Maintenance Tip: Storing and Backing Up your Files and Documents

Storing and Organizing Files

Properly storing and organizing your digital documents will go a long way towards making your files easy to find and reference later. However, often the biggest issue is creating and maintaining a consistent system that will not leave you wondering where you saved a crucial document.

Both PCs and Mac computers feature a “Documents” folder for containing your documents and files you create or download from the web. Typically, Microsoft Office applications will want to save documents in this folder by default. In this “Documents” folder, you may create additional folders for categorizing the types of files you collect. Should your computer need repair in the future, the St. Edward’s Computer HelpDesk or an outside company will assume that the majority of the files you want saved will be located in this folder.

Creating File Folders on a PC and Mac

On a Mac, double click on the “Macintosh HD” icon on the desktop and click on “Documents,” listed on the left navigation bar. The top of the window will now say “Documents” with a folder icon next to it. This is where you can create folders and save documents. To create a new folder, right-click on your mouse or control-click and choose “New Folder”. Name the untitled folder and press the Return key.

Give your folders descriptive names, such as “Cyber Security Awareness Month,” which is better than an acronym like “CSAM” because over time you may not remember all of the acronyms you created. You may also create folders within folders for ones that contain several sub-groups of documents, such as folders for different years or versions of files. Most people develop their own unique file system method that depends on the types of files they have.

Reserve your desktop for short-term storage of files you are currently working on. Once you no longer need immediate access to that document, put it in the appropriate folder you created in “Documents”.

Backing up Files

Now with a file system in place within your “Documents” folder, it is time to create a backup of your files. IT recommends backing your files in multiple places in the event of a virus infection or computer crash. Should your hard drive fail, your files may not be recoverable.

We recommend backing up your files by making copies and saving them on an external hard drive (available in any electronics department or store), USB drives or your EdShare account. You may also want to burn your files to writable CDs and store them in a safe place.

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