Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Folder in WindowsA folder, also called a directory, is a special space used to store files, other folders, and shortcuts on a computer. A good analogy is the manila folders seen in an office that are used to store papers or reports. When you are browsing the files on your computer using a file manager, such as Windows Explorer, the icon for a folder will typically look similar to the image on the right.

Why are folders important?

Folders help you keep your files organized and separate. If you had no folders on your computer, your documents, programs, and operating system files would all be located in the same place. Folders also allow you to have more than one file with the same file name. For instance, you can have a file called Resume.doc in your My Documents folder, and another file called Resume.doc in a different folder called Resume templates. If all your files were in a single place, every file would need a unique file name.

What can be stored in a folder?

A folder can contain one or more files of any type and can even store other directories with their own files. They may also contain shortcuts to programs.

How to use folders

For help with how to use folders, see the following links shown in our related folder pages.

Does a folder have an extension?

No. A folder does not have an extension like a file.

What is a web folder?

A web folder is a folder or online location that stores files on the Internet or in the cloud.

Directory, Operating system terms