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Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Working with Explorer

One of the primary roles of Explorer is to provide the basic working interface that allows you to manage the files, folders, and applications on your system. This is why it's so baffling why Microsoft has buried the Windows Explorer icon so deep in the Start Menu, rather than giving it a more prominent position.

As stated earlier, the Windows desktop, the My Computer window, the single-folder windows, the folder-tree pane window, and the Start Menu are all services provided by the single Explorer application. However, in most Windows lore and in the solutions in this book, the term Explorer refers specifically to the window that has the hierarchical tree view in the left pane (referred to by Microsoft as the Folders Explorer bar). This window can be opened by going to Start Programs Accessories System Tools Windows Explorer , or by launching Explorer.exe from the Start Menu's Run command. All other windows used to browse folders—such as those windows accessible from the My Computer window—are commonly referred to as single-folder windows.

It's important to realize that Explorer, your single-folder windows, and even your desktop are all essentially the same interface (with a few subtle exceptions). File and folder icons look and behave the same, regardless of the way they're viewed.

Interface consistency is one of the most important aspects of interface design, but, unfortunately, it often contradicts other factors, such as intuition and historical consistency. ...

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