>> If your PC's running a little low on disk space, it might be time to do a little digital spring cleaning. But where do you start? How do you quickly find old files that you no longer need. Well, I'm bit Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'll show you how Windows Explorer's Arrange By feature can be used to weed through your files. sound effects While the Search feature on Windows 7 can help you find specific files -- like that document you need for tomorrow's morning meeting -- it can't really help you, when you're not sure what to look for. This is where Windows Explorer's Arrange By feature comes in handy. It's a great way to find files you never knew you had, or that you'd forgotten about. And it can help you locate junk files that you never really meant to keep, but that are taking up valuable disk space. As its name implies, the Arrange By feature arranges your files, based on various characteristics that you specify. You'll find the feature in the Library bar of each one of the main libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. Keep in mind that in order for the Library bar to appear in Windows Explorer, you must directly access the library. If you drill into a library from your Users folder, the library bar won't appear. Choosing an arrangement option is pretty simple. Just click the Arrange By drop-down menu and select the one you want. Windows will then rearrange the files. Just note that the arrangement options will vary, based on the library you're working with. For example, you'll find Author under Documents, Artist under Music, and Link under Videos. Also, different options will default to different file views. For example, one option may default to large icons, while another uses details. If you don't like an option's default view, you could always change it manually. Likewise, you can use the Clear Changes command to undo all the changes and return to the default arrangement. Now that we know how the Arrange By feature works, let's see it in action. Let's use it to weed through our Documents library. So open the library and click the Arrange By drop-down menu. As you can see, the Folder arrangement option is selected by default. This option produces that standard folders and files view that we're all accustomed to. But once you select one of the other Arrange By options, you'll definitely see things a different way. Let's take a closer look at each of the options. When you select the Author option, you'll see that all the files are organized in stacks, according to their author tag, which is usually the individual who created them. You can view the documents within each author's stack by double-clicking the icon. Using this arrangement, you can quickly locate documents not only created by you, but also those sent to you as e-mail attachments, or that were downloaded from the Internet. Now, this can be helpful in several ways. For example, when our Windows blogger, Greg Schultz, looked at his Documents library, using the Author option, he discovered 80 megabytes of files he no longer needed and could delete. He found a handy Word template that he had downloaded in 2003 and had completely forgotten about. And he even discovered pictures that his father had taken and sent him, via Windows Messenger. The photos were tagged with his father's name and were in his My Received Files folder. Greg had meant to move the pictures to the Pictures folders, but he'd just never gotten around to it, and he thought they were lost. Now, let's look at the Date Modified option. When you choose it, you'll see that all the files are organized in groups, according to date categories, such as Today, Yesterday, Last Week and A Long Time Ago. Depending on the number of files you have, selecting the details view, and then using the Collapse All Groups command, may make this arrangement a bit more manageable. Since the A Long Time Ago stack likely contains the vast majority of files on your system, this is the first place to start pruning. When you select the Tags option, you'll see that all the files are organized in stacks, according to their assigned tags. Now, here we're using the List view. Looking at your files arranged in this way can give you a better understanding of just how many files are actually tagged, and what those tags are. Having this information can help you, when searching for specific groups of files. When you select the Type option, Windows will organize your files in stacks, according to their type. Since file types have unique icons, the Medium Icon view works well here. Now, when Greg looked at his files, using this arrangement, he was surprised to find lots of old -- and very large -- bitmap files that he no longer needed. In fact, he found close to 500 megabytes of bitmap files, many of which he could delete or convert to the more space-conscious JPEG format. The last Arrange By option in the Documents library is Name. Now, when you select it, all the library's files are sorted alphabetically, in one huge list. Now, even though you could resort or filter the list, this is the only arrangement option that really isn't that helpful, when weeding through your files. Now that I've shown you how to use the Arrange By feature, I hope you'll try it, the next time you decide to do a little digital spring cleaning. And as always, for more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit TRDojo.TechRepublic.com. Sign up for our twice-weekly e-mail newsletter, or you can follow me on Twitter. Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.
>> Mark sound Outtake -- that you'd never meant to keep, but are still hanging on, clogging up your hard disk. Makes a sound When you select the author option, the table moves in the kitchen next door laughs.
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