The top rule for managing your PC is:


And the best way to achieve this is with a four stage process:

  1. Manage one directory where all your data is stored
    1. Call it 'DATA' 
    2. and 1 directory with 'MEDIA'

  2. Backup the DATA Directory often/daily

  3. Take an image of your entire PC each month

  4. The MEDIA directory is used to store photos and films.
    Never place media under DATA because media can get too big and can affect important data backups.

In this article we will discuss the structure of the DATA and MEDIA Directory.


It is called a seed because from a simple beginning it will grow into a directory tree.

  1. Where to place the first level directory called DATA
    1. Typically we place it at the root of C: so that it is easy to find
      1. C:\DATA
  2. Substructure
    1. Below the DATA directory you place the primary catalog of things that are important to you.
      Keep it simple. For example:
      1. C:\DATA < main directory
        1. Business < topics
        2. Personal
        3. Family
        4. Friends
        5. Ideas

          The idea here is to start thinking of what your data hierarchy is and start thinking of data as having a main topic. Keep this list as short as possible
    2. Below each topic, create sub topics:
      1. Business
        1. Accounts
        2. Reports
        3. IRD
        4. EOY
        5. Staff
        6. Ideas
        7. Correspondence
      2. Personal
        1. Accounts
        2. Reports
        3. IRD
        4. Ideas
        5. Correspondence
      3. Family
        1. Name of family member
      4. Friends
        1. Name of Friend
      5. Ideas
        1. Project 1 < put name instead of project example: Recipes
        2. Project 2 ...

    3. Now go through your existing data and start moving it through to your new structure.
      Open two directory folders on your desktop (Window + E) and place them side by side.

    4. As you move data it is important to develop your directory structures.
      1. Under Accounts place the financial years that will be relevant to the data
      2. You could place another directory called 'Creditors' or whatever structure you feel will be the most efficient for you. Here we have simply added the creditor's name (NZ Computer Sales)
      3. Make sure you move the file and not create a copy else the job becomes too complex.
        1. Depending on where the file is located, if the message during the drag of the file isn't 'move', hold the 'shift' key down as you drag the file. This should change the message to move.
    5. Build your directory structures to suit. Think logical structures. You can always move them or change them later.
  3. Result
    The tree is going to expand. Keep it as tidy as possible. If the beginning gets too large, trim it by reviewing the names and seeing if there is a common structure that can be created.

    Now you can simply backup the DATA directory and know you have all your files

  4. Place a note in your diary to review your directory structure every 3 months and make sure your backup plan is working.


Make sure your commonly used programs know how to access the new directory location.

Find the settings/options and file location.


Never place media under the DATA directory as it can be a significant hindrance to backing up the important files.

  1. As you did with the DATA directory, create a MEDIA directory and the following structure:
    1. C:\MEDIA
      1. Sorted
        1. Events
          1. 2019-10 London Trip
          2. 2020-03 Lockdown Activities
          3. 2020-04 Gabriels Wedding
        2. People and Things
          1. Mary
          2. Peter
          3. Bob
          4. Aroha
          5. House 24 Wembley Place

      2. To Sort
        1. 2020-01
        2. 2020-02
        3. 2020-03

  2. Notice: 
    1. The beginning of the directory is YEAR-MONTH. This automatically maintain a chronological order of the photos
    2. The directory 'To Sort' is so you can just dump your phone's photos onto the drive and then go through, at a later date, and sort them.
  3. Using this logic, simply create directory structures to suit


Backup your DATA daily

Backup your MEDIA whenever you download your images or weekly which ever is the least

Backup your computers IMAGE once every 3-6 months


We use Cobian Backup to create all sorts of simple, self maintaining backup processes. 

Click the link below to find out more. It is freeware and very good.

Cobian Backup


We provide affordable automatic disk imaging and storage services. Please enquire