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Chapter 3. Managing Files > Copying Folders and Files

Copying Folders and Files

In addition to moving folders and files, you can copy them. You may want to keep extra copies of files or folders. Rather than using a backup program (covered in Chapter 17), many users simply copy files or folders to create a backup copies. As another example, you may copy files to a floppy disk or a CD, for instance, to share with others or to bring home from your office.

Windows XP provides several methods for copying files and folders. If you want to copy files or folders to other folders, consider using the Copy command. If you want to copy files or folders to another drive, consider using the Send To command. Both methods are covered in this section.

Copying with the Copy Command

To copy a file or folder, follow these steps:

1.
Select the file or folder you want to copy.

2.
Click the Copy command. The name of the command varies depending on what you have selected. For folders, click Copy this folder. For a single file, click Copy this file. For several files and/or folders, click Copy the selected items. You'll see the Copy Items dialog box (see Figure 3.11). This dialog box lists all the drives and folders on your system.

Figure 3.11. The Copy Items dialog box is the same as the Move Items dialog box (from the previous section), only you are copying the items to the selected drive or folder rather than moving them.


3.
Display the folder or drive you want. If an item has a plus sign beside it, that item (the drive or folder) contains other folders. You can click the plus sign to expand the list to show subfolders.

4.
Click the folder from the list and click Copy. The selected items then remain both in the original location and the new location. Keep in mind that if you copy a folder, you copy not just the folder, but its contents as well.

tip

You can also use the Send To command to compress files. (See Chapter 18 for more information.) You can create a desktop shortcut, send the files via email, or send them to the My Documents folder.


Copying Files to a Floppy Disk

Because it's common to copy a file to another disk, Windows XP also provides the Send To command. You can use this command to copy a file or folder to a floppy disk.

1.
Select the file or folder you want to copy.

2.
Right-click any of the selected items and select the Send To command. You'll see the Send To options (see Figure 3.12).

Figure 3.12. For a fast way to copy files or folders to a floppy disk, use the Send To command.


3.
Select the drive from the shortcut menu. The file or folder is then copied.

Copying Files to a CD

Most new CD drives enable you to both read and write information to the CD drive. Because a CD drive can hold a lot of information, it makes a good medium for making a copy of files you want to save. Copying files to a CD disc is often called “burning” a CD. You must have a CD-R drive (which stands for CD Recordable—you can only write data to this disc once) or a CD-RW drive (which stands for CD-Rewritable—you can read and write to the disc) to copy files. If you have a CD-ROM drive, you can only read information from the drive; you cannot record information.

caution

Because reading files from a CD drive is slower, don't use this as a primary storage device. Use it for big files you want to keep. It's a great way to make backup copies of important files without having to use a ton of floppy or zip disks. Also, note that some disks created on CD-RW drives can't be read in some CD players.


To copy a file or folder to a CD disc, follow these steps:

1.
Select the file or folder you want to copy.

2.
Do one of the following:

Display the Folders bar by clicking Folders. Then, drag the selected file or folder to the CD drive icon.

caution

You may have other programs you can use to copy files to a CD (including music files, which are covered later in this book). If you have another program, you may be prompted to use it to copy the files to the CD. Follow the specific instructions for your particular program.

Right-click the selected item, select Send To, and select your CD drive from the submenu.

You'll see a message saying that you have files waiting to be written to the CD.

3.
Click this message. The files are listed, and in the task pane, you'll see a command for writing the selected files to the CD disc (see Figure 3.13).

Figure 3.13. You can copy the files from the temporary storage folder to the CD disc.


4.
Click Write these files to CD. The files are then copied to the disc.

The Absolute Minimum

This chapter provides the basics of file management, including the following concepts:

  • You have at least one hard drive on your system, and this is drive C:. You might have additional drives, which are lettered consecutively.

  • To view the drives, folders, and files on your computer, open the My Computer icon. You can then navigate to and open any of the drives, files, and folders on your system.

  • To keep your files organized, you can create folders. Windows XP starts with a system folder called My Documents. Consider storing all your work in subfolders within this one main folder. You can create new folders as needed.

  • When you want to perform an action on a file (such as deleting it), you select it. You can select a single file, multiple files, or all files within a window.

  • Delete files you no longer need. If you delete a file by accident or find that you really do need it, you can undo the deletion by retrieving the item from the Recycle Bin.

  • If you did not use a descriptive name for a file or a folder, you can rename it.

  • If you need to change the location where a file or folder is stored, you can move the file or folder.

  • You can copy a folder or file to keep an extra copy, or to take a copy to another location.


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