Raise Your Windows IQ: Four Icons You Need to Know

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See these four icons, the ones in the red box?

They're downright ubiquitous in Windows programs, but I'll wager there are plenty of users who don't know what the icons do or when and why to use them. In this post and the next few, I'm going to help novices "raise their Windows IQ," to learn some operating-system basics many of us take for granted.

You've probably seen these four icons a thousand times. They appear in the Open and Save boxes for countless programs, right alongside the Look In field that designates where on your PC you're going to open or save something.

From left to right, the icons function as follows:

Go To Last Folder Visited: If you've been hopping around from one folder to another in search of, say, a particular document, clicking this takes you back to the folder you viewed most recently--not the one that's one up in the folder hierarchy. This icon will appear grayed out if you haven't yet switched to a different folder.

Up One Level: Clicking this takes you "up" a folder in whatever set of sub-folders you happen to be viewing. (If you're not familiar with how folder hierarchies work, don't worry: I'll cover that in an upcoming post.)

Create New Folder: Used primarily when you're saving a file, this creates a new folder--a sub-folder, really--within the current folder. Upon clicking, you'll immediately need to type a name for the new folder. Press Enter when you're done. You'll then need to double-click that new folder to open it and save your file there.

View Menu: Clicking this produces a drop-down menu with various choices for how you want to view the various files and folders you're seeing. I'm not going to explain them all--your best bet is to experiment and see which view you like best. Don't worry: You're not modifying or rearranging anything, only changing the presentation.

Guess what? You're now officially a smarter Windows user. Tune in tomorrow for more IQ-raising info.

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