Learn how to use Windows 10 for beginners lesson 2


Lesson 2 File explorer and downloading programs

Next in learn how to use windows 10 for beginners is downloading a program, installing a program and learning file explorer.  When you first get a new computer, many people will download a web browser or their favorite program right away.  I will go through how to download a program and how to avoid getting unwanted bloatware.  Bloatware is a added or extra program that can change your computers features sometimes without your approval.

Downloading a program

In Windows programs or apps can give you many features from a antivirus to video editor to your favorite game.  The first thing to do to download any program is to make sure you are connected to the internet and once you are we will open a web browser in this case I will assume you just set up your new computer so we will open Microsoft edge.  We will install google chrome or Mozilla Firefox for this example, both are a good alternative web browser.  After we install it we will be setting it as your default browser so it will open up by default when you go to the internet for any reason.

  • Open Microsoft edge in the taskbar system tray it will look like a blue wave icon.

  • If you get a pop up from opening Microsoft Edge for the first time you can ignore it or choose to continue.

  • Now you want to decide which browser you want google chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

  • Once decided type in the one you decided in the search the web bar in the middle of the current page you’re on or the search engine you are on.

  • Hit enter or search and one of your first options is going to be where you can download your browser.

  • Open the webpage.

  • Once opened again click on download now or download link on the webpage for the new browser of your choice.

  • You will notice in the top right of the screen a popup stating you downloaded a file.

  • Click on it to open it up and install the new browser.

Windows download and install a program instructions
  • Follow through the installation steps to install the new browser.

  • Some installers will try to install bloatware or additional programs and features that you did not choose.  In the next steps I will show you how to avoid installing additional bloatware, viruses, extensions etc. 

Avoid installing bloatware

When you install any program, it is very likely you can also install additional programs that you don’t want, these are called bloatware or adware.  Sometimes you may have noticed your browser has changed or maybe you noticed you have a new search engine that you didn’t want.  Many times, you may have a new homepage on your browser that you did not want in the first place.  I will go over how to avoid falling for these traps so your computer can stay clean and operate how you want it.

All these extra programs are hitch hikers that are part of many installation programs here is how you avoid them.

When you install any program always read the steps in the installer and always look for any check boxes.  Read the text next to the checkbox if there is one, usually it is an additional program or browser add-on that will be installed if you do not uncheck the box.  

Sometimes installers will have terms and conditions that you must agree to and then after you agree to them and additional agreement that looks like terms and conditions a second time, almost always if there is a second one it is new terms and conditions for a second program.  Read the top section of the terms and conditions and it will describe if it is for a different program than the one of your choosing.  You can decline the second terms and conditions to avoid the second program from getting installed.  Notice in the picture below the checkbox and the decline option.

CCleaner bloatware popup

Some installers have a drop down that says more info or more options and many times they will be hiding additional information with a check box that will install an additional program or browser add-on.

In summary, read installers carefully and you are much less likely to get any unwanted programs on your computer.

Set default web browser

Now that we installed a new web browser like Firefox or Google chrome we want to set it as the default.  This will make the new browser open up when we click on shortcuts on the desktop.



  • Click on the start menu.

  • Click on settings icon on the far left.

  • Click on Apps.

  • Click on defaults on the left-hand side.

  • Scroll down to web browser.

  • Click on it and choose the new web browser you just installed or the browser of your desire.

  • Click on switch anyway if there is a pop up.

Using and understanding file explorer

File explorer gives you access to all your files and your entire hard drive.  Understanding how to use it can help you organize your files, pictures documents and make your computer the way you want it.  I will show you how to understand file explorer, navigate file explorer, organizing your files, make a desktop shortcut and many more features.

Located on the taskbar is the file explorer

file explorer icon

Understanding file explorer

File explorer has multiple sections, let’s go over each one and its purpose.  The main file explorer areas that we will discuss are file list, the left pane and the ribbon.

Windows 10 file explorer categories with the file list, ribbon and the left pane

 File list

The file list is the middle section of file explorer, this section shows you all your files for the category folder you are looking at.

Left pane

The left pane is one of the main ways you navigate through file explorer.  You will see some of your main important folders under quick access section of the left pane, you can also add more important folders of you choosing to the quick access bar as well.  This PC on the left pane will give you full access to manually find any file on your entire hard drive.


The Ribbon area will have options to control and manage your files.  In the Ribbon you will have all the options to control your files, you can copy your files, move, delete and many other options in this section.

Navigating in file explorer

The most common place to navigate through file explorer is the left pane.  To open any folder, you double click on them.

Left Pane

When you move your mouse over folders on the left pane you will notice a small right arrow or small down arrow.  These arrows represent opening and closing a folder.  A down arrow means that the folder is open a right arrow means the folder is not open.  When you click on these arrows they will open and close.

File explorer expand and reduce arrows

The most common folders to navigate to will be the documents folder, pictures folder, downloads folder and This PC.  

  • The document’s folder is where all your word documents will save to by default.

  •  The pictures folder is where all your photograph’s will be saved to by default

  • The download’s folder is where all your files are downloaded off of the internet will be downloaded to by default.  For example our web browser downloaded to this folder.  This is great to know because it  is a common question.  When I download my files from the internet where do they go?  The download’s folder.

  • Folders are the same thing as folders in real life in a folder you can store your documents or pictures. In a computer you can store any type of file in a folder including a entire program.  You should see in the download folder the browser file we downloaded earlier in the tutorial.


The second common place to navigate in file explorer is part of the ribbon.  In the ribbon you will notice a left right and up arrow toward the left of the ribbon.

File explorer navigation arrows

The left arrow navigates to the prior section you were on.

The front arrow navigates back forward.

The up arrow goes back one folder in the folder hierarchy.


Test your knowledge

Here is a test on how to navigate based on what we know so far.

1. Click on the small right arrow next to This PC to  expand it

(it may already be expanded)
file explorer expand folder arrows

2. Double click on the downloads folder just below This PC

3. Once the download folder is open go back to the prior folder by clicking the left arrow on the ribbon.

File explorer navigation arrows

 Congratulations you can now  do basic navigation through file explorer.

Organizing your files

Now before we begin, we want to look at the ribbon, you may have noticed your ribbon might not look the same as the picture from earlier.  If so, you might need to expand it to stay fully visible. On the top right of the ribbon, you will notice another small down or up arrow.  Just like earlier you can expand the top ribbon menu or minimize it.  Click on the arrow if it is facing down to expand the ribbon menu, this will keep it expanded.  Throughout Windows you will notice other small arrows and they all do the same function to expand to reduce different menu’s in one way or another.

File explorer ribbon

To organize our files, we will use the ribbon to complete all tasks. But first let’s learn how to select files. To select a folder or file click on it once to select multiple files Click and hold the left mouse button and while doing so drag your mouse over all the files you want to select.

Everything we will discuss will be on the ribbon home tab

Home tab

file explorer home tab

Everything along the Home button is considered a tab. The file, home, share and view are the four main tabs here.  The home tab is primarily for organizing your files.

New Folder

file explorer new folder button

The new folder icon in the Ribbon adds a new folder to the current location we are in.


file explorer delete button

Delete will delete any file or folder we have selected.


file explorer copy button

Copy will put a copy of the file or folder selected on to the clipboard.  The clipboard is a temporary place for some files.  Imagine making a real-life copy of the document and then placing the copy in a new location, so now you have two of the same document.  The clipboard is temporary so once you turn off the computer you will no longer have any of the copied or cut information.


file explorer cut button

Cut will remove the current file selected and put it on the clipboard.  Imagine making a real-life document and cutting part of it with scissors and placing it on a clipboard. 


file explorer paste button

Paste will put the last thing on the clipboard to the location you are currently at

For example, if we select a folder and then press cut in the ribbon and then go to a different folder, then select paste in the ribbon then we just moved the folder and all its contents from one location to another.

Move to, Copy to, Rename

File explorer copy to, move to and rename buttons

Move to will move the selected file or folder to the desired location.

Copy to will duplicate the selected file or folder.

Rename will give you the ability to re-title the document or folder selected.

Select all

file explorer select all button

Select all will select all folders and files in our current location.

Sorting files

You can sort files by date, name, the type of file, the size and many more.  This is very beneficial if you are trying to organize your pictures, find a document you recently made and many other things.

To sort files, select the view tab in the ribbon and then select details. This will make the files show up in a different appearance showing columns of details.  To sort the files by the columns of details you just need to click on the top of the desired column you want to sort.  Clicking on date will sort the files by the date they were made, clicking on name will sort the files alphabetically by name.

file explorer change file view and sort

Once you are finished sorting files you can change the folder back to the original view by selecting view in the ribbon and then selecting medium icons, large icons, or extra-large icons.  You can also try to choose a different view option, just remember whatever view option you choose the setting will stay that way the next time you open up the same folder.

Move files an easier way

A second way to move files that is sometimes easier is to select the file you want to move, then left click and hold, while doing so drag the file into the folder of your choosing and then let go of the left mouse button.  You can also drag these files into the left pane.

File explorer move files


Here is another practice example you can try, we will make a new folder and put files in it to help us be more organized.  Go to pictures or documents folder, basically any folder with some files in it.  On the Ribbon select Home, then select new folder, you will notice the folder text box is blue, name the folder anything you want to and then hit enter.  Now the folder is named, lets put some files in it.  Select a file already in the pictures or documents folder you are currently in and move it to the folder by clicking on it and dragging it to the folder we just made.  Do this again with a second file, now open the folder and see that the files you just moved are really there.

Making desktop shortcuts

A desktop shortcut is a link to a file that is put on the desktop, the desktop is the first screen you see once your computer is on and logged in. Before we make a desktop shortcut, we need to learn the right click menu. 

Right click menu

The right click menu is a menu that opens up when you click the right mouse button, the menu changes depending on where you right click.  If you right click on a file, or if you right click on a open space with no files, both will have different options.

To make a desktop shortcut of a file or folder, select the file or folder you want, right click on the file or folder, chose send-to and then desktop make a shortcut.  If your right click menu did not have a send to option try the steps again, you need to select the file till it is highlighted blue first to make it easier

I recommend making a shortcut of the pictures, documents and download folders on your desktop.

Make a desktop shortcut using right click mouse button