Understanding Computers
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  Party Your Way To Understanding File Structure
Imagine yourself in the kitchen at a party with nine other people. Three of them are named Pat, three are named Leslie, and three are named Carol. There are three dentists, three taxi drivers, and three nerds. No two people have both the same name and the same occupation. In order to distinguish the people named Pat, you begin to think of them as Pat Dentist, Pat Taxi, and Pat Nerd. In other words, you extend their given names to include what they do.
Computer file names are set up the same way. Every file has both a given name and an extension that tells us, and more importantly, the computer, what the file does. The two parts are separated by a dot, as in dot com. Suppose we had created a file called MyFile.wpd. MyFile.wpd has two distinct parts: the name we gave it, MyFile, and the extension wpd that tells the computer that MyFile.wpd is a Word Perfect Document (wpd).
Imagine that the conversation in the kitchen becomes boring and you decide to move into the living room. In the living room you encounter nine new people named Pat, Leslie or Carol. Once again they are all dentists, taxi drivers, or nerds. To tell them apart, you start to think of them as Living Room Pat Dentist, Pat Taxi, and Pat Nerd. In short, you distinguish these new Pats by their location.
Computer files are stored the same way. We can have two very different files with the same given name and extension, but they must be kept in separate places. These separate places are called directories, or folders. Both words mean the same thing. We can put one MyFile.wpd in the kitchen folder and another in the living room folder and our computer will have no trouble telling them apart. The nerd shorthand for finding the one in the living room is LivingRoom\MyFile.wpd.
Imagine that the party is in an apartment, and there are many parties in the building. You are in Apartment 'A'. You leave Apartment A and venture into Apartment 'C'. In the living room of Apartment C you once again encounter nine people named Pat, Leslie or Carol. Once again they are all dentists, taxi drivers, or nerds. You think of them as Apartment C Living Room Pat Dentist, Pat Taxi, and Pat Nerd. As you are leaving, you remark to yourself that the building looks like a giant computer. On your way home, you realize that you would really like to see the nerd named Pat who you met in the living room of Apartment C for coffee sometime. You retrace your path into the building, Apartment C, living room, Pat Nerd.
Computer files are found the same way. You follow a path to the file you want, Computer, C: drive, Living Room folder, MyFile, which is a Word Perfect Document. The nerd shorthand for this path is: C:\LivingRoom\MyFile.wpd. We could open it by double-clicking My Computer, C:\, LivingRoom, and MyFile.wpd each in turn.
Learn the easy way to find missing files.
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