I have lots and lots of media files. About 6TB spanned across 10 physical hard drives on a personal file server. Security is not a major issue, but is being handled via other means.

These files consist of video, audio, documents, and software/installers/ISOs/etc.

By the purest of coincidences, this home server is running a legit copy of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, also running a webserver, sharepoint, TFS, etc etc. So Windows Home Server is not an option. I want to avoid virtualization due to the critical nature of the files in question. Media Center has a horrible interface, and the systems I play from have full-sized keyboards.

What is the best way to manage and organize these tens of thousands of folders and millions of files?

I would prefer some sort of automated system which also manages the filesystem and is aware of files being modified, moved, and added via external means. The ideal solution might have features like media streaming, thumbnails, etc etc.

  • 1
    Wow, that is an impressive amount of data. – Troggy Sep 11 '09 at 19:12
  • I'm surprised at the lack of quality media management programs. I also have a sizable media collection and am looking for a way to organize it. Google Desktop simply cannot be the best solution. What if I don't know what I'm looking for and simply want to browse? – Jeff Welling May 18 '11 at 5:05
  • Additional answers to the media organizing problem in general, though probably not relevant to the question in this post. ask.slashdot.org/story/11/03/21/1353257/… – Jeff Welling May 18 '11 at 5:10

In my experience, the best organization structures become stale eventually. With the amount of data you're talking about, I wouldn't bother trying to keep it organized manually, rather I'd install Google Desktop and just search for what you are interested in. It's a bit of a resource hog, but as long as you have the spare cycles, it does an excellent job indexing. Interface is familiar and would give you the thumbnail look you're looking for when doing an image search.

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  • How does Google Desktop integrate into a client-server environment? I don't want to have to log into the server to do my searches... – tsilb Sep 12 '09 at 19:53
  • It doesn't really, but your could use something like dnka.com to serve as a proxy. – DaveParillo Sep 13 '09 at 1:31
  • 1
    I think the optimal solution wouldn't be locked in to any particular organizational structure, but would allow the user to tag media, and to use a config file to detail how they want their media organized. – Jeff Welling May 18 '11 at 5:04

If you do go the desktop search engine route "Everything" from VoidTools is an excellent indexer and it is not as resource heavy as Google Desktop.

It is also insanely fast.


  • Too bad it's windows only! :( – cregox Oct 7 '14 at 8:39

To organize my media files (mostly music CD/DVDs) i use Media Catalog Studio. It obtains many useful features, allows to sort files, see statistics, quick search etc.

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