Operating System Literacy Workshop

(Yes you can watch the entire 1hr long video guide)

Everybody in this class can use computers for day to day activities, but professional software (including user friendly software like Adobe’s) requires you to know where your files are and how to manage them.
The idea of a file system with information stored in a hierarchical folder structure is becoming less crucial in the age of cloud services, web based applications, and ubiquitous search boxes, but it’s still very important if you want to use computers for more than consumption.

Here’s a series of simple exercises to make sure that we all have the basic skills to manage our projects.

If you’ve never used Windows, do these on a Windows system. Apple’s market for computers is only about 15% in the US and less than 5% worldwide, it’s likely you’ll have to familiarize with it if you want a salaried job.

Please be patient if they seem banal to you, if a simple operation is here it’s because I’ve seen students struggling with it before.

File Management

  1. Download this zip
  2. Extract the content of the zip. What’s the extension?
  3. Make sure you see the file extensions in your system
  4. Open the text file with Adobe illustrator or MS Word (right click open with…)
  5. Make some changes and save a copy on your Desktop
  6. Open a window of your local “documents” folder (let’s talk about what local means)
  7. Create a directory in your documents folder called “exercise”
  8. Make a copy of the text file in the “exercise” folder
  9. Rename the copy of the text file as your first name
  10. Download this other file What is it? Figure out how to open it.
  11. Move supersecret.txt to the “exercise” folder
  12. Compress the exercise folder as zip
  13. Rename the zip as “yourfirstname_exercise” underscore
  14. Upload the zip on your CMU Google Drive
  15. Share the zip with “anyone with the link”
  16. Post the link to the zip on the discord channel
  17. Visualize how much hard disk space you have on your computer (depends on the system)
  18. Open your download folder
  19. Sort the files by date using view as list on macOS or view details on Windows
  20. Move or delete the files you don’t want me to see (because of the step below)
  21. As a receipt take a screenshot of a portion of the screen showing the “downloads” folder with the files sorted, the “exercise” folder, and the information about your hard drive space (no shame).
  22. Post the screenshot on the discord. It should look a bit like this:


  1. Close all the open applications that push notifications
  2. Open Chrome, download it if necessary
  3. If your default browser is Edge or Safari you should switch to Chrome unless you are actually a fan of Edge or Safari
  4. Open this URL in a new tab: http://mycours.es/digitalmedia/
  5. Add the URL as a bookmark for easy access
  6. Edit the URL in order to go to my main site
  7. Install the adblock extension
  8. Install the save as png exension
  9. Save this .webp image as png by right clicking on it: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Google_Now_logo.webp
  10. Go to google images, search for “google logo” and filter by large images from the past year