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Published on 12.06.06 by Brent Trahan

File Organization Basics

Learn the basics in organizing your files in Windows Vista.


Before you can learn about organizing files there are a few essential things you need to know.

Drive Naming Basics

In most cases Windows Vista is installed in the C:\ drive.  The C:\ drive is simply the name your computer gives to your hard drive.  If you have multiple hard drives the 2nd hard drive would probably be named E:\ and the third hard drive would be named F:\ and so on.

Note: The letter(s) after the C:\ drive are taken by any CD or DVD drive(s) you may have before your other hard drives get their letters.  Let’s say you have two hard drives a DVD ROM and CD burner.  Your first hard drive would be named the C:\ drive, your two drives (CD and DVD) would be D:\ and E:\, and your second hard drive would be F:\.

Folder Basics

Files are organized in folders in the C:\ drive.  Let’s say all the files that are used to run the Vista operating system are located in the WINDOWS folder that is in the C:\ drive.  You can show the WINDOWS folder as C:\WINDOWS\.  You would show a folder called drivers that is located in the WINDOWS folder as C:\WINDOWS\drivers\.

Where to Save Your Files

It is very important that you save your files in the proper locations on your hard drive.  Saving your files in the proper locations keeps organizing, searching, and backing up those files much easier.  Some programs look at specific folders for their data.

An example of a program that looks for files in a specific location is Windows Media Player.  It looks inside your Music folder in your user account folder for music.  If you save your music in another location Windows Media Player won’t find it without being told where to look.

In Windows Vista you should save your files in your user account folder (C:\Users\Brent\).  Replace Brent with your user account on your computer of course.

There are folders for saving your music, pictures, games, documents and much more inside your user account folder.

You can access your user account folder by clicking the start button.

Windows Vista Start Menu

If you click your user account name (located at the top right of the start menu) you’ll go to the root of your user account folder.  Some of the popular folders in your user account folder can be accessed just under your user account name on the start menu also.


Save yourself a headache and keep your files organized by saving them in their proper location.  Many features of Windows Vista work best when you save your files in their proper location.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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