Don’t save files on your Desktop! and other File Management lessons…
We get many calls from people complaining about slow computers and when we connect in, the Desktop is filled with files. The Desktop might just be the worst place you can save files to because it actually makes your computer start and run slower. Every time your computer has to display the Desktop, it must identify and load everything that is on the Desktop. The more files on your Desktop the longer this process takes. The solution? Don’t save files on your Desktop!
Where should you save Files?
On your home PC the answer is easy: Save your files in the Documents folder. Every Windows computer has a Documents (or My Documents) folder for each user. You will see it in your Start Menu or in Windows Explorer. Most software you install (including MS Office) will automatically save files in the Documents folder.
On a business network you will usually have the option (or requirement) to save files on a file server. Usually this is accessed through a special network drive letter (F drive or S drive, etc.). Saving files on a network drive allows multiple users to access the same files and allows you to enforce security that restricts access to authorized users. Also, network drives are usually backed-up in order to protect against deleted files or hardware failures.
Some businesses are now using Cloud hosted File Sharing systems (like our CloudSync service) that work just like a Cloud hosted file server. Cloud File Sharing systems provide a hybrid solution by saving files on your local computer and on a server. All the files are saved on a server in the Cloud but you work with them and save them as local files on your computer. The File Sharing system will create a folder on your local hard drive and anything in that folder is automatically synced up to the server in the cloud. Because the files are synced back to a central server in the cloud you get all the benefits of local file access and all the benefits of having your files on a server.
Please note that all File Sharing systems are not created equal. Some systems like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive were originally designed for personal use. These systems will sync files between a PC and the Cloud but they have limited security and few to no capabilities for automatically sharing files with other users in your organization. Business grade systems like our CloudSync service provide better security and features, including the ability create Shared Folders on the server that can be accessed by multiple users just as you would with a traditional file server in your office.
No matter where you save your files, remember that saving files on your computer is exactly like saving them in a file cabinet. In order to easily find your files later, you will want to organize them into folders and sub-folders just as you would in a file cabinet. It can be helpful to imagine that the each drive letter (F drive, S drive, etc.) is like a file cabinet. Each top level folder (Customers, Vendors, Accounting, etc.) is like a drawer in the cabinet. Within the drawer you have a bunch of folders for each customer, vendor, etc. The files are then saved inside of the appropriate folder.
Call us to make a plan! If you are not sure what the best option is for your business, call us and we will help you identify your needs and make a plan that makes sense for you.
Here are some general tips for saving and accessing your files:
- Create Shortcuts on your desktop to point to the locations where you save files.
- Shortcuts are icons on your desktop that quickly link you to where the files are actually saved. (Just like bookmarks in your web browser provide quick links to your frequently accessed web sites)
- To create a shortcut on your Desktop just find the folder you want and then right click on it. Click on “Send to” from the menu that pops up and select “Desktop”
- Add your storage locations to the Library
- Libraries are a special type of shortcut that have their own section in Windows Explorer just like each drive letter does. Your computer comes with some default Libraries like: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc.
- To add your folders to a Library just find the folder to you want and then right click on it. Click on “Include in Library” and then choose which library to add it to.
- Don’t save your personal pictures, music and movies on a server. This take lots of space on the server and data backup.
- Do not manually duplicate files. If more than one person needs a file then save it in a shared location on a server where all the users that need it can access it.
- Backup your data! – Whether it is your personal files on your home computer or your business files on your server, you need a data backup. If you do not backup your files you will lose them. It is just a matter of when you lose them.