Life can be chaotic at times.
Your computer can be a prime example of this chaos – particularly if you don’t manage your data in an organized way. Files tend to get thrown haphazardly throughout the system. Icons can quickly clutter your desktop. Even those folders that are supposed to keep files neatly in their place sometimes become a jungle to traverse.
So, what is the best way to organize your files?
Organizing Your Desktop
That wallpaper that appears after you log in might be a picture you absolutely love – if only you could see it.
It’s not uncommon for your desktop to be the most cluttered area of your computer. Numerous applications, short-cuts and files dot the screen. Yet, there’s not a cohesive way to find anything once you get to the point of complete clutter.
It’s time to organize your desktop.
Consider removing unused icons and shortcuts. What remains can be categorized into folders. You can also download special wallpapers that have built-in categories for your data.
A clean desktop not only looks better, but it will allow you to find what you need quickly.
Finding Harmony in Using Folders
As mentioned, folders are a great way to keep items. Storing related documents, for example, in a single folder can make them easier to find later – sort of like a filing cabinet. If you are asking yourself “how do I organize folders on my computer?” you have reached the right section.
You could also create a root folder for all your documents and then nest folders below it for each type of document (documents, music, pictures and so on). There are many ways to organize these folders, but be sure and adhere to logical names and ordering. It will make it easier to dig things up later.
At the same time, be careful how deep you nest these folders. After a while, things can get convoluted and result in trading one problem for another.
Keep Only What You Need
You’ll tend to accumulate a lot of data over time. That’s okay if it’s all being put to good use, but this typically isn’t the case. You can help to organize your files by removing items that are simply taking up space.
You might be surprised at how many files seem to replicate over time.
Documents that end up being copied instead of moved can start to add up. Stay in the habit of moving (or cut and paste) versus copying.
It’s also possible that you created duplicates on purpose for backup purposes. While this may seem like a good idea, there are better ways to accomplish this.
For one, you can use the built-in Windows backup methods – File History or System Image Backup. These tools can do more than just back up certain files. Your entire system can also be protected. There are plenty of third-party software options as well.
It’s better to remove something you’re not using. Not only does this clean up some of the clutter, but can also free up resources.
Use the Apps & Features utility to accomplish this.
Delete Other Unnecessary Files
Old installation packages and files that were downloaded can be removed. Even if you might need to reinstall an application someday, it’s likely there will be an updated version of it you can obtain.
The operating system and other applications create temporary files that can cause performance issues over time.
In Windows 10, you can clean up system files by finding (using the search box on the taskbar) and clicking on the Disk cleanup utility. You can choose the desired drive and then select multiple types of files to purge.
On older versions of Windows, you can right-click the drive, choose Properties and then select Disk Cleanup.
Use External Devices and Services
For those items that you want to keep but don’t necessarily want taking up space (or becoming an eyesore), you may want to transfer them to an external source.
External hard drives or thumb drives can be effective repositories for items not used often. Most of these are USB devices and can be quickly plugged in for access.
There are many services offered for cloud storage – OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, to name a few.
The strength of this approach is that you get to remove items from your computer while still having access to them – from anywhere or any device.
Other Software that Can Use Some Organization
Aside from files and folders, there are other items to consider.
Device Drivers are types of software that keep your hardware running smoothly. If these don’t get attention, they can become outdated. When that happens, your computer can become less stable.
Software, such as Driver Support, can keep this updated automatically so you won’t have to worry about them.
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