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Organize your files on your PC

Click and Hack
The Computer Store

Why is it that so many people are meticulous about organizing their papers, recipes and DVDs, but when it comes to their computers, they struggle to find the files they need and can no longer see their family photo on the desktop due to a mountain of files strewn across the screen?

Not only is it frustrating to try to work with scattered files, but storing multiple files on the desktop can negatively impact your computer’s performance.

Following are seven steps for better file management.



n To get and stay organized, establish a structure to your filing system and stick with it. Think of your hard drive as one big filing cabinet where you store your work and personal items. You can’t just throw documents in at random.

n Start by determining a single location (folder) for your files, whether on your “C” drive, a network drive or other location. Do not use your PC’s desktop. Multiple files saved on the desktop can slow your boot-up and, more importantly, block your view to your personal wallpaper.



– Use Microsoft’s default, “My Documents.” Using this default offers a couple of advantages ” it is easy, and the folder is part of your personal profile, so your files will automatically be kept separate from other users.

– Get even more organized by creating sub-folders within your main folder. You can set up one for each employee, family member, or category (finances, music, pictures). “My Documents” comes with subcategories built in (My Music, My Pictures). Keep in mind, however, that one drawback of creating deep sub-folders is that it can take several clicks to open a document from the “File>Open” window. To overcome this drawback …

– Use the “Recently Used File List” to access files quickly. Get in the habit of making use of this handy little Microsoft feature with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. By default, the last four files you used in each application will be stored at the bottom of the File pull down menu.



If you’re like most users, though, four won’t be enough, so expand the list via the Tools>Options>General tab, or consult the Help function.

– Know where “non-typical” files are saved. Some programs, such as e-mail, address books, favorites and files created with non-Microsoft programs (like QuickBooks), store files in a variety of places on your hard drive by default. Be sure to change the settings to save to your preferred location or, at the very least, to take note of where the files are stored.

– Now that you’re organized, remember to back up, which is a snap with one main folder for all your files. Simply drag the folder to a network directory, jump drive or other storage device, or use one of several readily available back-up programs. Don’t forget about the “non-typical” files mentioned above.


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