Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where is the Data on Your Computer Stored?

This is something I think that everyone should know and in my opinion, is one of the more important things to know.  For example, in my last post, I mentioned how to download pictures of a digital camera: http://www.computer-skills.info/2012/02/how-to-download-pictures-from-digital.html.  If you followed the directions, the pictures where stored in My Pictures; however, now that pictures are in My Pictures your computer crashes.  So, you pull the hard drive out and put it in another computer.  The pictures are in My Pictures, but where is My Pictures or your documents or your videos for that matter?  Even if you never have to do this, it is helpful to know how to find files within your system without the help of shortcuts on your desktop.
To access the data directly you need to go to My Computer (or Computer)(either on the Start Menu or on the desktop).  In My Computer you should see all your hard drives, CD/DVD Drives, and other devices with storage.  Your main hard drive should be drive C:.  Depending on your system it may go by different names such as Local Disk C or in my case the brand of my computer Acer C.  Also if you trying to restored the data from a hard drive then it will most likely be a different letter.
acer-my-computer
Just to note, if you are using Windows XP and see a warning about these files being hidden, just click the Show the contents of this folder.
windows-xp-hiding-operating-system-folders
Double click on the hard drive to open the hard drive.  You should now see all the folders within the hard drive, if you do not see all these folders then you probably have the wrong hard drive, at the minimum you should see a Users Folder, a Programs folder, and a Windows folder (the location of all the operating system files!).  The folder we are looking for in particular is Users or Documents and Settings if you have Windows XP.  The Users folder should contain all your personal data – unless of course you stored it elsewhere.
acer-local-disk-c
Open the Users folder and should see an individual folder for all the users on the computer.  Depending on security settings on your computer, you may or may not be able to access other users personal folders.
users-folder-in-local-disk-c
Open your user folder.  You should now see all your data – My Pictures, My Documents, My Videos, My Music, Downloads, and the Desktop.  If you are using Windows XP, My Pictures, My Music, and My Videos are all located within My Documents.
personal-files-in-local-disk-c

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