There are two types of Windows user – those who like to keep their hard drives organized, and those who don’t. If you fall into the second category, you’re probably used to hunting high and low on your desktop for that files you know you stuck there sometime last week, or scouring folders to find a photos from a trip last year.
If your desktop looks like an explosion in an icon factory, Belvedere could be the organization and clean up tool you have been looking for. This simple yet powerful tool can be used to automatically organize your files using a set of rules.
Download a free copy of Belvedere and run through the installation before launching the program. Although the program’s help file is displayed by default, to access the program interface you’ll need to double click the system tray icon that has been created.
Creating Organizational Rules
The program screen you are initially presented with is a little sparse, but this will soon change as you start to create the rules that will be used to bring a semblance of order to your files. The program window is divided into two main sections, with the left hand side being used to list the folders you are organizing with Belvedere, and the right hand side showing the rules you have created.
Click the + button to the bottom left of the program window to add a new rule and then use the Explorer dialog that pops up to select the folder you want to organize with this rules – we’ll start by selecting the Desktop – and then click OK.
Make sure that you have the folder selected from the left hand list and then click the + button beneath the right hand rules panel. You can then use the screen that appears to set about the task of defining your first rule. This can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but before you rush headlong into things and start creating rules left, right and center, it’s worth spending a little time thinking about various scenarios and how your files fit into them.
Specify Rule Criteria
Start by entering a description for the rule – we’re going to create a rule that will automatically sort zip files into a suitably named folder on the desktop. The first rule is very simple so it does not matter if the ALL or ANY option is selected from the first drop, but as we’re creating a rule based on files type, Extension should be selected form the next menu. Leave the next drop down menu with ‘is’ selected and then type ZIP into the next field.
From the ‘Do the following’ menu, choose what should be done with files that match the specified criteria – such as moving – and then configure any other options that may be required. You can check that your rule is going to work as expected by clicking the lower left Test button – no changes will be made to your files at this stage.
If you’re happy to create the rule, tick the Enabled box to the upper right and while you’re here you may also want to tick the Confirm Action box so you can check which files are going to be moved, deleted, or otherwise tinkered with when the rules runs in future.
The range of criteria that can be used when creating rules means that there is great scope for flexibility. You can single out files based on their extension, name, size, modification or access date and much more. The selection of actions that can be performed is similarly impressive. Options such as file moving lend themselves nicely to hard drive organization, but you can also opt to rename files, delete them, print them, or even run your own custom scripts or batch files – you really can make things as simple or as complicated as you like.
If you’re the kind of person who adds endless shortcuts to your desktop and they end up never getting used, you could create a rule in Belvedere that will scan your desktop for .lnk files that have not been used in a few weeks. You do not even need to worry about using Task Scheduler as Belvedere is running at all times and constantly monitoring for files that match your rules.
We’ve already mentioned how Belvedere can be set up to automatically delete certain types of file, but it’s likely that you also manually delete files fairly frequently. If you are really disorganized, you may well not get round to ever emptying the Recycle Bin, and this is something else that the program can help with.
Click the Recycle Bin tab to the right of the Folder tab and then tick the box labelled ‘Allow Belvedere to manage my Recycle Bin’ Now tick the box labelled ‘Empty my Recycle Bin every’ before using the text field and drop down menu to specify how often your deleted files should be cleared out – click Save Preferences and you’re done.
The program can be used to automatically sort your files so that images you download are moved to a particular folder, downloaded programs go to another and much more. This is the type of apps whose potential is only really limited by your imagination, and it can be put to countless use, some simple and some complex.
If you’ve been struggling to get yourself organized, it could just help to get you back on the right track.