Data Management

Clean Up Your Network Drives

11 Jan, 2012 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Just a few simple steps will put you on the road to better-organized shared drives.

Since it is the New Year, why not resolve to sweep out all the extraneous junk that you know is cluttering up your network drives? It may be tempting to just leave things as they are, but allowing a network drive filing mess to go unchallenged works against CAD managers because it sends a message to users that filing standards don't have to be followed.

Here's my basic, reliable process for organizing messy drives:

Notify your users that the cleanup will happen on a certain date and that they need to tidy their files before then.

Warn your users that during the cleanup, you'll be documenting projects that aren't using proper filing procedures.

Ruthlessly delete junk. By "junk," I mean that MP3 file collection, those eBay/Craigslist ads, the maps to picnics and parties, etc. These files have nothing to do with company projects and have no business being on a company server. Delete these and everyone will know you're serious.

Back up and delete.
Once the deadline arrives, do as you promised and start deleting files that are in improper folders — but do make backups first. In fact, I like to back up any folders to my own C drive in addition to making a full server backup, just in case I need to restore files quickly.

For projects that evidence sloppy filing practices, publish a list of the problems to the project manager and project team so everyone is on notice as to what the problems are.

Wait and listen.
As users discover their files are no longer where they used to be, you'll hear howls of dismay. Don't worry about the complaints, but listen just to make sure you haven't deleted something in error. If you have, you can easily restore the legitimate files from the backups you prepared earlier.

Reply to any complaints about your file cleanup with the response, "If you'd followed project filing standards, there would be no problem here."

Be aware that you may have to go through the cleaning cycle a few times before you totally solve the problem, but be assured that once users know you won't tolerate filing anarchy, the problem will go away.

So don't put off the network file cleanup another day. Resolve to make 2012 the year that your project filing gets back on track.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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