March 12, 2013

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With my folder structure in place, I now have to set up a few tools to help achieve my organization opus. I'm using Windows backup to perform my weekly backups, and I had also planned to use it to create a system image but it has never worked for me and I've given up fiddling around with it. I would love to get some feedback on a reliable alternative for creating my disk image.

I download A LOT of files. I'm always evaluating new software and development tools, playing around with various sdk's and frameworks, reviewing technical documentation, and a lot of other nerdy code stuff. I also buy and download knitting and sewing patterns, podcasts, music, and books which definitely add up over time. Some of this clutter can be dealt with immediately, by moving the file out of the downloads folder to where it belongs. However, there are some things that I don't want to move out of the downloads folder, most of the things I evaluate just never make the cut, but life happens and I get pulled away from the computer. A week or two passes and I forget about that new thing I was testing out, and my downloads folder starts taking over my hard drive.

A similar thing occurs on the desktop, with all the software I install and uninstall, they inevitably leave a trail of useless desktop icons behind. I need to bring some order to my desktop, and some automation to my downloads folder. This is sounding fun now, new tools to play with :)


I've been playing around with Stardock's Object Desktop, and there are some things I love about it, and a few things that I've found disappointing. Initially I planned on only purchasing Fences, but after viewing the demo video for Object Desktop, I had to have the Impulse Dock! Unfortunately the video is out of date, and the Impulse Dock is no longer included. I've managed to use Tiles in a similar way to how I was planning to use the Impulse Dock, but it's still not quite what I want. I absolutely love Fences though, I've only been using it for a few weeks now and I'm not sure how I've survived this long without it.
Uncluttered desktop - Click to view larger image.
Main screen of my newly uncluttered desktop.
In addition to keeping shortcuts and folders grouped on the desktop, I love that I can see those nasty unsolicited desktop icons immediately. As soon as I see an icon that isn't inside a fence, I off it to the recycle bin. I may do a more in depth review of the Object Desktop after I've used it for a while.


When I finally cleaned up my computer I found hundreds of old files here, and 95% of it was garbage. Since I tend to forget about stuff I download, I've decided to add some automation to clean up the downloads folder. I want anything in this folder that is older than 30 days to be moved to the recycle bin. I wrote this simple batch file to handle it:

REM This script depends on cmdutils Recycle command -
REM Make sure to add the cmdUtils to your windows PATH
REM %1 = Target directory
REM %2 = Number of days old
@echo off

REM Move all files (not including subfolders) older than {%2} days in folder {%1} to the recycle bin
forfiles /p %1 /m *.* /D -%2 /C "cmd /c Recycle /f @path"

REM how to use: > recycle-old-files.bat "C:\Users\Sherri\Downloads" 30

I then set up a task in Windows Task Scheduler to point to my batch file. Now, every day this task will search my Downloads folder for files older than 30 days and move them to the Recycle Bin, and I can continue to be lazy!

Batch files are a very simple and powerful tool and I encourage you to play around with them if you're using Windows (or shell scripts if you favour a *nix flavour). While you're at it, you should investigate the Windows Task Scheduler, it's mind boggling when i think about all the possible things I can do with that tool. Here are some useful resources to help you on your way:
An A-Z Index of the Windows CMD command line
Windows Task Scheduler



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