Teaching Old Dogs: Keeping Your Computer Files Organized
A recent Web story about the letters assigned to computer drives made us feel like old dogs. Some of us remember that day at work when a computer was plopped on our desk and we were told to start using it. Training, what training? Everything was learn-as-you-go and a bunch of Post-it notes stuck on the desktop monitor to remember it all. With another Post-it under the keyboard for our logon password we were set, or so we thought.
We learned enough about Windows to get by and nothing more. We didn’t learn the easiest and fastest way to accomplish a task on a computer; we learned one way and stuck with it. And years later we’re still stuck with it. Some of us picked up these bad habits:
– We don’t use folders enough. Folders are for organizing computer files just like the folders in a file cabinet. Name them for projects or clients or months or whatever scheme works for you. Also, use folders to organize Web browser bookmarks (favorites) and your e-mail inbox.
– We put file icons on our desktop so we can find them quickly. But what happens when the whole desktop is covered with icons? Good luck finding that file! It’s better to use the My Documents or Documents folder with subfolders.
– We store items in the Recycle Bin or Trash. Do you only need to keep that interim file until the project is complete? Make a desktop folder called “delete later” or something along those lines. That will prevent accidental deletion of the interim file when emptying the Recycle Bin or Trash.
– We use the browser history to remember Web sites. This isn’t a good idea. For one thing, the browser history is long and organized by date. For another, bookmarks can be easily transferred to a new computer and the browser history cannot.
– We don’t back up files. That presentation you just spent all day creating is worth a lot of time. Don’t forget to put a backup somewhere, whether on a network drive, in a cloud account, on a flash drive, or as an attachment in an e-mail to yourself.
– All of us could benefit from a refresher course in computer usage or a course to learn a new program. If your company doesn’t provide what you need, check out the local library, vocational school or community college. And, there are video tutorials on the Web for just about any topic. If you have a Microsoft or Apple retail store nearby, take advantage of the training classes they offer.
We might be old dogs but we need to learn new tricks!