It surprises many users to learn that Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are not the same thing. The latter is a file manager--not the greatest one in the world, but definitely a handy tool for browsing, moving, copying, and deleting files.
Why, then, does Microsoft insist on making it so hard to find? In Windows XP and Vista, you have to click your way through to the Accessories folder to find it. Alternately, you can hit Windows-E on your keyboard or right-click the Start button and choose Explore. But those options don't really help novice users learn that Windows Explorer, well, exists.
That's one reason I'm keen on Windows 7: Microsoft finally gives Explorer a high-profile spot, right on the taskbar. Thankfully, you don't need to wait for Windows 7 to get your own one-click Explorer icon. Instead, you can add it to the Quick Launch toolbar. Here's how:
1. If your Quick Launch toolbar is already visible, skip ahead to step 3. If not, right-click an open area of the taskbar and choose Toolbars, Quick Launch.
2. Again, right-click an open area of the taskbar and clear the checkmark from Lock the Taskbar. Now you've got a "handle" you can drag to the right to create more space for Quick Launch.
3. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories. Now drag the Windows Explorer icon from the Start menu to the Quick Launch toolbar and drop it there.
That's it! Now a single click of the Explorer icon launches the program. If you want to change its icon (I don't like Vista's default choice), right-click it, click Properties, Change Icon, and make your selection.
If this tutorial seems a little familiar, it's because I recently showed you how to add Windows 7-style icons to your Vista taskbar. The Explorer icon makes a great addition, and makes Vista even more 7-like!