Bulk renaming beats the tedium of counting
by George Skarbek - 8th November 2005

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Q: I have some folders with digital photos from several sources. They are named folder 1, folder 2 etc. The files inside each folder have the same sequence of identifying numbers, e.g. 01, 02-99 etc. All have common extensions, JPG. Some of the folders have more than 100 JPGs. I want to assign individual identification to each JPG and consolidate all JPGs into the one folder. I am able to rename each JPG but given there are more than 1000 pictures, to do so individually is not practical. I've looked at the rename and ren functions but find the Microsoft explanation superficial and obscure. How do I assign individual identifiers in bulk to the JPG files?

A: There are many programs that can do this. One such free program is called Bulk Rename Utility. It has many features and can bulk rename files and folders. See http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Main-Intro.php for more details.

Numbering photos by starting at 01 is a terrible way to set up the camera, for the reasons that you have mentioned. Furthermore, if you want to keep many images in one folder, you cannot achieve this without bulk renaming; otherwise, when you copy the new batch, the older 01 files will be overwritten and lost.
I have seen several digital cameras in which the sequence number starts at 01 every time you start taking pictures. It was possible, however, to set the camera to remember the last image taken and number them sequentially. But it took some effort to find this setting in the poorly indexed and cluttered manuals.
Occasionally the camera will forget the current number sequence and start at 01 again.

The fix is quite simple. Assuming that your last picture was 1234.jpg, all you have to do is rename an image to 1235.jpg and copy it into the camera. From then it will continue with the correct numbering. I have used this method on three different brands of cameras and it has worked each time.

Q: I am buying a new desktop PC and wonder what is the simplest way of transferring the information from my old hard drive to the new one?

A: The simplest way is to use a USB drive if you have one. But there are several other ways.

If you have a network card in each computer, you can connect the computers via a crossover network cable, share the old computer's hard disk, and copy the files across from the new computer. If you leave the network in place, the old computer can provide a good backup for your data.

You can use a CD if the old computer has a burner. The only catch is to remove the read-only attributes after copying back. This is essential for mail.

You can physically remove the hard disk and put it in the new computer if you do not need the old computer. After copying files to the new hard disk, the old drive will make a good backup drive. Ensure that you have the correct Master/Slave setting on both drives.

If you do not have too much data, you can use floppy disks and WinZip or a similar program to compress the data.

If there is not much data and the new computer does not have a floppy drive, sending the Zip files via email is possible, but make sure that you do not fill you mailbox. Your ISP will inform you of the mailbox size.

If the old computer does not have a CD burner, no network card, does not support USB and you have too much data for floppies, you can use Direct Cable Connect method via the parallel port. You will need a special cable but these are not expensive. Look under Help for Direct Cable Connect for details.

It is also possible to transfer large amounts of data via a null modem cable and HyperTerm if you have experience using this product


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