windows by grabbing the edges and dragging them, and you can change their position by dragging (clicking, holding the mouse-button down while you move the mouse) the Top Bar of the window.

You can now click in each of the windows to “activate” it i.e. make it the Working Area. You can see that the above windows overlap, and if one is clicked, it “comes to the front”. Similar to the aforementioned notebooks, putting one on top of the other, so we can write in it.

NOTE: This “activating” of windows, and having one at the front, to work on is called “Focus”. To bring one to the front is to “Give it Focus”, and we can ask “Which window has Focus?”

So, as an exercise, (You may want to write down these steps, as we will be closing the web browser!), let us test our new multi-tasking skills!

  1. Close all of your programs, and return to the Desktop. (Check the Task Bar for Underlined Icons – these are still open! Make sure they are closed!)
  2. Open your Web Browser (usually Microsoft Edge, or Google Chrome), and navigate back to this blog ( ).
  3. Minimise your Web Browser.
  4. Open File Explorer, and Restore it, so that it only fills part of the screen.
  5. Maximise Web Browser (Click on its underlined Icon, where you Minimised it to), and then Restore it so that it does not fill the whole screen.
  6. In your Web Browser, navigate to the File Explorer posts, and try out some Cut/Copy/Paste exercises. You will have to move between Web Browser (to read the posts) and File Explorer (to move your Files).
  7. Let me know how you got on, using the Comment Form below!

Now try it with both windows Maximised, switching between them with the Icons on the Task Bar.

Find the ways that work for you! None of the options are better than others, just a different way of doing the same thing!

Do you prefer working with Restored windows, so you can see what is going on on in other parts of the screen, or is Maximised your preference?

It doesn’t have to be Browser and Explorer! You can have a photo, and an art program (such as Paint) to sketch a copy of the photo. Or read a book in an ebook reader, while taking notes in Notepad, or Word (or both! You are not limited to two programs!)

Back To Basics

In the Beginning Was The Desktop

Congratulations on your purchase of a shiny new Windows 10 Computer!

You have carefully taken it from its box, stripped off all of the protective layers, and placed it carefully upon your table.

Extension cables have been sourced, with multi-plug power-strips.

Numerous plugs are checked and connected. The monitor is adjusted to the perfect height and viewing-angle.

A nervous hand reaches out, finger poised by the Main Power Button …

Let There Be Windows!

What seems like a lifetime later, the computer is finally ready to use, and probably gives a display something like this:

Windows Desktop
Your version probably does not have the red Text all over it!

Whether you are new to computers, or have upgraded from a previous version of Windows, it is probably worthwhile having a quick review of what we can see here.

The main area is called The Desktop, an analogy for a desk, as seen in many a 20th-Century office. This is your route to your Tools, Documents, Programs (and Apps!), and generally where you work.

On the Desktop will be a number of small images. These area called Icons, and are usually links to Programs (or Apps!).

The large section to the bottom left is the “Start Menu“, which can be viewed/hidden using the Start Button (sometimes called the

The Start Button
The Start Button

Windows Button, or Flag).

Above the Start Button, from the top, we also have:

  • Account Details
  • File Explorer
  • Settings
  • Power

We will discuss the others later, but it may interest you to know that the Power button is where you click to switch the computer off.

Across the base of the screen is a black bar. This is known as the Task Bar, and contains a selection of Icons to launch Programs, along with links to Programs that are already running (if any).

To the very right-hand side of the task Bar is the Notification Area. This contains links to certain System Processes and Background Activities, along with a Digital Clock and at the very end, the Notifications Icon.

Now What?

So now that we know what all of these things are called, what do we do with them?

Well, it depends what you want to do!

I know that sounds like a bit of a non-answer, but you can do so much with a modern PC that it is difficult to know where to start …

OK, you’ll want to access the Information Superhighway. Getting there is easy.

Microsoft Edge Icon
Microsoft Edge Icon

See that blue “e” at the bottom of the screen (the Icon on the Task Bar), that is Microsoft Edge, an Internet Browser. You may have heard of Internet Explorer, well this is the replacement. Click there, and you will open Edge.

It will probably default to viewing the MSN webpage. This is a perfectly good page, but can be altered if you prefer to begin your browsing elsewhere (e.g., or your email page).

A Web Page ( open in MS Edge
A Web Page ( open in MS Edge

As you can see, there are several distinct areas here.

Everything above the red dotted line is “Browser Tools”.

Everything under it is the Web Page.

Firstly, we have the Address Bar, where you can type the address (the “htttp”,” www”, “.com”  bit)of a webpage you wish to visit.

The Settings button will bring up a menu of different Tools.

Tabs“, are where we can have multiple pages open, and choose which one we are viewing.

We’ll stick with just getting to the page you want, and leave Settings and Tabs for later.

If you know the address of the Web page you require, you click in the Address bar (You can press the F6 key at the top middle of your keyboard), delete anything that is there, and type the address. (e.g. TIP: You can usually leave out the https://www. part, and just type  or 

Press ENTER and the Browser will look for the page, and display it to you!

If you do not know the exact address, you will need to go to a Search Engine page! Notable Search Engines include:

  • Google (
  • Bing by Microsoft (
  • Yahoo (
  • DuckDuckGo Anonymous Search (

On the Search Engine page will be a Search Bar. Enter your search terms here. e.g. “Car Hire”, or “Where can I sell my gold”, or “My PC is broken, is there a PC Wizard near me”. Press the Search Button (sometimes a Magnifying Glass, and a list of results will be displayed.

So, that should give you something to play with for a while!
Remember: Be careful on the internet!

What were your first stumbling-blocks with your new PC? Did you get any instructions, or take a course? What was the best advice you received?

The Inevitable Back-Up Post!

Data-Loss is Unforgivable

Make your backups
Be like this guy!

Over the years, I have seen so many people lose data.

Wedding photos, baby pictures, invoices, tax and payroll data, love letters, and schoolwork.

I lost all of my University work (luckily after I had finished!), along with quite a lot of notes and pictures I had made.

Never again! Not on my watch!

There are so many simple ways to back up your data, that I have started using the phrase “If it isn’t backed up, it isn’t important data“.

So, to avoid the Wizard’s wrath, what can you do?

Commercial Solutions

Norton backup, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Micrososft OneDrive, PC World Knowhow Cloud. There are many.

Most are perfectly good enough, and this article is not a review of Cloud Services.

Local Storage

You have probably heard of USB Memory Sticks and External Hard Disk Drives.

These are Local, as they are in the same building as your PC (as opposed to across the street (Off-Site) or on some other side of the Internet (Remote).

They are connected to your PC via a USB plug. Sometimes with a cable, sometimes not. Windows doesn’t really care. It is on the USB Socket.

So, if you could nip and get one. It may be in your sock drawer, or under the sofa, or possibly still at the shop. Memory Sticks are  not expensive (~£20. 32 or 64GB), although the significantly-larger-capacity External hard Disks are a touch pricier (£50-£100 and more. 500GB+)

Go get one. I can wait. I have plenty of work to be doing.

Pac Man
New High Score!

Oh, hi. You’re back! OK, lets get this data backed up!

Doing the BackUp, Just Like We’ve Learnt

  1. Plug in your Storage Device (USB Stick or External Hard Disk)
  2. You may get a notification from Windows that you have done this. For my method, we ignore this.

    The "File Explorer" Icon
    The “File Explorer” Icon
  3. Open File Explorer, and check that your Device has been recognised. You should have an entry in the Navigation Pane. If you do  not see it, click on “This PC” to view all of your Drives. It may be labelled “USB Drive (E:)” or may have the manufacturer’s name.
  4. Once we are happy that we know where the drive is, we then need to Copy all of our Files to it.
  5. While you are in “This PC”, you should have a list of your Default Folders at the top of the page. Select Documents. Choose to Copy it (Note, we do not have the usual Ribbon here, so you will have to use right-click > Copy, or CTRL-C).
  6. Now that the Documents Folder is on the Clipboard, select your Storage device, and Paste (right-click > Paste, or CTRL-V).
  7. A Progress Window will appear to show how the Computer is getting along with Copying it. This will either be very brief, or quite a long time (My folder can take an hour or more, but it is HUGE! Yours is likely to be done in a minute or two). When done, the Window will disappear.
  8. Confirm that the Data has been Copied, by going into your Storage Device, checking that a Documents folder exists, and then looking inside that to see that your data is there.
  9. Go back to “This PC” and repeat for any other Folders you may wish. Usually this will include “Pictures”, and also Music and Videos, if you have anything in these folders.

    Safe Eject Icon
    Always Safe Eject!
  10. When this is finished, DO NOT UNPLUG YOUR DRIVE YET! Always use the Safe Eject command! Click on the Safe Eject icon, at the bottom right of the screen, by the Digital Clock (This is called the “Notification Area”, by the way). You will get a menu, and you can click on “Eject <name of your device>”. Once you get the Confirmation message, you may safely unplug your device.


Now, that looks like quite a task, but I shall summarise it briefly:

  1. Plug in Device
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. Navigate to “This PC”
  4. Confirm that device is detected.
  5. Select Documents folder. Copy/Paste to Device.
  6. Repeat for other Folders.
  7. Confirm Data transfer.
  8. Safe Eject device.
  9. Unplug Device

You may now put your device away somewhere safe and secure.

You are Backed Up!

For now …

Presumably, you will, at some point, take more photos, write more letters, save more interesting stuff from the internet etc.

Every now and then (the more often, the better), update your BackUp by following through the exact same procedure we have just done.

PLEASE let me know if you have any problems following this.

Or let me know what back up solutions you have used, for good or ill.

All Together Now! (Part Four)

Moving Multiple Files At Once

In my previous Articles, we learnt how to View and Move Files.

We have mastered the View Ribbon, and gained familiarity with the Cut/Copy/Paste commands (using either the Ribbon, the right-click menu, or the CTRL keys).

Cut Copy Paste
Cut Copy Paste


The first way of moving Multiple Files is to move the Folder they are in.

If the Files you wish to move are all in one folder, you can Cut (or Copy) that Folder (the same as you would a File), move to the desired location, and Paste it there.

For example we may have a Pictures folder that looks a little like this:

Pictures Folder
Pictures Folder

And we realise that “Selfies” are all “Photos of Me”, and would like to move them all.

As before, when working with Files, we can select the Selfies folder (single click to highlight it) and then choose “Cut”.

Remember that we can Cut using one of the three methods:

  • Click “Cut” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click the File and left-click “Cut” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “X” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-X”. We remember “X = Cut” as it looks a little bit like a pair of scissors!)

Now that the Selfies folder is on the Clipboard (this is the special area of Computer Memory where Cut/Copy items are held), we can go to the desired location (“Photos of Me”) and Paste it in using one of our methods:

  • Click “Paste” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click an area in the folder and left-click “Paste” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “V” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-V”)

Our structure should now look like this:

Selfies of Me!
Selfies of Me!

Tip: When pasting into Folders, we can save a little time and a few clicks. Rather than go into the destination Folder, and Paste, we can Paste directly onto the Folder Icon. This takes a little practice, but can be worth learning.

Select the item (File or Folder) to move. Use the Cut function.

Select the Destination Folder, but only single-click, to highlight it. Now Paste (using any of the three Methods. If right-clicking, make sure to right-click ON the destination folder).

Selecting Multiple Objects

We will not always have our files nicely organised in Folders like this (hence the need to learn how to organise them!)

There are several ways to select a Set of files. Once we have Selected them, we can Cut/Copy, and then Paste, as before.

All the Files

Select All
Select All

If you wish to Select All of the files in a folder, you use the Select All Command. And again, TIMTOWTDI! Remember our friend Tim Toady? There Is More Than One Way To Do It! You may start to see a pattern to the different methods:

  • Click the “Select All” button on the Home Ribbon
  • Hold the CTRL key, and tap A (For “All”).

You should notice that all Items (Files and Folders) become Selected. You may now Cut or Copy them, before moving to the Destination Folder to Paste.

Continuous Files

If the Items you wish to move are all together in the list (e.g. photos that were all taken on the same date, or files that begin with the same letter), then they can be Selected as a Set.

Use the View Ribbon > “Sort By” to arrange the items.

Click on the first item that you want from the List, to highlight it.

Hold Down the SHIFT Key on your keyboard. (This may have an Upward Pointing Arrow on it).


While still holding down Shift, click the last item that you require from the list.

Release the Shift Key.

You should notice that all of the required Items are now highlighted!

Selecting all of my Fashion Pictures!
Selecting all of my Fashion Pictures!

Now that the required Items are highlighted, you can Cut or Copy them, find the Destination, and Paste them.

All Over The Place

If you want to select a few items, that are not together in the list, then you can Control-Click!

What do we mean by that?

Holding down the CTRL Key, click on each of the Items. When you have them all, release the CTRL key.

This can take a while to master, but is worth knowing.

TIP: You can CTRL-Click after using Select All, or Shift-Click! For example, if I only wanted the Fashion pictures with Single people in, I could Shift-Click (reminder: Hold SHIFT, click the first one. Continuing to hold SHIFT, click the last one, then release SHIFT). Now that they are highlighted, you can CTRL-Click (hold down CTRL, click on item, then release CTRL) to de-select the picture with a Couple in it!

I suggest you practice some of this. Select multiple Items, and try cut/copy/pasting them around. Re-read these articles, and try to become familiar with the different methods, to see which you prefer.

None of the methods are better than the others. Remember, Tim Toady! (There Is More Than One Way To Do It!)

Green Cross Code man
I won’t be there when you Cut/Copy/Paste – CTRL-X Man!

As I am always telling my customers, the “Best” way to do it is the way that YOU are happiest with!

If you like The Ribbon, use it. Or if you prefer CTRL-X/C/V, use those. Right-clicking more your thing? Go for it!

I think that will do for now!

And remember: Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you are still struggling, leave a Comment, and I shall endeavour to find you a solution!

I Like To Move It, Move It! (Part Three)

Files, that is.

Organise, Organise, Organise!

Now that we have learnt how to see our Files and Folders, we need to do something with them.

This Article does not concern itself with the contents of your Files and Folders, merely where they are, how to find them, and in this section, how to move them around.

When I started learning about computers, back in the days when mobile phones were so big that we had to carry them around on Stegosaurus, I didn’t understand why we needed to Organise our Files into Folders. “There are not that many files! I can remember them all!”

Ah, the naivety of youth!

Modern digital cameras can take hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs per day. If we just put all of these in our Pictures Folder, we would have a hard time finding the ones we wanted, even with the Viewing Tools we have just learnt!

Let us take a look at how we can organise them!

A Fistful of Files

The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Open your File Explorer, and move to to your Pictures Folder.

If your Folder is anything like mine, you will have a long list of files, of all varieties, scattered across the screen!

My Pictures Folder
My Pictures Folder

If you click on this image of my Pictures folder, you will be able to see that I have many, many Pictures, of various types. I have “selfies”, snaps of Xmas presents, silly jokes, some notes for my 3d design work, and more! All piled together in one place!It is like having a shoe-box, with all of my photographs just thrown in! This will not do!

We need to decide how to Organise our Files.

NOTE: I will be introducing several new concepts here, and they may be slightly different than methods you already know. The important thing to remember is T.I.M.T.O.W.T.D.I!  Pronounced “Tim Toady”, this is an acronym for “There Is More Than One Way To Do It”. This originated in a branch of Computer Programming, but applies to a lot of Computer Skills.

If we look at our files, we can hopefully find some that are related. In my Folder, I can have several “selfies”. Pictures that I took of myself. We shall put these together in their own Folder!

On the Home Ribbon, there is the New Folder button. This will, as the name suggests, create a New Folder! This New Folder will have the default Name of “New Folder”, but we shall rename it.

Folder ready for renaming
Blue Highlights

When the New Folder is first created, its title will be highlighted in blue. This indicates that you can type a new name for it. I shall call mine “Selfies”, and press “Enter” to finalise the Renaming.. If you have clicked away (for example to take another look at this Article, and the Name is no longer highlighted, do not worry! Click on the Folder and then press the “Rename” Button on the Home Ribbon)

Selfies Folder
Selfies Folder

Now we can start putting the Files in the Folder! If we Sort By Date (View Ribbon > Sort By > Date), the New Folder (no matter its new name) should be at the top of our list of Files and Folders. Find the first File you would like to put in this Folder, and click it once, to highlight it.

TIMTOWTDI! You can either:

  • Click “Copy” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click the File and left-click “Copy” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “C” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-C”)
Control Key option
Control Key option

I shall mainly be referring to the Ribbon, but you may use any of these methods. They are all exactly the same. In fact, if you hover your mouse over the “Copy” button on the Ribbon, it will show a Tool-Tip (little pop-up box) that tells you the Control Key for this function!

Important! What we have done by selecting “Copy” is to tell the computer that we would like to Copy the File. We have NOT actually done anything with the File yet! The Computer has made a Copy of the File into it’s Short-Term Memory (called the “Clipboard”).

Now, we tell the Computer what to do with the Clipboard. Go into your Selfies Folder, and similar to Copy, we now “Paste”:

  • Click “Paste” on the Home Ribbon
  • Right-Click a blank area in the Destination Folder and left-click “Paste” on the Menu that appears
  • Hold the “CTRL” (for “Control”) key on the bottom left of your keyboard and tap the “V” key. (This is usually written as “CTRL-V”)

You should see the File that you “Copied” appear in your Folder.

ASIDE: Why CTRL-V? Because it is right next to C (for Copy)! As you grow in experience and familiarity, you will be able hold the CTRL key with your little finger, and tap C to Copy, then move to the desired location, and CTRL-V (“Paste”) the File. Having these functions next to each other on the keyboard is easier then having to move your hand around too much!

Cut, Copy and Paste
Cut, Copy and Paste

Now we return to the Pictures Folder (You can use the Back or Up arrows on the Location bar, or the Navigation Pane. TIMTOWTDI!). You will see that your original File is still there! Didn’t we just put it on the Selfies Folder? No, we put a Copy there!

If we wish to Move the File, then we use Cut (CTRL-X) rather than Copy, and then Paste.

I shall explain that in detail:

  • Copy: (Home > Ribbon > Copy, or CTRL-C, or right-click “Copy”). Makes a Copy onto the Clipboard. Leaves the original File intact.
  • Cut: (Home > Ribbon > Cut, or CTRL-X, or right-click “Cut”). Makes a Copy onto the Clipboard. When you activate the Clipboard (to Paste), deletes the original File.
  • Paste:(Home > Ribbon Paste, or CTRL-V, or right-click “Paste”). Places whatever is on the Clipboard into the current location.

You can now Organise your other Files, using these tools!

Practice moving between your Folders, and Copying and Pasting Files around. Also Cut some, and Paste them into a new Folder. Create New Folders, rename them, and put some files in them (using Cut/Copy/Paste!).

When you are confident that you can move a File from one folder to another (either leaving the original where it was, or removing it), we can continue to our next Article:

Moving More Than One File At Once …

Who moved my files (Part two)

A Navigation Aid!

In our first Article, we learnt what Files and Folders are, and how to navigate File Explorer to see where they are being stored.

I am going to expand on the Navigation, to make sure we are confident in moving around the File System, before continuing on to explain about Moving files.


The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Open your File Explorer, buy clicking the yellow Folder icon at the bottom of the screen. This will open a Window, showing your Files and Folders. Go into your Documents Folder by double-clicking the Documents Icon (should be near the top somewhere)

We learnt the main sections (Ribbon, Location Bar, Navigation Pane, Files and Folders Section), and now I want to show you a couple of other useful bits.

Some new tools!
Some new tools!

At the left of the Location Bar, we have the “Back” and “Up” buttons.

“Up” will move you from the current folder you are looking at, and take you to it’s Parent Folder (the folder it is inside of). For example, if we go from Documents into the Addresses folder, we can then click “Up” to return to Documents.

“Back” works in a similar way, but takes you to the Folder you were previously in.

These may sound the same, but there is an important difference.

“Up” will always move you to the Parent Folder. “Back” will move you to the previous Folder. These will often be the same, but if yo have used the navigation Pane to move around, they may not be.  Lets look at an example:

Back And Up

Go into your Documents folder, and then into one of the folders inside Documents.

Click “Back”, and you return to Documents. Go inside a folder again, click “Up”, and we are back at Documents!

BUT! If we go into a folder, and then, using the left-hand navigation Pane, click on Pictures, where will these buttons take us?

“Back” will take us to the Folder we were previously in (e.g. Documents > Addresses). But “Up” will take us to “This PC”, as that is the Parent Folder of “Pictures”.

Try this a few times. Become confident with navigating your way around.

To help explain how this Hierarchy of Folders works, I have prepared an Image (everyone likes pictures, don’t they?)

Hierarchy of Folders
Hierarchy of Folders

We see here the “nesting” of Folders. “2017” is inside “Tax Returns”, which is inside “Documents”. “Glam” is inside “Heavy Metal”. which is inside “Music”. We sometimes refer to “Inside” as “Under”, which is why we go “Up” to the Parent Folder. If we go “Up” from “Holiday 2015” we get to “Pictures”.

Using the Navigation Pane, we can jump directly from wherever we happen to be to another Location. e.g. we can be looking at our 2015 Tax Returns (Documents > Tax Returns > 2015), and decide we are bored, and want to reminisce about a walk in the Park we went on. In the navigation Pane, we click on Pictures, and then A Walk in the Park. We then realise that we really have to get our tax Returns done, and go “Back”. Previous to A Walk In The Park, we were in Pictures, so “Back” takes us there. Clicking “Back” again takes us to Tax Returns > 2015, and we can complete our work. (The computer has remembered the chain of where we were previously. You may have seen a similar behaviour when browsing the Internet, and gone “Back” to a page you were previously viewing)

The “View” Menu

And eventually we get to the “Ribbon”!

At the top of your File Explorer Window is a section called The Ribbon:

The Ribbon
The Ribbon

You can see that there are some “Menus” (File, Share, View) at the top. These change which part of the Ribbon we can see. Depending upon which Ribbon we are looking at, there will be different Tools available.

We will not be using the “Share” Ribbon today.

The File Ribbon contains lots of useful tools for moving, copying and deleting Files and Folders. We shall come to these later. The first part I would like to show you is the View Ribbon.

The View Ribbon
The View Ribbon

We have noticed, while moving around our Folders, that sometimes the Files and Folders will be displayed differently. This can be controlled from the View Ribbon.

The central Section of the Ribbon has a block with several “Layout” options (Note that each Block has its title underneath).

Hovering over each of these Layouts will Preview the display for that layout.

Clicking on a Layout will set the Folder to that Layout.

Have a go at changing the layout of a Folder. Don’t worry if you do not like the new Layout. You can always change it back!

Next …

First, change your View to “Large Icons”.

You will recall that we do this by clicking on the View Menu (Top Left) to see the View Ribbon, and then clicking on “Large Icons”.

The main section of the Window should now show your files and folders as large Icons, with previews of some of them (Which ones are previewed will depend on exactly how your computer is set up and what programs you have installed).

Now, click on the “Sort By” Icon, to the right of the icon-size area. Notice that this has a small down-pointing triangle by it.

The "Sort By ..." Icon
The “Sort By …” Icon

The triangle indicated that the Icon has a sub-menu associated with it. When you click, a menu will appear next to your mouse pointer.

Have a look through the options. You may sort the files and folders by Date, or name, or type, or size … NOTE: This does NOT change the way the files and folders are stored. It only changes the way they are displayed on screen!

Usually the files and folders are arranged by Name, with all of the Folders displayed first, and then all of the Files.

Try arranging them by Type. (click “Sort By” and then click “Type”). You will see that all Files of the same Type (e.g. Photos, Letters, spreadsheets) are grouped together.


Talking of File Types, I would like to take a moment out to check your File Type Display Settings. This may sound a little daunting, but is actually very simple, and we will not dwell on it.

When you see your Files, do they have a three-letter Extension on the end of their name? (NOTE: Folders never have this. The computer knows they are Folders, and there are no “types” of Folders, so they do not need an “extension”).

If your file-names have Extensions (e.g. “letter.doc”, “P01284.jpg”, “”), then all is well. You could skip the rest of this section, but I would ask you to read it anyway.

If your file-names do not have Extensions, then I would like you to switch on Extension View. Simpy follow these instructions:

  • Make sure you are on the View Ribbon.
  • Click “Options” (far right of Ribbon). This will either open the Options Dialogue Window (if you clicked the higher part of the Icon), or produce a sub-menu, with only one item on it (if you clicked lower). If you get the sub-menu, click on it to open the Options Dialogue Window!
    Options Icon
    Options Icon


  • Options Dialogue Window
    Options Dialogue Window

    There should be three “tabs” at the top of this Window. General, View, and Search. Click View. (Notice that these “titles” look similar to the “tags” at the top of Index Cards. In computer terms, we call these titles “tabs”)

  • You should now see a list of options, with tick-boxes. Look for the one called “Hide Extensions for known types”.
  • Click the box at the left of this, to ensure that there is NO tick in it. This box should be UN-TICKED. EMPTY. Click it until it is EMPTY. NO TICK.
  • Click OK, at the bottom of the Window.

You should now have all Files displaying their extensions, and can get back to our Tutorial.

More Sorting

Now that we can see the File Extensions, we can see more clearly how the Sort By Type displays files of the same Type (same extension) together!

For  now, set the Sort By back to Name. All Files will be displayed in alphabetical order, regardless of type.

Now that you know how to do this, you may choose to display your files in which ever order you prefer. Remember, this does NOT affect how they are stored, just how they are displayed.

A Manilla Folder, containing some Files.
A Manilla Folder, containing some Files.

Remember that we are thinking of Files and Folders as pieces of paper inside Manilla Folders. There may be photos, receipts, letters, and business cards. by choosing to “Sort By Type”, you are saying “put all of the photos together, and all of the receipts together”. If you sort by Date, you are saying “Don’t worry what Type they are, put the newest on top”.

The computer neither knows nor cares what “order” they are in. It just knows that these papers are in that folder, and can display them to you in any order you choose!

The End … For Now …

Practice moving around your Folders, using the Navigation Pane (left hand side) and the main Section. Become familiar with the Back and Up buttons. Change the View of your folders, and Sort By different features.

If you need to, review this post, and have another read of Part One.

You should now have Folders that are easy for you to see, and find content within.

Next, I shall be looking at Organising your Files and Folders!

Where have all my files gone?

Long time passing …

The Windows 10 File Storage System

When you create files on your PC, whether they be photographs, letters, spreadsheets, invoices, shopping lists or anything else, they must be stored somewhere.

Windows 10, by default, creates a set of folders to keep your files in.

You have probably come across areas labelled “Documents”, “Pictures”, “Music”, “Downloads” etc. These are the default places that Windows will put your files in.

Woah, slow down, cowboy!

What are these “files” and “folders” you are talking about?

Well, a “file” is a collated set of information, held in one place. Be it a photograph, a letter, an invoice. It may help to think of a “file” as a piece of paper, or maybe several pieces stapled together.

Files may be of different “types”, depending upon what information is in them, and what program was used to make them. Letters, invoices and other text-based information often has the type “txt” (for very simple files) or “doc” (for more complex writing. Nowadays, this is being replaced by “docx”). You don’t really need to know much about types, apart from that they are for different information.

A “folder” is a container that may have other folders, and/or files inside it. The concept is based upon the physical “manilla folders” you would find in a filing cabinet in an average office.

A Manilla Folder, containing some Files.
A Manilla Folder, containing some Files.

Looking at the picture on the right, notice the similarity between this physical Folder, and the yellow pictures (or “Icons”) on your screen. There is a reason for this.

As in a Real filing cabinet, we may have lots of folders. Some may have other folders inside them. Some may have files inside them.

Got that? If not, read it again. Without understanding the basic “Files and Folders” structure, you are storing up trouble for later.

A “File” is a “chunk” of information, similar to a piece of paper. It may have writing, or a photo, on it.

A “Folder” is a container for Files, and other Folders.

In a real office, you may have a “Room”, and in the “Room” is a “filing cabinet”, and in the cabinet are “Drawers”. In these drawers will be “Folders” that contain “Files”.

On a computer, the “Room”, “Cabinet”, Drawers” and “Folders” are all called “Folders”.

So, where were we?

The "File Explorer" Icon
The “File Explorer” Icon

Folders. To begin, click the File Explorer Icon at the bottom of your screen. It looks like a Folder, with a blue “clip” on it.

A Window will open up, displaying your Folders. It should be split into several Sections.

On the Left, we have the Navigation Pane. At the top, we have the Quick Access Section. Under this, you will probably have a “Recent Items” Section.

This is the default Opening View, and slightly different from how we normally use File Explorer. To move into the usual view, we can go into a Folder. To do this, double-click a Folder. Let’s start with “Documents”, which you should see near the top of your screen.

Documents Folder, with many Files and Folders in it
Documents Folder, with many Files and Folders in it

You should have a Window similar to the one shown here. You may have fewer Items within it.  (You will not have the red labels! They are for illustration only!)

Take a moment to familiarise yourself with the different sections.

The Ribbon (at the very top) is where your Tools are.

Below this is the Location Bar, which tells you which Folder you are currently viewing.

The Navigation Pane (on the left) can be used to quickly move between folders. Not all folders are shown here.

The “Files and Folders” section, the main part of the Window, shows what is inside the Folder you are currently viewing.

Using the above example of a Folder with many items in, we can see that each item has a different picture (“Icon”).

The Yellow “Manilla Folder” Icons are Folders, that contain other items. They show a glimpse (“Preview”) of what is in them.

The items without a Yellow Folder icon are Files. Some, such as the “All About Eve album cover” (bottom left) and “Belvedere Castle” (Bottom middle) files show a “preview” (called a “Thumbnail”, after the concept of a thumbnail-sketch) , while others display an Icon that show the File Type, and what program they will open with (e.g. the blue ones are “Libre Office Writer, similar to Microsoft Word. The green one (bottom right) is a Libre Office Calc/Microsoft Excel spreadsheet).

Still with me?

So, hopefully we have a grasp of what files and folders are, and how to recognise them. Let’s try an example:

I have a folder called “BackUp  CDs” (top middle, with the red “Adobe Reader” preview Icons showing that this folder contains some .pdf files).

Remember that we can tell that it is a Folder because it looks like a yellow Manilla Folder!

I shall double-click this to see what is in it:

My "BackUp CDs" Folder
My “BackUp CDs” Folder

Two things to notice:

  1. It looks slightly different; the icons are smaller, and show extra details. This is normal, and one of the many “Views” that you can set. Windows will sometimes try to guess what “View” you want. It can easily be changed from the Ribbon, and we will look at that very soon. For now, it is the same, it just looks different.
  2. The Location Bar. See that it now says “This PC > Documents > BackUp CDs”. This shows us that the “BackUp CDs” folder is inside the “Documents” folder.

Can you identify what is in  here? (Tip: In this “Details” view, the computer tells you what is going on!)


The yellow Items (“Addresses”, “Firefox”, “Games”, etc) are Folders, that contain files/folders. The other items are Files, and their Icon denoted what type of file.

If you do not recognise the Icon of a file, there are two other ways to see what it is.

  1. The “File Extension”. As you can see, files are named in a particular way: “FileName.Ext“, eg. COWS.TXT. This “Three-Letter Extension” denotes what type of file it is. “Cows” is a file of type: “txt” (which, as you may guess, is a “text” file). “mdplogo.gif” is a “gif” file, which is a type of picture. You do not need to know the in-and-outs of what file-formats are, but it is good to be able to recognise some of the common ones.
  2. The entry in the “Type” column! This is only visible in this “Details” view,  but lets you know something about the file.

Quick Aside

File types.

Text documents: .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .odt

Picture files: .jpg, .gif, .png

Adobe Acrobat files: .pdf

We will look in more depth at these later, but for now, just know that different “extensions” mean different types of file.

Back to the Show!

I think it’s time for a break!

Go make a cup of tea, and rest your eyes.

When you get back, look for “Part two”, where we will take our knowledge of Files and Folders, and start to do something with it!

For Part Two, Click Here