You may not realize it, but your computer has a folder built into it with a structure for organizing your files. On Windows Computers this is called your “User Folder” and on Mac this is called your “Home” directory.
Inside these folders you will find sub-folders, they are typically: Downloads, Pictures, Documents, Desktop, Videos, Favorites, etc… The names will vary, but you get the idea.
For many years a lot of us, because of lack of direction, defaulted to saving our files on our desktops, or scattered in areas on our “C:” drive that is to our liking. If you are still doing this, and not using your Home Directory, then it is a habit that you need to break.
The most important reason is that it means all of your important personal files are in one location, with one main top level “folder”. When it comes time for backing up your personal documents, say in the event of a virus, you can simply copy your entire “Home” directory to your backup drive. You do not have to worry about missing files or folders in odd places…. as long as you stick to keeping them in your home directory. This is also helpful if you subscribe to online or automated backup programs such as Crashplan or Mozy, etc….
Additionally, another reason this is important is that in the event of a failure, it is much easier to know where to look for the files to recover. Many recovery programs will rebuild the file structure allowing the person recovering your files to find them in the most logical place. This can make getting your files back to you faster and easier. I recently transitioned a friend to a new computer and they had their files in many different areas. They thought they remembered where they kept everything, but were wrong. It was unfortunately too late once they realized it because their old computer had been destroyed to be disposed of properly. Those files could not be recovered.
It seem like something that is not important, but it is a good “best practice” to follow.