How to organize your PC CD's ?

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For folks that work on PC's for a living,  physically how to you keep it
organized ? I've have 4 PC's and having issues finding a CD when I need
it. ( not music - just PC apps) I have CD's from Win9x days to Vista and
lately I've been cleaning up / putting together some PCs from friends
for donations and finding stuff is an issue.

I've been thinking  on the best way to organize them all ..
divide them into OS boxes and application boxes ?
Store-bought or home-made ( burned by me) ?
Or by what's on that one Pc and put in a cd case for each PC ?
" Outdated" vs " current ? ( like Win98 vs Money 2006)

What do you find works best for you ?

Example of a typical issue I'm having:
I turned on an old Pc (donor did NOT give me the original CD that came
with it) and I wanted to uninstall NAV as it had expired. The uninstall
app "couldn't find a file" and  prompted me for the CD. I knew I had it
but where ???
I made a lot of CD's with specific utilites for networks, disk repair
etc yet I can't ever find them easily when I need them.

Re: How to organize your PC CD's ?

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I buy a box of interoffice envelopes [1], then when I buy some
hardware or software I grab a new envelope and write the date and a
description of the item on the outside. The receipt, CDs and
literature got inside and it goes on the shelf in date order.  As much
as possible, I label the hardware, CDs and floppies and manuals with
the date. Sharpie pens are your friend.

All serial numbers and enabling keys get written on the envelope
and/or printed and kept inside.  I can't tell you know much money I've
saved myself by being able to grab exactly the right stuff and prove
purchase history when necessary.  If I get an updrade to a software
package I make a new envelope and make a note on the old envelope for
the date of the new version.

In the 90s I ran the computers for a software engineering company that
needed one or two each of *every* flavor of Unix running every version
of SQL Server, right down to the patch versions. Throw in NT, Netware,
and VMS.  I had a serial number assignment system and 2000+ envelopes
in a bookshelf. It allowed me to identify exactly what hardware and
software was on which maintenance plan and what it's history was and
saved the company a fortune because I could always find the driver
floppy needed to reuse some bit of hardware.

Now, when I set up computers at a small business I make them buy
interoffice envelopes in a color that they don't use. All the computer
records go in them and they don't get lost in the pile of business

At home the system covers all the other crap I've bought, too. I've
probably got 100 envelopes somewhere.  

[1] For you youngsters and people that have never worked in a
    paper-based office, here's what I'm talking about;

    The old-fashioned brown paper version costs abouy $25/100
a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m
Harrison for Congress in NY 13CD  
Don't blame me. I voted for Gore. A Proud signature since 2001

Re: How to organize your PC CD's ?

Al Dykes wrote:
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Or the nice white Tyvek ones are free from Fedex! ;-)

Excellent system Al, we do something very similar for all of the donated
units we refurbish and pass on.

I also photocopy the bottom of all laptops in order to have a record of any
COAs and the model and serial numbers.

Visit the Thinkpad Forums

Re: How to organize your PC CD's ?

I use a different approach. I bought 3 photo like albums that hold
CD/DVDs instead of photos. They can hold a few thousand CD/DVD is my
guess. Serial numbers and key numbers are kept in my PDAs and backed up
on my computers. This system uses very little space and why I like it.


Re: How to organize your PC CD's ?

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I started out with that layout - but the sn/license numbers were my
issue. Prior to that I had the Win95 Cd in the Win95 cd case along with
the license, win98 in CD case, etc  When I put them all in a binder I
thought - I'll keep all the licenses -" here". Then I couldn't find  it
when I needed it a year later.  For instance for store bought apps....
I use Musicmatch and really like it - I tried others but decided that
was my music app. So when I bought a new Pc I had the Cd but had no idea
where the original envelope was with the license ( like the Norton stuff
too - it comes in an envelope with the code that 's needed to use it).
So for the ones that shipped in a CD case, I put them back into original
cases ( that I could find) but some of the original Win9x era
"envelopes" are long gone so even though I bought it, it's useless to
me. For others, I made copies and wrote the number right on the new CD.
Those,  I could put in a binder and they were useful. I currently have
them in 5-6 boxes I got from Newbury Comics - about the size of
shoeboxes. I was there one day after they had loaded the bins and had a
bunch of empty boxes. I asked if I could have a few and they obliged me.
They are about as long as a shoebox but not good for filing until I made
an insert for each CD case so that I can read "what's in it" without
having to remove them.

So you find it best to write down all the license numbers for reference
and use the albums.... I saw those big albums on sale at CompUSA on
black Friday but didn't want to lose my spot in the checkout line to
fetch them. I'll evaluate what I've got and check it out.


Re: How to organize your PC CD's ?

- Bobb - wrote:

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Having the original CD's in a box in the closet and a ISO copy on the
fileserver. Mount them with Alcohol 120% or whatever you OS of choice
supports or burn a copy and throw it away afterwards.

Lasse Jensen [fafler at g mail dot com]
Linux, the choice of a GNU generation.

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