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Chapter 11: That Scary My Computer Program 213
Getting rid of a file or folder
To delete a file or folder, right-click on its name. Then choose Delete from the pop-up menu. This surprisingly simple trick works for files, folders, shortcuts, and just about anything else in Windows.
The Delete option deletes entire folders, as well as any files or folders stuffed inside them. Make sure that you’ve selected the right folder before you choose Delete.
A After you choose Delete, Windows tosses a box in your face, asking whether you’re sure. If you are, click the Yes button.
A Be extra sure that you know what you’re doing when deleting any file that has pictures of little gears in its icon. These files are sometimes sensitive hidden files, and the computer wants you to leave them alone. (Other than that, they’re not particularly exciting, despite the action-oriented gears.)
A As soon as you find out how to delete files, you’ll want to read the very next section, “How to undelete a file.”
Deleting a shortcut from the desktop or any other place just deletes a button that loads a file or program. You can always put the button back on or even create a new one. The program itself is undamaged and still lives inside your computer. Deleting an icon that doesn’t have the little shortcut arrow removes that file or program from the hard disk and puts it into the Recycle Bin, where it disappears after a few weeks.
How to undelete a file
Sooner or later, your finger will slip, and you’ll delete the wrong file. A slip of the finger, the wrong nudge of a mouse, or, if you’re in southern California, a small earthquake at the wrong time can make a file disappear.
! Scream! After the tremors subside, double-click the Recycle Bin, and the Recycle Bin window drops down from the heavens, as shown in Figure 11-3.
Chapter 11: That Scary My Computer Program
The Recycle Bin’s Restore button drops from the heavens
to save the
To restore a file or folder to its former place among the living, right-click on its name in the Recycle Bin and choose Restore from the menu. The file or folder reappears in the place where you deleted it.
You can also drag deleted goodies out of the Recycle Bin window: Use the mouse to point at the name of the file you want to retrieve and, while holding down the mouse button, point at the desktop. Then let go of the mouse button. Windows XP moves the once-deleted file out of the Recycle Bin and places the newly revived file onto your desktop. Feel free to drag the file anywhere you want.
The Recycle Bin chokes under a few circumstances, however, so be careful:
A First, you can only restore deleted items within a few weeks of deleting them. If you wait too long, the Recycle Bin eventually sends your files to the trash heap. It can’t keep saving your deleted files forever, or your computer would run out of storage space. So, the Recycle Bin waits until its stash of deleted files consumes about 10 percent of your computer’s storage space. Translation? That means you probably have a few weeks to retrieve things before the Recycle Bin sends them down the pipes forever.
Chapter 11: That Scary My Computer Program
A Second, the Recycle Bin only restores files deleted from your hard drive. Sure, that’s 99 percent of your files. But that doesn’t help when you accidentally delete an important file from a floppy disk, a genuine picture of a UFO on your digital camera, your favorite song from an MP3 player, or a file from the network. The Recycle Bin doesn’t save files deleted from those areas. When they’re deleted, they’re gone for good.
A If you delete something from somebody else’s computer while using the network, it can never be retrieved. The Recycle Bin only holds items deleted from your own computer, not somebody else’s computer. And, for some awful reason, the Recycle Bin on the other person’s computer won’t save the item, either.
A After you restore your file, it’s as good as new. Feel free to store it in any other folder for safekeeping.
A The Recycle Bin normally holds about 10 percent of your hard drive’s space. For example, if your hard drive is 20GB, the Recycle Bin holds onto 2GB of deleted files. After it reaches that limit, it starts deleting the files you deleted the longest time ago to make room for the incoming deleted files. To increase or decrease that percentage, right-click on your desktop’s Recycle Bin icon, choose Properties, and adjust the amount on the window that appears.
Copying or Moving a File, Folder, or Icon
To copy or move files to different folders on your hard drive, it’s sometimes easiest to use your mouse to drag them there. For example, here’s how to move a file to a different folder on your desktop. In this case, I’m moving the Traveler file from the Home folder to the Morocco folder.
1. Move the mouse pointer until it hovers over the file you want to move, and then press and hold down the right mouse button.