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I have a few TB stored locally in ~500000 files on NTFS partitions. The content of all files larger than ~50 KB is expendable. What is precious are:

  • general file & dir structure and standard filesystem meta-data (e.g. creation/modification date, size) for all files
  • content of files < 50 KB or matching *.docx/*.txt
  • checksums for all files > 50 KB

It's too costly for me to do a full backup so I need to backup everything described above, except actual content for files > 50 KB. I will call the latter the mostly-ghost-backup. I also need to be able to browse the mostly-ghost-backup as a mounted drive/dir.

Solution?

CONSIDERED:

  • CD/DVD cataloging solutions (e.g. https://www.whereisit-soft.com/). Most such software has decayed as CDs/DVDs usage dropped and couldn't find something well suited anyway as most solutions are oriented to create a collector's view of the cataloged items instead of a filesystem view.

  • Backup software. Most is not well suited because there is no flexibility to capture just meta-data without file content.

  • Other explorers' plugins. Something like https://totalcmd.net/plugring/catalogmaker.html is very interesting but only works in Total Commander, is not flexible enough to capture content selectively and the project seems, at most, on life support.

  • Shell scripts. robocopy can replicate dir/file structure with all files 0 KB and additional calls will copy just what I need but I can't create a proper browsable mostly-ghost-backup drive, can't store checksums in a nice way and files without content will always show as 0 KB.

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