February 09, 2013

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At work my computer is very organized. My projects are all stored under a projects folder, my tools and shared libraries are kept together, and my desktop is not usually cluttered. I make time between projects to clean out old files and development tools so I can make way for the new stuff. I have a pretty good system... at work.

At home, well, something went terribly wrong. I let things pile up on my desktop, I wasn't diligent about uninstalling things I downloaded for testing. I wanted to change, really, it was driving me crazy, but the task seemed daunting so I ignored it and watched my hard drive fill up slowly over the past 2 years until I finally had to face this mess that is my computer.

I spent a fair bit of time googling, to see how other developers organized their stuff... yet I didn't find anything  that was particularly useful. I find it interesting to learn how colleagues organize their information and tools, and although a lot about organization is up to personal taste, I think there are some best practices that we can learn from each other by sharing what does and doesn't work for various situations. I thought I would start up a series of my ongoing experience to seek the holy grail of computer organization.

I made the decision to reformat my computer and start from scratch. I won't be detailing how to reformat and backup, there are plenty of references on those subjects, but I will talk about the steps I took to prepare for reformatting and how I organized my backups. This series is about the process, the how and why of computer organization.

I have outlined this series into the following articles:
I would love your feedback. Do you struggle with keeping your computer clean? Do you have tips or suggestions? Is there a software tool you use to help you stay organized? 


  1. I'm crazy excited about this endeavour of yours. My organizational systems always start off well and then spiral into an uncontrolled mess over the course of years. I'm all ears!

    1. Thanks! I love getting organized... it's the staying organized part that sometimes is a problem. Once the initial series is done, I plan to revisit the state of my computer every few months to see how it's going. I've also got a few simple scripts and tools that are helping out so far, I'll be writing about them soon :)