Keep your computer files organized to make them easy to find and access.

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Your personal computer can be a wonderful tool. It can provide you access to the Internet, give you a place to store photos and documents, and allow you to easily do many tasks that might have once been difficult. However, your computer can become as cluttered as your desk if you don't know how to keep it organized. Keeping the files on your computer in order will allow you to gain access to them more quickly.

If you have had your computer for a while, odds are you have accumulated many files, photos and e-mails that you simply no longer need. Having a bunch of unused files on your computer can eventually lead to a slowdown of your operating system and may make finding what you really need a chore. Organizing the files on your computer may not have even crossed your mind. Many people think of actual documents -- written or printed -- when they think of files, but you will learn that the files on your computer can become just as disorganized as any pile of paper.

When setting up a filing system on your computer, you can choose to follow whatever system works best for you. Whether by date, description or a combination of both, there should be a way that makes sense to you and accomplishes your ultimate goal of getting your desktop and hard drive organized.

So where do you begin? First, you need to take stock of what you have and determine its importance. You may not want or need to keep everything that is stored on your computer. You may even decide to store some of your files externally on a source other than your computer. Read on to the next section to get tips on how to take an accurate inventory of the files on your computer.