Every day we store more and more files on our computers. Most of them are only useful for a certain period of time, whereas other files are so important or valuable that we want to keep them forever. And we can. But, to make sure we do, it’s best to protect important files. Here are a few tips that will help.

Know what you are doing

About to rearrange your file structure or feel like cleaning up your computer? Don’t just start. Be sure you know what you are doing. Make a backup, just in case. Also have some method in your work. For example, it’s a good idea to open two Windows Explorer windows and work from left (old destination) to right (new destination). And make sure you are clear about your new file structure before you start. Otherwise you risk deleting some important files.

Tweak program settings

Do you know where your favorite programs save the files you work on? And did you know that some applications delete all associated files when you uninstall them, even if you are simply upgrading the software? To protect your files, make sure you understand the settings of the programs you like to work with.

Tip: create a ‘data partition’ on which you store all your personal files and configure your applications save files to this partition. By default, Windows and most applications save your files in the ‘My Documents’ folder in your C: drive. To avoid losing your files when Windows crashes and speed up making backups, it’s much easier (and safer) to have all your files stored on a separate partition.

Make regular backups

Often said, but just as often neglected. Make regular backups! These days almost everybody has at least one external hard disk lying around, there are good easy-to-use backup utilities available and there are several online backup services around. There is no excuse to keep neglecting backing up your important files.

Install file recovery software

Save your files from accidental deletions and hard disk crashes by installing file recovery software. When you want to recover deleted files, it is all about doing this as soon as possible while using your computer as little as possible. Having file recovery software installed will save you a lot of unnecessary stress and is the best guarantee that you’ll quickly recover lost or deleted files.

Use a file shredder to permanently delete files

Did you pass on your old computer or SD card to your little nephew? Did you sell your smartphone on eBay? Simply formatting your hard disk or SD card will not delete files permanently. They will be easily recoverably with file recovery software. If you can use file recovery software to recover files, so can everybody else. Use a file shredder utility to permanently delete files you don’t want others to find.

Password-protect your private files

Do you share your computer? Even when every user has their own user account, it is still possible to access files from another user account. If you share your home or office computer, you might want to consider password-protecting your private files. You can even password-protect whole directories. Just make sure you don’t lose your password. Trust me, it’s a good idea to take the storage of your important and private files seriously.

Following these six simple tips will prevent you from losing your important files and make sure your private files stay private.

Got a tip we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!