Saving your files

Copying all of your files can be a daunting task, and knowing where they all are on your computer can be tough.  Let us help!  We can sit down with you and show you where all your files are, and give you pointers on how to find files, how to transfer them, and how to back them up in the future.  For the most part, though, your files will be in fairly predictable places. 

On a PC:  

Most of your files will be in the folder My Documents, or on your desktop. However, some programs store files in specific directories (the computer term for folder), so look also under My Computer, Local Disk C.  Remember to check the Network folders Home, Courses, and Collab!

On a Mac:

Most of your files will be stored in your user profile, which will be a folder that is named after your Carleton username.  It is the little Home icon on the left side of a Finder window.  From there, your actual documents will probably be in Documents, on your Desktop, or in the top level of your profile.  Pictures will be in the Pictures folder, and your iTunes music and library will be in the Music folder.  If you have any movies, they will most likely be in the Movies folder.  Remember to check the Network folders Home, Courses, and Collab!

Note:  if you are trying to get your iTunes music, be careful not to replace your music collection at home with the music on your office machine!  You can copy the music itself and import it into iTunes like you normally would, but don't try to replace the Music folder on your home computer with the Music folder from your office computer.

Moving files to your home computer

Once you know where your files are, you need to get them to your home computer.  There are multiple ways to get the files from your office computer to your home computer.  You can:

  • burn your files onto cds or dvds (this is painful unless you have only a few files.)
  • copy files to a USB thumbdrive (also called flash or jump drives)
  • copy files to an external hard drive (probably the fastest route for most people)
  • copy files to one of the Network folders and use a VPN connection to download your files from home (depending on your connection speed and number of files, this could be extraordinarily slow)
  • use a "dropbox" service and transfer your files via the cloud (disk storage that is in an undetermined physical location on the internet.)
  • use the firewire capabilities of pre-Macbook Air to use one computer as an external hard drive on the other computer

Perhaps the easiest way is to use an external hard drive.  They are bigger, easier to use, and good to have on hand anyway for backing up your files.  If you don't have one and would like to get one, we recommend LaCie and Seagate harddrives. 

If you aren't interested in owning an external hard drive, or don't have time to get one before you leave the College, investigate networked storage services such as Dropbox.  If you have many gigabytes, anticipate this data transfer taking several hours in each direction.