Friday, 9 November 2007

Organise your downloads, Method #2

Tips on Handling Internet Downloads

Do you download files only to find two days later you have no idea what they are? The filename doesn't help and you don't really want to run the installer just to find out. So you delete it. Or you are checking for the latest driver for your printer; problem is, the filename for the new driver is the same as the old one so which one do you use? If you're like me you just download the file again. Then there's the problem of where you stored the file on your system. You'd search for it--if you could remember the name--which brings us back to where we started. Sound familiar? If so, here is a simple system to put some sanity and time back in your life.

In a nutshell:

* Create special folders to hold your downloaded files.

* Use a special naming convention as you download files.

Here is exactly how I do this on my computer. First I use two special folders. The first folder is named "Install Files." It will hold install files, program updates, and driver updates for existing programs on my system. Some of you will subdivide the "Install Files" folder into folders for drivers, updates, programs, etc. I just drop all the files in one folder. For me it's faster to look through one folder when I need to reinstall something. The key is to use what works for you.

The second folder is called "Interesting Stuff". The "Interesting Stuff" folder holds everything else I download. This could be ebooks, Web pages, saved search engine searches, or programs to investigate.

Name your folders with a name that will catch your eye later. Also make sure you create your folders on a drive with plenty of free space. For quick access you may want to create a shortcut on your Desktop to these two folders.

Now you are good to go. Next time you download a file choose the proper folder then give the file a meaningful name. Here is the naming convention I use. The program I'm downloading is Graph Paper Printer. The file name is gpaper. exe. So the name I gave it is:


Notice the full name tells me exactly what program this is and the version number. The parenthesis contains the original file name. So when naming files just ask yourself two questions:

* What does the file do?

* What is the original file name?

Often I need to reinstall an update with deadlines looming. When that happens it's so much quicker to find my files than slogging through a support site to find the file and download, losing my train of thought in the process. The time this simple system saves is wonderful. More importantly, someone not familiar with your computer can still understand what each file does.

A couple of notes on renaming the files. Many downloads will ask where to download the file. That's the time to rename the file. Otherwise wait for the download to finish, pick the file, and rename it. Either press F2 or right-click on file and choose "Rename" from the popup menu. Press "Enter" when you are done.

by Dan Butler (originally published in TNPC - 26 October 2000), at

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