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What Windows 7 compatible software is available that will help in managing subsets of files?

Often I need a bunch of files that are taken from an organized set stored on a hard drive.

An example will elucidate: Let's say you have 9 folders, each named with the name of a character from the Brady Bunch. Within each folder, you have hundreds of files.

Well, for your presentation to the network executives, you want 10 of the files from the Greg folder, 16 different files from the Marsha (Marsha, Marsha...) folder, 18 different files from the Alice folder, etc.

So you create a new folder with copies of all those files. You go to the presentation with the files, the network execs love everything you show them, and they green-light you for another season of classic good-time giggles.

Well, you don't need 2 copies of all the selected files, so you delete the folder you took to the presentation. After all, you still have all the originals in the 9 well-organized folders.

Now 8 months later, they tell you that Gilligan's Island is getting higher ratings (naturally, who can resist Ginger?), and they want another presentation. Well, you now need to have all those files available in a single folder again. Sure, you kept a list in a text file, but what a pain to have to drag and drop scores of files from multiple source folders.

Is there software that can help manage all this? I frequently have presentations where I need groups of files. I don't want to move them out of the original well-organized source folders, and I don't want to keep duplicates around.

Your next presentation is to pitch a new sitcom about some nutty radio DJ's, maybe you'll call it WKRP in Pittsburgh, but that just doesn't sound quite right...

  • I don't have a recommendation here, but for clarification of getting the detailed explanation right: You need something like a "playlist" for your presentations, so you can just pick the entire collection as-is while having the "presentator" only show selected items? Must it be "any files", or are all the (relevant) files of the same file type? – Izzy Oct 28 '14 at 12:20
  • Great questions. I don't so much need a "playlist", but need copies of specific files. The files are often of the same file type; a solution that limits the subset to a specific file type would be a possibility, but a solution that can handle different file types would be ideal. Thanks! – RockPaperLizard Oct 28 '14 at 17:17
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Free Commander

Free commander is a powerful file manager that can save/load selections to/from a text file. If you have a file Greg.txt (default extension is .sel but any other text extension also works) with a list of all files that should be in that folder, then you can select Load Selection From File under the Edit menu, and all the corresponding files will be selected. After that you can use the highlighted copy button to transfer the selected files to second column:

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    Thank you so much! This looks very promising! I will play with it, and see if it does the job. BTW, the screenshots you posted are from an old version of FreeCommander, but it looks like the latest version has the same functionality, so the screenshots are very helpful. Thanks again! – RockPaperLizard Oct 28 '14 at 17:23
  • @RockPaperLizard Thank you. I updated the answer, and my file manager :) – Tymric Oct 28 '14 at 18:55
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Use Total Commander. It lets you search files for parts of the name or matches in the content, then 'feed' the search results to one of its window panes, and from there do file operations like sorting, copying etc.

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$44/€32 gets you a lifelong license (no nag screen)

  • This is a helpful answer, and I thank you. Unfortunately, it requires that all items in the subset have something in the filename that is unique so that they can be selected in bulk. That won't work in this case, but I still do appreciate you spending your time providing an answer. Thanks! – RockPaperLizard Oct 28 '14 at 17:20
  • @RockPaperLizard In that case you just search for *.* or for file contents or whatever you (don't) want ;-) – Jan Doggen Oct 28 '14 at 18:31

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