Practice Safe Dragging

Once you have learned to make new folders for specific types of files, you will need to learn how to move your files to and from those folders to be used by whatever program you choose and for whatever purpose.  To do this, you must use your friend, Windows Explorer.

For an example, consider the following situation.  You have several pictures of family members and friends that you obtained (by whatever method) on a floppy disk.  You want to save them and play with them in your favorite graphic program.  If you use your program and change the photos on your floppy disk, the original could be lost forever.  What do you do?  It's simple.  Copy your pictures to your hard disk and make a copy in another directory to use with your graphics program.  I use PhotoSuite images for this example.  

First, start up your trusty Windows Explorer.  See "The Windows Explorer is our friend" if you don't know how. The Explorer window pops up.  You know you are in explorer because you see the Explorer Icon and the word Exploring in the top left corner of the screen.  Click on your Floppy (A:) and the words change to show Exploring - A:\


Note also that the right panel shows that you are Exploring the 3 1/2 Floppy (A:).  You also see the files that are contained on the floppy disk.  In this case, there are five PhotoSuite Images named Jim, Joan, John, Lana and Roy.  The first task is to copy them to your hard drive.  For this example, I will copy them to a directory under My Documents that I use for digital pictures.  I called it Digital Pictures.   Under Digital Pictures, I created another folder to put general pictures.  I called it General Pictures.  How original.

To copy these files from the floppy disk to the folder My Documents\Digital Pictures\General Pictures, use a procedure called dragging.  To drag, click on a file in the right panel, hold the button down firmly, and pull (drag) it over to the folder in the left panel where you want to copy it.  When the destination folder is highlighted in blue, release the button and the file is copied there.  Here you can see the five files outlined and moving over to the highlighted General Pictures folder

I have marked all five files so I can drag them all at the same time.  To mark a list of files, click on the top file name.  The name turns blue.  Then press and hold the Shift key and click on the bottom file.  They all turn blue.  They must be in a continuous list, however. 

This is called drag and drop.  It works great most of the time, but there are potential problems.  If you want to make a copy and leave the file in original location.  You can't.  If you are copying a program file, the drag will only create a shortcut and the real file remains in the original location.  If your finger quivers while you are dragging and you release the button, whatever folder you are over at the time is where the file will be copied or moved.  It's lost.  So, always practice safe dragging.

Safe dragging is done with the right button instead of the normal left button.  Do the same thing as above, but use the right button when you drag.  When you release it, you will see an option menu.

Note that in this operation, the five files are ready to be dropped into the folder General Pictures. When I release the button, I have options.  Move Here actually removes the file from the original location and copies it the destination folder.  Copy Here makes the copy but leaves the file in the original location.  Create Shortcut(s) leaves the file in the original location and makes a shortcut in the destination folder. If your finger slipped off at the wrong time (or you change your mind), click Cancel and you are out of trouble quick.

That's why I like to practice safe dragging.  Try it!  You'll Like It.

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