Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 2, 2019)
Windows is, as you probably know, an operating system. This means that it provides a way for you to "operate" your computer. As part of filling that function, Windows allows you to store information in files and organize those files in folders or directories. (The words "folder" and "directory" are virtually synonymous in an operating system such as Windows. Most people refer to them as folders these days, because Windows uses an icon that looks like a file folder to represent what used to be called a directory.)
The mere fact that files can be organized into folders (and folders can be further organized into other folders) implies that the operating system must provide some way to move those files and folders around. Windows excels at providing this basic capability, giving you a couple of ways to easily move things about.
Perhaps the easiest way to move files or folders is to use some of the same shortcut keys I regularly use to move things in programs such as Word or Excel:
You can also use the mouse to make your copies:
It is important that you pay attention to step 5. As you drag the file or folder, the arrow will only appear as you drag it over a different window (the one you opened in step 2) or over a different folder or drive. It will not appear as you drag the object within the same window. If you are moving the object within the same window, just drag it and drop it; that's the end of it. It is when you move it to a different target area that you need to be concerned about the small arrow.
In general, the arrow will appear automatically if the destination is on the same drive as the original location of the file or folder. If you are trying to move the object to a different drive, then you'll need to press the Shift key to let Windows know you are moving and not copying.
This tip (5850) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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