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Can I mass-decompress many folders at once?
June 29, 2004 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Yeargh, I stupidly hit "compress old files to save disk space" when the iTunes folder on my WinXP box got towards full. As a result, about half of my music is inacessible through iTunes. At this point, I'm clicking into each artist/album folder and uncompressing them one at a time, then re-adding to the library. I've been at this for three hours and now am up to "C." How do I uncompress these files in one fell swoop? I've been all over the "help" documentation for both WinXP and iTunes as well as Google.
posted by mimi to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
how are they compressed? If they're zipped and you have winzip, do a search for *.zip in the main folder, select all, right click, there should be a "unzip" option under the winzip heading.
posted by signal at 11:26 AM on June 29, 2004


They're not compressed in that fashion, or as any kind of archive. The only way I can tell they're "compressed" is that the file name is in blue instead of black, and if I right-click on the file, then go to Advanced Attributes, there is a tick-box checked that says, "Comress contents to save disk space." :-/
posted by mimi at 11:32 AM on June 29, 2004


i did this recently too, and was wondering what the whole "blue highlight" thing was all about. apparently you can go ahead and select a number of files (shift click or whatever) at once, then do properties, then uncheck the "compress files" checkmark, and that should work for you.

of course, I'm able to open compressed files normally, so maybe something else wacky is going on..
posted by fishfucker at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2004


I had this problem once (though not with iTunes) and I think that I solved it by simply turning off compression on the drive.
posted by shotsy at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2004


1. Find the files. Press F3 whilst in your music folder, Click on All files and folders, type "*.*" in the filename, click on search.
2. Wait ...
3. Click on a file, then press Ctrl-A to Select All
4. Right Click the selected files
5. Wait ....
6. Click on Properties.
7. Go away for 10 minutes. Wait ....
8. Click on the Advanced button, uncheck the "Compress contents..." button and click on Apply.
9. Get some sleep. Wait ....
10. Voila - that should be it.
posted by seanyboy at 11:53 AM on June 29, 2004


God, I love stuff like this....

If you want to do it properly, then there's always vbScript.

set f=fso.getfile(objfile)
if f.attributes and 128 then f.attributes = f.attributes - 128

Of course, you'll need the recursive procedure to scan through your folders and files, and this is a stupidly stupid thing to do without a backup, but it should work.

If you get stuck, drop another comment, and I'll have a go at creating the script.
posted by seanyboy at 12:04 PM on June 29, 2004


The odd thing is, in my experience mp3s, aacs, pretty much any kind of audio that's already highly compressed do NOT compress well. So I wonder why they bothered. Just now I tried it wit zip, rar, gzip, bzip2 and none of them did better than removing 100K from a 3.4 meg file (about a 3% reduction). For all the CPU that's required to do that kind of compressing/decompressing, what's the point?
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:05 PM on June 29, 2004


Seanyboy, thanks! I don't know nothin' 'bout scripting no VB, so I went with the first suggestion. While it is time consuming, it's nice and fast comparatively, and easier on my wrist. :-) Thanks!

Dude they totally need a "Clicking this box will seriously f*** up your iTunes" warning...
posted by mimi at 1:11 PM on June 29, 2004


What is odd is the NTFS compression you have done should be transparent to iTunes. I am not sure why it has caused problems.

As far as uncompressing, just uncheck the compress checkbox you checked in the first place (the one on the parent folder) and it will uncompress them all if you select "Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files".

You can also do it from a command line and catch all the files on a drive (assuming you run this from the root, i.e.: C:\)

compact /u /s /i
^^^^^^^^^^
This worked on my Windows 2000 machine, so it should work on XP as well.
posted by internal at 1:19 PM on June 29, 2004


For all the CPU that's required to do that kind of compressing/decompressing, what's the point?
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:05 PM PST on June 29


Windows isn't all that smart. It chooses which files to compress mostly on last access date or percentage of disk used by the folder.
posted by Mitheral at 1:19 PM on June 29, 2004


Why are these things always harder than what you first imagined. The Compressed attribute is 2048 not 128, and it's readOnly. You need to use the WMI (whatever the hell that is) to set the compression flag. Anyway, THIS will (when saved to your Hard Disk) allow you to recursively switch off the compression flag on files in a folder. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

on preview: internal - You bastard. * shakes fist *
posted by seanyboy at 1:43 PM on June 29, 2004


What is odd is the NTFS compression you have done should be transparent to iTunes.
Odder still, it affected only about 60% of the files; the rest it could read.

just uncheck the compress checkbox you checked in the first place (the one on the parent folder) and it will uncompress them all if you select "Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files".
I had no such option on my XP box. Thanks everyone for the command line stuff, but I don't speak that language.

Time to start seriously saving for that G5...
posted by mimi at 1:54 PM on June 29, 2004


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