I’ve always wanted Windows to have features to automatically organize files: automatically move or copy files based on file name, size, extension, and more. Unfortunately, we have to rely on third-party programs to get the job done.
In this article, I’ll walk you through one of my favorite automatic file organizing programs. So what are the use cases for such a program? In my case, I have a lot of home videos recorded on my HD camcorder in AVCHD format. To watch movies on my computer and smartphone, I need MP4 format.
After converting the videos, I copy them to my NAS and then delete the local copies of the videos. With the organizer software, as soon as the converted files appear in the specified folder, they are automatically copied to my NAS and then deleted from the local computer. It makes my life easier and works great. So let’s talk about the program itself.
DropIt is my favorite tool because it has a lot of useful options and really allows you to control exactly which files / folders you want to process using their examples or regular expressions. If you have a fairly complex set of rules for organizing your files, this program is for you. It is also open source and comes in a portable version, so you don’t need to install anything on the system if you don’t want to.
After installing and running the program, you will notice that only a blue block appears on top of all other windows with a white arrow pointing down. It’s pretty much a program interface! It’s not quite as intuitive as I would like, but it’s really easy to learn. First, let’s set it up so it doesn’t get in our way all the time.
Right click on the icon and you will see a popup menu. This is the menu that you will use to configure rules and program parameters. Go ahead and click on Options.
The top three elements relate to the layout and position of the small icon. What I do on my computer is move it to a location with my other desktop icons, and then uncheck the Show target image always on top box and check Lock target image position.
Now the icon just looks like another icon on the desktop, rather than floating all over the desktop on top of my other programs. Then you can simply drag and drop files / folders onto this icon at any time to manually process the files. Later, I will show you how to set up monitoring so that you no longer have to manually start a processing job.
Now let’s deal with profiles. If you right-click on the icon, you will see the Profiles option which includes Archiver, Default, Erasor, Extractor, etc. the current profile rules will apply. For example, if you select Archiver, you will notice that the icon changes, and if you put a couple of files on it, a compressed zip file will be created on your desktop!
You can see the rules associated with any profile by right-clicking the icon and choosing Links. The list of items in associations will vary depending on which profile you are currently working in. In our example, we are using the archiver profile, so we will see the archiver rule.
Double-click a rule to open it. Each rule has four parts: a name, a filter or rules, an action, and an associated last parameter that changes depending on which action you choose. This is usually just a destination.
The most important part here is the rules. You can click on the little blue info icon and it will quickly give you some examples of file rules and folder rules.
The second button to the right of the blue icon is the filter button. Clicking on it will open a list of additional filters that you can add on top of any file or folder filters you may have added. That way, you could select all .JPG files and then set the rule so that it only applies to files larger than 2MB.
Another important part is the action for the rule. Dropit has a lot of actions, which is why I find it so useful. You can move, copy, compress, extract, rename, delete, split, attach, encrypt, decrypt, open with the program, download, mail and much more. It’s pretty detailed.
Now that you know how to create rules, go back to the default profile and then go to associations. You will see that there are no rules yet. This is where you add your own rules. Once you have created a rule, you can transfer files through the rules by simply dragging and dropping files or folders from Explorer onto the small icon.
Depending on the settings, a pop-up dialog box will appear on the screen, which will indicate what actions will be performed on the files. To get started, you press the little blue play button. Of course, it’s not very automated if you have to drag and drop files and manually start processing. To fix this, right-click the icon and go to Options again. This time, don’t forget to uncheck Show progress window during process.
Finally, go to the monitoring tab and select the Enable scanning of monitored folders check box. Then click the Add button at the bottom and select the folder you want to monitor. You can also change the time interval for scanning and the minimum file size.
Now, just sit back, upload a few files to a monitored folder, and watch as, in a few seconds, your files are automatically processed and you don’t have to do anything at all. The program is quite powerful and I’ve only touched on what you can do with it, but hopefully it gives you enough to feel confident using it. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!