Organize Your PC With Folders

Create a logical structure to make it easy to find your files

Detail of a 'confidential' file
Sean Russell / Getty Images

The Windows operating system (OS) includes defaults for where stuff goes when you save it. But what happens when you need to find it again? It would be easy to find a saved file among, say, a dozen or even a few dozen documents. But what if you have hundreds or more?

The situation can quickly become unmanageable. Where is that PowerPoint presentation you need by 2 PM or that turkey recipe your grandmother sent to you? What was it even called again? A search might bring up what you need but you should also create a logical folder structure to save yourself some time and minimize aggravation.

Here we'll show you how to create a folder structure for some typical types of files. This article applies to Windows 10 but the principle is the same for any version of Windows you use.

This article applies to Windows 10.

Create High-Level Folders

You'll start by creating some high-level folders and then subfolders beneath them. The names of all folders will depend entirely on the types of files you typically store. The goal is to create a logical order that makes sense to you.

Consider developing a file structure list in a Word document or with a pen and paper before you start creating the actual folders on your computer.

  1. In the lower-left corner of your screen, select the Search (magnifying glass) icon. Type documents.

    Windows 10 with Search function displayed
  2. From the results list, select the Documents file folder.

  3. On the ribbon, select Home > New > New folder.

    Windows 10 with Documents folder displayed
  4. A new folder appears with the name New folder. Replace the name with your own name for the folder. On your keyboard, press Enter.

    Windows 10 with Documents folder displayed

Add Subfolders

You could populate the high-level folders Work and Home with all of your documents. But, depending on the number of files you have, they might get lost in the shuffle. While you don't have to get extreme in the number of subfolders you create, another level or two of organization can help you locate files. Here's how to add subfolders to your high-level folders.

  1. With your Documents window open and your high-level folders displayed, open the one you want to add subfolders to.

    Windows Documents folder
  2. The folder opens. Now you can follow the same process as above for adding a folder. Select Home > New > New folder. When the new folder appears, type a new name that reflects the information you will store within it.

    Windows 10 with Documents folder displayed
  3. Repeat the process for additional subfolders. You can create as many layers of folders as you like. For example, in a Home > Organizations folder you could have folders labeled PTA, Neighborhood Watch, and Book Club.

Windows automatically alphabetizes any list of folders.

Windows 10 with Documents folder displayed

Populate the Folders

Move any files you have in other folders or drives into the appropriate folders. When you create a new file, save it into the appropriate folder. You can always add, remove, or move folders to make future searches easier.