Today I choose to reorganize all my data files (TIC00020c)
A new computer, a fresh install of Windows, all the software (or almost all of it) back up and running. And now it’s time for my data to be in the right places after the upgrade.
Cleaning my C Drive
I was low on space with my previous setup, and when I moved to using Mylio as my photo management software, the only place I had available to create a “vault” of photos was my C Drive. It was a 500GB hard disk drive, and software was eating up about 100GB. The Mylio vault of 20K photos (captured so far) ate up another 40GB or so, but there’s another 100GB+ to go when all my photos finally make it into the vault. I don’t like putting data on my main Windows drive, I prefer to keep it as just my “installed software” drive, if only to avoid having to dig too deep to do backups. Mixing data and software is a really good way to miss something in a backup. And since those drives also get the heaviest use, they’re also the most likely to fail.
My new setup has a 1TB solid state drive, and I had them partition it to 350GB for the software part of the equation. I had about 250GB used before with various things, and I over-estimated my new needs — I have 344GB of space with only 56GB in use and 288GB available! And that’s with almost EVERYTHING installed. I’ve been considering adding some astro software that has some pretty big databases, and was wondering if I would have room. Apparently I do!
Making a Fast F Drive
The other part of my new SSD drive is set up for a working drive where I can put all my working files when I’m doing heavy processing or opening. The real size is about 585GB after rounding, and at the moment, I’m only using 20GB, mostly temporary files that I just haven’t deleted yet. I’m looking forward to creating some working directories for active projects.
However, those temporary files are part of my huge “oops” when getting ready for the upgrade. I did a full backup, all great, right? Yeah, not quite. I did the backup, sure, but I forgot the new system would be a completely fresh install, so I wouldn’t be just copying everything back. I use FireFox so I have all my bookmarks synched with my online account, I still have all of that. But I use a plugin called OneTab where I had a TON of bookmarks stored. I was basically using it over the last few months in lieu of the bookmark manager, and I *really* like it. Except it isn’t saved as part of the Firefox synch. I’ve reached out to the company by email to see where the data is saved in the drive — with Windows? with User Application Data? Under Mozilla? No clue, I went through all of it and can’t see an obvious page that would be the page of bookmarks. I just don’t know how it saves the data. It may be gone, but that’s just part of the stupidity of doing a backup without thinking about how I was returning non-normal files. If I can’t get them back, no harm done, just a “nice to have” if I can find the original files.
I also have some files saved in there which were templates from various things. Like my DYMO label printer, for instance…I have some custom-saved labels. I didn’t back those up in the normal way, so putting them back might be a challenge. Easy enough to recreate though, just faster if I can just copy the old ones.
Putting the I in Drive
I wanted to create a drive called D for documents, but D is already taken with my CD ROM, and I don’t want to change that one, it makes sense to be close to my C setup. I considered M for MY DOCUMENTS but you’ll see why I didn’t use M for this in a second. In the end, I thought it was kind of like “I will save it here…”. I have directories for:
- Astronomy — lots of planning, writing, reference materials, stuff to and from RASC, etc. And my astrolog, of course.
- Documents — this is the default My Documents directory, but honestly, I rarely save things there. Too many software installs use that directory by default and it’s hard to change some of it to elsewhere. So I just let the tech software use it for ASCOM, Custom Office Templates, and two ebook saving directories (for Kindle and Adobe Digital Editions).
- Email — I have a ton of old emails that at one time I had in Eudora. While I still have some of the Eudora install files, it was easier to just export some of them and dump them in their own directory. I also have some from work that need to be copied over to here as well, but they’re hiding elsewhere for now.
- Organize — this is a huge directory that I’ve used for a long time to keep templates, updated to do lists, stuff for our house, and even old templates for CD jewelcases from back in the day. Could probably delete those now, to free up a couple of K of space. 🙂
- Personal — This is my REAL “my documents” directory, with sub categories for Andrea, computers, correspondence, my mother’s estate, family, finances, games, health, HR, Jacob, my schooling, trivia, and our wedding planning (there’s more than just planning in there though so it ISN’T in with the organizing stuff). Most of it is not that current, so I tend to leave it one level down.
- Work — This is a very big set of directories, some of it just stuff I should probably delete but since I have plans to write some stuff when I retire, I’ve tended to keep it for now. It’s all unclassified, nothing there, but things that I saved over the years. Key reports I wrote, for instance. All grouped by the job going all the way back to Foreign Affairs in ’93.
- Writing — Pretty much all my fiction and non-fiction writing going back a little over 20 years. My current “projects” will end up on the FAST drive, but this is more my ongoing archive.
I also have a TEMP folder of files that were sitting in the wrong places previously, but go into the above sub-directories. Rather than spend too much time fighting with it for now, I dumped it on the drive for now and I’ll re-direct it to the above directories later.
In total? 38GB out of a whopping 1.9TB of space. There are some huge files that I have stored in the cloud that will eventually end up here, but for now, I just have the above files.
M is for Media
Remember I mentioned above that I copied files but didn’t quite plan properly for a “new install”? This is the drive where that becomes VERY painful. Well, sort of, I guess. The drive has a bunch of file types that can get quite large:
- ebooks — 41GB;
- french learning materials – 17GB;
- music — 150GB saved twice = 300GB (see below);
- ROMs for games — 13GB;
- videos — 20GB;
- temp — 17GB to sort and file above;
So let’s start with ebooks. I run Calibre as my library software, have done so for years, have multiple libraries saved under it representing my workflow for reading and reviewing. TBR piles in digital form, read but not reviewed, etc. All good, I love the layout and setup, and while I tweak it from time to time if/when I change my workflow, it meets my needs. But the kicker is that my Calibre setup was NOT the vanilla default setup. No, I had tweaked all the layouts and toolbars. And installed extra plugins with lots of bells and whistles, often requiring serial numbers or ID numbers from elsewhere. All good.
Except I didn’t EXPORT all those settings when I did the backup. I just backed them up. But of course those setup files also include the locations of where the files are saved and stored. Which no longer apply since I moved them to totally different drives. So, installing Calibre from scratch involved redoing all the tweaks and additions I did previously. Not insurmountable, just a bit of work I didn’t anticipate having to do. And of course, I run Calibre, but I also run Amazon Kindle for PC which requires tweaking and set up, as does Adobe Digital Editions and Cloud Library. Oops.
For the music, there are two sets of files…one for iTunes to do whatever it wants with, which is terrible things to do to a nicely organized library. Think of a giant directory with thousands of entries for artists, rather than by album. Sigh. iTunes also likes to replace files with ones from its own service when they’re smaller, and people have had horror stories losing things they had in lossless originals only to be replaced by a crappy MP3 from Apple Music. So I don’t let iTunes read my music library directly. It has its own area. With 150GB of music in both, some 38K songs.
I run multiple music systems simultaneously, so the directory goes a bit crazy. I uploaded all the music to Apple, even if it is in terrible shape for a library. It’s all there. Google Play Music used to let you upload 50K songs for free, but it is going the way of the dodo bird, being replaced by YouTube Music, which requires a bit of work to figure out they’ll let you have 100K songs or 3TB of free space while spamming the crap out of you to sign up for the premium edition on every single page. Their upload was taking a lot of time, so I think I only ended up with about 6000 of the songs uploaded. I’ll add the rest sometime later. Amazon Music has a free space area for Prime members, which I am, so I started uploading to that which was EVEN slower. Over the course of about 24 hours, it uploaded about 17K songs out of 38K. Then I gave up.
My MAIN player on my desktop is Media Monkey, and if it came with an iOS app, I’d probably not bother uploading ANYTHING to Apple Music/iTunes. But it doesn’t, and I don’t want all 38K songs on my phone. Even at 150GB on my desktop, and assuming it goes for lower quality on my phone, it would still likely top 50GB. I have the room, but no good player to use. It’s on my list to figure out, but the other glitch is that Media Monkey will ONLY transfer if I do it through a cloud service OR through physically connecting the phone to my computer, which I never do. Oh, and I didn’t save the Media Monkey settings either. Easy enough to reinstall, just annoying.
I have a bunch of video game ROMS, and I knew I was failing to export the settings for RetroArch before I did the transfer, as I want to do a fresh install of it with proper USB drivers for the remote gamepad. Still, work left to do.
I have some videos, a measly 20GB, but I have a LOT more sitting on my laptop that I haven’t transferred over. Not sure where I’m going to put them.
But with all of it together, I know this group of files is going to grow exponentially, so I have put it on my biggest drive. I’m using 403GB so far, but there’s 3TB of space available. I should be good for some time yet. 🙂
P is for Photos
As I mentioned above, I use Mylio for my photo manager, and it uses a “vault” system to distinguish between general photos on a drive and those that are “under” Mylio control. While I was never under any risk of losing my photos, I screwed up my migration. All the settings in Mylio can be exported, but since they are easy enough to tweak, I didn’t really think about it. I had my original, and my backup on a separate drive, all good. Right?
Well, not quite. Mylio’s primary vault was on my original C: Drive with its secondary mirror vault on my external backup drive. Totally synched, all the time, double-checked. It was my biggest worry. Making sure a full set was “elsewhere” of the vault as well as separate photos that I haven’t integrated into the vault yet. What I didn’t realize was that unlike Calibre, which generally opens a library/vault in whatever directory it is stored, Mylio wants all the technical info exported and then imported. Which I didn’t do.
So when I reinstalled Mylio and told it to open the primary location, it started to import all the photos. But not everything was going back into the right folders, and even some of the resolutions seemed off — like it was showing me the low-res version instead of the high-res version. I dug deep into the Mylio support site, and found diddly-squat for migrating a drive. It basically kept telling me I should export everything first. Great, but what if I had “crashed”? What would I do then? I reached out to the support group, after all I am a paid member, but it’s the weekend so no joy in Mudville. Eventually I found a help file dealing with something quite different but buried within it was a paragraph or two about what to do if you installed a whole new operating system. Well, yes I had. Let’s go with THAT option. I deleted a bunch of stuff, deregistered the link, opened the software, logged in as if it was the first time AGAIN, and it said, “Hey, I found a vault over on your backup drive, shall I use it? Oh, never mind, I’ll just do that.” Yeah, it doesn’t wait, it just finds vaults and starts reading them in. THAT vault it read just fine. No issues at all. The whole 20K+ photos with all the right settings, resolutions, and set up. Perfect. A rigamarole to get there, but it’s “done”.
I’m paranoid about the backups of the other photo directories, so I’m checking those a bit manually to make sure nothing went wayward in a file copy anyway. Due diligence, and I can use overall size and number of files to tell me if everything is where it is supposed to be, but that’s just grunt work.
Since I use Mylio, I have a separate Mylio directory for its vault, leaving “Pictures” to be like My Documents. I let other apps use it, and keep my stuff relatively separate. However, when I transfer photos from my phone, they get dumped into that directory, so easy to find.
The drive also has my “creative” ventures on it, memes and website images, or even badges for my reading challenge. And a big collection of clip art.
It total, I have 717GB so far, and the photos are going to grow, particularly for astrophotography. The drive might not be big enough in the end, but I have 1.25TB still available. I have time.
V is for Virtual Archives
I have all my application installers saved here, including old ones. It’s about 17GB in total, not that much space.
I have a temporary copy of my music backups here for now, and that’s the 150GB version. I’ll likely ditch it once I get everything organized on my main drive. I don’t need three copies on my main computer!
And while I have online options for backups of my website, I occasionally download complete backups of everything, just in case. That’s another 40GB.
Which leaves me with 250GB used and 675GB in free space. Still lots of room, so I’ll likely make a photo backup here at some point, after I ditch the music.
I would love to say I’m “done”, but I know that’s not true. I have multiple small hard drives with files hiding on them. Some are a whopping 40GB (remember when that was a LOT?), and once I copy off anything worth having, I’ll wipe them securely and then recycle them.
But that’s a longer-term problem, no rush. In the meantime, I’m “sorted” enough that I did a new backup to my external drive today. I still have to reattach the Network Attached Storage (NAS) and figure out cloud storage for Jacob and Andrea’s computers too, but for now, it’s under control.
Today I choose to organize my data properly so that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. More or less, anyway.
What choices are you making today?