Monday, October 11, 2010

Computer Skills - file management and the Kindle

October 10, 2010 Cindy O'Neal
It doesn't matter if you use a Mac or a PC, Windows 7 or an older version of Windows, there are certain basic skills that everyone needs. A good concept of file viewing and management is essential, and knowing how to look at the contents of an external drive (think your Kindle) is something that should become second nature to you.

Mac and the Kindle:
The moment you connect your Kindle to your Mac via the USB cable, you will see a little icon appear on your desktop (main screen) clearly labeled "Kindle." This makes it very easy to distinguish your Kindle and view the folders and files on it. Double click it to open it and see the file and folder contents of your Kindle.
See the folders listed below the arrow. These are really important. The documents folder is where you need to put your Kindle book files if you download them from someplace like If you order a book from Amazon, this is where they will go automatically. You will not see a book listed on your Kindle Home screen unless it is placed in the documents folder.

Look at the arrow. There are four buttons indicating different ways you can view the contents of your Kindle. I like the second one (where the arrow is pointing) because it lists the folders alphabetically straight up and down.  It just seems much more straightforward and easy to see what you need to see.

Open a folder by clicking on it twice. This will show the contents of that folder in the panel and make it pretty easy to drag and drop files to only that folder. If you click the little arrow to the left of each folder, you will still be able to see the other folders while the contents of that folder will drop down below the folder name.

To safely remove your Kindle from the USB connection so you can read again, close the window with the folders showing, then drag the Kindle icon to the trash. You will see the trash turn into an eject indicator when you drop the Kindle icon on it. Talk about double duty!

PC and the Kindle:
File management with your PC and your Kindle has a lot in common with a Mac. You still need to see the folders and contents of the folders on your Kindle. Once you hook your PC up to the USB connection to your Kindle, a new window should appear within a few seconds. In the title bar of the window at the very top, you will see the word AutoPlay. Inside this new window you will see a list of things Windows is trying to guess what you might want to do now you have hooked up your Kindle. Choose Open Folder to View Files with a single left click.
Once your Kindle window is opened, you will be able to see the folders. They will be the same folders a Mac user will see. The three folders you need to be comfortable with are the music, audible and documents folders.
When you are looking at the contents of your Kindle, towards the top of the window for a view options button. Click the little down arrow to the right of it to see your choices and choose Details. This will give you a nice, straight up and down listing of your files and folders, and it will be much easier to navigate.

To safely remove your Kindle from the computer via USB, click once on the Start button (bottom left of the main screen). Look to the right for the word Computer or My Computer and click it once to open. You will see your C drive (main hard drive) listed, as well as any external drives, including your Kindle. Your Kindle should be listed with Kindle as the name under the icon. Right click on it and choose Eject. You should see a message indicating it is safe to disconnect your Kindle from the computer.
If you are looking at your Kindle face, you will see the USB connection screen disappear and your familiar Home screen reappear, letting you know all is right with the world.

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