I use Explorer to browse.

No, I’m not talking about the internet. Explorer.exe is the file browser that comes with Windows, and which manages your taskbar and other windows. If you’re a Windows user, you use it every day whenever you open a folder. Mac and Linux have their own file browsers, as do different operating systems on different CPU architectures.

Anyway, I’ve recently noticed that I browse differently than other people do. I open My Computer (or whichever folder on my desktop), then click through the folders leading to my destination. I know the file structure intimately, and can tell you where certain files are. When I get to the files I want (executables, text, web pages, program code, whatever), I execute them, view them, zip them, or open them in a program. Any time I’m working with files, I’ll be in that directory. Any time I want to move or copy files, I’ll have both directories open.

Lately, I’ve been helping students who focus on the programs themselves and use the ‘Open…’ dialogue to open files. It’s a completely different way of thinking that drives me silly, especially when they eventually need to browse through folders. Especially in crappier (i.e. Java-based) programs with a miserly Open dialogue that doesn’t let you copy or move files, or select more than one file,or right-click on files.

It’s just one of those differences that you never notice until you meet it.


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