Organized downloading

No, this has nothing to do with the mob. Being organized is crucial to safe and successful downloading from the Internet. Before downloading, you should open Windows Explorer and think about where you want to save the file(s). A great way to keep track of things is by creating a folder called Downloads (duh!) somewhere on your hard drive. Then create subfolders, e.g. Utilities, Games, Drivers, etc. Inside those folders, create appropriate subfolders such as the name of the program, the vendor or the device the driver is for. Then be sure to save each downloaded file in the appropriate folder.

If you don’t do this, you’ll run into several problems. First, if you don’t make a note of where you put the file when beginning the download, chances are you have forgotten the location by the time the download is finished and have a heck of a time finding the file. Don’t laugh, it happens.

Even if you remember the location but don’t keep it organized and save all your downloads in the same folder, you’ll have a hard time identifying all the different files in there. Usually a downloaded file has a pretty cryptic default name, such as majc408.exe, wd_298_inst_2859_upd.zip, setup.exe or similar useless stuff. I’ll guarantee you that a few days later you will not be able to identify what each file is for. But if you keep them organized, you don’t have to download that driver for a third time the next time you need to re-install and can easily find it on your hard drive.

The next problem you’ll run into is that most downloaded files are zip files, compressed archive files containing multiple other files. These files need to be uncompressed before you can do anything with it. The uncompressed version will consist of multiple files, maybe two or three, or 20 or 30, or 257. You certainly don’t want to have all those files suddenly appearing in your root directory or your Windows directory, it would be a huge mess. Especially since those files are usually just temporary installation files which can be deleted after successful installation. By having a separate folder, you can unzip the files into that folder and easily delete them when done.

Don’t go crazy

When you download and install software from the Internet, you often have no idea what you’re getting and whether the program is any good. So be careful. Not only scan for viruses, but also back up your data and system files before installing new software. If the software is buggy and screws up your registry or contains a virus that wipes out your hard drive, you’ll be pretty upset. Also, only install one program at a time. If you install 5 new programs and then suddenly find out that you get a certain error message when booting and your PC freezes when clicking a certain button and this didn’t start happening until after installing that downloaded software, you’ll have a hard time tracking the culprit down. Doing one at a time makes it a lot easier to trace your steps back. The number one rule of troubleshooting is to change only one thing at a time.

You’ll see that there is tons of stuff out there to download. Do yourself and your PC a favor and think for a second before you download and install something whether you really need it. Don’t clutter your system up with unnecessary eye candy such as screen savers, custom icons, skins, memory resident programs and other junk that will bog down your PC by hogging resources and increasing the risk of software conflicts.

That said, enjoy yourself! There is a lot of good software out there that might save you time or money. Download it!

 

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