Toolkit Tutorial: Organizing Your Hard Drive
2/23/2010
Can't find where you saved that census image or photo of Aunt Lucy? You need a computer filing system—we walk you through the process of setting up one seven-step solution.
You finally found elusive Aunt Lucy in the census and saved the image to your hard drive—but where? You’ve looked in what seems like a zillion folders and still can’t find it.

You’ve smacked up against a brick wall that torments every computer-using genealogist sooner or later: the disorganized hard drive. Our PCs don’t make it easy on us, either—Windows assigns downloads to obscure temporary folders by default; your files from scanners, digital cameras and even Ancestry.com get names made of meaningless strings of letters and numbers.

A dependable file-management system is critical to your long-term genealogical success. But luckily, this is a brick wall that’s easy to scale: All you need is a filing system that’s logical to you, and the will to stick to it. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps to organize your hard drive using a system that works well for me—you may want to adapt it to fit the way you think and work.