I hadn’t planned to “Spring Clean” my computer today… it just sort of happened.  Things were moving… S..L…O…W…L..Y… opening slowing, saving slowly.  Quite frankly, it was both slowing and bringing me down!

So it was time to take a look at my computer storage.  A computer guru once told me to shoot for at least 25% of my storage free for things to run smoothly.  And restart Photoshop at least once a day since it is such a random memory hog.  Oh yeah, and it’s a bad idea to never turn off your computer.  He equated it to never letting your body sleep but living on coffee and Red Bull.

But we’re talking about storage… if you have a Mac, here is how you can find out what you are working with.

Go to the Apple Icon and use the pull down menu in the top left and choose “About this Mac”.

Then click on “More Info”.  This opens the System Profiler.

Scroll down to “Serial – ATA” then scroll down and look at the Macintosh Hard Drive Capacity & Available Storage values.

macmemoryYou want the available storage to be at least 25% of capacity or you will experience the slowness I was… I had about 5% available… opps!

So what do you do if your computer is slow?  You need to move some stuff off of it.

External hard drives are great.

Don’t forget about backing up your computer and files too.  Keep everything you care about in at least 2 different places and ideally, in 2 different buildings.  Back-up disks and hard drives that are stored in the same room as your computer won’t do you much good if HEAVEN FORBID there is a fire or flood or some other studio-destroying event!  I’ve had two artists email recently asking for new copies of eBooks because their computer crashed and they didn’t have a backup.  That was an easy fix but I’m not sure who would be able to replace their digital art files…

So, I spent much of my day, moving files to external hard drives, burning back-up DVDs of art, organizing files and sketching while my computer churned away.  It was a bit tedious but well worth the peace of mind were, knock-on-wood, something to happen to my beloved Mac.

Here’s to your well organized and backed-up creative success!

– Tara