A Radified Strategy
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Create a folder on a partition other than your boot drive, and label it: downloads.
Create a shortcut (right-click on folder and select Create Shortcut) to this directory
and move the shortcut to your desktop.
This way you'll be able to access all your downloads from your desktop, instead of
having to hunt for them, and if you lose you boot drive for any reason, you lose
Install a download manager such as GetRight. Configure the download manager to
store all files in this downloads directory.
With GetRight you do this by selecting GetRight Configuration from the Tools menu.
Alternately, you can also hit the F8 key when the GetRight Status window is active.
From the GetRight Configuration window, click on the option labeled Save To. It's
listed under General.
Put a radio button next to the option labeled: One default directory for all downloads.
Click the Browse button and navigate to the downloads directory you just created.
Now all your downloads will go to one folder.
When this folder starts getting full (about 50 items), create another folder, somewhere
other than your boot partition. Label this new folder with the date you create it.
For example, if my default downloads directory were full, and I was going to move
the files to another directory today, I'd name this new file downloads_04sept. This
would tell me that all the files in this directory were downloaded on or before 04sept.
You can also include the year if you like, such as downloads_04sept2001, but files
over a year old are generally worthless. And hopefully, you will already have backed-up
these year-old files to CD-R, so you can delete directories more than a year old.
After you have completed transferring the contents of your default downloads directory
to the new folder, create a short-cut to the new folder. Put this shortcut in the original
downloads directory. This way you'll easily be able to locate your older downloads from
your default downloads directory (which is easily accessible from your desktop).
As the default downloads directory again becomes full, and you create a new folder
each time, you'll find that, in each folder, you always have a link to the next-oldest
set of downloads - as long as you don't move the folders.
Periodically (every 3-to-6 months), burn all these downloads directories to CD-R for
back-up archival purposes.
Another tip is to create another folder next to your 'downloads' folder, and labeled
this one 'drivers'. Go you the web pages of all your hardware drivers and create a
shortcut to this page (In IE -> File | Send | Shortcut to Desktop).
I also have a folder named 'Unzip', in which I create new, subdirectories for all the
files that I extract/decompress/unzip. This keeps all extracted files in one convenient
location that never moves.
Put all these links to your drivers in your new drivers directory. This way, when it
comes time to update drivers (~once every 2 or 3 months), it will be easy to find
You can learn about creating and restoring images here -> Imaging with Norton Ghost.
I developed this system myself. Necessity is the mother of invention. It works well.
I'm confident you'll like it.