This will will a two-part posting. Part 1 is to identify the problem and Part 2 is how to correct the problem.

This morning my wife was on her computer and she was going through some of my old teaching lessons, which included some how to tricks for Windows 98. This reminded me of something that I always mentioned when teaching any Windows class and still holds true today.

Why are our computer and our garage the same?

By nature we are all pack-rats! And we are all the same. We save everything in our garage because some day we are going to need it. I recall joking about this in class but all of the students would nod their heads in agreement. And the other thing that we learned was if we threw something away, in a week or so would would need it. 🙂

I remember going to people’s homes to work on their computer systems. I recall two specific clients (who I will call Jack and Jill to protect their identity in case they read this, but they will know who they are) that had become little pack-rats.

Jack – he saved every email that he had ever received. He was in business and had a Web site presence. There were thousands of emails in hundreds of folders. When I asked why he was doing this, the answer was “I might need to get a hold of these people some day, and I want to recall what I originally said to them.” This was in addition to hundreds of photos that were taken in his business.

Jill – she saved every document that she ever created. She belonged to a bunch of different groups and also produced newsletters for the varied groups. She saved links to every Web site she visited and all her emails. Her My Documents folder was in excess of 4 G in size with hundreds of folders.

Is there a problem doing this?

Several.

  1. You wonder why, when you first got your new computer, it was fast. Now it is running so… slowly! Your computer has to look through all of the gunk you have saved to find what it is looking for.
  2. When you run any type of virus scan or other security program, it has so slog through every file you have saved in addition to the program files on the system.

Part #2 – what can I do to get rid of the gunk, but still keep it available if and when I may need it?
[tags]computer, garage, pack-rat, save everything, emails, my documents, virus scan, [/tags]