Find information faster: Organize your computerIf
you've been using your computer for more than 6 months, it's probably
safe to say that you don't need all the files and e-mail messages
stored there. When left untreated too long, an unorganized computer
will perform slower and make it more difficult for you to find the
information you need. If that's the case, it's a great time to make
sure your computer is cleaned up and ready to roll for your next
upcoming project or assignment. This article can help you get started.
Clear out your old, unnecessary filesSo
how long should you keep old files on your hard drive? It's kind of
like cleaning out a closet?if you haven't used a particular file (or
sweater) in a year, you're pretty safe storing it somewhere else.
How can you tell how old a file is? Rest your mouse cursor over the
file to see when it was last modified. For more information right-click
the file, and choose Properties
. You can see when the
file was created, last modified it, and most recently accessed. If a
file is old, not important, and hasn't been accessed in more than 6
months, it might be time to clear it out.
You're the best judge to determine which files to keep, but here is a list of items you might want to consider saving:
- Tax and legal information
- Project-related files
- Favorite digital images from the year
- Plans you could leverage for future projects
- Important e-mail messages
- Customer information
By looking at the properties of a file you can see when the file was created, last modified it, and most recently accessed.
Once you've gotten rid of your files, learn 7 ways to manage your files better
To view your files in a folder by the date they were last modified, open a folder and on the View
menu click Details
. On the top of the column, click Date Modified
Quickly find old files by organizing them by the date they were modified.
Back up important filesThe
next step is to copy selected files to another storage medium, such as
a writeable CD or DVD or an external hard drive. For your most
important files, such as project files, key presentations, or large
e-mails, you'll rest a lot easier if you have a backup copy stored
safely away from your computer. Backing up your files to CD or DVD will
allow you to safely store these disks should you happen to lose your
computer or if it should fail.
To back up your files it's ideal
to have a CD or DVD burner or a hard drive you can connect to your
computer through a USB or FireWire port. Learn more about how to back up your files with Windows XP
. Also, learn more about how to back up your Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 e-mail messages
If you're backing up your information to a CD or DVD, be sure to create
labels for your CDs that in some way describe their contents. For
example, you might title the CD "2005 Archive" or be more specific with
something like "2005 Presentations."
Clean out your e-mailDo
you have a system for weeding out and organizing your old e-mail
messages? Here are a few quick ideas for taming your Inbox and getting
ready to handle those messages in the months to come:
- Create folders to store messages according to sender, topic, or date.
Create e-mail rules to file and manage your messages automatically. For
example, you can create a rule to send all messages from your manager
to a special folder. Learn more about managing e-mail messages with rules.
- Go through your Sent folder in Outlook in and delete items you no longer need (especially those with large file attachments).
- If you're sure you no longer need e-mail you've deleted, empty the folder that contains it.
For more help keeping your e-mail in check, learn 4 ways to take control of your e-mail Inbox
. Or watch a demo about how to manage the size your Inbox
Organize and clear out your Internet files
If you're like the average person, you've been doing a lot of Web
searching and your Internet Explorer Favorites folder may be bursting
at the seams. It could probably use some weeding out and organizing. To
organize your Favorites in Internet Explorer, on the Favorites
menu, click Organize Favorites
While your tending to your Favorites folder there's some additional
clean up that's easy to do. Start Internet Explorer and on the Tools
menu click Internet Options
. In the General
tab of the Internet Options
dialog box, you have two cleanup choices. These steps can help reduce some unnecessary files on your computer.
- In the Temporary Internet files section, click Delete Files
to remove all temporary files. (You can also elect to remove all
offline content downloaded from sites you've visited.)
- In the History section, click Clear History to remove the list of sites you've previously visited. Also make sure that you have the Days to keep pages in history: set to where you would like it.
Clear out Internet Explorer using some of the options on the Internet Options dialog box.