Windows 2000 - Data management views

First things first. The View menu holds the key to easy file management. From here you can select different views that will show either more or less information pertaining to the files in the right-hand windowpane. The more information you have at your disposal in this pane, the easier it will be for you to identify the files you are after. To get more information go to the View menu and select Details from the list.

As the name suggests you will now have details such as file size, file type and the date it was last modified. These are the fields that Windows 2000 shows you by default. But they're not the only ones available.

HIDDEN HEADINGS By right clicking on any one of the field headings even more details can be accessed. Information such as attributes can also be viewed simply by checking the individual options. Likewise, you can get rid of details you don't want to see by removing the tick. When you click on More you will find a buffet that serves up more tasty detail treats such as the author and owner of the file, among others.

For multimedia files, length, format, size and frequency can also be shown.

ORDER IN THE HOUSE You can easily sort by any of these fields in ascending or descending order by clicking on the item's heading. If you don't like the positioning of any fields you can simply drag and drop the offending column to the desired position across the screen.

THUMBNAILS This is a great feature that will display all of your files in a generously sized thumbnail view. Its main purpose is for viewing image files and it is a boon for digital camera users who have to sift through ambiguously numbered pictures looking for that one great action shot. Web designers may also find it of benefit, as it will also display the contents of any HTML pages.

SAVE LAYOUT SETTINGS If you're happy with the way a particular folder looks and wish that all folders in your system could share its good looks, simply go to the Tools menu and click on Folder Options. Make your way over to the View tab and exercise a mouse click on Like current folder. Now all your folders will look like your ideal.

CENTRAL DATA LOCATION Make sure that you create a dedicated folder that stores all of your data files. There is nothing worse than having data files spread across multiple locations. Generally, all files should be kept in the purpose-built My Documents folder. Not only will this make it easy for you to locate your files quickly, but it will also make back-up routines less of a chore. For even more ease and safety, dedicate a whole partition to the task of storing your data. This way if you ever have to re-install the operating system for whatever reason, your data will remain unaffected.

It's also easier to share data among different operating systems with this method (assuming you are using compatible file systems).

Service Pack 1

Seven months after its release to the world, Windows 2000 finally has a service pack that plugs up a few leaking holes. Released in early August, the pack contains a collection of fixes that improve security and compatibility with software, among other things, although these fixes will most probably not be noticeable to the average user. To install the pack you can download the version for your operating system (Server or Professional) from Microsoft's Web site - or you can do it the easy way and just get the full 80MB+ version from our cover CD. To install, simply launch the file and accept the license agreement. You can then choose to back up your existing files, which is always a good idea. Service Pack 1 can be uninstalled from the Add/Remove utility in Control Panel if you're not happy with it.

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