This was a request by Jim on recommendations for good saving habits. Everyone has the odd file thrown anywhere and it can be really annoying to find it again when you need it. Although you do have Spotlight to find the file you are looking for, it is often quicker and easier to find files by looking for them yourself. This post is designed to show Mac newbies (and veterans) good saving habits. It does work out better in the long run.
To start all Applications should go into the root Applications folder. Pretty simple, but I have found friends computers which have apps all over the place. It makes finding them a lot longer and if you move an app it could take you weeks to find it again, plus it can break a lot of links. Keep all apps in the applications folder. As well as this try to keep the root of your hard drive as clean as possible. Ideally you shouldn’t put any files or folders here. Simply because they can get in the way and will probably not be backed up by Time Machine.
The best place to store all of your files is in your home folder. This is the one given to you when you create a user account. Inside of this is the Applications, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Library, Music, Pictures, Public and Sites. The screen shot below shows this (plus a couple I have added for myself). It is design to be logical and make things easy for you.
I don’t recommend using the Applications folder in your Home directory. Simply because if you use an app in that folder and then decide to delete your account you could lose that app. Plus it is a lot easier for every one to have it in the main Applications folder and then set permissions to who can use it.
The Desktop should be used as a temporary storage area so you can quickly access stuff from your own Desktop, its best not used to store important files. Simply because it can tend to be overlooked by yourself or programs when backing up or re-organising.
Documents. This is where you should store every single file that doesn’t belong in any sub folder. The folder is there so you can quickly and easily find your files. Don’t, like myself, add extra files and folder all over the place which store your documents. For example I have a Uni folder on my Desktop with important files. I fail at my own recommendations.
The other folders such as Music, Picture and Movies, should be used to store those types of files. This is because programs such as Front Row, look in these folders when they run. If you keep files and folders in there designated locations things will work first time and you will get the full Mac experience.
In a nutshell try and keep files and folders in places where they belong. When you create a new account all of these folders are created so you can easily organise your documents. Keep everything in its own folder, and keep files in logical locations. For example put all of your work documents under the /Documents folder, and then sub-folder that folder. Keep you Movies and Pictures in sub-folders under their respective folder.
As a new user (and I have done this) it is all to easy to place files and folder everywhere. The problem comes when you have to find these files and folders again. Keep things simple and where they would belong. Although you may end up with a lot of files and folder, it doesn’t take a couple of seconds to run through a couple of folders to find the exact file, compared to spending 10 minutes trying to find it with search.
Hopefully as a new user you understand what each of the folders mean. Keep things simple and where they belong and you should do OK.