Storage hierarchy and file extensions

Aim: To understand the importance of file extensions

How it is used to maintain a storage hierarchy

Concept of softcopy and hardcopy

Computers can store a lot of information(data). Computers use files and folders to organize these information. A file is a collection of information with a name attached to it. A file name has two parts: NAME and TYPE (extension). Here is a typical file name format : filename.filetype. Usually the file types or extensions are written as abbreviations or in short form, usually with 3 letters. Computer files are of different types : the file might be a text document, a picture, sound, a video, a web page. The type of the file can be identified by the extension of the file, which comes after the filename.

Hardcopy and Softcopy

Some common file extensions are

● '.txt' for simple text files

● '.jpg/ .gif' for photo or image files

● '.odt' for document files in edubuntu

● '.mp3' for music files

We now already know that when related files are stored in the same location, it becomes easy to search and retrieve them. For this we use a directory or a folder.

Suppose you have created study materials for different subjects,
like Science,Mathematics and English. Instead of storing all the files together, we can
create separate folders for each subject, such as 'Mathematics' and 'Science'. Now
you can keep all the files dealing with a subject in a single folder. If a subject has other subcategories, we can create subfolders or subdirectories. For example under science category, if we have documents relating to plants, animals and our surroundings. We can create subdirectories 'Plants and 'Animals'. Now we can store the related files in these sub folders. This way searching for a file become easier.

We can also store files according to the file extensions. For example, consider we have a number of music and document files. These files can be grouped and kept in a single location. This way we will know where to look for music or the document files. These files can also be divided into sub categories. For example. In music files if we have both rhymes and instrumental music. These can be separately grouped and stored. This way it becomes convenient and saves time in locating a file.

Hard copy and Soft copy

Hard copy

A hard copy is a printed copy of information from a computer. This term is now used by many people to represent all paper documents, including letters, books, catalogs and so on. Hard copy has the advantage of being accessible to everyone everywhere, without the expense of a computer.

Some examples of hard copy are given below:

(a) Teleprinter pages:

A teleprinter is a typewriter like terminal with a keyboard and a built in printer. You can see it In super markets where receipts are necessary.

(b) Computer printouts

It is the printed document from a computer printer.

Soft copy

The information viewed on a computer display is referred to as a soft copy. Thus, a document that we create using paint or text editor or Open Office is an example of a soft copy. Printout of the same file is an example of hard copy.

What you see on the screen is referred to as soft copy of the document. When you get a

print out of this document, it will be termed as the hard copy.

The images that are seen on television and computer screen are

examples of soft copy. Electricity and telephone bills, bills in restaurants, train tickets are all examples of hard copy that we come across in our daily life.


1) Identify which of the following is a hard copy or a soft copy. Write the answer in the space provided.



2) Identify the file names and file types of the following list of files.

File / File Name / File type
Vandemataram.mp3 / Vandemataram / mp3

3) Group the following list of files in the respective folders.

Thirstycrow.txt lotus.gif vandemataram.mp3

cat.gif dog.jpg tenaliraman.txt

janaganamana.mp3 Babablacksheep.mp3 Rose.jpg