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I have a bunch of numbered animations, and each animation consists of 4 files (an AVI, WAV, FLA, and SWF).

It would be nice to group by their common animation name, so that for each animation, I could see at a glance whether it has all 4 necessary files.

Is there a way to group files by name without extension in Windows 7 Explorer?


I found a way to do it in Xplorer2 with the deprecated (as of Vista) IColumnProvider interface, which was beautifully simple and has since been replaced with some monstrosity of a property system in Windows Vista and 7.

Below is a screen capture of Xplorer2 using my IColumnProvider implementation, which Explorer quit supporting in Vista. So much for being an upgrade. Xplorer2 is ugly, cluttered, and doesn't sort names mixed with number by numeric value like Explorer does.

share|improve this question
'doesn't sort names mixed with number by numeric value like Explorer does' I don't know what that means, but have you tried 'Natural number sort' on the Advanced Options tab in Explorer2? – Peter Hahndorf Oct 24 '12 at 21:41
I meant, "a name mixed with a number" like a name "lesson" mixed with a number like "123", such as "lesson45" is not sorted by the "numeric value" part (i.e. the "45"), and is instead sorted as a character array, such that "lesson10" would precede "lesson2", because 1 comes before 10. It doesn't have any concept of a "numeric value" in a filename, instead interpreting the filename as individual characters only for sorting purposes. – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 22:42
I could not find a "Natural Number Sort" in the "Advanced Options" of Xplorer2, in either of the the Global or Layout Settings tabs. It is, however, under the "Advanced" tab of the normal "Options" menu item in the "Tools" menu. – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 22:45
Triynko - How did you add your IColumnProvider implementation into XPlorer2? – user66001 Jan 22 '13 at 7:11

Yes, this is easy!

  • Right click → Sort by → Name
  • Group by → Nothing!

I have Croatian Windows so I hope I translated correctly!

share|improve this answer
It's not exactly "nothing." When you click on Group By, there should be a "More..." option. This presents a menu where you can select or deselect columns appearing in that folder, which can then be used to sort the files depending on the column name. – Isxek Oct 23 '12 at 22:06
That doesn't work. If I group by nothing, there is just one big list of stuff. It's "sorted" by name, but the whole point of grouping is to get it out of that list format and into chunks that are easier to look at and evaluate. When it's one big list, you have to look very closely to see if there's a break in the pattern of four files. I've already tried the "more" option in the group by menu, and although there is a "filename" option, there is no "filename without extension" option. I want all files named "L1N1" in one group (L1N1.swf, L1N1.fla, L1N1.avi, L1N1.wav), see what I mean? – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 16:47
If I group by filename, for example, all it gives me is two totally arbitrary groups of "A - H" and "I - P"; absolutely useless. – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 16:55
I understand! :) It doesn't have option by every filename separately... I will try to install Total Commander now... – Davidenko Oct 24 '12 at 17:03
Total Commander is even worse! I it's sorted by name, but I don't see option for grouping. – Davidenko Oct 24 '12 at 17:13

I would say Windows Explorer is the wrong tool here, I would use PowerShell which comes with your Windows 7.

Say you have some files:


For each group you want to make sure that there are always 3 files (or in your case 4).

Run the following command in that directory:

Get-ChildItem | ForEach-Object {[System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($_.FullName)} | Group-Object -noelement | sort-object -property Count -descending

You get a result like this:

Count Name
----- ----
    3 foo
    3 shim
    2 bar

which tells you that the 'bar' group has one file missing.

The same command with aliases:

ls| foreach {[System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($_.FullName)} | Group -noelement | sort -property Count -descending

You first list all files, then 'cut off' the extensions and then group and sort them.

You can also get a list of all the groups missing files:

ls | foreach {[System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($_.FullName)} | Group -noelement | where{$_.Count -lt 3}

give you:

Count Name
----- ----
    2 bar
share|improve this answer
That's not really what I'm trying to do. I could simply write a program in 5 minutes in C# to get all the stats on all the files I want, but then I would have to actually go through the list anyway to find those files to do all the dragging, dropping, copying, and pasting of files that I need to do. There's too much typing with this, and I have thousands of folders to jump between frequently. I just need to group by filename without extension in explorer. – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 21:09
I wrote an IColumnProvider handler for it, only to find out "Note Support for IColumnProvider has been removed as of Windows Vista. The Windows property system is used in its place." But the property system is far too complex. I later learned that a program called Xplorer2 restores the old IColumnProvider interface, and it worked, but I hate the interface. See: – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 21:10
"But [The Property System] can only extract metadata which is stored in file streams, there is no way to extract and index dynamic data such as file size that isn't stored inside the file or inside a secondary stream. The result? All such extensions which used IColumnProvider are broken and forgotten. This valuable functionality seems to be lost with Windows Vista. Microsoft has simply turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the Folder size developer. I guess Windows XP is here to stay till Microsoft listens."… – Triynko Oct 24 '12 at 22:33

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