Glossary of Filesystem and File Management Terms
This glossary is written with Windows users in mind, however, none of the definitions are technically incorrect for other platforms (such as OS X).
- C-Drive (pronounced "see drive") or C: (pronounced "see colon" )
On most Windows computers, the operating system and all other files are stored on the C: drive.This is usually considered the root, or highest level on the filesystem because all files and folders are stored somewhere underneath it. Storage devices, including Hard Disks, Floppy Disks, CD/DVD Drives, and Flash/Thumb/USB/Jump Drives are all given drive letters, however, Windows has historically given C: to the first hard drive.
- Child Folder
A subfolder that is in another folder. Subfolders within a folder are often called chldren.
A file management operation where a user specifies that he or she wants Windows to create an exact copy of a file. The copy is not made until the file is Pasted..
A file management operation where a user specifies that he or she wants Windows to prepare a file for being moved. Note that the file is not actually moved until it is Pasted.
Another name for a Folder
To press the left mouse mutton and let it go quickly two times in a row.
To press and hold the left mouse button while over a file. While still holding the button, you move your mouse around, which causes the icon to move. You let go of the mouse button to drop, or move, the file.
- Drive Letter
On a Windows machine, a way that storage devices are accessed by the user. Windows is most commonly installed on the C: drive, however, this is not always the case.
A group of related data that is accessed together with a name (known as a filename). For example, all the words that make up the story My Dog Spot might be stored as Spot.doc
- File Extension
The letters at the end of a filename after the dot. For example, a Word document has the file extension of .doc.So, if you have a Word document called My Dog Spot, it's filename including the extension is My Dog Spot.doc. On most Windows systems, the File Extension is hidden. See File Info.com's article about enabling Windows XP to show a file extension or Microsoft's article about showing File Extensions in Vista. See Table 1: Common File Extensions for information about file extensions that Windows users are likely to encounter on a daily basis. Windows uses File Extensions to know what program to use to open a file.
- File system
The way a computer system keeps track of its files. On a Windows system, the filesystem uses a file and folder metaphor which makes file arrangement resemble a filing cabinet.
The name given to a file.
A virtual location on a storage device that can hold files. Normally, folders are used to store files that are related to each other in some way.
To press the left mouse button and let it go.
- Parent Folder
The folder that a subfolder lives in. For example, in the file path C:\Users\jUser, the parent folder of the jUser folder is Users.
A file management operation where a user specifies that he or she wants Windows to place a file in a Folder. If the user performed a Cut, then the original file will be moved to the new locaton. If the user performed a copy, an exact duplicate of the file will be placed in the new location, so that the same information exists in both files.See the article at BleepingComputer.com for a detailed look at Cut, Copy, and Paste.
To press the right mouse button and then let it go.
- Storage Device
Anything that data (i.e. files and folders) can be stored on to be opened at a later time.
A Folder within a Folder. All Folders are Subfolders of the root drive (see C: Drive below).
- Windows Explorer
The built-in program that allows Windows users to view, rename, and manage their files. In Windows XP, you can open Windows Explorer by clicking on Start > My Computer while in Windows Vista, you can click Start > Computer.
- Views (pertaining to Windows Explorer Views)
Different ways of representing files in a folder. Views change how the icons look but do not affect the data in files.