Monday, 9 July 2007

File Tagging in Windows

> By tagging I'm referring to multiple terms that describe or categorize a computer object. Is there such software/freeware?

Lifehacker. com recently featured a piece of freeware that did this but it didn't handle all file types.

In Win XP the property box of any file -- accessed via the right-click menu -- has a section where keywords can be added. I've tested this and discovered that Windows built-in search function will search on these keywords. However, one drawback to this approach is that you can't add keywords to files in bulk. Furthermore, on some files -- for reasons I can't fathom -- the keyword box is sometimes greyed out.

Another possible approach would be to simply use filenames that feature a string of keywords that you could search on. However, for various reasons, you might prefer not to do this and keep the original filename intact. No problem -- create a shortcut to the file and re-name this shortcut as a series of keywords (256 character limit). Save all such shortcuts in a central repository and only search this folder for specific keywords using Window's search function. You could even save this search and quickly call it up for future searches. It would probably help to develop a standardised system of keywords.

I've tested this system and what's nice about it is that the shortcuts automatically update when you move either the original file or shortcut around so you never lose track of the original file. I'm guessing though that this will only work as long as the shortcuts and respective files remain on the same drive, i. e. the system breaks down if you move a file to a different partition.

You could use freeware file re-naming utililies to re-name files in bulk with such a system. Use a freeware shortcut checker to periodically clean it out of shortcuts that point to files that no longer exist. Such a system would also work on any version of Windows.

Another optionn is to create a text file with the same name as your original file but with the .txt extension. You would load your keywords into this file and save it alongside the original file. When you do a keyword search, restrict it to text files. When you find the relevant text file(s), you'll know where the original file is and the name of it. The downside of this system though is that it requires more housekeeping to make sure that the two files always stay together. There is a piece of freeware that takes this approach, but its name escapes me right now.

Hopefully, these suggestions will get your creative juices flowing. . .

From alt. comp. freeware

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