I have yet to find something that beats a filing cabinet but here's what I use today.
I use a directory (folder) for where these things go and then folders in that directory.
This centralizes where these files go and armed with Google Desktop Search I can find my Word or PDF files with ease.
For photos I decided to file by date taken. Some folders in the Photo category have names of significant events plus the date.
NO ADDED SOFTWARE is required for my filing system.
Backup and restore is as simple as drag and drop from one place to another.
Is there a free easy to use document management software?
Something that I can add tags to documents, and the software provides an interface to finding the documents?