If you are like most people, you have digital media all over the place. On your phone, your PC, in the cloud, and on DVDs. You also probably have duplicates mixed in with everything else. And moreover, everything is a moving target. You will save a Facebook photo today, share a home video, download something you like from the internet, and many more new additions to your digital media. The world doesn't stop and wait for you.

Introduction

Your media libraries are the foundation of your entire media empire. Right now, we want to get the right media into the right library. We will organize all this stuff later. In a perfect world, all your digital photos are in your "Photos" folder. But it's not a perfect world and you may end up with most of your photos in the "Photos" folder and some left on your phone or somewhere in the cloud. That's OK everybody is in the same boat.

All Media Folder Structure

Typically, you will end up with this folder structure (or something similar) on a hard drive.

You will end up with sub-folders under "Videos" like "Home Videos", "Music Videos" or "Exercise Videos", whatever fits your library. This holds true for the other folders as well. You may have a "Photos" sub-folder called "My Phone" or "My Spouses Phone". Just try hard not to mix photos with videos and so on. As you round up all your digital media, the disk size requirements will become obvious.

Photos

Let's start by getting all your photos into one big, gigantic pile or library. Create a dedicated "Photos" folder on your hard drive (shown in the diagram above).

😎 WordCutter: Tip - No, don't rush out and buy additional storage yet. Wait until you get an idea of how much storage you really need.

Mobile Phones

Let's start with Mobile Phones. You want to copy, yes, copy the photos from your phone (or phones) into your new "Photos" folder. For now, you want to leave the original photos on your phone and put a copy into the "Photos" folder. Later, in the process, we will change this.

Now you have copies of all the photos on your phone on your PC. If you missed a few, they didn't go away, and we will catch them later in the process.

PC's, Laptops, and Tablets

Let's get all the photos from all the computers and get them into the "Photos" folder.

Just like your phone, you need to examine each computer and put their photos into your "Photos" folder. But unlike your phone, now you want to move these photos out of your other computers and into the "Photos" folder. You want to move these to prevent multiple folders with duplicate files.

Moving these photos should be easy using File Explorer over your home network.

PHYSICAL MEDIA (DVD, Floppy, Data Sticks): This is kind of a scavenger hunt for media. You may (or may not) have photos and media out in the garage or in the attic that you want to get into your media library. If you do have some physical media lying around, now is the time to dig it up and get it into your media libraries. Just stay alert to copying and replacing files so you do not lose anything.

CLOUD STORAGE: Check your existing cloud storage and make sure that photos in the cloud are copied into your "Photos" folder. Use the same copying process we have discussed to get the photos without stepping on and replacing photos that you want to keep.

Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Music, Books, and Data

I have grouped all these together because they all need to go through the same process as your photos. Create the folders, copy the media, and collect all your digital media into one central folder structure.

Conclusion

Creating clean libraries is critical as this is the foundation for all your personal digital libraries.

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ACTION ITEM: Use File Explorer to find all your pictures

  1. Open "Windows Explorer"
  2. Click on "This PC"
  3. Click on the "Search" box
  4. Type in "kind:=Picture"
  5. Press "enter"

You may be surprised.