Tip of the Week: How to Best Organize Your Computer Files

Have you ever opened a file on your PC only to
not be able to find what you are looking for because it’s an absolute mess? It
has numerous file types, folders, and applications just sitting there providing
absolutely no continuity. Well, today we’re going to help you out by giving you
some tips on how to organize your files so that you can easily find what you are
looking for and maneuver around your OS or cloud-based file storage

There are three major ways you can set up your
files. They prioritize clients (or projects), dates, or file-types. For today’s
purposes--because it will be impactful to the most amount of people--we will
look at the file type-based setup. 

A file type-based setup groups all files in
folders designed to hold a certain type of file. Say you have a lot of ebooks
on your computer. Making a file-folder that is labeled “ebooks” and then
filling it with all of your ebooks is a good way to quickly get your ebooks in
one place, rather than strewn about your OS, on your desktop, in your downloads
folder, and in your cloud storage. This file-type system is all about putting
everything in its right place. This may be a little bit of work, especially if
you have a lot of files already, but when it’s finished, you will know where to
go to find any file on your system.

Keep in mind that if you are working in
business, you are likely on a shared network and will want to save your files
in network storage.

There are a few tips that should help you
along your path to organization.

Tip # 1: Stick to Your Filing System

Once you’ve committed to a filing system you
will want to stick to it. There are some easy ways to accomplish this. Firstly,
file things as close to immediately as possible. This may seem obvious but
we’ve seen some pretty gnarly Download folders. By moving files into their
appropriate places immediately, you don’t run the risk of losing a file that
belongs in one folder amongst the files in another.

Tip #2: Avoid the Desktop &
Downloads Folder

Anyone that has used a Windows-based PC for
any length of time knows that files can be dragged and dropped or saved to the
desktop. They also know that every file downloaded that isn’t specifically
routed to a folder ends up in the downloads folder. Some users would see this
and think, “Hey, great job, Microsoft! This makes it much easier on me. I can
open my computer and, wham, there are all of the files I care about.”

This may hold true, for about a month. The
more files you deem important and pin to your desktop, taskbar, or leave in
your downloads folder, the more of a mess it is going to be. Think of your
downloads folder as a foyer of a big house. If everything you brought into the
house was left in the foyer, it would become a complete obstruction. The
desktop, on the other hand, is a decent place to put top-line folders on, since
inside there should be a file structure that would allow you to access all of
your data from the desktop of your computer, but the more random files that
fill up your desktop, the more convoluted your file management is going to be.

Tip #3: Sort Once a Week

Okay, so if you don’t make a habit to
immediately file files away in their correct folders, you HAVE to make a point
to do it periodically. We suggest once every week or 10 days. After that it
starts to get messy, and after a month or two, you are back to square one, with
a computer that has files everywhere you don’t want them to be.

Tip #4: Naming Practices

If your computer is relatively simple and you
have one type of folder for your pictures, when you go into your pictures they
aren’t always going to be named “Puppydog2.jpg”. Sometimes, especially if you
get a multitude of pictures from the same website, they will have similar file
names. This isn’t an issue when you have a handful of the same files and you
can just look at the thumbnails, but if you have thousands of files named
similarly it’s going to be a complete nightmare when you go to look for
something specific. That’s why you want to name your files uniquely.

If you are used to naming a picture of your
dog “puppydog#.jpg” and you have hundreds of pictures of your dog, it’s bound
to get confusing. As a result, you will want to name your file something like:
puppydog_at_the_park2.jpg”. Small differentiators can create the kind of
specificity needed to keep your files organized.

Managing your files effectively will save you
time and won’t test your patience. For more great tips and tricks, visit our
blog regularly.