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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Lou Sander's Avatar
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    Where should I put my documents?

    I'm using a Win 7 computer that I've owned for a year or so, but never used very much. Now, due to a failure in my faithful XP machine, I'm using the Win 7 computer extensively.

    I need to know the best system for organizing documents folders.

    I'm accustomed to the XP way, where I have a single My Documents folder, with many subfolders.

    Due to my newness with Win 7, confusion about Libraries, etc., my documents have become scattered all over the Win 7 machine. I want to collect them all together in one place. I don't have multiple users, or the need to have a shared documents folder, or anything like that. It's just me that uses this thing, though I occasionally might want to access my documents from another machine on my small network.

    I'm looking for thoughtful, informed recommendations about where I should put my main documents folder. I could also use some advice about how to handle documents in the Libraries world. (I do have pictures, videos, and music, but at this time I'm mostly thinking about my Word and Excel documents.
    Lou Sander
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    USA

  2. #2
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    I don't worry about where documents are anymore. If I choose to create a folder somewhere that houses documents I just add the folder to the documents Library and they are easily found. I still have the flexibility to save documents wherever I choose, thus organizing my PC any way that I choose. Over time, that may result in little organization to anyone who looks at the folder structure by navigating from C:. But, I don't care.

    After being almost compusively organized for many, many years on all sorts of computer it took me a while to "not care" with Windows 7.

    Joe

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Like Joe I have been super organized for many years. So much so that I still haven't taken to libraries. I like the concept, but its not unlike my current directory structure. Here's what I have done for many years:
    C:\Data, then subdirectories off of that for various things:
    Personal
    Photos
    Mp3

    That's only a sampling. Then of course off of each of those I have more subdirectories. This structure also make its very easy for me to to backups of my data files. Simple, everything under the data folder.

    If you choose to do this, find a structure that's intuitive for you. Don't worry if others might not understand. I have some organization below this structure that might seem odd to some, but its "Chuck's file system", and that's good enough for me!
    Chuck

  4. #4
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    If it ever comes to the point where you need to use data recovery software on a dying drive, it would pay to know where your most valuable data is stored; Doc's scenario would be easier to navigate via DOS for example.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Organization

    I have no use at all for the Windows 7 "Libraries". The only links to files that I use are my "Recent Items" list on the Start Menu. I use logical drives as my primary organizational structure, then folders (and subfolders) in those logical drives. For example, my Music logical drive has over 70GB of music files organized by Artist (folder) and Album (subfolder).

    I have two 1TB drives in this Dell and 15 partitions/logical drives scattered across the two of them. I have the entire Users folder on a separate logical drive, and my work-related files are in my Documents folder (with subfolders) arranged by company, project, timesheets, reports, etc. on that logical drive.

    I also have a partition/logical drive named Files that contains downloaded files of all sorts; drivers, utilities, Windows Updates, etc. Each in its own named folder (or subfolder; Windows Updates is a folder, Win7 SP1 is a subfolder, etc.)

    My system helps me find the things I need quickly, even those things that are seldom used. It has the added feature of allowing me to easily find a particular file on one of my drive images, if the need arises. It also makes drive imaging simpler, which is my backup of choice.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2011-05-13 at 22:28.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  6. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I also have no use for the library feature since I like to keep a well organized file system that long predates libraries. I have a total of 6 internal drives and much of the data that I consider important, including that in the documents folder, are located off the primary drive and separate from the operating system.
    Even a list of all my personalized settings & tweaks are listed to ensure that if a clean install is needed it can be carried out efficiently and very timely.


    A well organized file system will help ensure that your data is quick to locate, easy to back up, and secure from loss.
    A system like this makes the operating system completely expendable and that is how it should be. What is not expendable is all your accumulated data, and every effort should be made to ensure that end.

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger Lou Sander's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, fellows. I'm still at the point where I don't have much use for Libraries. It bothers me to "just put it somewhere and let Windows take care of finding it." Also, I have yet to see a coherent explanation of Libraries, especially one comparing them to the "old" way of organizing files. Everything I've seen is just sort of Apple-like: "Oh, we've got this great new feature, and because it's ours, it's better, and everybody uses it, and isn't it cool?"
    Lou Sander
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    USA

  8. #8
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    We do NOT use "Libraries" and just put most of our documents in "My Documents" and any of the other "my" folders.
    We also have shared drives across our Workgroup network, that we save to all the time.

    Just be aware that many times the save as will jump to the Libraries and you then are not sure where things are going.

    Always check the full that of your file saving.

    We also do not move the default location for the "My Documents", they are left under c:\Users\"UserName"|
    Last edited by DaveA; 2011-05-15 at 14:12.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger Lou Sander's Avatar
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    I'm still confused about some of this. (The confusion arises because I'm still not sure about Win 7 conventions).

    I am the only user of my computer. There will never be any other users, though other computers on my small home network will sometimes want to access some of my files.

    My computer's name is Rankin Desktop. I wouldn't mind changing it. Can I? How?

    It has one physical hard drive, organized into two partitions named Partition_1 (C:) and Recovery (D:). I wouldn't mind changing the name "Partition_1" to something less technical. Can I? How?

    Immediately under Partition_1 there is a folder named Documents. I think Windows set it up. It contains some documents, though I don't remember how they got there.

    Also immediately under Partition_1, there is a folder named Users.

    Under the Users folder, there is a hidden folder named Default. It contains an empty folder named Documents.
    Also under the Users folder is a folder named Public. It contains a folder named Public Documents. That folder contains a few files of unknown origin.
    Also under the Users folder is a folder named Rankin Desktop. The folder icon has a little padlock on it. Inside the folder is (another) folder named My Documents. There are many documents in this folder. My copies of Word 2003 and Excel 2003 like to save their documents to this folder.

    It would REALLY be helpful to me if I understood the purpose of all these folders named Documents and My Documents. I'm pretty sure that I should save most or all of my documents to the My Documents folder under Rankin Desktop. (I don't know what the others are for, though.)
    Lou Sander
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    USA

  10. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Lou,
    My computer's name is Rankin Desktop. I wouldn't mind changing it. Can I? How?
    Click the Orb
    Right-Click Computer
    Click Properties
    Under Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings Click Change settings.
    Click the Change... button
    Under Computer name: type the new name
    Click OK all the way out...
    I wouldn't mind changing the name "Partition_1" to something less technical. Can I? How?
    Click the folder icon on the task bar.
    Right-Click the drive you want to rename under Computer.
    Click Properties.
    Type the new name in the box next to the drive icon.
    Click Apply.
    Click OK.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  11. #11
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    The c:\Users\Default folder is sued as a template when/if new users are added to the computer. (This is a guess based on the usage in XP)

    The c:\Users\Public folder is used by all users on the computer and should contains documents, pictures, music, etc that you want all users to have access to.

    The c:\Users\Rankin Desktop folder is your home directory. (Apparently, "Rankin Desktop" is your account name.) You should use the Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos folder within there to store your stuff.

    The folders under Libraries are not actual folders, but rather shortcuts to other locations. For example, Libraries\Documents is actually linked to both c:\Users\Public\Documents and c:\Users\Rankin Desktop\Documents, with the latter being the default location. You can see this by right-clicking on the Documents folder under Libraries and selecting properties. From that dialog you can manage which physical folders to include in the logical Documents library. The other libraries are similar.

    By the way, a "default" location within a library means that if you copy a file to, or save a file to. that specific location (that is, directly to Libraries\Documents) it goes into the default folder. Try it - save some file to Libraries\Documents and you should see it in c:\Users\Rankin Desktop\Documents.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I save files according to my own structure/system. The programs and apps that I use each know where I want to store the files that I produce when I use them. When I download a file, IE opens that last location I used for a download, which will invariably be a folder named for the type of files it contains. If my new download is not of that ilk, I simply go up a level or two to get to the folder that contains such files, open it, and download the new file there. Or if it's a new type of download, I'll give it its own folder in the Download folder.

    This is the same system I've been using and honing for years, and it works extremely well for me.

    For me, the best thing about Windows 7's Libraries is the fact that Windows 7 doesn't make me use them. I can ignore them completely, and keep using what I know instead of having to learn a different way of doing things that is of no real value to me. I know where my files are, and I like knowing exactly where my files are.


    When I open an Excel file and do some work on it, if I want to save it with a different name and click "Save As", my Libraries don't open up; V:\Users\bbearren\[company]\[project]\[workbooks]\ opens and waits for me to change the name of the file. And that's the way I like it.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I like to have a separate partition for all my data, including My Documents. I partitioned my HDD into a C Drive (approx. 75 GB) for my OS and apps, and a D Drive (remainder of my 320 GB HD) holding all data (this includes all data windows allows me to move). This way if I toast my OS (I "play" a lot with my PC and this happens regularly) all I have to do is restore my C Drive from my Up To Date Image and in less than 10 minutes I'm back to "playing". My data is never touched in the restoration.

    Be sure to follow the procedure shown to move your data so the markers showing where your data is located on the separate partition are not broken. This allows Windows to easily find the new location when you want to work with the data.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  14. #14
    2 Star Lounger
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    Is "Up To Date" an imaging app?

  15. #15
    5 Star Lounger Lou Sander's Avatar
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    Renaming Disk Partition and Main Users File

    Retired Geek: I used your methods to change the names. 'Partition_1' is now 'Hard Drive' and it seems to have renamed without a hitch.

    My computer was 'Rankin Desktop' and is now 'Gateway'. One strange thing: the 'Rankin Desktop' folder under 'Computer > Hard Drive (C:)' is STILL named 'Rankin Desktop', even though the computer name has changed to 'Gateway'. That's not totally unexpected, since the folder has a little padlock on it, but I'm hoping that the difference in names doesn't come back to haunt me. So far, so good, though.

    All involved: BTW, I am figuring out all this "libraries" business. There's a method to the madness, and there might be more good in the libraries concept than people (including me) think.
    Lou Sander
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    USA

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