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Chapter 3. Understanding Microsoft Windows XP > Understanding Files and Folders

Understanding Files and Folders

All the information on your computer is stored in files. A file is nothing more than a collection of data of some sort. Everything on your computer's hard drive is a separate file, with its own name, location, and properties. The contents of a file can be a document from an application (such as a Works worksheet or a Word document), or they can be the executable code for the application itself.

Every file has its own unique name. A defined structure exists for naming files, and its conventions must be followed for Windows to understand exactly what file you want when you try to access one. Each filename must consist of two parts, separated by a period—the name (to the left of the period) and the extension (to the right of the period). A filename can consist of letters, numbers, spaces, and characters and looks something like this: this is a filename.ext.


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