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  1. #1
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    Getting a list of recently used files

    I often use Windows Explorer's search function to find a list of files that I have worked on in x days. The function works great because it searches all files in the network folders and sub-folders and in a date range which I specify.

    Is there a way to save the results of a Windows Explorer search to a text file or to Excel? Or if not, is there a utility that might be able to do that? A freeware utility would be especially nice.

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  3. #2
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    You could use something like

    dir /S | find "18/06/2013"

    Just look to see what other options there are in the find command.

    Another possibility is to use a Perl script or similar. But this would require to to learn said language
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2013-06-18 at 08:13. Reason: Corrected year from 2103 (Doh!)

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    If I remember right the right carat ">" could force the results to a file like so:

    H:\>dir h:\data /s >H:data\test0618.txt

    where H:\> is the drive prompt at the command line

    I've done that before, but I've never seen how to filter the results within a range of dates and your example suggests that I would get only one day's results at a time.

    Any way to get a range of dates in there or at least a Greater Than?

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    This may be more complicated than necessary, but it works... I use Locate32 (http://www.locate32.net) to find files because the Windows search never seems to find what I'm looking for. Locate32 can search for files within a date range (or just "x days old") and displays a list, which you can sort various ways. Although the program itself doesn't have a print function, you can select the whole list (Ctrl+A), right-click it, and choose Special > Copy data to clipboard. You then get a dialog where you can select the columns to copy -- defaults to full name, size, and date modified -- and choose whether to include the current date, column labels, and some other bits.

    Once this is on the clipboard, I paste it into Word. One minor gotcha is that the data columns are separated by spaces; I use a wildcard replace to convert each instance of two or more spaces to a tab character. Then I can convert the text to a table, so everything lines up nicely. That can be saved or printed, or copied and pasted into Excel.

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcturus16a View Post
    If I remember right the right carat ">" could force the results to a file like so:

    H:\>dir h:\data /s >H:data\test0618.txt

    where H:\> is the drive prompt at the command line

    I've done that before, but I've never seen how to filter the results within a range of dates and your example suggests that I would get only one day's results at a time.

    Any way to get a range of dates in there or at least a Greater Than?
    The find command is looking for strings, so I don't think so. However, if you don't mind a multistep method you could do something like

    dir /S | find "18/06/2013" > list.txt
    dir /S | find "19/06/2013" >> list.txt

    Note the double >>. First line creates (or overwrites file), second line appends to it. File still needs a bit of manipulation though.

    dir /S/A-D gets rid of directory entries (see http://www.computerhope.com/dirhlp.htm for other options). This cleans up the output so it looks better than with directories listed and the text file can be opened directly in Excel. The software suggested by jjfreeman looks good, but as he says requires a lot of data manipulation to tidy it up. The choice is yours!

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    jj: Your idea sounded great, especially being able to get the results to the clipboard. But it looks as though Locate only works on a pc's hard drive. I need something more robust and capable of searching through 6k+ files on a network folder (though the search results are generally less than 300-500).

    access-mdb: I was really hoping that I could move on up from parsing a DOS txt file and then sifting out through all the extra line breaks and file & byte counts, blank lines, et al.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcturus16a View Post
    jj: Your idea sounded great, especially being able to get the results to the clipboard. But it looks as though Locate only works on a pc's hard drive. I need something more robust and capable of searching through 6k+ files on a network folder (though the search results are generally less than 300-500).
    Locate32 can index and search a network drive (or just individual folders on a network drive). In the Settings dialog, go to the Databases tab. You can click Edit to add the network path to the database for the local drive, or set up a separate database just for the network location. In either case, in the Include section, click the Custom option button (the "Check local drives" option is selected by default) and then click the Add Directory button to specify the path in a browse dialog.

    The indexer usually runs in the background when the CPU is idle, but you can force a database update from the tray icon. It's reasonably fast, although I don't know how long the first update will take for 6k+ files.

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    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcturus16a View Post

    access-mdb: I was really hoping that I could move on up from parsing a DOS txt file and then sifting out through all the extra line breaks and file & byte counts, blank lines, et al.
    Yeah, I see your point. I would write a VBA script to read the file and put the info into an Access database but you obviously need something with less (human) processing. Locate does give you want you want but with some human processing, especially as jj has explained about accessing network drives.

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    jj: I just now got back to this post and retried Locate. I ran the database update for my folder on the network which took just a few minutes (probably less than three). I was able to save the file (402 results) to a text file. Thanks for your help. This is what I was looking for.

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    Arcturus, that's great to hear.

    To be honest, I didn't know before this thread that Locate was network-capable. I've been using it only on my desktop for several years. I tried it on my home network (I hope my wife doesn't mind having her computer indexed!) and it worked. I'm impressed, too!

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