Many files and folders found on my computer are difficult to identify. It’s not obvious from the file or folder names, just what these files belong to. This is sometimes true even for files I named myself. I knew what they were a year ago, but I sure don’t remember now! (There are other scenarios in which this tip can be used, but lets follow through with this one example.)
Now don’t be put off by the length of this write-up. This takes a bit of typing to detail the steps but ALMOST NO TIME to actually do, in practice.
Back to the problem. It is impossible to know what all the files and folders are on my computer, let alone what they are used for. Most of today’s computers literally have thousands of files. It is difficult enough just to keep track of the document files I create for myself, let alone the 50,000 other files that are often found on a single user machine. I can’t help you with learning what all the files on your computer are for, but I can save you from having to repeat any research you might do along the way.
As you go along, I recommend creating quick and easy notes to yourself, while things are fresh in your mind. I also recommend that you adopt a standard technique, as I will describe below. The point of this is that you want to be able to glance at any folder on your computer and KNOW that that file contains a note you wrote to yourself. The file name tells you instantly, THIS file is one of mine!
Here's the technique:
Find and Select the particular folder you want your message to be in. (Open Windows Explorer or double-click My Computer. Then, open successive folders until you find the one you are looking for. Click on that folder to “select” [highlight] it.)
Right click on a blank portion of the right hand side of the window, where the files and folders are shown. (Depending on your settings, the right side will show icons or text describing each file/folder. Just be sure you are pointing to a blank area for this step, and not at an icon or the text).
A menu will pop open. Click on “New . . .”, “Text Document”. The list of files on the right hand portion of the screen should now show a highlighted file name for the new file, usually called “New Text Document.txt”.
Here’s the trick. Give the new file the following name: “_Readme.xx” where the first character is the “underscore” character and the file extension (shown here as “xx”) is your initials. For me, that file name becomes _Readme.jb Here’s why – The underscore makes this file sort to the top of all files when it is alphabetized. Open the folder and there it is, right on top. The file extension of will not exist as a common extension and will identify this particular file as one YOU created.
Now, double-click the new (empty) file to open it. (If this is the first time you are doing this, the window to “choose a program to open this file type” will appear. Select Wordpad to open this type if file and be sure to check the box to always use this program to open this file type. Subsequent times, double-clicking will just open the file) Your text-file program will open (Wordpad, or a similar program).
Type the note containing the information you want to remember for later. I usually begin by typing today’s date, so I know when the note was written. The note itself might be something like, “Do not delete this folder. These files are templates used by Excel for creating an Invoice”.
Save your note file and exit.
That’s it. The next time you go to that folder, you will see your new “_Readme.xx” file, sitting there, ready to be read. When I have additional notes for that same folder, I just open the file, draw a line under the first note, and add a date and next note to the existing file. Save it and you’re done.
Soon, you will have little notes to yourself all over your computer, each containing a wide variety of information, useful later on.