I have huge data which contains images, pdf files, application installers and other utility software's with around 600 GB movie collection.

I would like to take suggestion how I can sort the same so that some data I required frequently like e-mail, PST files or PDF reference files but some required occasional like specific movie or MP3 file.

I tried many times to sort this but mess up and couldn't find the way.

Do I need to create a folder like Username/Event/Images e.g. Sim/Bank/BalanceImage.jpg

Please advice me on how I need to decide...

  • Sorry, there's really no answer to this question – slhck Apr 3 '12 at 7:22
  • @slhck: There is no definitive answer, but there is advice... :) – Tamara Wijsman Apr 3 '12 at 7:25
  • @Tom I don't see where this is going. People need to find out how to sort their data themselves. You don't even know what the data is, how it's going to be used, et cetera – slhck Apr 3 '12 at 7:28
  • I tried many times to sort this but mess up and couldn't find the way. — how? What has been tried and why didn't it work? – slhck Apr 3 '12 at 7:29
  • @slhck: The data has been provided in the question so it gives sufficient context for advice, I don't see why this should get closed. It's a valid problem that could use advice, and advice is not a recommendation but rather means an approach to start out right. Related: Don’t hit them over the head with your scope, help them tailor their question to fit into it... – Tamara Wijsman Apr 3 '12 at 7:37

Use directory structures, that's what they are there for. If you have a lot of data that you need to keep separate, be thorough in your directory setup. You most probably won't ever need more than four levels anyway.

A rule of thumb (this might be the true essence of my post) could be that if you have so many structures that it is not clear in which order they should appear (should actor come before year above [see footnote]? Should category come after actor?), then you are using directories incorrectly. Directories are hierarchical; the above overly long structure example does not represent a sequence of simple 1-to-many relationships. In this case, some sort of tagging would be the correct thing to do, but the added complexity and work in keeping this up-to-date might not be worth it, depending on the sheer amount of data entities and your level of Asperger-like sense of categorization need.

As said in the comments to your original question, this is more or less exclusively based on personal preference, but everything builds on structure. Directories is just one way to do this, but since it is so tightly integrated into every tool on the computer, it is still perhaps the most useful.

Don't overdo it:

/media/movies/hd/x264/bluray/comedy/1994/Jim Carrey/Dumb and dumber

Don't underdo it:


Whatever works for you...

I also included a sample splitting, but it was edited by a mod and put on an external resource. The structure of my post was also greatly modified and reordered, but the gist of it was kept. If you want my exact words, look at the version in the edit history from before the external edit.


Look at the subjects / characteristics of your personal data.

Let's say you have your bank stuff:


Okay, I'm missing some details in it, let's add them in and categorize it further:


Now we're getting somewhere. The only thing left to do is putting it in the right order.

Here are some questions to ask yourself for this case:

  1. Do you separate everything by Personal and Work?

  2. Do you have other Finance sub folders?

  3. Do you like to keep things by date? How much does this help you look something up?

  4. Does the month matter?

Let's say Bank is the only Finance folder and that you have no Business Finance to manage, dates aren't really important. So, this could strip it down to:


But this could as well been:


As you can see, their is no single solution I could take out of a magic bag and give it to you. You have to think this through if you want to get organized, so here are some tips to remember:

  1. Think about a way to categorize your file.

  2. Think about a way to turn characteristics (like the date) into the folder structure.

  3. Ask yourself questions about the folder structure.

  4. Reorganize the folder structure to allow you to look up stuff (in its context) quickly, such that you don't have to search other folders when you simply want relevant files.

If you find yourself changing structure a lot, you might like a system like Tabbles instead.

  • 1
    Thanks Tom it is really helpful to rethink on the points you have mentioned. – Sandeep Apr 10 '12 at 0:34

In addition to the structures that were already suggested, I could add using Extended file attributes to incorporate extra information as metadata (e.g. year of the movie, period for the statement, or statement issue date etc.). The issue with this is that most extended file attributes are OS specific and don't survive when transferring data to another OS and one should be careful when backing up data. Huge advantage of the extended file attributes is that they can be searched easily.

I won't advice using them on their own, but in addition to directory structures as suggested by the others.

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