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COLUMN: Getting Started

Getting Started: DOS Fundamentals -- Directories

By Hal Goldstein

We mentioned in the last issue that the HP 95LX is an "MS DOS" machine. This means that it functions similarly to an IBM PC compatible computer in that many of the same programs will run on both machines, and the "file structure" on these machines are the same.

 This article will continue our discussion of "file structure" from last issue (see pages 39-41, May/ June 92 issue). Remember, when you save information created using a built-in 95LX application such as PHONE, APPT, or MEMO, that information is stored in files.

 Learning how a DOS machine deals with files is really learning how to intelligently and efficiently store and safeguard your data.

The analogy we made last issue (page 41) between a file cabinet and a DOS directory structure is a good one. The 95LX, with its built-in C drive and RAM card slot, is like a two-drawer file cabinet in that you can store your files in two different places. (If you don't have a RAM Card, you're missing a file drawer.)

 File drawers in a cabinet are analogous to the disk drives on a computer. If we have a file cabinet with two drawers, we could label one drawer "C:" and the other drawer "A:". Likewise, the 95LX has an internal disk drive labeled "C:" and a RAM card slot labeled "A:".

 If we store files in a file cabinet, we can put them in either drawer. Files on the 95LX can be stored on either the C: drive or on the A: drive (if we have a RAM card).

Comparing A: and C: Drives to a Two-Drawer Filing Cabinet: Graphic

 When you store a file in a file cabinet, you give it a name (i.e. you put a label on the file folder). In the same way, when you store a PHONE, MEMO, APPT, or 1-2-3 file, you give it a name. As we discussed in the last issue, DOS lays out strict rules governing legal file names. A file name consists of 1 to 8 characters, followed by an optional period and 1 to 3 more characters. These characters can be numbers, letters, and many of the special symbols, such as underline or dash.



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