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What is filing on a computer, and how can you use it effectively?

you have had your computer for awhile, you probably have noticed that the hard disk is getting full and you having more and more problems finding your documents. Plus, if your computer is older, you want to back up your files in case of a crash but it isn't so easy when you have files scattered all over the place. If you have a new computer, it is time to set up a filing protocol so that you won't have a mess a few months from now. But where to start?

Know How Your Computer's Filing System Works
If you aren't familiar with how to easily change directories and how the directory trees work, be sure to check this article first: Understanding Your Computer Filing System.

Decide What Folder You Will Keep Your Documents In
Windows based operating systems comes with a My Documents folder that is often the default directory for saving documents.

There was a virus that came out and attached itself to one of your documents and sent it out to everyone in your address book. Seeing the title of someone's personal document enticed the reciepiant to open it. Of course many people were embarrassed that a private document was sent out. That is why many people no longer use their My Documents folder. The decision to use My Documents or another one is up to you but I recommend it for the ease of use because most Windows programs default to save into this directory. If you are worried about security from online hackers or other people using your computer and easily finding the documents then create a new folder on your C drive such as My Stuff or AAA Files (starting the file name with the letter A will make it so that the file will appear on the top of that directory tree).

Create Sub Folders Within Your Document Storage Once you have decided on a folder you will want to create sub-folders to keep everything organized. Most of the newer Windows operating systems have already created a few within the My Documents folder, such as My Pictures and My Videos. Everyone keeps different types of files, but there are some suggestions in this graphic.

Folders for Family Members
You may want to set up folders for each family member either within your main folders or a folder at the top for each family member with sub-folders in each person's.

Where You Shouldn't Save Files and Documents
Many people save files on the desktop because they are so easy to find. This isn't a good idea because files on your desktop drain your memory and slow down your computer.

Backing Up Files and Folders
Remember that all hard drives will eventually fail! Also, all computers will eventually fail to start up. You must back up your files on a regular basis if you want to keep them. If you have your files in one spot instead of scattered all around your hard drive, it is much easier to copy them to a CD or zip drive. When I finish backing up my files, I create a new folder within my main folder called, "backed up". I then drag my files to that folder, so that I don't have to back them up again (as long as I know where the CDs are). Some other files that you will want to back up are your address book and favorites or bookmarks.

Get Organized and Stay Organized
Remember to put your files in the right spot and you will always be able to find them. Try to think about staying organized every time you click the save button.

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