Cut and paste to transfer files from hard drive to external drive

Help Line

February 14, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

I want to transfer all the personal files (text and graphics) on my hard drive to an external drive. Is there a reasonably fast way of doing this and then deleting those files from my hard drive ?

Microsoft recommends simply using cut and paste commands to move files from one device to another. Select whichever files or folders you want to move and tap Control + X to cut. Then move the pointer to the icon for your new remote storage device and once it is open, tap Control + V.

By holding down the Control key while selecting file and folder icons you can move large batches of stuff at a time.

My way is a bit different because I am chicken about cutting stuff until it is backed up. I click Control + C to copy files and folders and then do the same move as Bill Gates recommends. Once my stuff is safely moved, I go back and delete it.

I understand why an earlier reader wanted to make WordPad the default program for text documents, because its search and viewing capabilities are much better, and more similar to other programs than NotePad. However, there is a much easier way to make this change than either of you tried. Tell him to shift and right-click on the text file, then select Open With, select WordPad and click the box "Always use this program."

I would urge readers to add one step to the process you describe. Once you have used the shift + right-click/Open With command, do not select "Always use this program" until you have tested it once. You could wind up associating some file type with a program that causes your computer to crash when its icon is clicked.

Can you give me some advice on plug-ins? Which ones do you feel are the most needed for general use? Are any of them worth paying for rather than just using the basic free versions?

There are only a few plug-ins worth adding to one's Internet browser to allow a computer to handle specialized content. And all of them are free.

First make sure your computer is running the Microsoft Media Player for handling streaming video, Internet radio and other online media content. Real Player by RealNetworks not only costs money to upgrade, but the company requires repeated returns to its ad-supported Web site for minor upgrades. So dump Real and stick with Microsoft.

The other must-have free plug-in is the Adobe Acrobat reader, essential for handling the .pdf format files widely used by government agencies, mutual funds and others to make it easy to read huge federal reports and company analyses.

Finally, make sure that you're running the MacroMedia Shockwave plug-ins to allow your browser to see animations on the Web.

Keep in mind that you needn't bother with a plug-in search on your own: All these plug-ins can be acquired with a simple click when you encounter a Web site that needs them to display content.

I can't agree with your "not to worry" recommendation when it comes to hackers and DSL or cable modems. A better choice would be to get a low-cost software firewall. I'm a DSL user at home and my firewall detects one or more probes virtually every day -- better safe than sorry.

While it is possible that some hacker is probing your Internet address bent on mischief, chances are much more likely that your firewall software is simply registering background noise, which is commonplace in the frenzied exchanges of data bits that make up the Internet.

There are millions of ordinary people using always-on DSL connections and, to my knowledge, not a single confirmed case of a hacker attack at that level.

Peter Norton, America's great exploiter of PC phobia, is (as you may well imagine) already Peter on the Spot with the newly released Norton Internet Security 2000 for $53 with complicated firewall modules as well as some pretty welcome features, including Norton's fine anti-virus software. If it makes you feel better, by all means, go for Norton, but beware that trying these kinds of fixes can often cause more problems than they correct.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com.

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