The problem is that a lot of that stuff is still useful. You may need some of those apps or pictures in some future blog post. The one hitch with that is that if you don’t know where to find it, that file might as well be permanently deleted. It’s of no use when it would take almost an hour to search your hard drive for that one file. Here at MUO, we’ve offered a number of useful apps that can help you find those files – like Saikat’s list of 5 ways to find duplicate images, or Ben’s list of 4 desktop search tools.
While those are effective, one of the best ways to become more efficient is by simply getting organized in the first place. And when it comes to those thousands of files and folders that you’ve piled upon your hard drive, the best way to get organized is by using mass renaming software.
Why a Advanced Renamer Can Help
The reason most hard drives get so cluttered is because people download all sorts of files to a few favorite folders, and then forget about them. After a while, those directories get filled up fast with random files.
However, if you were to go through and rename large groups of files based on subject, date, keywords or any other key identifying attributes, then later you could quickly scan the files and easily find what you want. This is the power that mass renamer apps like Advanced Renamer can offer.
Once you download and run Advanced Renamer, the first thing you’re going to want to do is “load up” the files or directories that you want to organize. Keep in mind that Advanced Renamer has the ability to do just about anything you need – from renaming and moving large groups of files, to filtering and deleting select files based on search criteria. So first figure out exactly how you want to go about organizing those folders, then start loading in the files by clicking on “Add” and selecting either Files or Directories.
A pop-up browse window will open, and all you need to do is go through and select all of the files you want to add to the Advanced Renamer list (hint: holding down the Control key lets you select individual files). Once you click “Open” all of the selected files are added to the list in the right pane of the main window. Now you’re ready to choose one of the “methods” that you want to use on those files.
Advanced Renamer offers a great list of operations, including completely renaming the files based on file attributes, moving files to a new directory, replacing or removing specific files based on a filter, and more. As an example, I’m going to rename all of the files in my common download folder using the file’s month and year. To do this, I just click the New Name method, and then choose the “Image Tags” for image file properties.
Now, all you have to do is create a file name pattern using the available tags. In the “New Name” field, I’ve created a pattern that includes the file creation month, year and then an underscore followed by the file name, and also the extension.
As you create the pattern, the list of files in the right pane will show you what the new file name will look like. If the new file pattern is a legitimate file name, the color will change from orange to black and the “Error” field will read “OK”.
Finally, click the green “Start Batch” button at the top of the window, and a popup window will ask you to confirm the operation that you’re about to perform on the files. As you can see here, I’m only performing one method (you can actually daisy-chain methods) on over 1000 files.
Click start and wait for the process to finish. As you can see here, all of the picture files in my “Owner” folder were renamed and organized based on the image file creation date.
This is a really simple example of what this software is capable of. You can rename the files based on tags far more complex than just the date. You can also perform one or more methods. For example, here I’m removing all images from a particular directory based on a search pattern.
In the “Move” method below, I’m actually sifting through all of the files in the directory and renaming them by moving a block of characters from one location in the file name and sliding them over to another location. In this example, I’m taking 3 characters from the 4th character position, and moving them to position “1″.
Each of these “methods” adds a little tool that you can use to manipulate, sort and organize huge volumes of files in a very short period of time. That means no more manually searching through files and trying to cut and post files into new directories one at a time. Just program the right methods and search criteria, and let Advanced Renamer automate the entire process.
Give Advanced Renamer a try and let us know if it helped you better organize your hard drive. What do you like about the batch file renamer software, or what do you find lacking? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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