Most computers will automatically save your data to the hard drive, usually known as the C drive. This is the most common place to store files. However, if your computer crashes, your data could be lost, so it's important to always back up important files. When deciding where else to store your files other than on your computer, you have a variety of options.
Storing your computer files on a disc, such as a CD or DVD, is an easy approach to organizing files you don't want to keep on your computer. CDs come in two different formats: R and RW. With the CD-R option, you can copy files to the disc only one time, and you cannot edit or replace what is on the disc. The CD-RW option allows you to edit or add files to the disc at any time. There's an easy way to remember -- R stands for "recordable," and RW stands for "re-writeable." Using a DVD to store files is great if you are working with very large files or multiple images, but you will need a DVD burner to copy files to this type of disc. One disadvantage to using discs for storage is that they can easily be scratched, damaged or even lost.
Another option for file storage is a USB device. Most computers have a USB port. You simply plug in the USB device, then click on and drag your files to the appropriate destination. Many USB devices, such as the pocket-sized flash drives or thumb drives, are easily transportable but also easy to lose. You can also plug in an external hard drive unit to your USB port on your computer. These types of devices can store large amounts of data, but they aren't quite as easy to transport as a flash or thumb drive.
You can also store your data on a secure storage area network. These networks can provide a location in which there are multiple remote hard drives, each one of them backing up the others so that even if several fail, your data will still be safe [source: Ferris State University].
After you have organized your files, the only thing left to do is a little maintenance every once in a while. Keeping your computer files organized will increase your productivity and allow your system to run at its best.
For more information on maintaining your computer and keeping your data organized, check out the links on the next page.