Tech Expert: Got PC Clutter?

Got PC Clutter?

By Lauren Halagarda, CPO®

Yet another client today asked me what she should do because she had just given up trying to organize her e-mail and files. Her folder structure had gotten so complex and overwhelming to maintain and she was having even more difficulty finding the info she needed on her computer. I often hear this same question “How should I set up my electronic filing system so I can find what I need?” It seems to be a challenge for many. The Pareto principle tells us that we’ll probably only access 20% of what we keep. If that’s the case, then why waste so much time making decisions and worrying about the other 80% when you’re not likely to reference it again? Do you spend so much time re-organizing files and folders, trying to determine where to save something? Only to end up searching in multiple folders still unable to find what you need? I do believe in setting up and maintaining an easy-to-use file structure and I’ll talk about that in a future post, but everyone likes a quick fix, right? My magic pill is to install a desktop search engine.

A desktop search engine is similar to an Internet search engine except that it allows you to search your computer for files, e-mail messages and other digital information using keywords and filters. There are some search functions built into operating systems like Instant Search for Windows Vista, Windows Search in Windows 7 and for Mac users, Spotlight does the trick. For PC users, searching in Win7 is much improved over its earlier counterparts, but I still defer to my favorite desktop search engine, X1 Professional Client. X1 offers a 14 day free trial and a license will cost you $49.95, but it’s worth its weight in gold! (And, no, I don’t receive any compensation for saying so…though I should because I recommend it enough ;)) Other options include Copernic desktop search, which is free for non-commercial home use or $49.95 for the Professional version and, of course, everybody’s favorite and always free, Google Desktop. I’ve created a few videos to show you all three of these search programs so you can see for yourself, but here’s what I like best about X1:
• You can search for any type of file including: emails, attachments, contacts, appointments, tasks, documents, spreadsheets, music, images, and the list goes on…
• The ability to preview a file even if you don’t have the program it was created in
• They’ve just added support for removable disks, which means I can index and search for files on my external hard drive
• Integrates with Outlook email and enables you to reply, forward, etc. right from the search window
• Allows you to dynamically search…which means you can keep narrowing your search without starting over
• And finally, what I love the most is that it does all of this quickly without slowing down my system

Google Desktop


X1 Professional Client

Lauren Halagarda, CPO® is a technology translator, efficiency innovator and tamer of information overload. Her business, The Organization Connection, works with dynamic & innovative women entrepreneurs both in the Washington, DC Metro area and virtually throughout the world to help their lives run smoother using technology. Lauren is passionate about helping women entrepreneurs detox their inboxes and regain control of their information and never-ending to-do lists. To learn more, please visit: