files vs. folders

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files vs. folders

A file is the common storage unit in a computer, and all programs and data are "written" into a file and "read" from a file. A folder holds one or more files, and a folder can be empty until it is filled. A folder can also contain other folders (subfolders). Folders provide a method for organizing files much like a manila file folder contains paper documents in a file cabinet. In fact, files that contain text are often called documents.

Folders are also called "directories," and they are created on the hard drive (HD) or solid state drive (SSD) when the operating system and applications are installed. Files are always stored in folders. In fact, even the computer desktop is a folder; a special kind of folder that displays its contents across the entire screen (see desktop).

File Extensions
Files are identified by a short "extension" following a period at the end of their name. For example, ABC.JPG is a JPEG image, ABC.DOC is a Microsoft Word document file, and ABC.EXE is an executable application in Windows. Although extensions can be added to folder names, extensions are primarily a file convention.

Sometimes Files Are Really Folders
Although not identified as such, what appears to be a single file may really be a folder. For example, starting with Microsoft Word 2007, the default document format was no longer a DOC file, but a DOCX file; in reality, a ZIP archive containing many folders and files (see Office Open XML and ZIP file). The same change occurred in Microsoft Excel 2007, migrating from the XLS to XLSX worksheet formats.

In the Mac, an application has an APP extension, and what appears to be a single file is actually a folder (see APP file). See file, folder and extension.
References in periodicals archive ?
To complement and increase the effectiveness of folder structures, it is important to establish naming conventions for folders and files.
It is important to remember that in the event of e-discovery, audits, or inquiries, other departments may need access to the folders and files.
Because groups are centrally managed, users who are removed from a group lose access to shared folders and files associated with that group immediately.
Via electronic capture of primary information, folders and files that are dispatched often or submitted can be electronically mailed in the business process.
makers of the award-winning SugarSync file sync, online backup and sharing service, today announced the ability for users to instantly sync folders and files between people.
SugarSync offers many granular settings to maintain control over the access, security, and privacy of shared folders and files.
2) With palmOne's highest-resolution 320x480 color screen, Bluetooth(R) wireless technology, and an all-new sleek and slim design, the Tungsten T5 rises above conventional handheld limitations, giving users the folders and files they need whenever and wherever they need them.
Adding new folders and files to their document repository from their PC or computer network could not be more simple -- users simply drag-and-drop folders and files into the application and click on the send button.
With Windows Security Suite, a LAN administrator, small business owner, or parent can determine user privileges for desktop access and modification, and individual users can password-protect folders, encrypt folders and files, and permanently delete folder and file contents.
According to Jim Small, Director of Systems Development for Blueridge, "People understand the metaphor of desktop folders and files, and both Macintosh and Windows users are accustomed to the concept of dragging and dropping files into folders.