Computers & Technology

By Darryl Budge

Too many photos and videos?

Tips to organise your hard disk drive in preparation for the coming festive season

There are many advantages to a tidy, organised structure to your photos and videos.

  1. Simplify locating lost memories.
  2. Simplify file weeding: delete duplicates and moments you want to forget.
  3. Simplify sharing those filmed moments.
  4. Reduce need for another computer or bigger hard-drive.

General Tips

  1. Set up an electronic filing system that resembles your hard copy filing system. Use the same system for electronic mail messages, Web bookmarks, and your contact address book. This means that you know to look in pretty much the same place for each system.
  2. Keep files you create in your Documents, Pictures or Videos directories. Resist placing them on a new folder under C:\ drive or in C:\Program Files. Many automatic backup programs and picture indexing programs (like Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallary) only look for files in standard locations.

How many folders or sub-folders do you need?

A folder should have at least 10 files in it.

Use either plural or singular case consistently.

Use shortcuts to reference files from one folder to another. eg. Docs 2012, Docs 2013.

? Top Level folders might be organised by:

Name: Especially for those who manage files for an office or who work with many projects.

Date: Especially for tracking work or revisions. eg. Chronological — YR/MO/DA; Seasonal — Quarter-year; Monthly — YR-Mon or Mon-YR.

Type of file: eg. Documents, Spreadsheets, Word processing, Presentations, Graphics

Topic: eg. Schedule, Correspondence, Events, Research, Papers, Posters, Presentations, Web, Letters, Administration, Memo.

Indexing files

If you have a more dispersed organisation of files then consider using a file search tool. In Windows Vista and 7, search is located in the 'Start Menu'.

On Windows 8, putting your mouse right corners brings up the Charms menu, and click on the second option, Search, that looks like a magnifying glass. Choose to search Files rather than only the information in the program you are currently using. Or, you can use the Windows 7 style search: Hit key combination Windows Key + E, then enter your query within the Search Computer box in the upper right.

On a Mac, go to the Spotlight menu located at the far top right.

For versions of Windows prior to Vista, file indexing tends to be clunky, slow, and does not index many types of files. For Windows XP, you can download Windows Search 4 (do a web search) or Copernic Desktop Search (see, Lite version is free). These tools enable searching directly from your desktop from a floating toolbar or the taskbar.

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