Organize your files and desktop around Dropbox

Following is a screenshot of my laptop at home (no kidding !!) and as you can see, there are only 5 icons in the Windows 7 desktop. How neat … In fact, my computer at work has the same desktop view.

This post is about how I organize my files to declutter the desktop, but more importantly, how to make it work around the Dropbox service (and any other cloud storage services or your private Internet accessible NAS). That basically makes all your important files accessible from Internet, whenever you want, and whereever you are.

Before we start the work, you need to answer yourself one question, that is “how many ways you want to access your files ?”. In my case, I have computers at work, at home and of course mobile devices like smartphone and tablet. Therefore, I can classify all the files I ever created into the following categories, in terms of access methods:

  1. I want to access files created from my home computer;
  2. I want to access files created from my office computer;
  3. I want to access files created from my mobile devices

If I further elaborate those access methods, I have a combination of:

A) Files and folders created by home computer,

i) access from home computer only;

ii) access from any computers;

B) Files and folders created by office computer,

i) access from office computer only;

ii) access from any computers;

C) Files and folders created by any computer,

i) access only from locally;

ii) access from any computer;

As you can see A (i), B(i) essentially are the same as C(i) in the cases of home and office computer, so in principle the access method of files and folders are:

  1. Files created by any computer but access only locally; (i.e. the computer that created the files)
  2. Files created by home computer and accessible by other computers;
  3. Files created by office computer and accessible by other computers, and;
  4. Files created anywhere, but accessible by other computers.

To make the above works, all I need is to create 4 folders, of which 3 of them are created in Dropbox. And they are:

  1. A folder names – “Desktop – Local“, this is a folder in each computer and stores the local created files / folders and will not share to any other computer and the Dropbox;
  2. A shortcut to a folder names – “Desktop – Home“. The folder is created in Dropbox. Files / folders that created by home computer but like to share with other computer shall store here;
  3. A shortcut to a folder names – “Desktop – Office“. The folder is created in Dropbox. Files / folders that created by office computer but like to share with other computer shall store here;
  4. A shortcut to a folder names – “Desktop – Virtual“. The folder is created in Dropbox. Files / folders that created by any computer but like to share with other computer shall store here.

Lastly, don’t forget to install the Dropbox software to your computer to synchronize all these folders. In summary, with this approach, I minimize all sorts of files and folders in all my computers. In addition, any files and folders that need to be shared are nicely organized and stored in the Cloud storage Dropbox.com and I can easily distinguish where the files are created (home computer or work computer – for personal or work files).

Hope you will find it useful !!

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Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

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