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21 March 2017 Tuesday

Merging folders in Windows, or extracting contents from multiple folders

slated in mainstream at 8:21 pm

I’ll be happy to hear of better methods; my research efforts and many different approaches so far have provided me the following as the simplest and most efficient way to handle these tasks so far.

In my case, I’m talking about having dozens or hundreds/thousands of folders and files, and wanting to eliminate one layer of folders so they all get pulled up to a higher level/combined in one folder, without losing existing folder structure of subfolders. (If you don’t care about losing subfolders/structure and really want every file extracted from all folders, put into one same folder, then that’s even easier to accomplish.) I’ve tried a few apps that were varying degrees of rubbish, usually because they were file specific (for organizing music files only), or they crashed if you’re dealing with more than a dozen folders which I am otherwise why am I bothering with all this.

So the simplest way to do this in Microsoft Windows 10 is to create a new folder (open Windows Explorer [shortcut: WIN + E] create new folder where you want it [shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+N, then name the folder] where you want all those other subfolders and files to end up. And then open up the folder that contains all the excess folders (I’d open a second Explorer window for this [WIN + E]). You’ll use the search bar of that window (top right), and run as many searches as necessary to move over the files you want the way you want. Search terms and syntax (where “searchterm” is the name of the folders or files you want to grab:

kind:=folder name:searchterm

Drag wide the Folder column so you can see what you’re working with. Often, you’ll want to make sure to Sort by the Folder column so that you can see and keep your folder structure intact (if that’s what you want). Cut and paste, or drag and drop to move the files to your new, combined folder.

Also helpful is TreeSizeFree, which I run on the top-level originating folder with all the files, sort by size, and delete all empty folders. Depending on how many folders I’m working with at a time (usually hundreds/thousands), I do this a few times while moving contents into the new, combined folder.

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