Best Free File or Disk Catalog Organizer

 
Introduction

A file or disk catalog organizer helps index files stored on hard disks, removable media such as CDs, DVDs, USB drives or network drives in a few seconds and create catalogs for searching files without having access to the original media.

Some useful organizers provide searching capabilities based on file name, date and size, filtering options, or searching duplicates or singles, etc. These organizers save your precious time and effort in finding the files you want instantly from a collection of even thousands of files on your storage media.

 
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Discussion

CathyCathy is a tiny portable program that catalogs files on removable media, or on your hard drive. Once indexed, you can quickly search and locate a file by name, size, and date, with additional search fields for MP3 files. Multiple catalogs are supported and you can also search for duplicate files. There is also a handy directory listing feature that allows you to print the contents of any folder.

The real strength of this program is its speed; it can index hundreds of thousands of files without a problem. This makes it handy for sysadmins as well as users with large file collections. Cathy doesn't index the contents of files, just file names and other file properties. If you want to search contents use a desktop search program.

 

GentibusGentibus CD - "for the people" - is a very good name and choice if you're looking for a tool to organize your CD/DVD collection. The scan on CDs, DVDs or hard disks can be categorized and searched. The advanced search function will also find "Harry Po" if you're looking for "Harry Potter". Gentibus CD will find duplicates, quickly discovers image, audio, video and program files as 'super-categories' on its own, which comes in very handy when you're archiving a medium with mixed content. A very pleasing feature is that Gentibus CD will show you thumbnails of any pictures you might have archived on your CD/DVD so you will be able to search them somewhat as a virtual CD.

 

Visual CDVisual CD scans all the usual suspects in an explorer-like approach. The 'catalogs' contain the data of one medium, can be password protected and joined by favorites and also display the contents of zipped files. The search is very refined as you would expect in a competent file manager, complete with an 'extra' menu with very welcome features (dublicates, file splitter, thumbnail-maker, etc.) and the option menu allowing you to adjust the software to your needs.

 

DisclibDisclib is a terrific utility. I archive all of my projects to CD/DVD and keep them in a fireproof box for storage. But there are over 30 full discs now (half are DVDs), and many of them have multiple versions of the same project. Disclib keeps an index of the file/directory structure of every disc, so I can search through them all without having to swap 30 discs in my drive! Invaluable!

 
Related Products and Links

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Quick Selection Guide

Cathy
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Good speed, support multiple catalogs, search duplicate files, handy directory listing, print contents of any folder.
Does not index the contents of files.
http://www.mtg.sk/rva/
http://www.mtg.sk/rva/
2.31
66 KB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
XP(SP3), Vista(SP2), Win7 and above.

v2.31 released 28 January, 2013

Gentibus CD
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Find duplicates, discovers super categories, show thumbnails.
1.51
8.9 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
XP/ Vista/ 7
Visual CD
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Scan in explorer-like approach, can be password protected, displays contents of zipped files, refined search with welcome features.
4.2
2.33 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows

View the changelog here

Disclib
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Archive and keep an index of file/directory structure of disks.
2.0
3.86 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, XP

 
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Tags

file catalog, disk catalog, disc catalogue, file organizer, disk organizer, disc organiser, free software

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Comments

by DavidFB on 2. July 2014 - 23:28  (117098)

Thanks for the tips.
I've been using DiscCat for years but it's no longer giving decent search results with nearly 200 catalogues. Really annoying when I know its there but its not finding the disc#.

With Cathy not supporting 64 bit properly, thats off the table. I need a database, not Gentibus's extras. Visual CD has not been updated in years. Several people pointed to issues with proprietary formats. No desire to re-catalogue repeatedly.

Virtual Volumes View looks like a great choice - thanks for the review James. The site mentions a prior issue with corrupt MP3 files thats fixed - that may address Geerts issue.

Doesn't appear to search inside Zip files like DiscCat or Visual CD.

by DavidFB on 3. July 2014 - 19:05  (117126)

Have loaded about 1/4 of my discs into VVV. It works very well. The default (which can be controlled) is to also index metadata in audio files. So discs with a bunch of music will take much longer to index and may even show as "Not Responding". But all the discs have worked if I let it do its thing. Regular files index very quickly. And the search is fast. This is so much better than what I was using.

A couple of quick Startup tips.
First you use New to create a catalogue. Then you click catalogue (the disc icon) to add a volume to the catalogue. Give it a name - I use a number series so the discs are easily browsed in time sequence. These will then list in Physical view.

To Search, click Search and select Contains first.

All can be exported to CSV.
The only thing it doesn't do I'm used to is index ZIP file contents but thats not a biggy for me.

The main key of course with any of these tools is good labelling. You won't be able to find it easily if you don't name folders and files in searchable terms.

by gogabz on 28. June 2014 - 15:19  (116993)

Just installed Cathy on a windows 8 laptop. When I try to Catalog any folder it just reports it as inaccessible!

by DavidFB on 2. July 2014 - 23:29  (117099)

Cathy doesn't support Win8.

by Micke12 on 5. June 2013 - 7:36  (108289)

Disk Explorer 3 is perfect for when you have Virtual CDs that are 60GB+ in size. Very easy to use and very customizable, and best of all, it is free, unless you want to make a donation through paypal.

by DavidFB on 2. July 2014 - 23:30  (117100)

Sorry - is this a disc cataloguer or virtual drive software?

by sicknero on 3. July 2014 - 21:17  (117129)

It's a cataloguer.

http://tjelinek.com/main.php?section=dd

The installer can be extracted and run portably (although it will auto-create a data folder in My Docs and profile settings in AppData).

The program itself is packed with all sorts of functions, it will catalogue the contents of archives, add thumbnails for pictures in the catalogue etc, all of which is configurable.

It's not been updated since 2010 but it's very good, I've used it for years although I find VVV a bit more straightforward and faster on the whole.

by DavidFB on 3. July 2014 - 22:26  (117131)

Thanks for the notes.
If you want speed and search functions, I'd turn off things like thumbnails. But if you use photos and images a lot, it would be slower but that may be a function you find very useful.

Depends on needs.

by sicknero on 3. July 2014 - 23:07  (117133)

Yes exactly. DEP3 can be slow precisely because it can extract and store so much information about the data that it catalogues.

Personally I don't need all that so I find it easier to use VVV which has far fewer configuration options.

by Tapan Chakraborty on 20. May 2013 - 6:25  (107879)

Gentibus CD - "for the people" - is a very good name and choice if you're looking for a tool to organize your CD/DVD collection. The scan on CDs, DVDs or hard disks can be categorized and searched. The advanced search function will also find "Harry Po" if you're looking for "Harry Potter". Gentibus CD will find duplicates, smartly discovers image, audio, video and program files as 'super-categories' on its own, which comes very handy when you're archiving a medium with mixed content. A very pleasing feature is that Gentibus CD will show you thumbnails of any pictures you might have archived on your CD/DVD so you will be able to search them somewhat as a virtual CD.

This darn thing kept telling me my data access files where not installed despite installing the latest one.

by DavidFB on 2. July 2014 - 23:33  (117101)

Probably looking for Windows components that are no longer present. They mention fixing a bug like this but that was long before your comment so evidently they didn't. No longer being developed.

by profondorosso75 on 6. January 2013 - 1:07  (104255)

Hi all, I'm looking for catalog software to catalog all my hard drives and flash drives but I would like it to be integrated into explorer. so when I open explorer or my computer I want to see all my drives, even the ones that I don't have attached and have the ability to search or browse them. Alternatively I would use a stand alone program for this if it had a built in file manager utility so I could also manage/copy/move/delete/new folder etc. my online drives. It is not clearly stated if any here do that. anyone have any suggestions for what I'm looking for? if it doesn't exist, why doesn't someone much smarter than me create it? Thanks.

by DavidFB on 3. July 2014 - 19:08  (117127)

Nope.
You have file managers (a different category) and you have off-line disc index/catalogues. These tools are designed to find files in non-attached storage. Even perhaps on a network.

on-line and off-line tools are quite different.

by Calm1 (not verified) on 7. November 2012 - 1:24  (101966)

Robert Vasicek has released an updated version of Cathy v2.29, which no longer has limitation on number of folders in a catalog and support for Win7.

GOOD ON YOU Robert!!!

by Geert on 27. November 2012 - 13:24  (102973)

Version 2.30 is out!
Nice to see that Cathy is still alive ànd kicking!

by asdfhjk on 8. October 2012 - 0:18  (100460)

Has anyone tried DataCrow?

It appears to be good and is currently (October 2012) an actively updated application.

However it has a MAJOR, debilitating flaw: it can't catalog any disk that has a mixture of file types such as music, video, data, and documents! It can only handle one category of files per disk.

Otherwise it seems to be sophisticated, but this drawback is utterly beyond belief.

I haven't tried it yet.

by Geert on 25. September 2012 - 10:52  (99723)

Oh no! Disaster!
I switched from a Windows 7 32-bit machine to a 64-bit machine just to discover that Cathy no longer runs as expected.
It starts up, but
- it doesn't find any of its catalogs
- it doesn't show its three tabs, just an empty "frame" with it's three menu items.
What a pity!

by Nick89 (not verified) on 3. October 2012 - 18:59  (100206)

I have the exact same problem-- too bad, because Cathy was perfect for my needs :(. I use Virtual Volumes View now, but it's a hassle if you want to narrow down a search, and it's comparatively slower than Cathy in my experience.

by Geert on 16. October 2012 - 10:56  (100836)

Hooray!!!! Cathy does work on my Win7 x64 machine again!!!!

The solution: I removed the following registry key and everything beneath:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\rOva. Problem solved. Yes!

Cathy is still the best there is!

@site.administrator: Cathy still deserves its top position in your list. You can mention that it also still runs on Win7.

by AndyJones99 (not verified) on 17. September 2012 - 19:37  (99398)

Ideally, I'd like some software which catalogues my external hard drives whenever I plug them into my PC and maintains the catalogue data in the Cloud so I can query it from any internet-connected PC, preferably by a Firefox/Chrome extension which would provide me with a search box.

I can't find *anything* which maintains its catalogue information in the Cloud, let alone enables it to be queried from remote machine/s.

The nearest I can get to what I want is periodically to do a 'dir *.* /s > list.txt' on each drive in turn, and upload the list.txt files to Google Documents. I can then open the Google Document from any internet pc and search its contents, but it's a very laborious process.

by asdfhjk on 12. June 2012 - 19:28  (94760)

The problem with all of these is that someday you'll be stuck with all your discs catalogued in a database that's impossible to open.

Eventually the programs will stop being updated and won't run on future versions of Windows, and since they all save the databases in their own format and can't import from other formats, you'll have no option but to scan every single disc all over again in a new program.

I am starting to have this situation now with a cataloger called WB File Manager (aka Willow-Boupy File Manager).

I have 80 discs of mp3s, video, text and software files in it, and it's starting to crash and have bugs in Win 7.

I can export the database as a .mdb but that's not very useful.

Is there any way around the obsolescence problem?

by WS (not verified) on 2. December 2012 - 19:33  (103225)

An .mdb file is the Microsoft Access database format.

Once you have the data in Access, you won't have to worry about the format becoming obsolete or software not running on the current version of Windows.

by knewlife (not verified) on 29. February 2012 - 11:27  (89692)

Disk Explorer Professional 3.70 it's simply perfect, try it ;)

by Anupam on 29. February 2012 - 11:57  (89696)

Its here : http://www.tjelinek.com/main.php?section=d

The software is now free. However, the WOT rating for Vendor Reliability and Privacy is not very good. Users are advised to have precaution.

by stretch (not verified) on 28. January 2012 - 13:46  (87934)

I agree with James B. I've been a long time user of Cathy and had no real reason to change but tried VVV and found it almost as fast as Cathy (really the difference is small enough not to worry about) but it has two major advantages 1) open source and still being developed and 2) most important to me is the ability to export to a csv file. Also the search is a bit more intuitive and blindingly fast.
Every now and then I try the other offerings on this page because finding duplicates would handy but none of them do the search in a useful way. It's all a bit clunky. Other than that here's my quick summary testing on win7:
Gentibus: threw up an error after only three discs scanned - "graphic memory is full close one or more catalogs". No too stable then and no search for dupes.
Cisual cd and Disclib very slow especially in the search even with the deeper search options turned off.
Of course if you need the multimedia/ zip file searches then you'd have no choice but for me VVV looks to be the business.

by Anony (not verified) on 22. December 2011 - 23:44  (85751)

I tried tu use Disk Explorer Professional but indexing says too much large than 2gb and says "error", can't works, what can I do?

by User noone (not verified) on 2. January 2012 - 23:23  (86435)

2 GiB is the maximum memory size a regular 32 bit program can allocate 2^32=2GiB, Originally XP Gold could only use up to 2 G of ram, no real 32 bit program can read more then 2 GiB (with pae it can handle around 3.5) there are ways around them like using low level disk access to read a file but that's a different story, as dep is written with mfc you can write to the developer and ask him to recompile with large file support.

by Ian Worthington (not verified) on 1. December 2011 - 13:58  (84231)

I've been using Cathy for years and love it. Fast, simple, reliable.

But I've started having some problems with it which I believe are down to my increasing use of ntfs hardlinks.

i

by James B (not verified) on 16. November 2011 - 16:57  (83391)

VVV (Virtual Volumes View) is the new Cathy! Since Cathy is not regularly updated (and has some problems - see next paragraph), this program seems to step up to the plate. I've been looking for a simple, fast cataloguing program similar to Cathy for a long time and I think I may have found it.

I have come across a big problem with Cathy; there is a limit to the number of folders that it can catalogue - approx 65000 folders. I contacted the developer and he has no plans to fix the limitation nor open source the project. This really limits the usefulness of the program. VVV has no such limitations (neither do the other programs), but at the same time offers all of the great features and speed that Cathy had and offers a nicer interface and some extra/useful features to top it all off.

Essential Features:
- Fast cataloging of volumes
- Simple interface (no unnecessary/extra bulk)
- Unicode filename support
- UNC path/network paths support
- Virtual folders support
- Command line options

by Geert on 26. September 2012 - 19:23  (99795)

Well, I gave VVV a try on my huge music library and it even didn't succeed to catalog it. It always hangs at the same point.
Furthermore, the speed of cataloging is no way comparable to Cathy's

I continue trying to find a good/easy/simple/fast replacement for Cathy (which unfortunately doesn't run on 64-bit Win7)

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