Make it easy You Should Change Your Default Download Location

Illustration for article titled You Should Change Your Default Download Location

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If you go to a library to look for a book, it shouldn’t take much time at all to find what you need. That, of course, is because libraries are so organized. And your laptop shouldn’t be much different—it’s your personal library of what’s important to you. The best way to keep track of your digital life is to stay organized, so let’s take a basic look at how to sort your files and minimize your storage usage.


Keep your files small

When your files are disorganized, finding a specific document can a needle in a haystack, especially if you don’t use a specific naming convention. Instead, keep an organized file and folder structure—even better if you can set up your folder structure right from the start when you buy a new laptop. There’s no perfect folder structure, but the most effective ones are easy to use so that you can intuitively find what you need.

You also want to make sure that you don’t fill up your computer’s Read-Only Memory with unnecessarily large files. It helps to keep your files small, so zip them together when you can, like if you’re migrating your data to a new lap.

If you have a lot of data, pick a file-compression software to use. Winzip is the more popular, but it costs about $30. Other file-compression software includes 7-zip (arguably the best open-source file compression software), WinRAR, PeaZip, and Zipware.

Change your default download location

Usually, the default location when you download files is the Download folder on your laptop…which can get messy. But it’s simple to save downloaded files to a different location, either to your desktop or any other folder you want. It’s easy to ignore or forget, but each time you save a file you want to be sure to select the folder outside of the default whenever it makes sense. And, if you want, you can change the default location from your browser. (In Chrome, for example, go to Downloads > Advanced Settings.)


Decide your personal organization method

Most often, you’ll want to choose your primary organization strategy with either date or type. The good thing about a date-based file organization is that you can easily find files from a certain period—for example, if you’re looking for general bank statements from 1996 you can easily search for the year and then browse through your subfolders. Or, you can start with your own folder types instead—especially useful if you want to separate your personal files from your work files, or some other large category of organization, and branch out your subfolders from there.


Whatever you choose as your primary folders, the goal should be to make subfolders inside your folders, all of which should be intuitive to how your brain works. There’s no right or wrong way. Maybe people don’t organize their files at all and rely on their favorite search functions, which is fine, too.



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