Welcome to Better File Manager
If you struggle with finding, copying and moving files then BFM is what
you need. It takes the guesswork out of clicking and dragging and puts
you in charge of your filing system. Hooray!
What would you think if you lived in a house that was exactly the same
as every other house, with a fire escape instead of stairs and a couple
of closets for storage. Not much! Well that's how Windows is when it is
delivered. There may be space but not any organisation. You can get
around but not conveniently.
This introduction shows you two things: (1) How to organise your files,
photos, correspondence and so on in an orderly fashion, and (2)
Describes the tool to do it easily. Say goodbye to single/double
left/right plain/shift/control mouse misery and hello to straightforward
putting files in their right place. Say goodbye to files going missing
or being collected in huge heaps with meaningless names.
So there are two bits. The second "Let's make it simpler" is the BFM
program which we'll cover in detail shortly; but first we must get clear
in our minds how this "organising files logically" works.
How to organise files
So you want an organised filing system. The first
thing is to have some idea of a structure. In Windows the structure has
to be a big space split into smaller spaces split into smaller spaces
and so on. That's just like having a house split into rooms with chests
of drawers split into drawers and possibly compartments to the drawers.
So for example if you want the phone number of a friend you might go to
the hall, open the desk, take your diary from the top shelf then go to
the addresses section of your diary. In Window's format this would look
That's all very well but a computer isn't a house. You have to build the
bits as containers within containers within containers yourself. This
doesn't have to be difficult and just as with a house you can make
alterations and additions.
One more thing before we get started: In our lives and on our computers
we all have stuff that is just sitting in a pile on a bedside table or
on our desks that isn't neatly filed away. So long as those heaps don't
get out of hand they are convenient places to leave notes, things we
might follow up later and junk we haven't quite got to throwing away
yet. The first thing I do when setting-up somebody's computer for them
is to create a temporary directory and institute the following rule If
you don't want to file it properly then put it in \temp.
Shelves and Store
In the BFM scheme of things we'll use \SHELVES instead of \temp
and our organised filing system will be called \STORE. While you're writing a letter
it might go in \SHELVES and then if you want to keep a copy it might go
into \STORE\correspondence\council. A quick thank-you note might live
its whole short life in \SHELVES before being deleted.
Subdividing Store - tricky but important
How should you sub-divide the \STORE? Well, that's entirely up to you. You can always change it if
experience shows there is a more convenient way.
Here is a tip: Generally you want to file things together by subject
rather than by type. Let me explain. Generally in Windows as it is
supplied the opposite method is used with photos in one place and
letters in another and so on. But say you are making an insurance claim
- wouldn't it be useful to have the correspondence, pictures of the
damage and the spreadsheet listing your costs all kept together then if
the phone rings you have the facts at your fingertips.
A lot of people have photographs of their holidays, but nowadays there
is a lot of before-you-go stuff that can go on the computer, a screen
print of the web page where you booked your flights, booking
confirmation emails and so on. So before you go there are a bunch of
things to go into \STORE\holidays\2009\Italy and your photos will go in
If you haven't got any better ideas then how about the following
Then leisure might get sub-divided into say \leisure\holidays,
\leisure\indoorHangGliding and \leisure\other.
Last but not least we need to discuss clutter.
Within the \STORE there is an extra rule that makes it easier to
distinguish a 'File of things' which is what most silver-surfers
understand by "a file" - lever-arch file, box file, wallet file for
example - and a single document which is what computery people mean by
"a file". So we designate all the sub-sections of \STORE as containers
which contain either sub-containers or documents but not both.
This rule makes a lot of sense if you think how things get lost in real life by being
'almost filed'. Also the reason you've got a wardrobe and chest of
drawers in your bedroom is so that you don't wade through heaps of
clothes on the floor. BFM has a "Clutter Buster" which will tell you
where this 'almost filing' has been going on and help you tidy things
Filing system summary
That's the full explanation of the logical filing system.
The next topic shows you how to use BFM to get started for
yourself with a system to suit your particular needs and interests.
You could set this up using your existing 'my computer' and 'file
manager' quite easily if you're fluent with those tools. Or do it the
easy way with BFM.
- A main container called \SHELVES is used to put things in temporarily.
- A main container called \STORE is sub-divided by you to suit your needs.
- Everything in your filing system will be somewhere in \STORE or \SHELVES.
- Containers should contain either sub-containers or documents but not both.
First part of tutorial