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My secrets of Internet downloading, Part 2
technofile  by al fasoldt
Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
Simple gray rule

My secrets of Internet downloading, Part 2

Bit Player for December 20, 1998

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1998, The Syracuse Newspapers

I told you last week how important the "Save as" function is when you're downloading files. This week I'll explain how to locate the files you've downloaded. Next week, in the last installment, I'll tell you how to deal with "zip" files and similar downloads.

"Save as" does two very important things. It lets you save downloaded files wherever you want—in a folder called "Download," for example—and it makes sure you are storing files that you download instead of running them. You should never run a program directly off the Web unless you know in advance that it's required—and it usually is not.)

Let's say you've clicked on a link to a downloadable file and chosen "Save as" (or "Save target as," which you might see in some browsers). You click "OK" and the file is sent from the remote computer to your computer.

OK, admit it. Here is where many of you get lost. You know you've downloaded a file, but you don't know how to find it. I'm going to tell you how. Follow along step by step.

Let's take it for granted that you followed last week's advice and created a folder in your C: drive called "Download." What you need next is a way to get to that folder easily. Double click My Computer and then double click the C: drive icon. You'll see a window that shows the folders in the C: drive. Look for the one called "Download."

Right click on that folder, hold the right mouse button down and drag the folder out of the window and onto your desktop. Let go of the button and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Immediately press F2 and type a name for the shortcut, such as "My downloads," then press the Enter key. (If you've messed up and given the folder the wrong name, click the folder once, press F2 and type the name again.)

Now you have a shortcut on your desktop that will open your download folder. There's no need to keep it on the desktop. You just want to have it handy. So take the next step: Drag that icon over tot he Start button and drop it there. That puts it in the Start menu. Now drag the shortcut icon to the Recycle Bin to get it off your desktop.

To open your download folder, all you have to do is click the Start button and then click the entry in the Start Menu for your download folder. This is better than having that icon on the desktop, because you can always get at the Start Menu but you can't always locate items on the desktop when various windows are in the way.

Keep in mind that the entry in the Start Menu (the icon and name of your download folder) is just a shortcut—a file that points to a real folder—but the folder that opens when you click it is the real thing. Closing that folder closes down the download folder, but the icon for it remains in the Start Menu.

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