Learn How to Manage All Those Digital Files!

Keeping all those digital files organized can be quite a chore. Thousands of photographs, hundreds of movie and audio clips will take up a LOT of hard drive space. How are your media files organized? Are you using numerous USB devices? Where do you store them? Are they well labeled?
Organization: How do you organize your files? Are they scattered all over your hard drive? Found in many different folders or directories? By not keeping your files more centralized, they are not easy to find, nor can you be assured that they are being backed up. Think about the old metal file cabinets with the file folders and subfolders. Some people just stuffed papers into the cabinets in no particular order. When it came to trying to find the paper files, they often were not found, even though they were in the file cabinet.

File Types: What file types are your files saved in? Microsoft Word, Rich Text Format, WordPerfect, or other? Realize that software companies come and go, as will be the ability to open their proprietary file formats. It would be a shame to not be able to open your files 10-20 years from now.

Storage Type: DVDs were once thought to be a great archival media for saving files, after all you could store a "whopping" 4.7 gigabytes of information on them. However, they can deteriorate quickly and become unusable after the first year. Hard drives of 500 gb size are now considered small in size. How are you going to store all of your files? Are you prepared for a hard drive crash?

Backing Up: The odds are that most of your digital photos & documents will never be seen by your grandchildren, if you are the typical person. That is because this process of "BACKING UP" is not well managed or is forgotten. It is not an issue of "IF my computer crashes", but "WHEN my computer crashes". Even new hard drives can crash within a month of use, though most will last for a couple of years. Storage devices wear out and have to be replaced often.
  • Have you developed a plan to keep your files always backed up?
  • Is it an automatic backup?
  • Have you checked to see that the backup service is actually backing up?
  • What if your computer and backups are stolen, or destroyed in a fire or flood?
  • Do you have an offsite backup?
  • Do you have a family member that is responsible to be the "backup person" in your family? How are you going to make sure that the photos continue to be maintained after you are gone?
Do NOT forget to have a regular safe backup policy.
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