Looking for a program to reorganize my hard drive.
June 22, 2011 5:33 AM   Subscribe

Google fail because I'm not sure what to call the sort of program I'm looking for. I want to move all files of a certain type on a drive into particular folders. I'm sure there must be a name for this but my brain is full of the dumb today. Recommendations for this for Windows also welcome.

Basically, for example, I want to find all the MP3 files and copy them to a folder called Music (ideally with subfolders based on ID3 tags but that's optional), find all the DOC files and put them in Documents, etc. I actually have like four different hard drives and a ton of backup DVDs I'd like to sort through, hence it'd be a bit easier to have a program than to do it all by hand. Then once I can do that, I figure I'll have a much easier time sorting stuff.

posted by gracedissolved to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So you want to do this on a Windows OS machine?
posted by Blake at 5:36 AM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, as noted in the question. Or else just help for what I'm actually looking for--if someone has something they use for this on a Mac, I would imagine I could find a Windows equivalent, I just don't have any luck with telling Google "find me a program that does that thing I want to do!"
posted by gracedissolved at 5:41 AM on June 22, 2011

On a Mac I'd recommend Hazel. Since you're on Windows, maybe some of the alternatives mentioned here will do the trick: Hazel For Windows
posted by backwards guitar at 5:43 AM on June 22, 2011

Probably the easiest way to do this without getting to much into scripting would be to use the built-in search features in windows to find all *.doc, *.mp3, on c:\ etc and just drag and drop to your folders from there.

For mp3s, its a little tricky but doable. There are pleny of freeware mp3 sorters on the web. The most recent one I used (out of necessity since I own an iPhone) is the built in sorting that comes with iTunes. ymmv there tho, depending on the quality of the existing mp3 collection (I had a lot that had no IDv3 tags, thus it had to do pattern matching).

Programs like this one might also come in handy.
posted by samsara at 5:57 AM on June 22, 2011

Yep, just plain Windows search will do exactly what you want. No need to install something else. Ctrl-A to highlight the files you find in your search, Ctrl-X to cut and Ctrl-V to paste them into the new folder.
posted by JJ86 at 6:07 AM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: Something like Hazel seems to be more like what I'm looking for, a little more automated; the builtin search is sort of my last resort. (And I'm now able to better poke around to try to find things myself, but again recommendations are great!)
posted by gracedissolved at 6:22 AM on June 22, 2011

This might be more manual than you want but I use WinDirStat to do the same. Graphical display makes it easy to find and display files of a certain type (and figure out how much free space you have when moving stuff around)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:36 AM on June 22, 2011

You could use Richcopy and have a bunch of optional filters for each filetype.
It is hugely powerful, flexible (and fast), but since it's aimed predominantly at sysadmins it's a nightmare to configure.
But it will do the job.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 6:44 AM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: 1) Open Notepad and paste the following text:

xcopy "f:\*.mp3" "c:\Music\" /i
xcopy "f:\*.doc" "c:\Documents\" /i

2) Adjust that text as necessary -- for "f", substitute your external drive letter; change "c:\Music\" to "c:\Gracedissolved\Music" or whatever your directory is; add new lines for whatever other filetypes you want to handle; etc.

3) Save the notepad document as "File Mover.bat."

4) In Windows Explorer, double-click the new "File Mover.bat" file and let it run.

This is called a "batch file," an old way of giving complex commands directly to the computer.
posted by foursentences at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

AlternativeTo is your friend. Windows alternatives to Hazel.
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:59 AM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: Everything is a pretty awesome windows search tool. Just give it a minute to index your disks and then search for *.mp3 and it will list them all. Select-all/cut/paste to dump them in your Music folder and you're done.

Works across multiple drives and can be limited to a single drive.

mp3Tag can rename a file based on its ID3 tag, but I don't think it can create a folder structure based on it, worth a look.
posted by xqwzts at 8:04 AM on June 22, 2011

Your search terms are "bulk (or batch) file rename". I've used Bulk Rename Utility before and it works great (it can be a little overwhelming with the options at first, but everything is laid out in the GUI). It has preview and undo options which are really swell. It will also rename based on ID3 and EXIF tags.

Having said all that, be careful because many programs have MP3 files and sometimes DOC files, so you may end up with a bunch of stuff you didn't realize was there and then your programs may not work if they can't find the right media.
posted by anaelith at 10:15 AM on June 22, 2011

Seconding xqwzts. 'Everything' is an amazing program. Window's built-in search usually irritates me (though I'm about to migrate to Win7; we shall see). But 'Everything' is just straight forward and simple, and amazingly fast.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:52 PM on June 22, 2011

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