I'm Thinking About Clearing My Drives For Organization Purposes?

viewtifulbeau

Estimable
Jul 17, 2015
1
0
4,510
0
Hi,

I'm new to this forum so hopefully I'm asking this question in the correct place. I built my PC a few years ago and never really took the time to properly learn how to organize my files.Now It's become a hassle locating things. I rarely ever created folders when I download software, so very often I'm left clueless on where something is and now I find myself going through file after file until I've located what it is I'm looking for. Then there are programs I've downloaded that I either didn't need or don't want anymore. Locating those sometimes can be a pain.

So after thinking for sometime, I have come to the conclusion that maybe wiping my drives and starting from scratch is the best rout to take. This way I can get rid of the unnecessary things I have on my PC and at the same time learn how to properly organize everything.

Is this a good rout to take? And if so,then how do I go about doing this? Also any tips would be welcomed.

Thank you.
 

Ralston18

Splendid
Moderator
Common enough problem and there are no easy fixes.

Here are my "tips". However, there are many other ways to manage the folders and files. The breakdown is usually in the implementation of the management process.

First backup everything and verify the backup. Cloning the drive is a good way to get everything. Label and put the backup and/or cloned drive safely aside.

If you have unused apps, uninstall them. Doing so may clean and clear out their respective files and folders.

Then run CCleaner (free, well-respected) or some similar app on your system. Doing so should clean out all sorts of unused odds and ends. (Skip registry cleaning.)

There are several utility programs that will search your system for duplicate files: Name, date, and size are used for comparison purposes. Some of those programs will identify duplicate files for you and let you select candidates (duplicates) for deletion. I use the utilities to identify the duplicates but manage the disposition on my own.

If your system has a hard drive, defrag it. (Do not defrag SSDs.)

See where things stand thereafter.

Then focus on the remaining folders - especially your data folders. If you have another drive, NAS, external USB, etc., start COPYING the existing folders to the second drive but plan out the organization beforehand.

E.g., Create a folder "All_Photos" and copy in every folder with photographs along with any stray photographs. Purge out any stray files/file types(.pdf, .zip, .csv, .doc) as you go. Put those strays into an applicably named folder of their own. Be sure to rename folders and files to something relevant or meaningful as you go.

(Yes, you will end up with multiple folder and file copies. The original files and folders all mixed up, but then a set of copies organized as you require.)

Once the various file types are collected in their own folders you probably will be able to start deleting the original folders and files.

Some software will re-create necessary folders and files if not found when the software is started. Let that happen.

Then apply your own "rules". For example I have a folder named "Downloads". Anything downloaded goes to that folder. Every so often I look at the contents and either delete the files or move the files to folders such as "References", "Work", "Applications & Tools", "Spreadsheets", etc..

I also have two folders: "Archives" for stuff that is probably no longer directly useful but just might be needed again. And "Trash" for stuff that I am almost sure that I want to get rid off but not quite ready to put into the Recycle Bin. Both the Archive and Trash folders get purged every so often. Files therein are considered expendable.

Do not try to do it all at once. Focus on one particular file type at a time. Use subfolders. E.g., Folder = Spreadsheets. Subfolders: Taxes-2015, Taxes-2016, etc.

Three comments:

1) The most important part is not to lose anything important. 2) The second most important part is to establish a folder and file hierarchy that meets your requirements. 3) Third most important part is to apply the self-discipline to use #2.

But I give myself a loophole. If unsure where to put a file because it does not fit into my filing structure per se then I just put the file closest to where I will most likely be needing it. A .pdf about taxes will end up in subfolder "Taxes-2017" in the Spreadsheets Taxes folder.

Note: Downloading stuff was the main reason for clutter within my system.

Will add that I have really reduced my downloading. More secure and saves drive space. And downloaded files often become outdated very quickly. For the most part, I can readily go back and find something online especially if I bookmark the location for something of interest.

Next task is to clean up my Bookmarks - again. Same process. :)
 

Ralston18

Splendid
Moderator
Common enough problem and there are no easy fixes.

Here are my "tips". However, there are many other ways to manage the folders and files. The breakdown is usually in the implementation of the management process.

First backup everything and verify the backup. Cloning the drive is a good way to get everything. Label and put the backup and/or cloned drive safely aside.

If you have unused apps, uninstall them. Doing so may clean and clear out their respective files and folders.

Then run CCleaner (free, well-respected) or some similar app on your system. Doing so should clean out all sorts of unused odds and ends. (Skip registry cleaning.)

There are several utility programs that will search your system for duplicate files: Name, date, and size are used for comparison purposes. Some of those programs will identify duplicate files for you and let you select candidates (duplicates) for deletion. I use the utilities to identify the duplicates but manage the disposition on my own.

If your system has a hard drive, defrag it. (Do not defrag SSDs.)

See where things stand thereafter.

Then focus on the remaining folders - especially your data folders. If you have another drive, NAS, external USB, etc., start COPYING the existing folders to the second drive but plan out the organization beforehand.

E.g., Create a folder "All_Photos" and copy in every folder with photographs along with any stray photographs. Purge out any stray files/file types(.pdf, .zip, .csv, .doc) as you go. Put those strays into an applicably named folder of their own. Be sure to rename folders and files to something relevant or meaningful as you go.

(Yes, you will end up with multiple folder and file copies. The original files and folders all mixed up, but then a set of copies organized as you require.)

Once the various file types are collected in their own folders you probably will be able to start deleting the original folders and files.

Some software will re-create necessary folders and files if not found when the software is started. Let that happen.

Then apply your own "rules". For example I have a folder named "Downloads". Anything downloaded goes to that folder. Every so often I look at the contents and either delete the files or move the files to folders such as "References", "Work", "Applications & Tools", "Spreadsheets", etc..

I also have two folders: "Archives" for stuff that is probably no longer directly useful but just might be needed again. And "Trash" for stuff that I am almost sure that I want to get rid off but not quite ready to put into the Recycle Bin. Both the Archive and Trash folders get purged every so often. Files therein are considered expendable.

Do not try to do it all at once. Focus on one particular file type at a time. Use subfolders. E.g., Folder = Spreadsheets. Subfolders: Taxes-2015, Taxes-2016, etc.

Three comments:

1) The most important part is not to lose anything important. 2) The second most important part is to establish a folder and file hierarchy that meets your requirements. 3) Third most important part is to apply the self-discipline to use #2.

But I give myself a loophole. If unsure where to put a file because it does not fit into my filing structure per se then I just put the file closest to where I will most likely be needing it. A .pdf about taxes will end up in subfolder "Taxes-2017" in the Spreadsheets Taxes folder.

Note: Downloading stuff was the main reason for clutter within my system.

Will add that I have really reduced my downloading. More secure and saves drive space. And downloaded files often become outdated very quickly. For the most part, I can readily go back and find something online especially if I bookmark the location for something of interest.

Next task is to clean up my Bookmarks - again. Same process. :)
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
S Apps General Discussion 1
S Apps General Discussion 2
Z Apps General Discussion 8
C Apps General Discussion 2
N Apps General Discussion 6
R Apps General Discussion 2
QuestionableUsername Apps General Discussion 16
M Apps General Discussion 3
M Apps General Discussion 1
emtasty123 Apps General Discussion 1
S Apps General Discussion 4
D Apps General Discussion 2
R Apps General Discussion 4
O Apps General Discussion 2
J Apps General Discussion 3
K Apps General Discussion 5
S Apps General Discussion 29
Z Apps General Discussion 1
Brett4u6 Apps General Discussion 2
P Apps General Discussion 2

ASK THE COMMUNITY