Folder Insights

Folder Insights

A while back 2TB of storage seemed like plenty. Ooops.

It doesn't help that I'm a digital hoarder. I have everything from email mailboxes from the early 90s to obsolete Android virtual machines that will never run again. I've been forced to do something about it by filling up my backup drive.

My current backup strategy is to send everything to Google Drive. And then send all my pictures to Amazon Photos (free with Prime!). And then backup everything to an external drive (using my VSS tool) every month and stick it in a fire safe because Google and Amazon do not care about my files like I do.

I wrote a little utility to dump some stats to help me accept the problem and then do some tidying. Here's storage over time (imperfect, based on earliest of creation and last write time):

Folder Insights

Some of that is driven by ever better cameras and increased willingness to shoot 4K video. Some of it is crazy projects that I forgot to tidy up after, like making a daily timelapse movie from a nest cam.

Here's a breakdown by file type:

Folder Insights

Mostly media. New resolution, when I take 500 photos of my thumb I should delete all but the very best right after uploading instead of saving them in case I want to make some kind of thumb-animation later.

The most useful thing the utility does is dump out each folder with more than 1GB of files. That found a lot of cruft hiding in unexpected places (bye bye every frame of the 2017 eclipse that I accidentally left in Google Drive instead of my dedicated time lapse disk). I might improve this over time, but all of the above is available now as folder-insights on GitHub.

(Related: Capture DropCam (Nest Cam) frames to Google Drive; Catfood Software Support; Export Google Fit Daily Steps, Weight and Distance to a Google Sheet)

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Links for June 2021

Updated on Thursday, June 24, 2021

Backup locked files on Windows 10: Volume Shadow Copy Update

Demo of ShadowTask

The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) can be used to mount a copy of a drive in a crash consistent state (like you just unplugged your computer) as a different drive letter. My shadow task command line tool makes it easy to do this. Here's an example:

ShadowTask64 C V test.bat

This creates a shadow copy of the C: drive, mounts it as V: and then runs test.bat. When test.bat completes the shadow V: drive is removed.

What can you do with this?

The simple case is grabbing a copy of a locked file. In this case test.bat could just run pause and then grab the file you need from V:.

It's also a great way to run a backup. In this case the batch file can run XCOPY (to a network share or portable drive) and you'll get all your files including anything locked like running executables or Outlook PST files.

Grab the latest from GitHub: abfo/shadow/releases. You'll find a ZIP file and source code if you want to use/extend this. There are 32 and 64-bit binaries - you need to use the right one for your computer and you also need to run the tool with administrative privileges. This only works with NTFS drives.


(Related: Do useful things with the volume shadow copy service (VSS); WiX Tricks for Screen Savers; Catfood Software Support)

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I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison's blog.