How and Where do you Save Files?

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Where do you save your files? Do you have any particular folder on your computer? Or… are you one of those people who forgets to save their work? The bottom line is, I want to know how and where you save files. I have a top five here from Nick, to give you some tips on where and how to save your files.

Tip 1 Always finish a file you save with 001 at the end of the file name. Then, when you make any changes, save the next version as

002, and so on. This way, you create a revisioning system in case anything ever happens and you need to revert.

Tip 2 Always save your file in the right folder, especially if you’re working on a specific project. Save all work related to this in one particular folder, and even use SubFolders. You can also use a desktop search tool, such as Copernic Desktop Search.

Tip 3 No matter what you’re doing, save often. For faster saving, use CTRL + S to save your files.

Tip 4 Back up important files. Copy them onto an external hard drive, flash drive, or an external website.

Tip 5 Always save to the correct file type. For example, with a simple Photoshop file, save it as a .jpg or .png. Keep in mind what you’ll be using the file for in the future when you choose your file extension.


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134 thoughts on “How and Where do you Save Files?”

  1. Pingback: TechTV Reunion
  2. Well, I tend to save all of my files in Documents (no form of organization). I find that this is not an problem for me seeing as I use the program Quicksilver to quickly find the File I am looking for. I also back up my Important data to free/almost free file hosting such as File Dropper (Using my digg Free Discount 🙂 ), That way I can always access that data that I need on a daily basis, aside from at home. For some reason though, on OS X I seem to save no Files on the desktop. But that is aside from the point. Thanks for the Great tips!


  3. Very nice blog post Chris, I will definitely use your method of saving, for me I just save my files with what the file is. For example of its a picture of me, I just save it has “me.” I will use your method and thanks so much for showing me this very helpful tip!

    Thanks Chris!

  4. I save all my documents in seprate folders on the desktop that way there all where I can find them on my computer!!

  5. I usually save my files where-ever my computer suggests, then i never find them… Not the smartest thing to do, but i do love spotlight.. And yes, i usually do remember the filename…

    My tips for saving files is to keep control of them, the operating system comes with standard folders, and you might want to use them, forexample, you dont save music in your pictures folder.. Noone does, i hope.. But save em in smart places, make backups, even if the file is not important to you, you might want to do it anyway..


  6. Dear Chris,
    about “Tip 4 Back up important files. Copy them onto an external hard drive, flash drive, or an external website”
    I don’t know how to back up my system or at least my data.
    I don’t have the chance to get a second HD for backup purposes, so I was thinking of an external website.
    Consider that I am on slow dial-up.
    Do you have suggestions for me (where is optimal to upload with these premises)?
    thank you

  7. I don’t know if Microsoft Word has this feature but versioning support is built in to

    1. Save a new file or open a saved file in Writer.
    2. Click Versions under the File menu.
    3. Check Always save a new version on closing.
    4. Click Close.

    Now that file will retain a history of all changes you make and you can go back to or compare changes from any previous version through the versions dialog.

    Also, always save Photoshop files as PSDs, then save a copy as whatever other image you need.

    Finally, if you use Windows XP and you don’t want another process eating up disk access and disk space, but you still want to search, try using Open Menu+ or something else that uses Windows’ built in indexing engine instead of constantly re-indexing all your files.


  8. Anyone with a lot of data that cant be replaced might want to look into a couple different sources to back up there work. One of the best ones would be to get a NAS (Network Attached Storage) As well as doing a monthly or quarterly backup to dvd/cd.
    I make a backup from my dedicated server to the 2nd harddrive every day and a backup to another server every week. On my home pc I do a full backup every month. I also do a backup of my backup server every other month…Ya I don’t want to loose my files

  9. I organise all my net downloads for example into a folder on a separate drive.
    It has a series of sub-folders that separate it into common categories (ie Browser, Games, Multimedia, Filesharing, System, Tweaktools etc. These groups again have further sub-folders that name either a specific Program, or if I have a whole lot of the same type of programs – a folder to nominate what that group is, with further subfolders nominating what program is inside.

    I had to use this system as a direct result of being a Gmomie all these years, and all those files that Chris has been recommending. But one thing I will add as my number one tip (or is it actually 2) for when downloading a file from the net for purusal is …..
    “When saving a file from the net – save a copy of the Homepage that explains what the software is desigined to do in the same folder” … and
    “Save the Program Version Number in the downloaded file name”

    That way – if you are trolling your downloads folder, it is extremely easy to decipher what a specific download does, and if you end up with multiple versions of the same program, which one is the most up-to-date.

    One of these downloads that I love is Fast Folders (by BernieB) then is a great assistant in short-cutting me to specific folders, as it is easy to nominate a specific folder in the setup, and 2 clicks from the FF icon in the Traybar and the folder in question is open (or it can be only one click if it happens to be the default folder that you want to open).

    My other tip is to move all those icons that every program insists on placing during an instalation just into one folder on the desktop (Mine is the “Extras” folder – which is accessable via FF with the one click as it is my default folder…). that way it can save me …
    a) having a crowded desktop, and
    b) save having to minimise eveything to see your destop or delve thought the start menu.



  10. I am a saving freak! I have to save often and I save to the proper folders as I go so as to keep my desktop nice and clean. I even get mad at video games when they don’t offer regular save points. I have a all my data organized in specific folders, ex. art (by artist)… music (by genre)… wallpapers (by colors)… videos (by subject), etc. Then I have a “sort” folder where I put everything that I don’t have time to sort at the moment. I create and convert a ton of icons and various works in Photoshop and I would hate to have that content all over the place. Maybe I am too obsessive, but I cannot stand a messy desktop virtual or physical… yeah, I guess I’m a neat freak.

  11. Great tips! Like most of us, I suspect, I learned this lesson early and hard. The suggestion about saving your files numerically is actually pretty smart, and I might use that while editing images. If the photo editing is time consuming, it goes without saying that you should save in an uncompressed format, like bmp, psp, png, or something equivalent. Best,

  12. Great tips! I like many here I suspect learned this lesson early and hard. I espessialy like the suggestion about saving files numerically, and I think I will try this while editing images in photo shop. BTW, I’m a new fan of png’s, and I can’t believe I didn’t use them sooner! I really love them. Best,

  13. I tend to be anal about where my files get saved. I have a folder called “DLoads” that is then broken into 3 subfolders: “temp”, “nix setups”, “windows setups”. Mp3s go in their own mp3 folder with subfolders for each artist and subfolders under that for each album. Told you…anal, but I like knowing exactly where to look for a specific file.

  14. Like the tip for the revision name scheme I never really thought of doing that before.

    I also make pdf of many documents once I’ve finished them so that I have a persistent and “non-editable” version.

    I also use MS Office Groove which is a collaboration software that allows me and anyone to access the documents from any computer with permission and Groove installed. It useful to me as a student when I want to access files on both my desktop and laptop. It syncs and stores the files online automatically not sure how it works.

    Excellent list. I would add that the file name should not only describe the file’s content but also its context. This ensure that if a file gets moved from a particular folder you can determine what it is by name alone.

  15. Back in the DOS days, it was common to use file extensions to identify the type of file – memo, letter, etc. Now that Windows requires the extension to identify the source application, I use prefixes to identify the type of file: MEMsmithconf.doc, LTRJoeSmith.doc, etc.

  16. I save the majority of my documents on my hard drive in a nice organized fashion. I then have Time Machine setup to do daily backups because hourly is just too much in my opinion. If I have something that I want to be able to access in multiple locations, I upload them to my Windows Live Skydrive Account.

    Just a side note based on the tips that “Nick” gave. Tip 1 actually conflicts with Tip 3. If you use “Control S” if will save it but it will not give you the option to save with a revision number tag in the filename. To do revision tags you have to use the “Save As” feature in the program.

  17. For me, My files always start within the My Documents structure built into Microsoft With my writing and such they always end up emailed to my wife for editing and revision so they end up in the msn shared folder. Then of course I like to share them with friends and get a second or third opinion, so they end up in my google docs. I’m sure you can see where this is headed. By the time I’m done, I’ve got three or four versions of the same file saved in different places about the net..

  18. Hey, Chris! I’ve gotten in the habit of saving every 10-15 minutes, and I use Mac’s Time Machine for backups. I’ve restored backups through Time Machine, and it worked perfectly.

  19. Those are some great tips and I actually use some of them. I store my files in folders with sub folders. Then I put them on a external drive so if something happen to my computer the would be safe. I mean I use back-up all my things on cds or dvds but i got to many and the started to pile so i bought a couple of external drive instead of wasting cds and dvds.

  20. hmmm… this topic seems to be so common… nothing much to comment in this one but i would like to add another tip, which is to put security settings on the file or folder where the file was saved in order to put the file in secure mode…. that’s all…

  21. For business and personal data I bought a netgear nv+ file server with 1gb memory, gigabit lan, 3T of storage ( before raid 5 ), ftp and web server built in. Within 2 months, one of the new seagate drives failed and the unit never skipped a beat beyond emailing me a notification of the drive failure. The vendor replaced the drive, but now I have a fifth drive sitting next to the file server to minimize future risk if I lose another drive. Great piece of hardware!!! size is around 10 x 10 x 8 and fan cooled. prices have gone up since I bought my unit. Now around $2300 from online vendors with drives included. I put the drives in mine and paid about $1750 total.

  22. While a lot of people might, and should already know tips 2-4, tip number one would probably be new. Well at least for me.

    And when this practise becomes mainstream, perhaps future software could tap into this filename revisioning method to revert to your older versions of the file you’re working on. Graphic designers would love this feature on their favourite graphical software.

  23. for the longest time Files were scattered all over my desktop, some in the home folder some in places I wanted to save one thing I downloaded but forgot to change the download location and ended up saving tons of stuff to say my mIRC scripts folder. Now I use just three folders all located on my desktop for easy access: Documents, Downloads, Media. After than it breaks up into subfolders, like Downloads has Firefox and thunderbird download folders, media has pic, music, video folders, and documents has papers, notes scripts.
    When I redid my folder structure I decided to to not make the folder go more than 3 subfolders in, going any farther makes it so the folders are either too hard to find, or simply unneccesity, ie one thing in each.

  24. I save my files on my computer in about 2 or 3 different subdirectories, organized by type of data (ie. pictures, documents, spreadsheets, etc.).

    Then I routinley back those directorys up for data loss prevention.

    Simple Answer!

  25. i have 2 drives one usb and one inside the case i try and make 2 copies of everthing but over time it adds up to a large amount of data witch kinda sucks run out of space quick

  26. When working on Windows, I’ve got my clients folder, and a client folder for each client, split into projects etc.

    When browsing the internet and download random files/program I usually chuck it on the desktop or have a Downloads for in My Documents where I dump every under categorised folders.
    The desktop sometimes get abit out of hand if you don’t get to everything, and this results in me creating a “Desktop 001” and “Desktop 002” folders just to through in all random files on my desktop just to keep it abit clean.

  27. I have my PC setup so that all data files that will allow it, are saved directly to a separate internal HD named “Data”.

    My Documents is on that HD with many subfolders, like “Medical:”, “letterheads”, “taxes”, etc. I also have a folder called “software” on this drive that has all programs I have ever downloaded, each in it’s own subfoder. You get the picture.

    I backup all these files along with things like Quicken and Outlook data to an external NAS hard drive that is accessible to the other PCs on my network.


  28. I save most of files in a sub folder on the desktop. Then in that folder I have like 3 category’s its pretty easy to get around and find what im looking for fast. When working on a project I save the files to the desktop witch is fast and easy to find. The only draw back to saving to the desktop is it gets cluttered and a cluttered desktop is not a good thing, I need it neat ahhh. So far I haven’t misplaced any files so I must be doing something right.

  29. Hello Chris!
    I actually save files in like some hidden places.
    meaning somewhere is C-drive or somewhere you know.
    By your video I have learn a lot .
    Once i had this very important series of files and i saved them somewhere which i could not remember.

    So from now on I will save them as you have said and Thanks to Mike as well.
    Take care

  30. I keep directory structures, besides the vista search makes easy to find files. However I restrict my search to documents and pictures to make it faster and narrow the search results.
    As for saving files online, I’d never use google docs since I’d never trust private documents to them, nor anybody else.

  31. I’m mad about subfolders =D

    I use them everywhere for everything. It keeps everything so neat.

  32. Those are some very good tips, but I would also add that you should consider having all your containing folders in one place so that you always know where to go. I have found that if I try to save things in folders in random places on my computer, I will forget where the folder is, let alone the file inside it!

    Keep up the good work!

  33. I have a Mac and use a program called Hazel to automatically move, color, categorize, and delete files for me to keep my system organized. For example, any file in my downloads folder that hasn’t been accessed in 7 days is automatically deleted. And any music that I download is automatically transfered from my downloads folder to my music folder and is imported into iTunes.

    Other than Hazel I manually store documents in my documents folder under subfolders like School -> Bus 100 -> Final Paper.pdf

    I keep commonly used items on my desktop for easy access.

    Everything on my computer is organized except my Pictures folder which is a complete mess which has been moved from several computers over several years. Unfortunately as much as I’d like to organize it iPhoto uses a database to store image locations and edited files and stuff and I know as soon as I start messing with folder structure that my whole iPhoto library will get messed up. I hear that Google’s Picasa app pulls pictures from actual file structures instead of an internal database so I might give that a try and start to reorganize my pictures folder.

    I think it’s worth noting that nothing was ever organized on my windows machines… Mac has really changed my life as far as organization goes and I’m greatful.

  34. I have learned over time to develop a very organized file structure over time. I have all of my important files in “My Documents” in folders such as “School”, ” Business”, etc. And inside them I have folders such as “English”, “History”, or “Invoice 4/3/08”. I then use my handy-dandy Vista live search to find the file I need. Problem with the Vista search tool is simple. YOU MUST REMEMBER THE FILE NAME THOUGH! So it is still important to have a good file structure. I have also been saving my files on other computers on my network, so I have a backup. It is always safe to back up to a flashdrive though.

    My parents are people who save everything to the Desktop, but since they have so many documents it takes very long to find it. My Aunt/Uncle had 500 files on their desktop at one point! Crazy! I have also had to teach my dad to name the file a different/unique name from another file. For instance. You might have a file called “Class 001 Homework” in your Documents, and you also might have a file called “Class 001 Homework” on their Desktop. So my father would get confused which one was the right one. He has not improved much, but he has gotten better and is still improving.

    That is my input. Yeah, Chris, I don’t know where you were going with your graphics thing….you lost me and I am a total geek…..? 🙂

  35. Wow, for important files I usually save them on my external just in case my computer crashes, most likely i’ll always have them ready to go for a clean install of windows or something, but i used to always save things in a folder on my desktop that i made with subfolders such as MUSIC, SCHOOL, VIDEOS basically the my documents folder in Windows, but the reason i did this was because my older brother when i was younger told me that microsoft could scan your my documents folder and could find if you had illegally downloaded music (pre-2003) i said pre-2003 because that’s the year you could get fined by the RIAA and stuff. He did download a few songs prior to that from the all-knowing kazaa, good stuff. Well i got over this little nag that microsoft scanned my documents and since then i’ve back to using My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos. Thanks chris.

  36. adding a edition number to the saved file address is ok. better is to add the date. This allows better control. I also ensure that all my documentsts are automatically dated by using the INSERT facility and unticking the box so that the date is not changed after the document is created.

  37. I save files on the local machine (laptop or desktop, depending on where I’m working) but then I also use synchronization tools to copy the files off to my server. The tool I use most frequently is one called SecondCopy from Centered Systems ( SecondCopy allows me to define profiles, which establish what gets backed up, how often, whether additional copies of the files are saved, and where it is archived.

    I also use AllwaySync which is a free app for personal use, which will keep directories on two machines in sync.

  38. I keep my computer very organized. My papers are all saved according to class, semester, and school year. So I have documents>school stuff>2007>winter semester>History for instance. After the semester ends I throw it all into Docs>School Stuff>Old. I don’t like the numbering scheme because it creates clutter, but I save everything incrementally as I work on it so it just keeps getting more complete. I have Open Office set to save every 2 minutes.

    I also have separate folders for my finances (mostly bank statements), ebooks, notes, and one for important papers/files (like work schedules and travel intineraries).

    My pictures are organized according to subject, for example a folder for pictures of myself, another for my family, a picture of my vacations, or cities that I have visited.

    I used to find that this extra organization slowed me down, but in linux all I need to do is call up gnome-do and type the name of the paper I want and it will find it and open it for me. Which is great, except when I forget the names of my files.

  39. Many people I know save all their files on the desktop. Not my favourite way of doing it due to the amoutn of clutter that accumulates on the desktop. I, as Chris and Nick also do, create real folders with real names and that each have real purposes pertaining to certain projects.

    In addition, everything that I am currently working on I save to my USB flash drive so I always have a backup and ALWAYS have it with me, whether my laptop is with me or not. Then, I just delete them off the drive as I no longer need them with me, or ones that I am no longer actively working on.

  40. The best place to save files is the My Documents folder. I usually save my Word documents in the My Documents folder, my pictures in the My Pictures sub folder, which I have several sub folders for what kind of picture it is such as artwork or pictures from my camera, and I also have sub folders for my web sites, videos and VB6 Projects in the My Documents folder as well, that way my Desktop wont be cluttered with hundreds of word documents and folders. I also save my files (especially projects) every few minutes or when I make a major revision.

    Lastly, to explain what Chris was talking about the image types basically he was saying that saving a JPG image to PNG would be pointless because when that image was saved it was commpressed lossly (which means data was lost in the process of compression) and even if it’s saved as a PNG, which compresses files loselessly (No data loss in compression) it will not be able to recover any lost data from the JPG compression so therefore, the quality of the image will be the same even as a PNG.

  41. I tried making specific folders for each and every topic I could think of, but in the end I found out It was more of a pain clicking and typing the addresses of the folders than naming the files more specifically.

  42. Does Copernic automatically index?

    i like to keep things somewhat organized in folders but primarily if i need to find something i will use a desktop search tool.

    previously i have been using windows search deskbar as an add on to the windows taskbar.

    its fairly simple and easy to use. I’m currently trying Copernic to see if i like it any more

  43. I like this but I just wanted to say that another tip could be Sync! You need to sync your machines you dont want to be stuck with out a file. Also try a microsoft app (mac or PC) called foldershare which takes your files puts them on the internet and it also syncs them. One more thing i want is a program that will automatically open up in a save dialogue in the folder I want depending on the name. Great list.

  44. Addiontally, you really dont want to store every files in one folder. More likely, you will organize them into several folders. One of the ways you might want to organize your folders and subfolders for your files is you group them according to how will more likely search for them. Example is let’s say you receive a lot “incident cases” in doc files from diffrent customers. Will you immediately create folders for each customer? What if your main concern is to monitor and close track progress of those “incedent cases”. Will it make more sense to arrange and create folders according to incident IDs or topic?

    Unlike before where the filename itself is very limited in length, now you can create a file as long as you want (i think). So you make your filename more descriptive as possible.

    Lastly you should archive files that are old and most likely you won’t use anymore. Move them in an external HD/ DVD or probably a tape. This helps free up disk space as well as your document files cluttered in your folders.

  45. I have a spare computer, an external HDD, several USB flash drives, 3 2-gig compact flash memory cards and a few DVDs with backed up data. It may sound paranoid I know but as a photographer, it is very important that I have all of my pictures in a safe place. I have heard many horrow stories of external HDDs failing and I don’t want to run the risk of my internals doing so as well. It is worth mentioning that it is not so hard to constantly backup when you make it habitual.It also helps to spend the extra few dollars to get the faster drives. X300 CF cards,7200 RPM or SSD HDDs, etc. I just wish Windows had a default time machine-like program like Apple’s OSX system has.

  46. I also strongly believe in backup all of your important files. But I don’t have any Internet backup services setup. Last year I bought a 500GB external hard drive, and that is the device that holds all of my important files. So if you do have files that are important to you you need to back up, cause your hard drive can fail at any time, then your files are gone. There are expensive ways to maybe getting some of them back, but not all of them. So just pay a $100 to buy a external hard drive, there not that expensive, so just pick one up. You will appreciate it. And if you don’t have a access one you can partition your hard drive, and store all your files on the partition so that they are a little more safe.

  47. i save all of my files to a external hard drive because my internal one is already filled up with music and games. i save all my word documents to a separate folder. i save all my music and movies to a media folder and all my pictures to a my picture folder

  48. I am a strong believer in good old fashion hierarchical folder and sub folder organization or files, as opposed to clumping files in any old place or one big folder and relying of using tags or searches to find files. My brain just likes to see things neatly organized in this way, but one day perhaps this method will be obsolete and unnecessary. But for now, the more folders and sub folders with specific categories and subcategories, the better. My Firefox bookmark file tree is outrageously long. Some of my folders are Videos/Funny/Animals/Cats, Research/PC Related/XP/Tips, etc. And when I export my bookmarks to an html file, it’s about 5megs!!! Is that alot? Or do some of you have more?!

  49. with the save often i support that not with my computer but at school the computer my friend was messing around and i was working on a project i almost finished and he shut the computer off and i had to do it all over again. also it is amazing how much files i have. i do what ponzi does to an extent. i just put it on my desktop but then put them in folders. if i didn’t have folders i wouldn’t only have my screen filled up i would also have my external monitor filled up

  50. I store my documents in docs on the “misc” drive on my home file server, and make weekly backups to DVD.

    I store my pictures in picsdigicam on the “misc” drive on my home server, and make monthly backups of the whole drive to another drive of the same size.

    I store my software in software and images on the “software” drive on my home server; software contains installers and apps that run without installing, you can guess what goes in images.

    The server has other drives… But, uhhh…. I won’t go into that.

    My web server (Not the same box; but on the same rack) has a c:websites folder where the production copies of my websites are stored. The dev copies are in c:projects (And accessible via http://website/dev). I back up the dev copies to the ‘media’ drive on the file server whenever I make a major change, or weekly, whichever comes first.

    Each of my computers has a “c:temp”, where I put things I don’t have time to organize, or plan to delete quickly. At least once a week, I go through them all and decide what needs to be filed or deleted.

    At work (I’m a developer), I keep a c:code folder where every copy of every project I’ve ever written remains. I back it up upon any change to an on-site server, and to an off-site server across the country. Sometimes I also make another backup and put it at home, but don’t tell the guys in Network Security 🙂 Needless to say, my group isn’t big enough to justify bothering with source control.

    I never use the “My Documents”, “My Pictures”, etc – Something bothers me about knowing Windows manages those locations and I won’t always know when something changes. I do trust a network share that’s not on a C drive.

  51. At work I maintain a ‘Public’ drive which is shared across the office. Let me tell you, this drive can get to be a mess of random folders and files that people want to save – just not on their own pc (thanks Boss for giving my pc the big drive…)

    One of my favorite methods of keeping track of critical files is to preface the file name with a # sign or two, which will automagically move it to the top of the listing of files when sorted alphabetically(works for folders too.)

    The files that I really need to be able to find quickly when I need them, get the pound signs – folders that I don’t want to have to dig for may get custom icons as well, done very simply through the properties menu (using for example GANT icons, their design, while simplistic, really makes them stand out among the normal folders) – visual cues make worlds of difference in a clutter of listings.

    Making your file directory as detailed and progressive as possible will also save headaches. Don’t settle for a directory called reports in which you shove everything even remotely ‘reportish’ – use a tree such as Reports>Payroll>Year>Company>files

  52. Okay… I saw this video on youtube(I am a subscriber) and I was like “I have to comment on his blog” Well anyways, The most important thing for me that I do is keeping organized. To do that is I make folders like My downloads which is where I download things. Then I make folders for my games addons and stuff relating and I also made a Everything folder which is something that couldn’t be decided. I think this is important because you know where everything is and it is really easy to find files instead just having everything going to mydocs like my mom. It takes forever to find files unless you have vista then you can just search for the file if you know what the file is called.

  53. I have separate partitions on an internal secondary drive (500GB Seagate) for all data files. One of the partitions is for the ‘important’ stuff (work files) and the second one is for mp3 and videos. Programs and the OS are on a different physical drive.

    I also backup regularly, and have a good file recovery program in place on my system at all times. This dual protection system has saved my critical data files on more than one occasion! The program also saves previous versions of Office docs, so it’s quite convenient. Experience has taught me that a sound data protection plan in place is very important and more effective than hunting for an emergency solution after data loss.

  54. 80gig usb2 for my macbook pro with leopard – the external hard drive i use is custom mounted on the lid of the laptop (alot of fiberglass work i did modding!) – also i use the built in file backup system in leopard to back everything up.

  55. for everything i use custom folder icons for each type of folder that is made on the external hard drives for great ways i can tell what each is without reading everything line for line – using a desktop search bar sucks sometimes when you dont remember the name of a file or when it was created – so a visual summary helps alot to me personally.

    i dont upload pictures to the net other than facebook and myspace.

  56. i use direct connect on my laptop to connect to my pc at home and to connect to my 1tb of content on the pc’s external hard drive – so i dont have to lug it around anywhere.

  57. i download and safe all my files to the TEMP folder that i created its a separate 200GB partition. so i re-directed all my temp files to a folder in my temp drive called “tmp”. then everything i download from internet and stuff goes on the drive somewhere with folders. i backup on a second harddrive just to be sure.

  58. Yearly folders and monthly folders named “01 January, 02 February,” etc. naturally show up in the right order in Picasa and XP directories. Photos get named by date in year-month-day format so they’re easily sorted without long exif “date taken” searches. Everything goes into a giant folder on another partition so the OS partition stays small and clear. The big photo folder is shared in case something happens to me or I lose my password and have to use the guest account.

    New photos come in from the camera to My Pictures. A shortcut to the current month folder is on my desktop, and I cut and paste there. Picasa lets me quickly sort through and get red of junk and duplicate shots. All the fresh photos get backed up to an external drive with the same folder structure, then I do a closer look and delete mediocre stuff I don’t urgently need on the PC’s drive. Really good shots (about 1% of my total daily haul) go into a portfolio folder easily backed up on a 1 GB flash drive and my free SkyDrive 5 GB online folder.

    Organizing as I go is a lot easier compared to letting CD sized groups of photos build up every month or so, then facing a huge ordeal of renaming hundreds of images and battling XP’s multi-window file handling interface.

    The My Pictures folder works great for printing and dealing with stuff going to the web. Printing from a huge folder is annoying since XP’s wizard takes forever pointlessly loading hundreds of unhighlighted thumbnails. My Pictures is the default loading folder for the GIMP, so it’s the ideal temporary work area. Printing and editing from copied files keeps the originals safe.

    This system is good because it naturally builds good Picasa slideshows of photos sorted by date and quality. I don’t lose the lesser shots, which invariably become more and more interesting as the world of yesterday irretrievably fades.

  59. I have issue with the example in tip 5 – why not save the photoshop as a psd file? Even if it’s a simple file, you may find you need to go back and change something – say, some text. If you’ve “flattened” the file to a jpg or png, you can’t just select the text and change it. It your text is on a plain background this might not be an issue, but with anything else you’d have to go several steps back.

    I like that you’re confronting the revision issue with tip 1, but this solution is more manual than necessary. Instead, I think that a combination of a good backup solution and good applications with revisioning systems (which goes back to my earlier point about native file formats) will minimize the clutter on your hard disk and allow for better metadata (such as revision comments in a word doc).

  60. I usually save anything i download off the net in a set folder on my desktop.
    as for backing up, i use a program like Magic ISO and save all my needed that way on an external HD

  61. Saving files in the My Documents folder its so last year :P…
    So with the new Office Live from Microsoft I save the files I create with its proprietary office suite online and also on a memory stick I always have with me and weekly I backup the files.
    Here’s what I recommend for avoiding apps failure – reducing the interval between the program automatically saves a copy of the changes that were made (e.g. in Word from 10 minutes – the default option – to 3 or 5 minutes).

  62. While these are awesome tips, I do think that some people might be misled to think that this constitutes a backup strategy. As the more backup paranoid know, saving to a hard drive is only a local backup. If your house burns down, your “Backup” just went with it. To have a true backup, many suggest using an onsite backup like a hard drive, a web based backup, like amazon’s jungledisc. If you want to get really paranoid, you can do what one of my neighbours does. He does both of the above, and he has another external hard drive that he locks up in the bank! He brings it home every two weeks and makes a time machine backup, because he’s on a mac.

    Anyway, just a heads up for everyone. This isn’t really backup this is a saving strategy. (and a good one at that).

  63. I am a HUGE fan of folders and sub folders. Not only that.. but I also (when doing pictures) I use a folder for a month, then if needed a day, or event. I have several tens of thousands of pictures on my network storage… and keeping it all organized really is first priority. There is nothing more that I hate than finding files just left in the open for no reason what so ever. I know.. weird, and I’m a geek!

  64. Automations are the key to organising the massive amount of similar files I go through. I’m a musician and love to jam out my idea’s into Quicktime Pro over the iSight in my mac. But at the end of a session I end up with a stack of movies all called Movie.XXX So I made a simple Automation in Automator to gather these all up, add the time and date of creation to the end of the name, then to move the files into a dedicated guitar video folder. Boom! Five seconds later your computer has organised your files into a really understandable system. You can apply those kind of Automations to anything on your system, saves a lot of time an effort – especially if your a media hog like me!

  65. I save everything right on my Hard Drive. I probably should use the flash drive I have but… 😛 I put all of my programming projects in their own folders, and any documents in another folder.

  66. I currently save all Files on my second hard drive and they are seperated By Type, like Photos , videos etc folders for each one. i find this method very Effective in my personal opion also files i use often i put the letter a at the beggining so it shows up first and odd method i know but it works for me.

  67. I have many places I put things mainly vids pics and such go to my documents at first. patches and programs usually go to specific area right away. programs that have things that dl or dl stuff I have folder for that as well.

  68. Uh… In my folder called ‘Mark’ goes all my Documents, Videos go into my Videos, Music in my music, website stuff into ‘Mark’ (Mark is my name), Pictures in my Pictures, Photoshop work into a folder into ‘Mark’.

    My ‘Mark’ folder is 15gb big and has like 50 folders in it, excluding subfolders, which is another 500 at least. 😮

  69. I have a rather intricate system of saving. Since my family shares this computer, we each have our own folders barring our own in My Documents. Then, in my folder, I initially split the folder into non-school, scholarship apps, and school folders. My non-school folder has 3 different folders: music not burned, music burned, and other documents. My school folder has a folder for every general course: science, math, history, etc. Then each of those are split into the specific classes that I’ve taken under each generality. If I have a lot under those categories, I’ll often split each into which semester the homework is from. Each file is named by the title of the homework in each folder. If there are duplicates on purpose, the original won’t have a number, but the duplicates will start with 2 and then go on up. It may seem like this process would take a lot of time, but I followed this system originally so I just created a new folder when I needed one so there was no real extra effort.

  70. i usely save files on my computer(duh). But if i wanted to send data i would just dsend myself an email with the file attached., that way i could veiw it anytime if i had access to the internet.I also herd of 50gb of online storage

  71. I have a question (it might be kind of dumb though). Is there some kind of hard drive that I can just plug into my router, and it could be accessed by anyone on the network? Is Apple’s time machine thing kind of like this? I think that you can buy a fancy Apple hard drive unit for it for $299…?? I’ll do some research. If what I am talking about actually exists I think that I will buy one! I really like the idea of a “networked hard drive”. It would make life so much easier. Just think about it…..well, what do you think!

  72. Well, when I save files I mostly stick to the included system Windows has set up. Pictures go in the Pictures folder, Music in the Music Folder etc.

    I do have a folder which I call the “Compilation o’ Crap” folder in which I stick random things that I think might come in handy later, but don’t really belong in a specific folder. My “Compilation o’ Crap” folder is the equivalent to a kitchen junk drawer. I usually put install files, .rar/.zip archives etc. in this folder.

    I also have one hard drive for one thing and the other for something different. Program Files, the “Compilation o’ Crap,” and home movie/animation stuff goes on a different hard drive than my Documents, Pictures, and Music goes on the other. This is mostly because the my home movies, Program Files, and “Compilation o’ Crap” folder grow quite rapidly, quite often and need more space for them. The drive for my Documents is a bit smaller.

    When I name files I do so intuitively, you won’t find any abstract names on my computer. “Compilation o’ Crap” perfectly encompasses every aspect of what that folder has in it. I don’t use a revision system very often, just on files that I revise. In other words I don’t ALWAYS follow Tip #1 as Tip #1 suggests you do. I also have never lost a file on my hard drive or forgot where it was… That almost seems silly to me.

  73. As I’ve commented before on other Blogs, I save my files via Internet, so that I know where everything is at, and don’t need to use up any space on my Computer to do so, also if something happens to my computer, I can just go to a different one and get the work I need from there. ^_^

  74. iTunes sorts my music automatically, I just drop an mp3 on the iTunes dock icon and it will import it and put it in the right directory. (/Users/davin/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library/)

    Video goes into /Users/davin/Video/ (is it called Video? I have a Dutch OS X)
    Docs go into /Users/davin/Documents/…/
    Downloads go into /Users/daivn/Downloads/
    Received Files from IMs go into /Users/davin/Received Files

    etc…really easy.

  75. Yes, when i’m running Windows Vista, i save all of my files in my User account, C:Users*username**Folders like Documents, Music, Images, etc.* that way, when i back up my files, i only need to back up one folder.

  76. Hi Chris,

    Personally, I think data storage is always going to be dependent of the quantity of information. As a developer I think creating a quick reference desktop is the most important aspect of data storage.

    On the taskbar on Windows XP you can drop different file types, including folders. I have many quick reference folders to programs, files, install packages, etc. I can get to just about anything I have saved even when a program is opened, taking up the whole screen. In a way I believe this is me emulating the dock on the Mac ( from what I have seen of the dock). Anyway, that’s just my input on data storage.

  77. Normally I save files in the default OS folder thats specified. Linux (ubuntu) or OSX i store my files in the home folder and more specifically the (downloads, documents, music, photo, video) folders. Deskbar for linux is great, its like spotlight for osx, or the vista copycat with start search. Live, journaled searched has always worked good for me. I like OSX’es implementation of time machine. This way you can always revert to an old version of your files.

    An easy way to keep your stuff backed up is by getting another harddisk and using raid 1. This way you will never have to worry about backing up your stuff. Saving now, such as in openoffice or MS word, the program autosaves each time you stop typing. Now its good enough if you cut power you can resume the last spot you were working on.

  78. I wish that Microsoft could put an option in Office to do that, so that I won’t get mad when I accidentally delete something by accident and save over it. That’s why I love Time Machine and my Time Capsule for my MBP.

  79. Hello,

    One thing I do for projects is to create a central “projects” directory (folder), and then create subdirectories (subdirectories) with the name of each project. All files related to the project get saved into that directory. It makes it easy to keep track of all a project’s documents when they are stored by project instead of by document type.

    When setting up a computer for personal use is to create multiple partitions (disk volumes), and have a dedicated partition set up for data files.

    The operating system and applications are configured to save data files to this location (if possible) and when I am done using the computer, the data partition is backed up (synchronized, actually) to a portable external hard disk drive.

    The next time I use a different personal system, I plug in the external hard disk drive and do a restore (again, actually a synchronizaton) so that it has my current set of data files on it. Then I repeat the sync before shutting down to save any changed files to the external drive.

    In addition to this, I do periodic backups to tape and optical disc, and store those off-site and off-region, but that’s getting more iout of document storage and into continuity of operations….


    Aryeh Goretsky

  80. i save them on my hard drive and my usb drive.. they are in my my documents and in a folder called “Word Documents”. 🙂

  81. not that I listen to much music but to my files gets saved onto MP3 and I’m in the process of starting to save any nonconfidential documents on to the Google docs. It’s nice having access to files from anywhere with the Internet connection.
    I think slowly technology will move storage from local to the Internet. Someday we may just have a simple terminal to a desktop that’s on the Internet. This is probably the Google dream =)

  82. I like to keep my files organized in folders that I use as a “workspace” for each customer and then make sub folders for file types. This way I don’t have to hunt through every file I’ve ever made when I’m doing work for one customer. I like to back up to an old hard drive that I put in a usb 2.0 enclosure and also on a dvds. Personally, I don’t care for desktop search software as their indexing services aren’t worth the performance hit. Using a little care when you’re saving a file is the better way. You will always know where everything is and you will be more familiar with your file system. It’s also a lot easier to run your backups when you organize things. You can drag your client’s “workspace” folders to your backup hard drive or into your dvd/cd burner instead of looking for them.

  83. When I save files in versions i will type the filename and the underscore and 1.0. On revisions, if it is in the same day I will replace .0 with .1 or .2 or what ever revision that I am working on, but if i am revising on a second day i will add 2.0 to the end. And so on and so forth until I reach the final product and then I will add a _F to the end to let me know that it is fully completed. This system just allows me to see how many days i have worked on the project and allows me to gussestimate how much of the project is actually accomplished.

  84. I save my files in the desktop but when the file is too important i save in 2 places my desktop and my HD drive D and my hard drive D i never Format this HD.

  85. It’s mostly a big mess on my computer and my files are saved throughout my little homenetwork. I do backup my files, just by saving it twice on a different hard disk, either in my PC or a network share. Thank god the search bar in the start menu.

  86. I always Save my file
    I always save my files. I have two categories trash files like video that I am going to be putting on DVD and later deleting and the files that I need to save permanently like photos. For the trash files I use my main hard drive and folders that I keep on my desktop labeled new video’s photos or what ever I don’t need to keep. And from those files I sort them to my drive labeled backup to there appropriate folders and subfolders. For instance, when I am uploading my photos to my computer I always name all of them with just a date like 5/11/08(01).jpg using the camera scanner wizard. Than I sort them to my backup drive to myphotos-picturesItook-family-myfamily than to the appropriate folder for each of my family members or groups. This is a little work but it makes finding the files much easier and the reason for the date is that I do not need to worry about changing the name if I have a duplicate file name and I always know when I uploaded the picture to my computer. After I sort them, I can now delete them off my main drive and I know to never delete anything off my backup. I do the same thing for all of my saved files it just makes finding them easier later.

  87. in one folder separated into like 8 other folders (school, pics, vids etc) which are separated into even more folders. 11435 files, 822 folders, 48.6gb

  88. I have files just scattered every where on my Computer, I often use the search in Windows but if I am making a website or something it make a folder on my desktop were i can find it easily.

  89. I am always saving my work constantly. (Ctrl-S baby) Thanks for the 001 tip, really great way of keeping track of my file alterations. I have folders within my documents folder where I keep all my folders orderly so I know exactly where they are when I need them. I do not like to save anything on my desktop though, I can’t stand clutter on the desktop. Organize by folder and names is the way to go.

  90. I used to follow tip 1, but find that manually incrementing 001-type prefixes can get ugly fast. Also, many people will eventually end up changing that naming scheme when they think they are done editing to something like “filename-final”, when that’s hardly ever the case.

    I think most of the time, if you know that you’re going to be working with files that you’d like to keep revisions of (some times that not even necessary), then putting them in a proper version control system (git, mercurial, etc.) is a better option.

    Even though they are designed mainly for source control, there are a lot of decent resources out there on using them for managing your entire home directory. Here’s a decent comparison on how different packages perform for that specific purpose:

  91. Recently I’ve started using Mozy’s 2GB free backup plan for saving copies of the files I create.

    It’s been a good experience so far, for me and as well for my other friends I’ve recommended it to.

  92. I agree with xscottx3 when it comes to the desktop mine remains empty at all times, thats what your Documents folder is for anyway. I keep a really clean desktop, adding the 001 to the end of the file is actually a really good practice. I do it for files I know I’ll be updating alot. but its not to bad of an idea to simply do it for everything you never know when you may need to make some changes and its not a bad idea to always keep the originals.

  93. I save my files in “Documents” folder or “Home” in Ubuntu. All my important stuff goes on several different USB drives.

  94. I have an external hard drive partitioned 4 ways: Documents, Music, Movies, and Apps. If I’m going anywhere, I just grab the hard drive, and I’ve got all of my files – all 500 GB of them.

    As for naming files, I can be very OCD about this. I believe a file name should be as simple, concise, and uncluttered as possible. Many times my mom will name a file something like “Grocery list May 13 2008 Publix”. It seriously makes me want to pull my hair out. What’s wrong with just “Grocery List”? And if you want to keep more than one, make folders for each month.

    I recently watched a video of Chris’s talking about renaming pictures, etc. I’ve thought about doing this, but it really isn’t worth the time for me. I’ve got a “Pictures” folder, in which there are subfolders for each “Event”. If I want to see a picture, I can open the folder, view thumbnails, and go straight to what I need. Besides, It’d be kind of difficult to come up with a unique name for every single picture.

    Sure, I’m a neat freak when it comes to saving files, but here’s my philosophy: If you know what it is and where you saved it, there’s no need to waste time with desktop search tools.

  95. I usually save them on my iPod…
    For my mom, i made a folder for my mom on the Desktop. and the 001 thing does not work for me… I will get SO confused… My mom does this sort of thing, since she has online school. I did try to do this for a little bit, like I said before, it did not work. At all. My mom does the date stamping thing, which I hate, and also the naming EVERYTHING different, since she has not learned how to create new folders…

  96. I always save my files on my jump drive in certain directories. It’s all about organization. My file extensions are always with v1 or v2. I always keep 2 jump drives with me.

  97. i save my files either to my docs of a folder i named my stuff with thousands of sub folders

    i save work usualy to my docs and scrpts and outher stuff i do for fun to my stuff

    all my music is in a floder seperated into artists

    and my pics r also sorted i have absoulty no docs on my desktop olny floders ans 3 apps

  98. Since the Win3.x days I’ve kept things organised using a sane directory structure. In the Win95/98SE days I also split up my HDD into about 12 partitions, each one with a designated purpose (mostly to make defragging less painful). I’m glad for this habit, as it means I never have to use resource-hogging indexers to find files. And in Linux now, “grep” is my friend for searching _inside_ files.

    So: partitions for apps, docs, music, games, videos; directories for subcategories thereof. 🙂

  99. i really don’t know how to save files properly, first i save all the files on the desktop and then i get annoyed because there are too many icons, then i make folders and subfolders all day and then i type in a text document with details like
    C:Video/HowTo: how to improve wifi range (it shows you how to improve you wifi signal) then when i have good list i print it out or sometimes i burn a cd to free some harddrive space i didn’t even know about a desktop search tool maybe i did but i don’t know what it is so special , what does it have that Windows own Search doesn’t have. i wonder how the future of saving will look like? will the computer be clever enough to save the files for us maybe.

  100. Most of this stuff I already do when photoshopping things. Appending numbers is a rear way to keep track of revisions and other things so if you don’t like the new version, you have the old one to revert back to. projects in a folder for itself is also a given for larger projects that involve multiple pieces like a web design. Great top five, very useful for designers and others alike.

  101. Like others, I save all my important files in one place and religiously back that one folder up. I can always reinstall applications, but cannot imagine losing my ‘stuff’. I like the 001 – 002, etc. trick…I think I’ll start using that!

  102. What I’ve always done is create a “Downloads” folder on my desktop. This folder then has several sub-folders, such as Programs, Drivers & Updates, Music, etc. Gives me quick access to almost all of my content. My start menu is organized in much the same way, i.e. games into “Games” folder.

    I try to keep my desktop as uncluttered as possible, but I still keep my most played games on there and some software that I access frequently. One thing I always cringe at is a cool or gorgeous background littered with filthy documents and folders.

  103. If you need revisioning bad enough I suggest setting up Subversion or even better Bazaar. Bazaar is a bit easier to setup than Subversion and you can do everything locally on your workstation without having a “server” somewhere.

    Of course I do have a server that I use ssh with Bazaar to save projects, files, etc… I have common scripts that I use, config files, even the rootfs tarball of my Zaurus Ubuntu operating system. I even save the /etc directory from my Ubuntu workstations up there in case I mess up a config file.

    That being said, I too have used file naming for versioning in the past. I usually add [year][month][day] as a prefix (example: file20080515). It still orders the files properly and its easy to sort by date without having to mess with columns in your file browser.

  104. These are some great tips. Especially the Revision System and the Multiple Saving. You never know when if you’ll want to go back to before you edited and saved or if your Word or Presentation software will crash or maybe your whole system. If it crashes then all that hard work will Be Gone. Ouch. Overall these are some great tips Good Job Nick.

  105. I save my files in folders dedicated for that file. for pictures I save it in My Pictures, Documents in My Documents and so on. I also backup important files on a usb drive. I stay away from saving files online as they may contain confidential information.

  106. In June, when I purchase a new Macbook Pro, I plan on purchasing an external hard drive so I can take advantage of the built in Time Machine backup tool in Mac OS X Leopard. However, while I am still stuck on my old school iMac G4, I currently backup as much as I can to my off-site FTP service. I do not currently use a revision technique, although I like that idea very much, and I will consider adopting that technique. However, I always enables the “automatically save” feature in every application that has it.

    I also try to keep my desktop as clean as possible. To compensate for this, I create a bunch of subfolders inside of a parent folder. It just makes me feel more organized and in control.

  107. I saves my documents in my personal folder, images on a little external drive, movies on a secondary hard drive. My backup files are on Skydrive( because everyone in Hungary have a Windows live account it’s easy and safe.

  108. I have a Kanguru external drive. It makes things so much easier when my WINDOWS PC crashes and may need recovering 0.o!

    Now all I have to worry about in a case where I lose my internal HDD is *gasp* my cookies!!

  109. Yep, i find file saving very important too, for example with Office 2007 it’s great, it will make a quick backup if something happens (restart etc) and you can continue it after. With big projects i usually but different names for different parts and then making those to have different sub numbers that’s best way to organize and keeping the work process moving and yes i do back up my file time to time.

  110. I have this bad habit of saving things to the desktop for the sole reason of easy access. Every few days, I’ll have to tidy these files up and organize them. I wish there was a program that would learn my habits and do this all for me. Developers, start your engines.

  111. Great tips!I’ve never thinking at naming files at the end with 001,002 an so on.Great information.Thanks:)

  112. I don’t use a versioning system, I tend to just overwrite the originals. but I do make frequent backups to my external Hard Drives and important files also get backed up to my thumb drive(s).

  113. I always save files somewhere in my Documents folder. Unless it’s just something that I’m playing around with in which case I’ll just save it to my desktop. As for making files sequential, thanks to Automator, I have a workflow that does that for me. And I use cmd + s or cmd + shift + s to save as. And yes, my folders have subfolders, and my subfolders have sub folders, and those folder have……..zits :

  114. I tend to downlad and save important files twice. I usually set up a special named folder in the My Documents folder for downloads. I then either save the file onto a flash drive or an external HDD. This is done for safety just incase one gets damaged, corrupted, or missing.

  115. My mom used to think that a file was saved inside the application. When I would ask her where she saved a certain file, she would reply “In Word”.

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