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Can You Find Effective Help Online For “How To Organize Your Computer”?

There are numerous online articles about organizing your computer.  What’s fascinating to me is that most (pretty much ALL) of them miss the mark when it comes to actually organizing so you can find files fast! Let me give you specific examples.

“How to organize your computer to find information faster”

If you google “how to organize a computer,” the #1 listing is a article, “How to organize your computer to find information faster,” giving you these tasks for better organization:

  1. Clear out your old, unnecessary files;
  2. Back up important files;
  3. Clean out your email;
  4. Organize and clear out your Internet files

If you’re like me, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering, “Where’s the organization info?”  All 4 of those things should be done, no question, but will any of them help you find your files faster or more effectively organize your system?  The answer is clearly NO.

The article suggests “you might want to consider saving these items:”

  • Tax and legal information
  • Project-related files
  • Favorite digital images from the year
  • Plans you could leverage for future projects
  • Important email messages
  • Customer information

That’s better, but still a far cry from an actual systemTowards the end, for Internet organization you’re offered, “To organize your Favorites in Internet Explorer, on the Favorites menu, click Organize Favorites.”  It also recommends installing IE 8 or 9.  If you want some concrete examples of how to organize your computer, download the free chapter of my book, “Computer Chaos Control.”  If you want a system for great computer organization, buy the book.  In 20 minutes you’ll be so glad you got it!  If you’ve ever spent more than five minutes looking for something in your computer, go get that book!

The second article google lists is on the popular software review/download site,, titled “How to Organize Your Computer:  Look at ways you can get your computer organized,” by Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder. His advice is much more helpful and on target:

“Early on in my use of computers I realized it was important to know where you had things. If you can’t find a thing than it’s basically like you don’t have it at all, right? Now, keep in mind that the advice I’m going to give is stricly my opinion. I don’t know if anyone has written a definitive guide to organizing your computer, but I’m sure if they did that was their opinion too.”

Mr. Callahan then proceeds to layout a brief action plan for Documents, Downloads, and Program Organization, which touches on some of the initial parts of the system explained in “Computer Chaos Control.”  For “Documents,” he tells you to create the following folders (and USE them!):

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Family
  • Taxes
  • Scouts
  • And so on

Under “Downloads,” he says, “If you always save downloads to the same place you can’t lose one. You’ll always know where the files you’ve downloaded have gone.”  That’s a very good start to a useful folder system.   Then for “Program Organization,” Dr. File Finder tells us this critical policy:

every computer I own has a similar directory (folder) structure.   Why?  Well, primarily because it makes everyone feel comfortable no matter what comptuer they’re on.  That’s one of the big reasons behind the success of the fast food giants like McDonalds and Burger King and Taco Bell — familiarity.  You can go into a McDonalds in New York or one in Los Angeles and they’re pretty much the same.  Makes you feel at home and comfortable.  It all seems very familiar.  Why shouldn’t your computer be the same way?

Then he maps out another folder directory, revealing that “All of my data and most of my programs are on Drive D and the directory structure of every Drive D on every computer is the same.  Each folder is for specific types of programs.  So, a list of the folders looks like this:

  • Comm
  • Data
  • Editorial
  • Email
  • Internet
  • Tools
  • Utilities

Callahan concludes, “Having this uniformity on multiple computers also makes it easier to synchronize files between computers. … Every ‘My Documents’ folder has the same subfolders.  And they are synchronized at regular intervals.  So, if my entire computer were to crash and even my backups were destroyed virtually every file could be found on another computer on my network. Redundancy! It’s as good as a backup.”

Think of your computer like you would your house.  If you just dropped things wherever you happened to be in your house, soon you wouldn’t be able to find anything.  Garbage, papers, clothes, toys, cans, bottles, milk jugs — yeah, it would be a mess.  Instead, most people have a special place for trash, a hamper for clothes, a recycling bin for bottles and cans.  There’s a place for everything and everything should be in its place. … Your computer should be no different.

You can see the first two articles found from searching online for “How to Organize Your Computer” will return some helpful info, but if you’re looking for a complete system to find files fast, you won’t find it anywhere other than here at

JC, The Technology Doctor

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