Since ancient times, spring cleaning has been a tradition of cleansing and renewal. Now that many of our most important possessions exist digitally, our cleaning should extend to our computers. Sorting our important files, whether they’re personal documents or family albums, as well as tossing out the junk, will make them much more manageable and easier to find in the future. In some cases, it will also help your computer run better.
End the desktop clutter
Some of us (probably most of us) aren’t that particular about where we save files on our computer. Many just save to the default location which is usually the Documents folder or desktop. In the short-term, this may not bother most since applications can quickly recall the most recently opened files, however, if you need to retrieve a file that was created a while ago, that may take some time.
First, get rid of your duplicate files. Files you accidentally save twice in the same or different locations can make for a confusing time. The most common hangout of duplicates is the Download folder, that quickly fills up from accidentally downloading the same file i.e. filename(1). Sort your files by Name and get to deleting. There’s also specialized software made for detecting and deleting duplicate files.
Next, sort by Date Modified and begin determining what files you need to save and what files can go to the Recycling Bin. Don’t be afraid to create folders and sub-folders to help you keep things straight. Sorting by how long it’s been since your opened that files can give you a sense of how important a document is. Old receipts, email drafts and other content that has long since outlived its usefulness can go into the trash.
Files that aren’t often used, but are still important to keep around can be sorted into your new folders, but you may also consider storing them in a long-term, cloud storage solution.
One final thing to keep in mind when scrubbing your computer, specifically if it’s a hard disk drive, just because you send a file to the recycling bin and empty it, doesn’t mean that data is gone for good. When you send files to the recycling bin, instead of being deleted, they simply become unlisted on the drive and aren’t permanently removed until they’re overwritten by new data you add later.
Deleted data can be recovered with specialized software, so be wary when deleting documents containing sensitive information. If you accidentally delete an important file, it’s possible to recover it with this software, but also be aware of this if you sell or give your computer away. Even if you format the hard drive, the old data is still recoverable. There are also applications that can permanently wipe data and hard drives. Most solid state drives don’t have this feature, and when data is deleted it’s removed permanently.
Remove the rest
If you find yourself running low on hard drive space, then it may be time to consider deleting applications you no longer use. Fortunately, both Windows and Mac have easy-to-use utilities to help you determine what to delete. Sort your list of applications by when they were last installed or opened, to gain a better sense of how often you use the application.
There is also a utility to help you clean up junk data. Temporary files, orphaned data from deleted apps and other useless data taking up precious 1s and 0s can be deleted to free up space. Windows has a Free Up Space Now utility and Mac’s Storage Management has a reduce clutter option.
Defrag your disk
After going on a deletion spree, it’s time to defragment your hard drive. The disk defragment tool is a way for the computer to internally spring clean itself. As new data is added, deleted and overwritten, the data gets fragmented across the hard drive. Data blocks are split and separated, making it harder for the computer to read the hard drive. Defragmenting your disk will help your computer run faster by making it easier for the hard drive to retrieve data.
Defragmentation cleans up and reorganizes data blocks so that the hard drive can run much more efficiently. This program is on all Windows and Mac computers. For Windows, it’s in the Administrative Tools folder, and for Mac, it’s in the Utility folder. In most versions of the tool, you can set it to run on a schedule.
Have eFileCabinet do the sorting for you
If your business depends on having documents organized and ready for retrieval at moment’s notice, it won’t due to have them spread across your desktop. During your spring cleaning, some files may get accidentally deleted or misplaced. To avoid this human error, automate your organization with eFileCabinet.
Advanced OCR tools identify the content in the documents you upload, allowing for easy categorization and retrieval. All you have to do to find a document in the system is to search for any words within the content, making it easier to search, even if you forget the name of the file. You can also keep your most important files on hand with portfolios, to keep them only a few clicks away.
eFileCabinet’s SideKick feature allows you to drag-and-drop your documents into the system, making the task of organizing your desktop easier than ever. Drop a file into SideKick, and eFileCabinet takes care of the rest.
To learn more about how eFileCabinet can make your spring cleaning headache-free, sign up below to watch our free demo. You’ll get plenty of ideas on how eFileCabinet can make you more organized and efficient.