It is 10 PM Do You Know Where Your Files Are?

It was late at night and I received a call from a friend that needed to submit a proposal for a new document storage and retrieval system the following morning.  He also needed a comprehensive set of procedures and was running out of time.  He knew I had created several such procedure manuals and proposals and wanted some help.

I knew just where to find the manual and supporting documentation he needed.  I just went to the Documents folder on my server and under Document Storage I found….  Where were my Document Storage folder PDF files?  I swore I had put them there; some were there but not the ones I needed.  I looked in the last three backup archives and found the desired files missing.  The log files for the sixth month showed the files were backed up, but these were just log files.  Those backups were long gone.

I seemed to remember emailing some docs around six months ago so I started checking all my email files, which is not an easy task.  I have nearly a terabyte of email archives, and each archive needed to be opened individually.

Five hours later I had found the files and safely returned them to their home on the server.  Here are a few words of advice to make your office life easier when it comes to documents:

Never cut and paste documents into your email.  Copy and paste instead.

Make all your documents read only so you cannot delete them.  If you need to modify them change them to read/write, make the modifications and protect again.

When your documents are finalized, print them to a PDF and secure the PDF against changes.  Archive the PDF so you can find it.  Also back up the archive regularly.

By the way, my friend had to write the procedures himself and told me I needed to get a better grip on my documents.  I think I should write my own set of procedures for that.

Photo via Flickr by navink

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