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Using Windows NT Explorer

Archived content. No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.
By William R. Stanek

Archived content - No warranty is made as to technical accuracy. Content may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

from Chapter 9, Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant .

To run Windows NT Explorer, go to Start, then select Programs, and then select Windows NT Explorer. As shown in Figure 9-1, Windows NT Explorer has two panes:

  • All Folders Shows special top-level folders as well as other accessible resources, such as drives.

  • Contents Shows the contents of a folder selected in the All Folders pane.

    Cc722483.09wnta01(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

    Figure 9-1: Windows NT Explorer has two panes: All Folders and Contents. All Folders shows drives and folders. Contents shows what's in a folder selected in the All Folders pane.

Understanding Windows NT Explorer Icons

Each icon displayed in Windows NT Explorer has a purpose. Key icons displayed in the All Folders pane are used as follows:

  • Desktop The top-level folder for the system. The folder is at the same level in the hierarchy as Network Neighborhood.

  • My Computer A top-level folder containing all local resources and folders available to the computer.

  • Network Neighborhood The top-level folder for the network. Click on this to browse network resources.

  • Recycle Bin A folder that stores files and directories that have been deleted. If the system is configured to use the recycle bin, files can be recovered from this folder before they are permanently removed.

  • My Briefcase A folder designed to help you keep personal files up-to-date even if you work on several computers. You can use this folder to automatically update copies of your personal files.

  • Drives Storage devices that are identified with unique icons and drive letters. Windows NT shows hard drives, floppy drives, removable drives, and CD-ROMs.

  • Network Drives A remote network resource that is connected to the system.

  • Open Folders Folders that have been accessed by clicking on them. Open folders show their contents in the Contents pane.

  • Closed Folders Folders that have not been accessed. Closed folders do not display their contents.

Tip To expand folders without displaying their contents in the Contents pane, click on the + symbol next to the folder. This technique allows you to browse folders on remote systems faster than usual.

You can also use this technique when you are copying files. Here, you display the contents of the folder you want to copy in the Contents pane and then browse for the destination folder in the All Folders pane. When you find it, you copy the source files to the folder.

Customizing the Windows NT Explorer Display

Windows NT Explorer can be customized in many ways. Figure 9-2, on the following page, shows Windows NT Explorer with details enabled. The detailed view adds file size, file type, modification date, and file attributes to the Contents panel.

To change the settings for the main view panels, you use the View menu. Checked items are enabled. Unchecked items are disabled. The main options on this menu are used as follows:

  • Toolbar Adds a toolbar where you'll find icons for quickly performing common tasks.

    Cc722483.09wnta02(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

    Figure 9-2: The detailed view adds extra information to the Contents panel. Select Details from the View menu to enable or disable this option.
  • Status Bar Adds a status bar that displays information about objects that are selected.

  • List Displays a list of files and folders, rather than the detailed listings or file icons.

  • Details Displays detailed listings for files and folders.

  • Small Icons Displays small icons for files and folders.

  • Large Icons Displays large icons for files and folders.

  • Arrange Icons Allows you to arrange files and folders by name, type, size, and date. In detailed view, clicking on the column headers has the same effect.

Displaying Hidden Files and File Extensions in Windows NT Explorer

As an administrator, you'll often want to see file extensions and system files, such as DLLs. By default, however, Windows NT Explorer doesn't display file extensions or hidden file types. To override the initial settings, select Options from the View menu and then configure new settings using the dialog box shown in Figure 9-3.

  • To display hidden files, click the Show All Files button.

  • To always display file extensions, deselect the Hide File Extensions For Known File Types check box.

    Cc722483.09wnta03(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

    Figure 9-3: Set options for Windows NT Explorer by selecting Options from the View menu.

Searching for Files

Finding files on a network isn't easy, especially if the files are located on a remote system. Fortunately, you can use the Windows NT Explorer to search for files anywhere on the network—provided you have appropriate access to remote systems. The feature you'll use to do this is called Find.

Using Find, you can search for files

  • By name and location

  • By creation and modification date

  • By file contents (text within a file)

  • By file size

Searching by file name and location The most basic search is by name and location. To search for files by name and location, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows NT Explorer, right-click on the folder or drive where you want to begin the search. The search will begin at the location you select and will continue to the bottom of the directory tree for the selected item.

  2. Select the Find option on the pop-up menu. This opens the Find: All Files dialog box shown in Figure 9-4, on the following page.

  3. Use the Name & Location tab to set up the search parameters. In the Named field, enter a file name. You can use the wildcards * and ? to match partial file names. For example, enter sp*.doc to find all Word documents that start with sp. Enter sp????.doc to find all Word documents that start with sp and have four additional characters in the filename.

    Cc722483.09wnta04(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

    Figure 9-4: Search by file name by using the Name & Location tab.
  4. Click on the Find Now button to begin the search. When the search is complete, Find displays all files that match the search parameters. You can view, copy, or delete any of the matching files. For example, to access a file directly, double-click on its file name.

Searching by creation date and modification date To search for files by creation date or modification date, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows NT Explorer, right-click on the folder or drive where you want to begin the search and then select the Find option on the pop-up menu. The search will begin at the location you select and will continue to the bottom of the directory tree for the selected item.

  2. Select the Date Modified tab shown in Figure 9-5.

  3. Click on the Find All Files Created Or Modified radio button.

  4. Use the additional radio buttons to refine the search. These radio buttons provide three ways to search by date:

    • Between a known start date and known end date by selecting the Between radio button then entering a start and end date.

    • Going back in time by months by selecting the During The Previous X Months radio button and then using the list box to set the number of months.

      Cc722483.09wnta05(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

      Figure 9-5: Search by creation date and modification date by using the Date Modified tab.

      Cc722483.09wnta06(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

      Figure 9-6: Search by file size or contents, or both, by using the Advanced tab.
    • Going back in time by days by selecting the During The Previous X Days radio button and then using the list box to set the number of days.

  5. If desired, click on the Name & Location tab and use its fields to set a complete or partial file name.

  6. Click on the Find Now button to begin the search. When the search is complete, Find displays all files that match the search parameters. You can view, copy, or delete any of the matching files. For example, to access a file directly, double-click on its file name.

Searching by file size and contents To search by file size or contents, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows NT Explorer, right-click on the folder or drive where you want to begin the search and then select the Find option on the pop-up menu. The search will begin at the location you select and will continue to the bottom of the directory tree for the selected item.

  2. Select the Advanced tab shown in Figure 9-6.

  3. To narrow the search to a specific file type, use the Of Type selection list. For example, select Microsoft Word Document to search for Word document files.

  4. To search for a specific string of text within files, enter the text in the Containing Text field.

  5. To search by file size, select At Least or At Most using the Size Is selection list. Then specify a file size using the KB field.

  6. Click on the Find Now button to begin the search. When the search is complete, Find displays all files that match the search parameters. You can view, copy, or delete any of the matching files. For example, to access a file directly, double-click on its file name.

Formatting Floppy Disks and Removable Disks

Windows NT Explorer makes it easy to work with floppy and removable disks. You can format disks by doing the following:

  1. Insert the floppy or removable disk you want to format.

    Cc722483.09wnta07(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

    Figure 9-7: Use the Copy Disk dialog box to select the source and destination drives.
  2. Right-click on the floppy or removable disk icon in Windows NT Explorer's All Folders pane.

  3. Select Format from the pop-up menu, then use the Format dialog box to set the formatting options. For floppy disks, the only available file system type is FAT. For removable disks, such as Zip and SyJet, you can use FAT or NTFS.

    Note: If you format removable disks as NTFS volumes, the only time you can remove the disks is when the system boots. A workaround for this is to force the disk to unmount by running chkdsk /F on the disk and then pressing the drive's eject button. Before you do this, be sure there are no open files on the disk.

  4. Click on the Start button to begin formatting the floppy or removable disk.

Copying Floppy Disks and Removable Disks

To copy a floppy or removable disk, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the floppy or removable disk icon in Windows NT Explorer's All Folders pane, then select Copy Disk from the pop-up menu.

  2. If the system has a single floppy/removable drive, insert the floppy disk you want to copy when prompted, then follow the prompts to copy the disk.

  3. If the system has multiple floppy/removable drives, you'll see the Copy Disk dialog box shown in Figure 9-7. Use this dialog box to select the source and destination drives. In the Copy From area, select the drive you want to use as the source. In the Copy To area, select the drive you want to use as the destination. Click the Start button when you are ready to begin copying, then insert the source and destination disks when prompted.

Selecting Files and Directories

In Windows NT Explorer, you can select individual and multiple files in a variety of ways.

To select individual files

  • Click on them with the mouse.

  • Use the Tab key to switch between the All Folders pane (on the left side of Windows NT Explorer) and the Contents pane (on the right side of Windows NT Explorer) and then use the arrow keys to highlight the desired item.

To select multiple files:

  • Hold down the Ctrl key and then click the left mouse button on each file or folder you want to select.

  • Hold the Shift key, select the first file or folder, and then click on the last file or folder.

from Windows NT Administrator's Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek. Copyright © 1999 Microsoft Corporation.

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