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Backup Awareness – File Organization

Backup Awareness Month – as we continue in our series of Backup Awareness, we are ready to talk about File Organization on your computer. Understanding how your files are organized is critical in moving to the next step of backing up those files. I am going to concentrate on file organization for Windows XP and Windows 7.

Windows XP, by default, creates a file structure in C:\documents and settings\(yourname). In this folder, you have the My Documents folder, with subfolders for My Music, My Pictures, etc. Microsoft Office uses this location as the default to store Word, Excel, PowerPoint docs, etc. However, Microsoft Outlook stores your data in a subfolder of Documents and Settings that is outside of the My Documents realm. If you use Quicken, your data folder by default is stored in the c:\program files\Quicken directory.

Windows 7 is similar in their file structure, however, they store it in C:\Users\(yourname). Additionally, Windows 7 uses what they call “Libraries” to gather data files and show them to you. For instance, you can store you Word documents anywhere you want on your computer, but they will all show up in the “Documents Library” when you want to look for them or back them up.

My recommendation is to create subfolders in the My Documents Directory to store your Outlook email and Quicken data. Most programs allow you to choose where your data is stored. If all your data is stored in sub-folders underneath My Documents, then it is easy to back it all up.

Next time, I will discuss the various methods of backup. As always, if anyone has any questions, feel free to email me, or comment on this post.

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