Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.
Chapter 9. My Documents folder
What are documents?
Whwn you work on your pc, you will create documents; that is really hard to avoid. A significant function in word processing, spread sheets and graphics programs is that your data are stored as files.
Files, which are created with regular user programs are called documents. The documents are saved on the pc’s hard disk. But it is not insignificant where we place them – the documents must be available for retrieval, they need to be kept on back-up copies etc. Windows XP helps us with a built-in system folder called My Documents. You have seen it already, but let us just open it again.
1. Open the folder My Documents from the start menu.
2. In the right window you see the root level o the folder My Documents. You might say that you are in the ”top floor”, since there can be many levels of sub folders in My Documents folder.
3. If you have done the exercises in part 1, you now see at least two folders and two files. The files are shown with their full name (both file name and suffix), since you earlier set the folder view for that (on page Error! Bookmark not defined.):
4. Notice the Address field, just below the tool bar. It reads My Documents:
5. In this context address means placement. And since the folder My Documents is a system folder, the address is simply My Documents.
6. But the system folder My Documents also has a more ”physical” place on the hard disk. Take a look at that. Click on the button Folders in the tool bar:
7. Find the icon My Computer in the left window and select that:
8. That opens the sub division of drives and folders in the pc. Here you can again find the folder My Documents, which you find further down in the ”tree”.
Windows XP is basically designed for multiple users. Each user have their own edition of My Documents folder, just as he/she can have other personal settings for Windows XP. There are four users on my pc, therefore I have four copies of the folder My Documents; of course I identify my personal folder, and you should do that also:
Figure 41. Here one of the four personal folders is selected.
The personal documents and settings
In Figure 41 there are four users of the pc (Christina, Michael, Toke and Jette). You can see each folder in the tree structure under My Computer.
When the folder My Documents is selected in this way, you can see its path in the address field. This address (path) is somewhat peculiar, so it requires an explanation:
The system folder My Documents is created by Windows XP and has automatically been assigned a not too user friendly placement on the hard disk. Here you see the path to my folder:
D:\Documents and Settings\michael.AMD900\Dokumenter
On your computer the path will look different, but the construction will still be similar to mine. So let me dscribe it here:
On the physical D-drive is a folder named” Documents and Settings”. In that folder is a sub-folder ”michael.AMD900”, and that belongs to my personal user profile. It will have a different name on your computer.
Notice that each folder level is separated by a backslash.
In the bottom of the folder hierarchy (to the far right in the path) in the personal folder is the ”physical” sub-folder My Documents:
Figure 42. The construction of a path.
The actual placement
Try to check your own placement of the folder My Documents.
1. Open Windows Explorer (press Windows+e), if you don’t have the program open already.
2. Expand the tree under My Computer, and find your personal folder My Documents.
3. Select the folder and read the path in the address field. Then compare with the review of Figure 42. Find and select the physical folder in the tree structure.
In my opinion it is not very smart that the folder My Documents is actually placed way down in a folder-hierarchy as in Figure 42. Fortunately you can decide the folders’ address.
You now need to create a folder C:\My Documents, and that will then be used as system folder.
1. Open Windows Explorer, if it is not on the screen already. Select the C-drive like here:
2. Now you need to create a folder, which will be used for My Documents. You might have this folder already (left over from an earlier Windows-installation). In that case you will be so advised.
4. Then a new folder is created, which you find in the bottom of the right window. Enter the name My Documents right away and finish with Enter:
5. If there is a folder already with the same name, you will get a warning since there can be no two files with the same name in the same folder. Then you have to press Escape and do no more.
6. Now have you create at folder. The next step is to change the path directions for the system folder My Documents. So select My Documents in top of the Explorer’s tree structure:
7. Point to the folder My Documents as shown above, and right click on that. Then select the menu item Properties:
8. Now you see the dialog box ”Properties for My Documents”. Those are the settings for this system folder, and there we have to change the location of the destination folder. So click on the Move… button:
9. Now select the folder C:\My Documents (which is in the C-drive in My Computer), and click OK.
10. When you see the folder name in the field, you need to click OK. Then confirm the move by clicking yes:
11. Now the folder My Documents (your personal) is moved with all its contents. Check for yourself with Windows Explorer.
It is often immaterial whether the system folder My Documents have one or another placement. But I prefer to decide myself, since the folder C:\My Documents is much more ”visible” and with that more user friendly in daily work than a folder like D:\Documents and Settings\michael.AMD3400\My Documents. That long path is hard to remember…
Some documents have to be saved permanently …
My Documents are important user data, and you usually save your personal files for extended times. Where hardware and software have a rather limited life span, My Documents will often be retained for scores of years. So it is important, that you manage My Documents placement properly.
Windows XP has provided you with the folder My Documents, and that is quite alright. Many programs will by default suggest to place My Documents in that. But for your daily work I strongly recommend that you distinguish between the temporary and the permanent My Documents.
You work with the temporary My Documents within a limited time span, and then you can discard them. That is the case with the exercise files that you make in the booklet’s exercises – you probably do not want to keep them forever. So leave them in the folder My Documents, which you then can clean up periodically.
Now open another folder (you could call it C:\Texts) for your permanent documents. Many data need to be saved permanently, since you never know when you need them again. Then you should also make a back-up copy of them (see page 81ff). Expand both folders with sub folders, so you can group My Documents according to projects, subjects, themes, type and/or chronology.
Figure 43. It is practical to distinguish between temporary and permanent documents.
Windows XP is a system for multiple users. This means that you can create a user account for each of the family members (see Figure 5 on page 6).
The individual user will have their own document-folder, can have their own layout on the desktop, etc. Follow me in this brief review:
1. You create a new use account by opening the Control panel (in the the start menu). Then click on the category User Accounts:
2. Select Create a new account:
3. Then you need to name the account:
4. Then click Next. Now you need to select which powers the account should have. There are only two options. ”Computer administrator” or ”Limited”.
A computer administrator has unlimited rights to work on the pc. Briefly said the limited user can only work with documents in his own folder and in the folder shared documents. He has no access to other documents. He can change the settings for his own desktop, but as an example he cannot install programs on the pc.
Click on each of the two account types, then you can read a more thorough explanation:
When you have decided on an account type, you create the user account by clicking on the Open account button. Then you again see the opening picture in the user accounts dialog box. Now kan you can adjust the new user account by clicking on it; that opens a number of options that you can explore for yourself.
Next time you start the pc you can choose to log in on the new account. You can also change user, while the pc is on. You do that with the menu item Log off in the start menu.
Each user account can have an access code, which has to entered each time you log on. If you use the more advanced file system NTFS, there are many other options to work with access codes. But that is beyond the scope of this booklet.