Benny's Adventures

Best Practices for Naming Downloaded Files

For most people out there this may not be an issue but for someone such as myself where disorganized files on a hard drive is tantamount to having a messy home it is vital that files tend to naturally fall into some semblance of organization.

I’ve had the fortune of having to reinstall Windows 7 recently (not because of a problem, mind you! but because of a licensing change that had me switch from Enterprise to Ultimate) and I intend to avoid what happened in my last incarnation of my computer where everything became immensely disorganized.

The downloads folder is the easiest place to start I think because the naming can be entirely under your control. To begin with, first make sure you’re able to rename files as they are downloaded. See the following example for the setting in Google Chrome [highlighted by the green box]:

2012 21 01 Chrome download setting

With that complete, here’s the good stuff (a.k.a. the naming format I prefer):

“YYYY DD MM [descriptive file name] (default file name from download link)”

Start with the year, day, and month, then add a descriptive name so you can remember what it is and finally put the file name hitting the download link gave you in parentheses. This does several things:

1) Automatically sort files from oldest to newest under the default sorting of Windows Explorer and also provides a date of download for reference.

2) The descriptive file name helps you remember what the heck you downloaded.

3) Having the default download file name allows you to search for it if for some reason you remember the combination of letters and numbers for some reason but you don’t remember what it was.

Here’s a sample of my Downloads folder (don’t judge! I’ve only had this fresh install for two days now!):

2012 21 01 my downloads sample

See! Everything is organized!

In any case, I’m sure that I could have realized this sooner but for whatever reason I just now struck upon this idea and it’s definitely helped me out. Hopefully you get some benefit from it as well! If you have any ideas, let me know, and look forward to other ways of keeping your computer organized from me because it’s something I (probably disproportionately) care about.

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21 January 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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