That’s just great, until you have a computer crash, or you buy a new one. Then you realize how MANY of those little custom do-hickies have to be recovered, relocated or recreated from scratch.
Want a tip to make that easier?
Create a customization folder and keep it wherever you keep your primary documents. I don’t use the standard “My Documents” location — but you can! Whatever location you regularly backup is the best place for it to reside.
What types of things do I keep in this folder?
- Computer themes – My desktop is a collection of my favorite icons, background images and branding materials. I don’t want to recreate it from scratch.
- Custom Desktop Icons – I don’t like standard icons. My own “visual clues” are pretty important to how quickly I can find what I seek. Losing them means it takes me longer to figure things out and it frustrates me. With this information, I can rebuild my desktop in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.
- My screen saver photos – a few favorite photos that I want to see, rather than a windows version of a screen saver.
- My Sound Effects (I don’t like the Windows standard ones, so I’ve collected my own. I even have different “sounds” associated with different clients so I know by ear who just sent me an email)
- Voice mail scripts – I hate recording my voicemail messages, so I keep a standard script for each situation when I need to change it and tuck it away here. No more retakes!
- My customized signature lines – all my accounts have a general sig line and a reply line. I don’t have to recreate this wheel, even if I update my email program. I have plain text, rich text format and HTML versions on file.
- Images – these are those graphics, logos and photos that I use all the time while working.
- Fonts – those special fonts that make my old work, my templates and my work render improperly because they are missing. I added these to the mix when it took me three days to locate a free version of the font that I had used for several years for a particular client, after my machine crashed. I now also add a copy of any special fonts to the “originals” folder kept under each client’s name on my hard drive.
- … And others!
I don’t keep any client files, per se, under this critical folder, but I do keep some of the tools I use to provide services. (I keep all my client information under individual client-named folders.) This folder is the way to be sure I can recover quickly from an upgrade or a crash and get back to work without spending forever trying to find little bits of essential minutiae.
I despise the time it takes to make a new system (or a newly rebuilt one) “mine” in look and feel. I want to be able to sit down, send an email or grab the font I want without searching archive files for these often-used, but little thought-about bits of media. These are the kind of things you never even think about once they are set up — you take them for granted… until they are gone!
(Note: Folder image taken from stock.xchng courtesy of photographer crisderaud)