I would like to have index of files which are stored on my 'off-line' media devices (external HDD's, SD cards, DVD's, CD's, floppy disks ;). So if there is an app using which I can know what file/directory is stored on which media (once they were scanned) without painful process of connecting them to my PC one-after-another and searching their content. Maybe such file database would have 10,000,000+ records, but I don't care.

Is there a software which can scan and keep basic information of files stored on removable media, so I can relatively easily determine which external HDD, SD card, DVD, CD, ... I have to grab when I need some file I stored there in the past?

  • features
    • ability to scan content of connected removable media (scanning of selected network folders would be welcome, too)
    • search in database by file name, path name, file date or other common attributes
    • search for duplicates based on common file attributes
    • scanning files in ZIP archives would be a nice option, too

Platform: preferably Windows (still you can share valuable advices for other platforms)

Price: preferably free or up to $50

4 Answers 4


you can use command line on every os to do so.

If you need a filetree it is a more complex, but in general you can save a text document of the content with the hard drive into a txt or even better csv and import the csv into a database. You can find the commands pretty easily for windows, mac and linux.

for windows it would be


for mac/linux it would be :

ls -R

It is getting more complex if you want to keep track of the contents. Removing Data or Moving Data from one drive to another drive would require a whole rescan. But that does not take too long. Hope that helps.

  • Thanks for submitting the idea. But I would like to put obtained data into searchable database. Click buttons instead of typing grep :). I know I can also parse dir or ls output with script or better – write my own small app utilizing system calls and retrieving file data directly from FILE objects, but I'm wondering if there is some turn-key solution already available around. Maybe someone already put this idea to work before I thought of it :)
    – miroxlav
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 18:02

I have not used it personally, but you may find Cathy satisfactory. It was referenced in the forum post to which I linked in my other answer to this question; the post covering someone modifying DocFetcher to include file paths in searches.

From the Cathy website:

An extremly small, very fast and easy to use media cataloging tool. You can use it to index files stored on removable media (CD's, DVD's or even diskettes), hard disks or net drives, and create searchable catalogs that can be used without having access to original media. Searching capabilities are based on file name, date and size. Additional features include filtering options, search duplicates or singles, customizable date format, etc. Found files can be opened (executed) or deleted directly, if they are present. Drag&drop support. Directory trees, MP3 album/song lists can be printed, disk space usage can be investigated. Single file executable, no install needed.


DocFetcher can do this but it may not quite meet your needs.

Personally, I'm keeping two instances of its "portable" version (i.e. a version that runs purely from files in a directory and doesn't install or use any non-OS dependencies, e.g. in the Windows registry) in a directory in Dropbox for two different computers. You can do something similar but you'll likely want to consider how to name indexes for media mounted from the same device, e.g. removable disks, CDs – DocFetcher names indexes based on the name of the root directory of the index. You could, for example, move all the files on a disk into a uniquely named top-level directory and then index that top-level directory instead of the root directory for the media itself.

To address your bullet points directly:

  • Index content of (connected) removable media – satisfied (subject to the index naming caveat mentioned above)
  • Index content of files in network folders – satisfied
  • Search by file name – satisfied
  • Search by path name – NOT satisfied, tho someone was able to modify the source code to include that info in what is used by the search features; they just never implemented the corresponding UI changes
  • Search by file date – NOT satisfied
  • Search by other common attributes – NOT satisfied; only file size can be used

The indexes it creates are Lucene indexes and I was able to pretty easily search the data using a Lucene client library. There are a lot of client libraries if you're comfortable programming. Or you could use something like Luke to access the DocFetcher indexes.

This is a somewhat surprisingly un-populated category of software, at least in terms of free, open-source, and intended to cover more than a single computer.


There is also virtual volume viewer, I didn't have much luck because i wanted to index a network share full of symlinks and hardlinks, but maybe your case it's simpler. It agrees with all your requirements as far as I can tell

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