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File Storage Organization Tips
Computers can make your life much easier: no arguments there. However, if you use your computer every day and you are not very organized, your file system will surely get messy. Sooner than you know it, you'll find yourself struggling to find your documents, trying to figure out why you keep running out of space on your hard drive, and wondering where you installed that piece of specialized software you really need to learn how to use as soon as possible. Right?
Not if you keep the following ideas in mind! Start using this simple advice and you'll achieve a nice productivity boost, not to mention that your computer-induced stress levels will surely go down.
1) Partition your hard drive
Most computers come with a double-partitioned hard drive, these days... and with good reason! Regardless, either for laziness or lack of forethought, normal users fail to realize what the point is; they just ignore the partitions and use their free disk space somewhat haphazardly. Don't do that!
The point of splitting your hard drive in (at least) two partitions is so that you can use one for system files and the other for your own files. That way, when you have to format your operating system (which you will have to, sooner or later) you can clear the system drive without affecting your personal documents.
2) Know your folders
You must be aware of where you put your files, if you expect to find them easily without having to load the search tool all the time. Granted, the best place to place a file is inside a folder... but only if you know where your folders are located. What's the point of keeping all your Word documents in a “DOCS” folder, if you have multiple versions of that same folder scattered across your hard drive?
To make things easier for you, try to keep similar files grouped in a single folder *and* make sure you clearly know where that folder is located. Keep all relevant files in the same place and you'll always know where to find them! Just like in the real world, folders can be a great help to keep your materials organized, but that's only provided you keep them stored in their appropriate cabinets (as opposed to stacking them anywhere at random).
3) Avoid cluttering your Desktop
Are you the kind of computer user who seems to have a knack for filling up all desktop space with dozens upon dozens of files and folders, seemingly overnight? There's nothing wrong with that, really... provided you think of it as a temporary arrangement. The desktop is probably the most convenient location to store files you're in the process of working with, but you must regularly sort out those files across descriptive folders.
Failing to do so is comparable to leaving your dirty laundry on the bedroom floor: won't take long before things get real messy! In the same way you use a basket to neatly store your dirty clothes, so you should keep descriptive folders on your desktop to store those dirty files you're currently in the process of working with.
4) Weed out unnecessary archives
Nowadays, people assume that since they have hard drives with 1 TeraByte, they can keep all their files bundled up somewhere in it, forever. Even though it might be possible, it's by no means practical... especially if you fail to observe the aforementioned rules of tidy file system maintenance.
You should get in the habit of separating your important documents from any casual materials, to avoid ending up with hundreds upon hundreds of redundant files and folders that serve no real purpose but to confuse you.
Here's a simple, but effective idea: get an external hard disk and use it to weed out unnecessary archives you have on your computer. Try to keep only work-related materials in your computer, and you'll find it much easier to focus and get things done, not to mention that your productivity will likely improve.
5) Some files are best stored online
Planning ahead is often a good idea, even when it comes to computers. So, if you are working with a file that you'll regularly be opening and editing, and especially if you anticipate using that same file on different computers... why not keep that file in a private folder on-line, for easy reference and maintenance?
There are plenty of free on-line storage services these days, which are the equivalent of having an on-line thumb drive. You can't fit all your files and folders on there, but it's quite handy for keeping important materials at hand, no matter where you go. Start uploading your work in progress and not only will you back it up, but also keep those materials readily available without the need to copy files back and forth between computers.
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