Keep me organized!


Senior Member
I need help... I download so much crap and work on so many differnt projects that i tend to let my files scatter all over my hard drive. Righ now i have filled up my 20 gig hard drive un-intentionally. It was so full that my computer gave me a warning. I have a second 80 gig hard drive but whenever i download something it always want to dl to my C: drive fist and since im lazy i just stick the files everywhere..

So...I need a how-to or solution on how to keep myself organized. Is there a registry edit or something that will make my computer default all downloads to the J: drive. Even better is there a program that will automatically change where my files are stored based on the type of files they are. For example all text files go in a text file folder and all images go in an images folder.

How do you keep everything straight. Not being organized really makes it hard to upgrade or backup files before upgrading and stuff like that. I need a good organizational solution.

I see another fox reality show here. "Oraganize my PC"-" meet your new hard drive"
The one thing I do is manually create folders for specific download applications.

For instance I have a folder for "Installation Programs" which then has subdirectories of "Cinemar" which has subdirectories of "Main Lobby", "Web Lobby", "Music Lobby", etc...

I also have a folder for "Code Downloads" which has subdirectories of "Visual Basic", "Homeseer", "CMax", etc...

My pictures folder has subdirectories of the year, which has subdirectories of the description of the event, such as "Easter Pics", or "School Pics" etc...

This seems to work for me and really isn't a lot of work once you figure out a folder/directory infrastructure that satisfies your catagories.
For downloads, I create a single download directory on some drive. Then, for individual specific downloads (one or more related files), I create a subdirectory.

I know in Mozilla and FireFox, you can specify a single directory where you want to put everything. I tell it ask me where to put every downloaded file instead.

For projects I'm working on, I have a projects directory and then subdirectories under that for each project. The projects directory is the most important thing on my backup list. I don't worry about the downloads directory at all.

I like to do all this stuff manually. It bugs me when the computer tries to outsmart me (ala Microsoft).
For downloads, I suggest you look at FlashGet (the full version, the freeware one contains adware), it can do all this stuff, send certain extensions to certain folders etc, it's great.

as for my important files, this is how I have mine stored:


workspace is the directory where I store my personal projects such as websites, software I write etc (all nicely put in sub directories), I have a config directory where I store config files such as my netgear router configuration, and some other devices I have. Orders is where I store copies of internet invoices (in case the invoice by email doesn't get to me), sorted by store and order date in sub directories. The tools directory is my favorite, it contains hundred of single exe windows tools, allowing me to do anything you can think of (I have a copy of this directory on my USB key too). The personal folder contains pdf files, documents I scanned etc.

The outlook directory and IE directory are probably the most interesting, by default IE and Outlook store the files in the Documents and Settings directory, so I moved those files to the active-data directory (in XP, you can simply drag them to a new location and it will update the path in the registry automatically), so when my system ever dies, I can be confident that my important data is stored on a different partition, and don't have to worry about formatting/repairing the C drive. This is a habit that has saved my files many times. The reason everything is in my active-data directory is to make backups much easier, I just select that directory, and I know for sure ALL my important files are backed up. I also added the workspace folder to my start bar, so I have direct access to all my important files without having to minimize anything or go to the start menu.
I can tell you how I do things, but ultimately it's up to you to cultivate the good habits the way you want to work! hehee

I have a subdir called NewProgs that is my downloads dir. Within that, I typically create a subdir that describes the stuff I'm pulling down, such as Palm Progs for palm stuff, PVRs for personal video recording software, etc. If you always leave the downloads (from IE) in this subdir or one level below, it's always close to where you want to be for the next download (in there or go up one subdir, and create another, enter it and save the dl'd file). I also rename files if I don't like the name, or if they neglect to include a version number in the name, for example.

From there I expand or install the stuff to this or my other systems (it is shared to the local network). When I install non-OS programs, I typically put them on D: to keep my C: OS drive cleaner, but it depends on the program.

If I think I'm going to need the installation directory after the fact (say the content from a ZIP file), I'll create a subdir in another folder called Installed, so that I can reference the installation area in the future. if I don't want to keep it around, the installation stuff goes into TEMP and gets wiped out later.

For quick and easy backups, you might want to keep data files from whatever program in your My Documents area, but it isn't easy to find that subdir if a program doesn't have a good file dialog. You can always make shortcuts in different places to make it easy to get to the actual folders. I have some on my Desktop (like my current Project folders), and some in the root of D: so that it's easy to get there no matter what type of file handling dialog box comes up.

But no matter how careful you are, stuff still gets messy and then it's time for a cleaning session, or maybe reformatting/reinstall? ;-)

One final thing I do - having a Windows Domain (actually AD) here, I have a file server area that everyone in the domain can access, with logon scripts that map a drive letter to that shared area when users log into their machines. On that drive I put things like the network installation of MSOffice, updated OS installation images, Service Packs and patches, utilities and programs that we all use (Winamp), etc. Then I have the various machines on the network just access the shared drive from their machines. There's a whole subdir structure there to keep things organized. Note that these are NOT network installations, just a central storage area for local install from the network. A network installation would be where the program runs from the network and the network must be connected in order for the program to run on any machine. MSOffice can do this, but I don't recommend it.

Well, have fun getting organized!