written by Mark Veldhoff posted on Feb 6, 2020
If you’re anything like me, your computer is less organized than you’d like, and that might be putting it generously. When you try to find the report you started typing up in Microsoft Word last week, you spend way too long searching a documents folder full of individual files or a desktop that’s cluttered with shortcuts and documents. In the words of every infomercial narrator, “there has to be a better way!”
Well, you’re in luck, because there is a better way! Sadly, there’s no magic solution for organizing your digital files. However, there are three simple strategies and solutions you can use to clean up your computer, free up hard drive space, and ensure your files are safe and easy to find.
“But where’s the payoff?” you might ask. “I don’t have time to organize my computer.” The real question is, do you have time not to organize your digital files?
Organizing your digital files can help:
- Increase your efficiency by cutting down on time spent searching for files.
- Reduce your stress by de-cluttering your digital workspace and saving needed hard drive space.
- Protect your family or business by ensuring important documents are stored safely.
So, what are you waiting for?
1. Store Files in the Cloud
The number one step you can take towards an efficient, stress-free, and protected digital life is storing your files in the cloud.
If you’re not familiar with the cloud, it’s a lot less mysterious than it sounds! The cloud simply refers to servers that are connected to the internet and used to store data. Companies like Microsoft own and operate servers and allow their customers to use them for data storage. Upload your files to a cloud service like Microsoft’s OneDrive, and your data is there for you to access via the internet whenever you need it.
Storing your data in a cloud service has many benefits ranging from enhanced search features to restoring previous versions of documents, but perhaps the biggest reason people choose cloud storage solutions is to prevent the loss of important files. If all your important documents are stored only on your computer’s hard drive, what happens when your computer is damaged, lost, or stolen? When your files live in the cloud, they’re being stored on servers in a controlled environment with backup and security measures in place, meaning that your data is much safer than if it was stored only on your device. And when it comes time to get a new computer, you won’t spend hours making sure every little file is moved to the new PC. Your files are already in the cloud, waiting for you to access them!
2. Create a Commonsense Folder Structure
So you’ve stored all your files safely in the cloud, but what if you can’t remember the name of the file you’re looking for? No matter what keywords you search, you can’t find the document you downloaded a few months back – you know, one of those files that ends up getting named “201921_adblkweife#%21230947.pdf”. Unless you remember the name of that file (which is unlikely) you’ll be hard-pressed to find it amongst the hundreds of other files in your OneDrive.
This is where a folder structure can save the day! Creating nested or layered folders based on categories or file types makes it clear exactly where each document should be stored.
For example, while you might not remember what the name of that PDF document was, you probably remember it was a report on the company’s Q3 financials. If you’ve implemented a commonsense folder structure, you could simply go to your documents folder, click on your Financial Reports folder, click on the folder for the current year, and find your Q3 folder, along with the file you need, right where it belongs.
You can create this type of file structure inside a cloud service like OneDrive and mirror it to your computer, making it even easier to know where all your files are stored.
3. Clean up old files
It happens to everyone. Over the years of using the same computer, old files pile up like the weird gifts your second cousin gets you for Christmas every year. You know it needs to happen, but for some reason, it’s so difficult to go through all the junk and finally haul it off to a donation store.
Just like unused items clutter a house, unused files clutter a computer, taking up precious hard drive space, and keeping the computer from performing as well as it should. Perhaps you’ve wanted to save a document or install a new program only to find there’s not enough room on your hard drive, forcing you to start the time-consuming process of deciding which files should go and which should stay. Or maybe when you try to search a folder, you have to wait several minutes for it to parse through 100 gigabytes worth of files.
You could take the time to clean up old files every month, or you could have OneDrive do it for you!
OneDrive offers a feature called “files on demand”, which means only the files you use regularly are downloaded on your computer. The rest are stored in the cloud and will only be downloaded when you need them. You can adjust the settings in OneDrive to remove files from your computer that haven’t been touched in weeks or months (or years!), freeing up that space on your hard drive. Don’t worry, those files are still there and will show up in their folders, but don’t actually take up room on your computer.
So there you have it – three simple steps to taking control of your digital life. Store your files in the cloud for safety and searchability, create a commonsense folder structure to de-clutter and improve efficiency, and let OneDrive clean up your old files to free up space on your hard drive and keep your computer running like new.
At Envizion IT, we love Microsoft OneDrive and we’re confident it offers our clients secure cloud storage, file search capabilities, file sharing, easy collaboration, and more.
If you want to take advantage of all Microsoft has to offer in cloud solutions, contact us today to learn more about the cost-effective solutions Envizion IT offers to drive our customers’ success.
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