Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Organize Computer Files


Taking Inventory of Computer Files

Once you decide to organize your computer files and take stock of what you have, you need to decide what stays and what goes. While you are in the process of taking inventory, you should also take the time to back up all the files you deem important, especially any personal files.

You may want to try a systematic approach to sorting through your files. For example, instead of just diving right in, you may want to start by separating all of the photos and images and going through them first. You might be surprised at how many pictures you have. You can always transfer some or all of these images to a CD or external hard drive to give yourself some extra space on your computer. Or you could try going through all of your Word documents first and weed out the ones you won't be using again. However you decide to proceed, remember that the effort you spend getting your computer organized now will probably make finding important files easier later, saving you both time and energy.

Watch out for doubles of pictures and images when you are performing your inventory. If you upload pictures from a digital camera and do not delete the images from the memory card, the next time you go to upload photos, you may unintentionally upload duplicates of images you have already stored.

Try to be realistic about what needs to be stored on your computer, and keep in mind that less is usually more. Check out the next section to get some tips on different methods for organizing your files.


More to Explore