Create a file management strategy to avoid saving files in different locations.

Consider the following when creating your strategy.

  • Do you need to access your files when you're off-campus (either from home or when travelling)?
  • Do you need to collaborate with colleagues and give them access to your work files?
  • Do you need to have protected access to confidential files?
  • What kind of work do you do? Do you work on a number of separate projects or multiple projects within one area?
  • Would it be beneficial to use alpha-numeric file storage or are descriptive names more meaningful to your type of work?
  • If you were filing paperwork, what would your filing cabinet look like?

Save your document files and software program files into different folders.

This reduces the risk of accidentally deleting any program files when you clean up your work folders and also prevents any accidental deletion of work files if the software is updated or removed.

Separate your work-related files from your personal files.

Work-related files are considered to be "institutional data" if they are:

  • relevant to planning, managing, operating, or auditing a major administrative function of the university.
  • referenced or required for use by more than one organisational unit.
  • included in an official university administrative report.
  • used to derive a data element that meets the above criteria.

Don't save confidential files (e.g. exams or test results) to your hard drive.

It is easier for these files to be compromised, especially if you sit in an area where other people have access to your computer. Instead log a call to have a location on the G: drive set up to which only certain authorised personnel in your department have access.

Subdivide main folders by creating sub-folders or a sequential menu 

They should be arranged either in chronological or alphabetical order to make finding your files easier. 

Restrict folders to a single file type (or predominantly one type) making it easier to find your files.

For example, place all your images in a single folder or use the Arrange by command to sort files by criteria such as Author, Date modified or Type.

The Documents folder is created automatically as a convenient location for any files you create.

When there is more than one person using your computer, Windows creates a separate Documents folder for each person using the computer. Each person that uses the computer will only be able to see their own Documents folder and not that of any other person.

Use version numbers in the file names to distinguish between files that have been reworked or changed.

For example, "ICTS_supplier_contract_v1" and "ICTS_supplier_contract_v2".

Create shortcuts if you need to get to the same file from multiple locations.

To create a shortcut, right-click the file and click Create Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to other locations.

It's important to set up and follow a regular backup routine 

Establish a routine if you're copying your files onto another drive or onto a removable media, .

Send large files

Send large files up to 100GB via the FileSender web-based service, which is managed by SANReN on behalf of South African universities and the research community. Navigate to then select the University of Cape Town. Log on using your UCT staff/student number and password. View the FileSender knowledge base article for more information about this platform.