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Tech: Making Windows count

michaelr 20 Jul 11 - 07:27 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Jul 11 - 08:43 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 11 - 12:23 AM
michaelr 21 Jul 11 - 01:23 AM
Bill D 21 Jul 11 - 12:09 PM
michaelr 21 Jul 11 - 12:17 PM
Bill D 21 Jul 11 - 12:25 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 11 - 05:06 PM
Bill D 21 Jul 11 - 07:16 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Jul 11 - 09:56 PM
Bill D 21 Jul 11 - 10:30 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Jul 11 - 03:06 AM
My guru always said 22 Jul 11 - 03:49 AM
Bill D 22 Jul 11 - 12:12 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jul 11 - 05:51 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Jul 11 - 12:00 AM
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Subject: Tech: Making Windows count
From: michaelr
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:27 PM

How can I get Windows to tell me how many songs are in my song folder?

I seem to remember that Windows 98 showed a message like "There are x number of items in this folder", but XP does not. Any ideas?

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:43 PM

My memory of XP is sort of poor, but in Vista, in Windows Explorer, Folders View, if you click in the right hand panel and Ct-A =(Select All) it will give you the number of files selected on the bottom Information Bar (if you have that "toolbar" turned on). That will be the (visible) number of files in the folder.

Point is that there are several selections you can make to determine what will be shown. Windows explorer, where you view what files you have, should have a "View" button where you can select several different "information tool bars" to either show or hide.

You may also find some helpful setup changes you can make in Control Panel, where I think XP offers a "Folder Options" section that's an easy place to accidentally turn off the display of things you really should know are there.

Someone who still has XP running may have more useful advice for you, but while waiting you can click a few buttons and look at what ways are available for making it all prettier.

Since it's always fun to give tooooo muuch information:

The last gasp brute force method - - is to open a command prompt (DOS Window) and type "CD \" (don't type the "") and hit Enter to go to the top of the tree on your system drive. Then type "DIR *.* /s" and hit Enter, and the bottom line when it gets done scrolling will be the number of files, number of folders, and total size of all the files, and free space on the drive - for whatever folder you started in, which in this case will be the entire drive. It will also have flipped every folder and all the files in each folder on the screen, but unless your graphics card is extremely weak it will all go past too fast to see much.

My machine takes about 20 minutes to scroll through all the files on my C:\ drive, but your hard drive is a lot faster than the display, so if you type "DIR *.* /s > allmyfiles.txt" my machine takes less than 20 seconds for the DIR (Directory) command to create the file allmyfiles.txt and send everything it would have scrolled through to the file. ( The ">" means "send to" so the results go to the file instead of to the display.)

If you open the .txt file in your text editor or word processor, you can scroll through the document (or in your wp program use Ctl-F to find a folder). The list for each folder will show all the files in the folder with the size of each file, the total number of files in the folder, and the total size of all the files in the folder. Every folder will be "itemized" somewhere in the .txt file.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 12:23 AM


Open Windows Explorer

On View Tab, make sure "Status Bar" is checked.

The status bar is at the bottom of the WinExp Window, and is where number of files will be shown.

In a few instances, if you hover on something in the WinExp Window, the "hint information" for the item your mouse is over may displace the normal information: Number of Objects/Files and Disk Free Space. If this happens, click on the desktop outside WinExp and it should clear.

The View Tab should also have a Toolbars Button with a flyout where you Probably will want Standard Buttons, Address Bar, and perhaps Lock Toolbars checked.

Also on the View Tab, the Explorer Bar flyout probably should have Folders checked. If you get Search or something else clicked on as the default view the info on the status bar may be something strange.

I'd suggest checking the Tools Tab, Folder Options, especially to set what you want shown or hidden in WinExp windows. For security, it's always been recommended that you "Show File Extensions" for everything, since "double extensions" on malware files can be disguised if you don't show them. That form of malware is less common than when WinXP came out; but still happens once in a while. It's pretty much optional whether you show or hide "System Files" so take your pick on that.

My guess is that you weren't seeing the file count because your status bar got "unchecked" and the bar was missing. The next most common cause in XP might be that you got yourself flipped into a Search or Favorites view instead of Folders View.

Not much more I can check, since my only WinXP machine is an ancient laptop that only runs for a few minutes before it says bazzzzt and goes black again. (It alwasy turns back on after it rests for a few days, but it makes checking anything in detail extremely tedious.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 01:23 AM

Thank you so much, John! It's late now, but I'll try that tomorrow.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 12:09 PM

If you are willing to install a program, WinDirStat will give you detailed, color-coded, interactive information about ALL folders...or any subset you specify.
You can tell immediately where various files are, and their various sizes.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 12:17 PM

Status bar was it! Many thanks once again, John.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 12:25 PM

For example, it just told me I have on my external drive L:

117 gigs.
92,000 files...then in the SONGS folder, 12,400 items...then a list of individual folders and sub-folders, including 241 for Burl Ives and 127 for The Corries....and so on, with one of the largest folders being Gene Autry at 862 mgs.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 05:06 PM

Bill D -

That external drive L: must be a thumb drive?

My External drive where I keep my Mudcat folder shows about 5,000 files just for keeping track of the babel here - but that's mostly just for threads I've participated in. I have a couple of separate folders for "mudcat policies and advice" and one for recording significant or unusually interesting comments by others. That last one has dozens (~2?) of "flashes of brilliance" that might be worth quoting someday. (I've got a separate folder for Spaw's creations, of course, but I'm not sure I've found all of the "best of Spaw.")

I recall that not too long ago I had to go down to the public library to download a document that was "too big" for my dial-up connection to handle, and it took two cycles (they only allow an hour at a time on their computers). Turns out that it was only 60 MB but that was "big" back then. Microsoft sends me patches that big now - weekly.

Just recently a refreshed thread reminded me of a song book that I'd intended to digitize, so I took a break and scanned it to a pdf. It took about 6 hours, but the pdf is 290 MB and my email account can't send it to anybody. I split it down to a pdf for each song, but then found that the person who wanted "that kind of stuff" hasn't posted for almost two years - so it's in limbo (but off my bookshelf) for now. (A frat house songbook I picked up at a garage sale, if anybody's really interested: approx 100 songs, most with 4-part scores, 214 pp. Beta Theta Phi ©1942 The full book compresses to "web resolution" at about 37,800 KB, but I havent' tried to see if my email send bucket will swallow it at that size.)

I've found that one thing that's "new and improved" in Vista is the Search function in Windows Explorer. The improvement appears to be that it doesn't work so you don't really need to bother with it. I have, several times copied the filename of a file on my drive, pasted it into search and asked for it to be found. I get 5,000 files returned, none of which have anything to do with the file I asked for, and the filename I pasted is not included.

It apparently is necessary to add "tags" to any files you want to be able to find. My backup of my personal documents includes 1,325,985 File(s) (NOT including any System or Program files), so obviously I need to go through them and "tag" each one(?). Of course to tag each one properly I'd have to open each one, and some of them are just too #!$@%## boring to look at when I don't really need them for somethig.

Even without tags, Vista takes about 3 weeks to complete "indexing so search will work better" (i.e. not at all) on a new drive or folder with a significant portion of my files on it. Although indexing "runs in background" it does interfere with use until it's done. Once indexing is completed, "it doesn't work at all even better," I suppose.

My solution (note use of a euphemism) is a batch file that makes a list of every file, within the folder it's in when it runs, using the very simple Command Prompt DIR command, and saves the list in a text file. My current version finds all documents (.do* file extension) and lists them in one !docs.txt file. Similarly for each .txt, .jpg, .wmv, .pdf, etc. If I open one of the text files in Word, search in Word can find any word or word fragment that's in a filename in about 10 seconds maximum, so that I can go directly to the file. (some of the text files, if I run at top level folders, run close to 20,000 pages when opened in Word, so even Word pants and gasps occasionally, but most people will have far fewer files.)

dir *.do* /s >!doc.txt
dir *.pdf /s >!pdf.txt
dir *.jpg /s >!jpg.txt
dir *.ht* /s >!htm.txt
dir *.mh* /s >!mht.txt
dir *.xl* /s >!xls.txt
dir *.db* /s >!dbx.txt
dir *.wmv /s >!wmv.txt
dir *.ti* /s >!tif.txt
dir *.mi* /s >!mid.txt
dir *.eml /s >!eml.txt

You can copy and paste the above into a file and save as "plain text" .txt (I called mine "!listall.txt,").

The <pre> tag I used inserts an extraneous space at the beginning of each line when you copy. You can delete it to make it look neater, but Command Line (DOS) ignores spaces so it should be optional.

Once the text file is saved, change the .txt to .bat (!listall.bat).

You can paste the .bat file into any folder you want to index and when you double-click it, it should produce separate .txt files for each kind of file in that folder and all subfolders.

The "!" at the beginning of the filenames just is so that the resulting files will be at the top of the list (after the subfolders) in Win Explorer when you go back to look at them (if you sort by filenames).

The "*" is a "wildcard," and - for example - in the .doc (.do*) line it lets the search include .doc, .dot .docx, .dotx, .docm, dotm etc.

If you have other kinds of files of interest, you can just add (or delete) a line. If it "looks like" one of the other lines, except for a different file extension, it will probably work.

If you rerun the .bat, it will replace the exisitng .txt files with new versions, so if you want to save "what was" before running you should move them to a different folder. The .bat will create any file that doesn't already exist.

Once it's a .bat file, you can right click and "Edit" easily to tweak it to suit your purposes, without going back through .txt format.

Crude perhaps, but it works - because Search in your Word Processor (even if it's not Word) probably works and Search in Vista doesn't (at least for me).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 07:16 PM

Wow, John! You do work at it! I am lazy...and simply never learned to do all those tricks 'from scratch'....which is why I tend to find 'helper programs' whenever possible.

(No..the L: drive is a 1 Terabyte Hitachi external HD, which I got on sale for about $60! I copied a VERY large # of music files and images (from my older computer) to it...using a tiny 300 GB USB portable HP external drive.) Hooray for cheap(er) memory!

BTW... your comments about indexing large numbers of files reminds me of one of the cleverest 'helper programs' I ever found... it is called..surprise, surprise...Index your files

It is FAST...and free... and you can then search within the results instantly! When I first used it, I found many files that were old & useless, and was able to delete loads of stuff.

(and that 290 MB PDF 'seems' pretty large...but I suppose it is mostly page images? I have similar sorts that are not that large...mostly Scottish songbooks from Google Books...)

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 09:56 PM

Bill D -

The 290 MB PDF did reduce quite a bit when I rebuilt it to "web resolution." I usually do the first construction as "production quality" with scans at 300 dpi so that pages are printable at "as good as you can get" when you apply realistic criteria to most printers.

It came down to 37,800 KB when I reprocessed it to "web size." Since the scores have to remain as images it's a lot bigger than a plain text book of similar size would be.

The biggest "book" I've converted thus far was the "Service & Overhaul Manual" set for my Chevy. That was 4 volumes, 8.5 x ll pages, about 1200 pp per volume, and it was taking up 17+ inches of shelf. It was also impossible to read when you needed it just due to the bulk.

I scanned that one into "sections" with most of them being about 300 KB or so, at my normal higher resolution. It broke down into 54 separate pdf files, with a total of 7.5 GB (after processing to make the individual files all searchable). I'll admit that the scans on that one took the better part of a week, but NOW IT'S ALL SEARCHABLE so I can find how to turn the #@$!% headlights off if I want to park for a while. The really good find so far was how to turn off the "Change Engine Oil Soon" message if I want to do my own oil changes on it. (It's not something you might guess how to do.)

Cuttting the pages out of $175 worth of books to scan them, and throwing it all in the recycle bin when it's done, is something that sort of makes you cringe a bit; but it's worth it to make it usable and to get rid of the unnecessary bulk on the shelf. As long as you can find the files when you need 'em.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jul 11 - 10:30 PM

Well, I admire the tenacity, but I often find manuals online that save me hours of effort & frustration...scanned by someone else!

Dunno about full car manuals, as I don't DO cars--

Told you I was lazy!~ *grin*

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:06 AM

This particular truck manual is tightly controlled by the auto mfr and by the "captive publisher" (Helm). I had to open the box and take the individual volumes out one at a time 'cause I couldn't lift the box to get it in the house without straining. It's NOT AVAILABLE from anyone except the "authorized distributor."

I've probably found enough information to justify the $175 price, but even at that it's not really a "complete enough" description of all the parts to let you "blueprint" a vehicle.

There is a digital version available, but it has a couple of drawbacks:

1. It's $1800.
2. It only runs on a specific obsolete computer that you can't buy.
3. The guys at the shop who have it say that the program is so clunky it won't even boot on odd days of the week when it rains in Detroit (even if you're in Los Angeles).
4. They won't sell it to you unless you're a registered dealer.

The digital version does come with a year of updates, but none of the guys I've talked to have figured out how to make the base program read the updates, so I'd say that feature's of limited value.

The books you can download on the 'net are the ones that have the same 324 pages of "boiler plate" that hasn't changed since 1942, with two pages that give you a few vaguely model-specific bolt torque values and tell you what size oil filter your model might use. About 30% of the torques are wrong, but not to the point that they'll hurt you. Turning the bolts without knowing where the seven separate computers are and what they're connected to can kill you - now or later.

Progress is wonderful. (?)

Tell me again: "Progress is wonderful" (?)

(Nah, I'm still not quite a true believer.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: My guru always said
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 03:49 AM

At the risk of repeating something already mentioned (have a struggle to read all the 'clever' stuff' above), Windows 7 also shows the number of items in a folder in Explorer when you have the 'status bar' selected.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 12:12 PM

"Progress is wonderful"....well, sometimes.
I have a Dodge van....BIG one...1992. It needed a new transmission a few years ago. They transmission place called and said "we are getting a readout on the diagnostics that says there's a problem with (some arcane part). We can't find it."
   So we all decided to just ignore it. A couple years later, it needed some other odd work, and a local mechanic also noted this readout about part 'X'. He said "Let's take a ride." and we drove over to a place he knew where a guy in the parts business was consulted. The outcome? My van was a transitional model that was only made for a couple of months and that 'part X' didn't exist for my van! And of course, no one thought to update all the software and manuals for such a small item.
   There have been several times when only a clever mechanic who knew enough to 2nd guess the computer readouts saved me from expensive tinkering and/or replacement of stuff that was not broken.

(I have used for 20 year, an old Hungarian fellow who runs a shop with his son and who has saved me many $$$$$ by just finding a frayed wire or loose sensor...etc.)

And I just saw the 327th repetition of the ad for "", where you KNOW they will find something wrong with any PC.... which they will be happy to 'fix' for a price.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 05:51 PM

Ah, John,
You bring back memories of the days when I used to write batch files to entertain myself. Can't say I do that very often any more, but it was a pleasure to be able to do things like that myself.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Making Windows count
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 12:00 AM

Joe -

The most recent "exotic" use I've found for batch files is in scanning a bunch of books (mostly reference stuff) to pdf so I can clear them off the bookshelves. I've mentioned that I got a scanner with an Automatic Document Feed that was supposed to be able to scan 2-sided stuff, but it ate more pages than it scanned if I tried to let it turn them over.

When I scan to .pdf the scanning software wants to assemble the pages into a single file, but since the one-sided scan only scans the odd pages, it's quicker to scan to .jpg which saves each scan as a separate numbered file.

A batch file renames the "front side" scans so Scan0001 becomes Page0001, Scan0002 becomes Page0003, etc.. The makeodd.bat file was easy to set up to handle any number of scans, up to 1300 - or enough for a 2600 page book. The .bat file ignores anything it doesn't find to renumber.

When you turn the stack over, of course the "even pages" are stacked in reverse order. I could restack them but then I'd have to restack them again to have them in proper order for proofing.

I just flop the stack over and scan one-sided. When done, the "page number" for the first file has to be twice the number of the last odd scan, so you need a separate file for each "number of even numbered pages." Word document with a table starting with REN Scan0001 at the top of the first column and Page0002 at the top of the second column is the "input" for making a new .bat for a spefic number of pages. Split the table so it has one row for each scan. Then sort the right column in descending order. Convert Table to Text. Save as Plain Text. Change the extension to .bat. Double click and Scan0001 get renamed Page0236, Scann0002 becomes Page0234 etc.

Copy the two sets of pages , odd and even, into the same folder and they're all in order. Drag 30 or so at a time onto the PDF maker, and you've got a perfectly assembled pdf book. ..... ....unless you made a "minor error," in which case sometimes it's easier to just start over.

It sounds a little complicated, but I did a complete digitize of a 276 page book (a new number of pages so it required a new .bat to flip the even ones) this afternoon in under an hour. Proofing took a little longer 'cause it was a reference on Digital Photography and some of the models brought back memories ........(of things that no longer bother other ther me no #@$!% NOW.)


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