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Organize Your Mac - Improve Performance

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 7/6/2011

Mac computers can get bogged down when you have too much "stuff" on them. Learn some tips on organizing data to improve your Mac's performance.

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    Review the Data on your Mac and Delete Unwanted Data

    It is common for computers to become cluttered with data; but this doesn't happen just to PC users; it applies to Mac users, too. No matter how much you baby your Mac, it will eventually bog down, often because you have so much "stuff" stored on it, and that stuff can become hard to find. You can organize the data easily though; and you don't have to do much.

    On your Mac, open the Finder. In the left pane, under Places, click your user name. Review the data in these folders. The first step you'll want to take is to delete duplicates, unwanted data, and large files (like raw video you've turned into movies or photos that aren't worth keeping) that you no longer need.

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    Create Folders and Subfolders

    You should create folders and subfolders to hold and organize your data. If you keep a lot of documents, consider folders for the subject of those documents. Perhaps Taxes, Receipts, Hobbies, House Plans, or similar folders will do.

    If you have a digital camera and take a lot of pictures, create folders with subfolders that are named after the type of pictures you've taken: Weddings, Vacations, Wild Parties, Building Our Home, and folders for each of your children and each of your pets.

    If you are a freelance artist or run a graphics company, create folders that contain artwork for specific companies or clients. You might also have folders for artwork in progress, finished artwork you can archive, and artwork ideas.

    If you have a scanner and are the family genealogist, create a folder named Scans and create subfolders for each branch of the family tree.

    If you create music projects for fun or profit, organize your tunes by date created, by name, by client, or by song.

    If you have a DV camera and take a lot of video, create subfolders inside of the Movies folder that are named after the type of movies you've created.

    The idea is to take a good, hard look at what you use your Mac for and create folders that represent who you are and what you do.

    Note: You can also personalize the desktop with folders, and use labels as a colorful way to highlight a folder's name for easy recognition. This will make finding your files faster and easier. You can also compress and archive data you rarely access.

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    References and Author's Experiences

    The author took all the screen shots here.

    It has been my experience that it's best to create folders and subfolders about the same time as you introduce data to your Mac (or think you might). If you get a new pet, create a folder for it that day. If you get a new boat, start to build a home or create a project, create folders for those too. With folders in place beforehand, it's more likely you'll actually put the data there in the long term. On my Mac I have a Pets folder. In it, I have subfolders for the two pets I have and the stray pets I find homes for. You can create similar folders on your Mac.

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