I'm looking for a maintained open-source application to catalog the files of many external harddrives from the command line. The app should run on macOS and maybe on Linux too.

I am thinking of the following workflow:

  1. When I have one of the external hardisks attached, I index the files on it via a terminal command. This adds the file and directory names of the hard-disk's filesystem to a central catalog (located internally on my machine, not on the external drive).

  2. Later, when I want to know on which harddrive a file is, I search the central catalog via a terminal command without having any external drive attached. The tool tells me then which hard-drive I have to plug to get to the file.

Bonus would be if the application can group multiple partitions of a hard-drive under one name.

  • 1
    I found NeoFinder which looks like a great tool for the job. - However it proprietary and a GUI app.
    – halloleo
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 7:37
  • I also found vvv but it looks rather old and not a great choice on Macs.
    – halloleo
    Commented Jun 10 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


There is a matching suggestion over at https://askubuntu.com/a/1310047:

If you want to save metadata information of your multimedia files, you can use mediainfo, that reads information for audio, video and picture files

find /PATH/TO/EXTERNAL/HDD/ -type f -follow \
 -exec mediainfo -f --Output=XML + > "/PATH/TO/SAVE/file_list.xml"

You can then read the output with any regular xml parser, e.g. xmlstarlet

xmlstarlet sel -t -v '/Mediainfo/File/track/Complete_name' -n "/PATH/TO/SAVE/file_list.xml"

More detail at the original answer.

  • Interesting idea, thanks. (But I guess it is more a scripting "hack" than a full application...)
    – halloleo
    Commented Jun 10 at 20:19
  • Phwoar, harsh.. you get an answer after 3 years and downvote? Good luck.
    – ptim
    Commented Jun 13 at 13:14

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