Every home and office has one and the Library does too. A box, a bag, a drawer, or a cubby full of plastic disks and dusty manuals. NEKLS was no different but all of that is about to change. I present to you the 7 Steps to stop your hoarding. Why? Because when you need it you can’t find it, and some of this stuff, taking up precious room, is over ten years old.
Step 1: Gather
Get everything that has been stacking up in various places, check the boxes the devices came in, the old attempt at organizing, the to do pile. Gather the manuals, install-disks, software and cables, or MISC for short, all in one place.
Step 2: Thin the herd
It is time to make 3 piles.
- No – Is the equipment the MISC is associated with still in service? If no, then it goes in the No pile. Is this software up to date – Windows 98? Remember there is almost always an updated version. Do you need multiple copies of the same thing? (Use some caution here especially if there is a chance there are multiple keys.)
- Maybe – More time is needed to decide or more input must be sought out.
- Yes – This equipment, Operating System, or software is still in use or may need to be used.
Step 3: Maybe Baby
Question the Maybes with guidance from an authority.
- The authority could be the person who purchased the equipment, the tech, or search the almighty internet.
- This is likely stuff that you will want an OK on before you pitch.
- Example: You find out the drivers for logitech products are readily available online so you get rid of the install disk.
- Move all Maybes to either the Yes or No pile.
Step 4: Out with the old
Recycle or trash the No pile.
- I am keeping 2 copies of install disks, if we have it, for modern Operating Systems so I can keep one in my tech bag and one in our archives.
- Shred or break CDs with sensitive personal data. The same goes for sensitive paperwork. The rest goes to be recycled or tossed.
Step 5: Integrate and Categorize
Sort the Yes pile:
- Computer OS or related system disks
- Peripherals install disks
- Software Applications
- Software Keys
- Protection Plans
- Cables and adapters
- We keep our serial numbers in a digital file. If it is possible to save it digitally in a file, do it – i.e. product numbers, serial numbers, how to guides, warranty info etc. If you are keeping manuals only to document model numbers, add that data to a document instead.
Step 6: All Together Now
Now that you have all of your MISC grouped, it is time to archive it. A large binder with plastic sleeves for disks and plastic sleeves for documents and booklets works very well.
Step 7 : Indexed and Stored
- After your binder is full, make sure to index what MISC you have. A table of contents at the front of the binder can be kept updated when old stuff is removed and new disks, manuals, etc. are added.
- It is handy to have a digital file that indexes what you have and where you store it – for example, a spreadsheet that lists software, notes software keys, serial numbers, dates of purchase, etc.
- Cables, cords, and adapters can be stored together. Wrap them up with velcro strips and mark what they are, if specialized. (If you did not previously sort through these, do it now before you put them all away. You might not need a phone cord anymore, or 15 USB cables, a serial cable, or an s-video cable.)
- Logitech Setpoint 4.0a – These small files are available on their site.
- Wordperfect from 2002 – We not only don’t use this office suite, it is also 10 years old.
- Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 – This data is available online and will be more current than a 9 year old disk.
- Quicken 2002 – Not only out of date, but there are programs today like Mint that integrate with today’s technology.
- Gateway install disk – We no longer own any Gateways?
- A Logitech user manual for a wireless keyboard – Enough said.
- Win DVD from 1999 – We have way better free software for this like VLC.
- Driver disk for a Dell Latitude – This laptop is still floating around, but Dell does a great job of organizing all of their drivers online.
- Office 2000 – I’ll stick with Office 2010.
- A driver disk for a PCI sound card -This disk doesn’t say which sound card, what brand, what model. It will never be helpful.
- Windows 2000 – Pre XP – an automatic throw away.
- Theft deterrent software for a gateway monitor – I don’t know where this monitor is now. If it is still in use, we are probably ready for it to be stolen.
- Server 2000 – Need to make sure we are not using this anywhere.
- Roxio Creator reinstall disk – Fairly current, so check to see if any staff uses it.
- Battery backup documents – We might need warranty info, but manuals are likely available online. (Later determined the packets were pre-2000, so No).
- Warranty cards for various equipment – I will keep them if the equipment is still covered by the warranty.
- Quick start guides – These are for monitors – are unneeded and will end up going to the No pile.
- Install disks for monitors – Monitors really need no install disk, but since they have the users manual too I might keep.
- OSX Disk – Currently being used.
- XP Disks – Not current, but definitely still in use.
- Vista Disk – Almost certainly a waste of space, but it is still recent.
- Win 7 disk 32 bit service pack 1, and 64 bit – Currently being used.
- Dell Resource disks – This software is readily available from Dell, but since we have several of these machines I’ll keep the driver disk.
- Office 2008 for MAC – Still in use.