Tips and techniques for organizing my digital life
April 8, 2014 5:24 AM Subscribe
My desktop PC (running Windows 7) contains four hard drives, with information dating back to 1984. How can I organize that information, de-duplicate it, and archive it in some kind of logical manner?
posted by alex1965 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a digital pack-rat. I've saved every term paper, application essay, and love letter I ever wrote. I also have lots and lots of digital photographs and scans of 35mm negatives. I'd like to take all these old files and archive them on Google Drive (which is pretty cheap now), so that I can search them and retrieve them easily. I have at least three problems I need to overcome:
1. Many of the documents are in outdated formats (e.g., Microsoft Word files from circa 1985), although it's probably possible to find utilities to convert them to PDF or plain text or whatever. I want to archive the files in some kind of format that will still be readable X years from now.
2. The files are scattered across many folders and four hard drives, with no rhyme or reason
3. There are many, many duplicates, usually stemming from past abortive attempts at either organizing the files or creating back-ups.
This task is so overwhelming in its complexity and scope that I don't even know where to start. Is there some kind of overall strategy, or battle plan, that I can follow here? I've already started looking at utilities that de-duplicate files, but they almost seem like they're more trouble than they're worth. They don't look like they're well-suited to identifying clusters of duplicated files that are present in multiple locations. Or maybe I just haven't delved into these programs enough.
I know it's a huge task, but my plan is to spend 15 minutes a day, for as long as it takes, to work on this project. This to-do item has been weighing on me for years, and I need to get it done.