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Folders and file naming habits that are useful


I would like to share some of my computer management habits regarding the folder name. Unlike my friends or colleagues, I seldom put the files in the Desktop folder. Because I prefer that my computer desktop is always clean (yet physically, my desktop is messy).

Therefore, there are several folders appeared in my computer, and these folders can be appeared in any other folders.

Firstly, “temp” is my most favourite folder. Any temporary documents or files, that are not very important, they are saved here. The “temp” folder is also appeared in my Download folder. Furthermore, when necessary, “temp2”, “temp3”, and so on will be created. These folders, if they are deleted, normally will not cause any catastrophic effect.

Secondly, “backup” folder. When doing the development, some of the files, I need to backup, I will renamed them suffix with date, then move to the “backup” folder. I do not use version control software, since most of my developments are individual project.

Thirdly, “unsorted” folder. I adopt this concept from Firefox bookmark. In Firefox, all the bookmarks that are not put inside any folder, they are automatically put in Unsorted Bookmarks. I use this folder when, some of the files or documents especially articles that are quite important, but I not yet decided where to put, then I will put them all in the “unsorted” folder. It is not a “misc” (miscellaneous) folder, but just a not yet organized folder. I may (or may not) organize the files in future.

Fourthly, “archive” folder. I adopt this concept from email management recently. There are some files or documents, can be deleted, but they are still worthy to be kept in the computer. And, they are not organized, then I will put them into the “archive” folder.

Finally, “1”, “2”, “3”, …, folders. These folders, I use them to put my favourite files such as photos, movies, songs, etc. The worst movies or songs that I do not like, but still want to keep in my computer, I will use “9” folder. Then the best one is the “1”, followed by “2”. So that, it is easy for me to know which files are important. Moreover, the best of the best files will reside in “0” folder.

As a conclusion, ordering these folders according to the importance: 0, 1, 2, … > backup > unsorted > archived > temp.

Previously, I used the some folders such as “new”. This actually doesn’t many any sense, because there is no way to let me know how new is the “new” folder.

Besides that, there are some file naming habits I am using. Adding date at the end of the file name, such as myfile20150419.docx. This is useful if the file is frequently updated and older content has to be preserved. So that, the file edited yesterday is myfile20150418.docx. By reading the filename, I can know how latest the file is. (Though the word processing software such as LibreOffice Writer allows to save the older version in the file, but this will also increase the file size, and also has the difficulty to compare two files, thus I am using this file naming style.)

Recently, because of reading journal articles, I renamed the PDF files with a keyword at the end. I adopt this style based on the “tagging” (or “labelling”). Normally, we organize our files into the relevant folders already. Yet, the folder itself is not sufficient to give the “brief description” of the file. As a result, I add a keyword to the file name.

Organize the files properly, will reduce the time to search the file. Some users may install the desktop search software such as Google Desktop Search. However, because I used EncFS to encrypt my files, search indexing is troublesome.

About Allen Choong

A cognitive science student, a programmer, a philosopher, a Catholic.

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