Finding Computer Files Easily

If you looked at my desk and my office you would not think I was very organized. Matter of fact, you might think the exact opposite. Yet, it is interesting that on my computer, I rarely have any issue finding anything. On my computer, I would say that I am very organized and I can tell you that this has been of great value to me and others. I will share some of my secrets with you in case they could benefit you as well.

I find that most people use the standard default directory of 'My Documents' when saving files. The computer defaults to this directory most of the time, so that would be logical. The problem is that it is like having a filing cabinet with no folders and no drawers and you are just throwing papers into the cabinet. Even though it can easily sort them alphabetically or by date, it is still a tedious task to go through and try to find a file. In addition, after a period of time, there are so many files in this folder that it makes it increasingly difficult to find files.

The 'My Documents' folder is several layers below the main directory on your 'C' drive or hard drive. So you first must open c:/documents and settings, then down to 'owner', then down to 'My Documents." I find this very difficult and so here's what I think is a much better way: Create some directories off the root directory so they are first level and then group them by how they can serve you and how you can find them easily. I would recommend learning how to view the program called 'Windows Explorer.' I use this all the time and have a shortcut on my desktop. That program is included in Windows and shows you graphically the filing system on your computer and is very helpful to understand the sequence of the folders and so on.

So, let's say that I was at a dealership and I get a lot of Excel, Word files and a number of PDF files and so on. One file might be related to inventory, another to advertising, another to commissions of my team, another to customer database, etc. If I am looking at the directories in Windows Explorer, I want to create some folders that are near the top so they are easy to find. I choose the letter C, but you could choose another. So, I would make one folder to be C-Inventory, another would be C-Advertising, another C-Sales Staff, another C-Dbase and so on. Now, while in Windows Explorer, I can just click on these files and cut and paste them where I want them and now they go right into the right folders and I know where to find those kind of files.

Next, you can change the default on your MS Word, Excel and other programs to a directory that you would like to use. Usually they default to the 'My Documents' folder, but you just go into Word, click on tools menu, then options, then click on the tab file locations and change the filename and path to what you want. Then save a document and next time you fire it up, all your files will get saved there. Choose a directory that you will use most often. When you are typing something that you know should go in a different folder, when you are ready to save the document, click 'save as' and modify the file folder so that it goes in the preferred folder.

If you are starting this after the fact, you can learn to use Windows Explorer in a few minutes and start cutting and pasting files into the directories that you create where you now want them stored. It shouldn't take very long to get that done unless you didn't type filenames that would help you know what was in that particular file. Now would be a good time to briefly go over that. Whatever file you are saving, try to type a filename that makes sense to you of what that file is, so when you see a bunch of filenames, you will know what that one is without having to open the file. This is a massive time saver and is most beneficial when you are searching for files since you can type in a keyword and find them easily.

Another great reason for doing this is that I can now back up these files quickly and easily onto a CD or DVD depending on how many files I have. What a help that is. No more waiting around to back up the whole computer. All I really need is my files protected. The programs can be reinstalled, but losing my files would be terrible.

I keep business related files in a different place than my personal files. This makes it almost impossible to mix them up. My business files which I am in most often are near the top using C- as the file folder name system. My personal files are down under T- for my first initial, or they could go under P- or anywhere else that makes sense to you.

Watch the default directories on downloads. Make sure it is going in the directory that you want it to. I've been doing this regularly since I learned how to use a computer in the early '80's and the first hard drives were installed. It is a huge help to me and continues to be so. I hope you have found this information useful.

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