Keep Windows 10 Organized, Pretty, and Productive

Microsoft Windows can get messy. It’s not (always) the operating system’s fault. You download tons of apps and files, and create new content stuff of your own, until your “Downloads” directory looks like a landfill for old content. Your desktop is so full of icons, you can’t see your pretty wallpaper. Your Start Menu looks like an app buffet. In short, your operating system is a mess, but it’s not unfixable.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

There are a few free apps you can use to add some much-needed organization to your Windows world. Here are a few of our favorites:

DropIt

Screenshot: DropIt
We covered this app a long time ago, but it’s worth resurrecting. DropIt is a great utility that can help you stay organized if you’re the kind of person who dumps everything you download (or copy to your PC) into a single folder-one giant, sprawling hub that many files enter, but rarely leave.

DropIt allows you to set up a ton of different rules that fire off whenever you drag files onto the utility’s little icon. For example, you can set the app to always move image files into your primary photos folder, video files into your videos folder, and Word documents into-you guessed it-your documents folder.

That’s just the start. If you want to get more advanced, DropIt can automatically scan folders (like your Downloads folder) and apply more advanced filters to anything it finds, like automatically unzipping archives, renaming files based on your parameters, or compressing large batches of files that are otherwise taking up a bit more space than you want.

Automation is a great way to help you stay organized in Windows, and DropIt practically gives you a virtual helper at your fingertips.

digiKam

Screenshot: digiKam
If your sprawling photo library needs some serious organization but you don’t want to pay for something like Adobe Lightroom, the open-source app digiKam is a great alternative.

Use this app to sort your photos and create (or edit) metadata so you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one easy-to-access library. If you’re also a bit of a photo perfectionist, you can use digiKam to edit your regular and RAW shots to make them picture-perfect.

This app is a much better solution for organizing shots than just dumping them into arbitrary Windows folders. Your disorganized hard drive will thank you, and you’ll be much less likely to lose (or forget about) images going forward.

LaunchBox

Screenshot: LaunchBox
We’re not going to ask why you have a bunch of emulators installed on your system, and we’re going to assume that all the ROMs spread across that nightmare of a folder structure in the “Games” portion of your hard drive are completely legal. Right? Regardless, if you just spent the last day getting your nostalgia kick by downloading archives of thousands of different retro games to play on your modern-day PC, keeping these games under control is going to feel overwhelming.

We suggest grabbing LaunchBox, which is a great “game organizer” utility that allows you to quickly find and play titles in your giant library. You can tap into the app’s crowd-sourced database to pepper your titles with useful information, like release dates, genres, publishers, and images, and you can mark certain games as favorites to make theme easier to hunt down when you have a little time to kill.

LaunchBox also makes it (somewhat) easy to import games from your favorite distribution services, like Steam, Battle.net, and GoG (to name a few). If you’re the world’s biggest gamer who plays everything you can download and always grabs new titles to try from all the major services, LaunchBox is a great way to organize your games under one digital roof.

AquaSnap
Screenshot: Nurgo Software
Everyone knows Windows’ Aero Snap shortcuts, right? Hit Windows Key + one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to send your active window flying all around your screen: minimizing, opening, shrinking to fill a quarter or half of your display, and bouncing off your primary display entirely (if you have a multi-monitor setup).

What Are The Dangers of Using Facebook to Grow Your Business?

Several years ago, if you wanted to grow your business, Facebook was the most popular method. And many people still feel today that using this Social Media Platform is practical.

This thought process is nativity glorified. When Facebook launched in 2004, my friend called and invited me to join her. After about a year I finally did it. It did not occur to me that I could grow a business using it.

Several years later after I closed my brick and mortar business, I helped other small business owners develop and grow their business on social media. And like most consultants, I recommended and used Facebook. My small business owners were successful, so I was successful.

Later when I retired from small business consulting, I decided to open my doors to on-line marketing. And it was enjoyable as well as educational. Like so many other people, I learned from failure. Marketing anything on-line is challenging because of the scams.

When I finally earned my master’s degree from the University of Hard Knocks using Internet for my business adventures, I found that I too could use Facebook to grow and expand my bank account.

Using Facebook Groups, and building relationships was easy. I opened four groups of my own. All was going very well. Although I was not completely happy with Facebook it was producing results. And I did buy Facebook advertising occasionally.

Several of my business associates cautioned about changes on the horizon. But I was successful and did not listen. That was my mistake.

The point here is this; do not trust this platform. They have a unique way of selling our personal information, and an even more unique way of tracking our posts. (Yes, even our business content).

The insidious fact checking is primary. Mostly because the fact checking is not fact checking, it is a way to silence and control our content.

Be careful if you are building your business on this platform. At any moment they can disable your account. And much of the time you are not told exactly the reason.

I lost all my personal groups, plus my thousands of followers and my account. If I had only listened to my associates before this happened, I would never used this platform.

My business was moral, legal, ethical and above-board. I lost my Facebook account because my content didn’t fit their narrative.

I have opened a new account. But never again will I trust a platform that controls my content; business or personal.

Anyone who suggests that you build your business with Facebook is naive. The marketplace and business environment is not what it was five or tens years ago. Today, it’s about control. Your business is your livelihood; it’s your hard work. Think about it before you move forward. Perhaps you may want to make changes.

Why Worry About Board Up Services?

Your home or business has been damaged by fire, flooding, or some other natural disaster. There are definitely areas that are exposed, and you’re waiting on your insurance to get started with the restoration process. What do you need to do while you’re waiting to get an answer about everything?

Emergency board up services are something that you may want to consider for the “in between” time. Why would you go through the time and money to get these additional services before you even start the restoration process? Here are some of the benefits of it.

Prevent Theft

One reason to consider board up services is because you don’t want robbers and thieves thinking that they have an easy target to go after. If you leave parts of your home or business open and vulnerable, it’s going to be simple for those people to waltz in there and take whatever they want that is still intact after your disaster. Boarding up your doors and windows, along with any gaps in the walls, can deter potential thieves and keep whatever is left at your property as safe as possible.

Prevent Rain, Snow, and Wind from Damaging the Property Further

All year long, rain and snowstorms can be a bit of an issue if your home or business is left open to the elements. In those cases, it’s going to be in your best interest to connect with emergency board up services as soon as you can. The last thing you need is for your restoration company to get into your home or business to find additional water, or to have to dig out several inches of snow before they start working. It can also prevent wind from going through your home or business, which also prevents additional damage from occurring during that waiting period.

Stop Animals from Getting Inside

Lastly, board up services can easily prevent animals from coming into your home or business. Many animal species are incredibly smart and opportunistic, and they may see your currently empty building as a great place for them to set up a den or shelter. But, if your home or business is boarded up, they will have fewer ways to get inside. Smaller animals may still find nooks and crannies where they can get in, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for them when you move back in. But, at least squirrels and mice are easier and safer to deal with than say, a raccoon, bear, or deer.

If you get professionals to board up your property, you can rest easy and know your home or business is safe, and that’s the bottom line. Many companies that sort out restoration services will also do everything that they can in order to board up and protect your home or business until they can start the restoration process. You just need to get in touch with them and let them know what sort of help you’ll need to take care of everything related to your home or business