Comparing Files to File Cabinets- Another Way to Think about Saving Data

Concise Computer Consulting focuses on supporting the technological needs of small businesses as well as the technically challenged homeowner.


Many clients of mine are perplexed when they are forced to work with new devices that were not present when they were younger. Cellular phones and computers are at the top of the list, of course, being the most common fandangled contraptions that are now a part of our every day lives.

A useful analogy can be made which explains one aspect of the computer world in relation to the real world: files and folders.

Think of the "C: drive" or "hard drive" in your computer as the file cabinet in your office or home. The file cabinet of yours is likely 2-4 drawers tall, metallic, and may have a lock on the front which prevents people from peeking at your personal files. It may even have some magnets stuck to the side or front (please, don't put magnets on the side of your computer!)

Similarly, a computer hard drive (file cabinet) is a repository for your computer's file folders, and it may be locked with a password which prevents others from seeing your files.

The C: drive is filled with files and folders, just as your file cabinet is. The manila folders are used on a computer just as they are in real life: to organize your files. (Note: your files could be word processing documents, spreadsheets, electronic mail messages, digital photographs, or a myriad of other file types). The most common folder that you will likely encounter is called "My Documents" or "Documents". In this folder (or any folder), you can create any number of subfolders.

Thinking of this new technology in terms of old, understood, and established norms might help the computer newcomer become comfortable with these old terms which have taken on new meanings.


Jeffrey Atto, C.O.O.  Concise Computer Consulting

2350 Franklin Road Suite #120

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302



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