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Author Topic: How to keep song ratings after moving to a different directory outside MC?  (Read 2013 times)

Lunatique

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This question is related to a previous question I had about losing song ratings after moving the songs to a different hard drive: https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,127928.msg887522.html#msg887522

So the current question is this:

I know that the best way to keep the song ratings when moving the songs to a different folder in my library is to use the Drives & Devices/Explorer to do it, however, it isn't nearly as quick to drag folders to a new location as when using Windows Explorer, because if I need to drag a folder to a location that needs to be scrolled past the current displayed ones, the automatically scrolling is very slow. I also can't look at the folders contained in a directory in the content display area and can only see them in the file directory tree on the left, which makes it clunky for moving/organizing music to proper directories on my hard drive.

In the past, I was able to simply use Windows Explorer to do all my organization, and MC would automatically find those songs in the new locations I've moved them to, and all my meta-data like song ratings would be intact. But that's no longer the case now. I tried experimenting with the auto-import options and I have "Update for external changes" checked, and "Fix broken links" set to yes (protest files on missing drives). I also tried other options but none of them can get me the same behavior I used to get, which is for MC to automatically update the moved files' new locations with the ratings still intact.

So how can I get this behavior back? What setting should I be using? Ideally it should be as simple as me organizing the files using Windows Explorer and MC automatically detecting the new locations the files moved to without losing the ratings I already gave the songs. Or, if there's another way that equally as simple/straightforward, I'd love to know about it.
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wer

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Right off the bat, I'm unsure as to why you're moving the files in the first place. Is this a general reorganization, that you intend to eventually complete and then be done with it? Are you always moving files around for some reason? Do you have an ongoing need to move files?  Perhaps you could clarify.  In the meantime, I'll try and address some of what you said.

I'm afraid you're harboring some misconceptions about best practices. Let me try and shed some light on some of this for you.

This question is related to a previous question I had about losing song ratings after moving the songs to a different hard drive: https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,127928.msg887522.html#msg887522

You were given valuable info in that thread, especially about writing metadata to the files themselves. You should probably re-read it. It doesn't seem like you heeded some of the advice you were given there.

Some of your misconceptions are not uncommon.  Just a couple of days ago, another user asked what was in effect almost exactly the same question.  The same advice was needed.  Read that here: https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,128922.0.html

I know that the best way to keep the song ratings when moving the songs to a different folder in my library is to use the Drives & Devices/Explorer to do it

It's actually not.  As was mentioned in your previous thread, the RMCF tool is very effective. Did you look it up?
https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Rename,_Move,_and_Copy_Files

In the past, I was able to simply use Windows Explorer to do all my organization, and MC would automatically find those songs in the new locations I've moved them to, and all my meta-data like song ratings would be intact.

Regardless of whether you got away with it or not, that's a bad practice.  MC is a database, and using Windows Explorer to move files that are referenced in the database around without MC's knowledge is going to cause problems.  MC has a limited capacity, when you relocate a file, to recognize that it is the same file.  But it is a limited capacity. It doesn't work in all situations, as you are learning now.  So the best way to avoid this problem is not to cause it by moving things in Windows Explorer.  Why it sometimes has worked for you previously just probably depends on the complexity of the moves you were doing. Success isn't guaranteed, which is why it's a bad practice. 

It's sort of like sitting at the controls of an airplane with autopilot. With computers, almost anything can be done manually, by someone who knows exactly what he's doing.  But for people who rely on automatic processes for help, greater caution is warranted.  You're relying on automatic processes to clean up the mess you make when you take manual control. That may not sound nice, but that's the reality. And the automation is not always up to the challenge. It's like expecting the autopilot to save you when you grab the yoke and point the plane at the ground. If someone doesn't know how to fly the plane, they probably shouldn't touch the stick, and just leave the autopilot alone. :)

The safe courses of action are to let MC do the moving for you (the RMCF tool) or learn how to properly do it manually. Which brings us to...

..."Fix broken links" set to yes (protest files on missing drives).

This is part of your problem. I recommend you set Fix Broken Links=NO.  In fact, I told you that flat out in the previous thread.
You would be well advised to turn the Fix Broken Links option to NO to prevent unfortunate incidents like this in the future.
Since you still have it set to YES, it would seem you didn't take that advice.

Here's what this option does.  If you have it set to any form of YES, when MC sees a file is no longer where it's supposed to be, MC scans monitored auto-import folders for matching files in an attempt to "fix" the problem.  Sometimes it will find a match, and sometimes it won't.  If it doesn't find a match, it REMOVES the entry from the database. At that point, all the metadata for that file that was not saved in the file itself is gone.

Then, if the file is picked up by Auto Import or a manual import, it is imported as a new file. It will have only the metadata that is physically stored in the file.  This is what is happening to you.

With Fix Broken Links=NO, MC does not automatically delete the reference. Which means the metadata is still in the database.  You can delete the reference yourself, or fix it yourself (with the RMFC tool).  The point is your options are preserved. Once the references are deleted from the database, your options, like your metadata, are gone, except for tears, or a database restore.

So how can I get this behavior back? What setting should I be using? Ideally it should be as simple as me organizing the files using Windows Explorer and MC automatically detecting the new locations the files moved to without losing the ratings I already gave the songs. Or, if there's another way that equally as simple/straightforward, I'd love to know about it.

So, some advice, if you'll take it this time:

1. Stop ignoring how MC actually works in favor of how you wish it worked. Recognize that moving things in Windows Explorer can cause problems, and adapt by using the tools available.

2. Use the RMFC tool to move or reorganize your files. If you are trying to reorganize your files according to a rational system, this is by far the best method.

3. Set Fix Broken Links=NO to protect your metadata from deletion, in case you refuse to stop moving files in explorer or encounter some other problem.

4. Once you have Set Fix Broken Links=NO, then if you still use Windows Explorer to move stuff around, you can fix it afterwards using the RMCF tool with the "Update database to point to new location" option.

5. Save important metadata to the file tags. Each field in the MC database has the option "save in file tags when possible".  Make sure that is turned on for all the metadata fields you want preserved if a file has to be re-imported.  Write it to the files by selecting the files and using Right click->Library Tools->Update tags from Library.   If you were losing song ratings when you engaged in these moving activities, then either you didn't have the "save in file tags" option checked for Rating, or you didn't write the tags after enabling the option. If you rate 1000 files and THEN check the "save in file tags" option for Rating, those ratings are not automatically written post hoc.  Make sure that Options->Import & Tagging->Update tags when file info changes is CHECKED to ensure that tags writes will happen automatically afterwards.

There's no reason to lose any metadata when you move files. The key is to NOT let the files be removed from the database and reimported. All you have to do is follow appropriate procedures and take the appropriate safeguards.

Good luck. I hope this helps...
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Lunatique

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Right off the bat, I'm unsure as to why you're moving the files in the first place. Is this a general reorganization, that you intend to eventually complete and then be done with it? Are you always moving files around for some reason? Do you have an ongoing need to move files?  Perhaps you could clarify. 

Basically I have a default download folder where all the music I first download from various sources, or CDs I've ripped, etc., would first go to. This makes my weekly local backups easier because I only need to back up that main download directory, which contains far fewer files (only dozens of gigabytes worth) than my actual music collection directory, which is almost a terabyte.

Then, when I have some free-time on my hands, I'll move those newer downloaded music to the main music collection directory into the appropriate genre/artist/album directories for them. This is the permanent location.

As was mentioned in your previous thread, the RMCF tool is very effective. Did you look it up?
https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Rename,_Move,_and_Copy_Files

Yes I did, but it's quite slow and clunky to use compared to Windows Explorer. For example, I can't just drag entire folders into a new location with the mouse. I'd have to select the files I have to move by highlighting them, then navigate to the new location by either browsing or typing in stuff. With Windows Explore, it's very fast to drag folders to new locations, and I can even open up two Explorer windows and drage between them if the directories are too numerous and requires too much scrolling when dragging. I just place the Explorer windows side-by-side and drage folders/files between the two windows.

Regardless of whether you got away with it or not, that's a bad practice.  MC is a database, and using Windows Explorer to move files that are referenced in the database around without MC's knowledge is going to cause problems.  MC has a limited capacity, when you relocate a file, to recognize that it is the same file.  But it is a limited capacity. It doesn't work in all situations, as you are learning now.  So the best way to avoid this problem is not to cause it by moving things in Windows Explorer.  Why it sometimes has worked for you previously just probably depends on the complexity of the moves you were doing. Success isn't guaranteed, which is why it's a bad practice.

This is part of your problem. I recommend you set Fix Broken Links=NO.  Here's what this option does.  If you have it set to any form of YES, when MC sees a file is no longer where it's supposed to be, MC scans monitored auto-import folders for matching files in an attempt to "fix" the problem.  Sometimes it will find a match, and sometimes it won't.  If it doesn't find a match, it REMOVES the entry from the database. At that point, all the metadata for that file that was not saved in the file itself is gone.

Then, if the file is picked up by Auto Import or a manual import, it is imported as a new file. It will have only the metadata that is physically stored in the file.  This is what is happening to you.

With Fix Broken Links=NO, MC does not automatically delete the reference. Which means the metadata is still in the database.  You can delete the reference yourself, or fix it yourself (with the RMFC tool).

So, some advice:

1. Stop ignoring how MC actually works in favor of how you wish it worked. Recognize that moving things in Windows Explorer can cause problems, and adapt by using the tools available.

2. Use the RMFC tool to move or reorganize your files. If you are trying to reorganize your files according to a rational system, this is by far the best method.

3. Set Fix Broken Links=NO to protect your metadata from deletion, in case you refuse to stop moving files in explorer or encounter some other problem.

4. Once you have Set Fix Broken Links=NO, then if you still use Windows Explorer to move stuff around, you can fix it afterwards using the RMCF tool with the "Update database to point to new location" option.

5. Save important metadata to the file tags. Each field in the MC database has the option "save in file tags when possible".  Make sure that is turned on for all the metadata fields you want preserved if a file has to be re-imported.  Write it to the files by selecting the files and using Right click->Library Tools->Update tags from Library.   If you were losing song ratings when you engaged in these moving activities, then either you didn't have the "save in file tags" option checked for Rating, or you didn't write the tags after enabling the option. If you rate 1000 files and THEN check the "save in file tags" option for Rating, those ratings are not automatically written post hoc.

There's no reason to lose any metadata when you move files. The key is to NOT let the files be removed from the database and reimported. All you have to do is follow appropriate procedures and take the appropriate safeguards.

Good luck. I hope this helps...

Thank you for your help.

I made sure my ratings field has been set to "save in file tags when possible" so I won't lose them again. At first I did a test and it didn't seem to work. But now I just tried again and it seems to be working (my old way of using Windows Explorer to move the files and letting MC detect the changes and update to the new location). I'm not sure why it's working again now.

I guess I expected my old way to continue to work because it did work for many years. I've been doing it that way for more than a decade and it has ALWAYS worked, until recently. And I've been on version 24 for a few years and it's always worked until recently. So it's not like I upgraded to a new version and then it stopped working. Something caused my old way to stop working and I don't know what. Maybe it's a specific setting that got changed accidentally.

I'll try to use the RMCF tool whenever my old way isn't working, but if there's a way to keep my old method working, I'd much, much prefer that, because it's just faster and simpler.
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wer

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As I explained, your "old method" was never reliable, you just thought it was. Nothing has changed. You think the first time the automation didn't save you is when it stopped working. But that's a misunderstanding.  It was always prepared to not save you, based on the exact particulars of what you did each time.  Maybe you weren't keeping your list of folders monitored by auto import updated with all the needed sources and destination, since the "fix" functionality focuses on monitored folders, or maybe you were doing some renaming, or maybe your assessment isn't accurate; there's no way for me to know. No point in my belaboring this any further; I don't want to perpetuate a bad practice.

Regarding RMCF, it can seem hard to use a can opener to open a can, if you think the way to open a can is to stab it open with a knife. You seem committed to using Window Explorer, so I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you. I'll just say although Windows Explorer is easier for doing a single arbitrary move (I thought that album was especially good and cheerful, so I'll put it in the Special Favorites Happy Music folder), it is not easier, or faster, for doing something systematically.  So for the benefit of others, perhaps:

You can save presets in RMCF, so that it does the same thing each time. It remembers the last preset you used. RMCF doesn't make it easy "to just drag things around" because you're not supposed to just arbitrarily drag things sround.

The idea with RMCF is to organize your files based on tags.  As in, for example, all albums should go to f:\flac\[album artist]\[album]   Create a preset rule in RMCF that moves things the way you want.

So you would select your new albums, hit F6 to invoke RMCF, click OK (which accepts the defaults based on your last preset used) and DONE. Shazam! That's it.

Select the Albums, F6, OK.  It's faster and easier then fumbling around in Explorer. Oh, and it doesn't break your metadata.

But you do as you like.  Have fun.
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Lunatique

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As I explained, your "old method" was never reliable, you just thought it was. Nothing has changed. You think the first time the automation didn't save you is when it stopped working. But that's a misunderstanding.  It was always prepared to not save you, based on the exact particulars of what you did each time.  Maybe you weren't keeping your list of folders monitored by auto import updated with all the needed sources and destination, since the "fix" functionality focuses on monitored folders, or maybe you were doing some renaming, or maybe your assessment isn't accurate; there's no way for me to know. No point in my belaboring this any further; I don't want to perpetuate a bad practice.

Regarding RMCF, it can seem hard to use a can opener to open a can, if you think the way to open a can is to stab it open with a knife. You seem committed to using Window Explorer, so I'm not going to waste time trying to convince you. I'll just say although Windows Explorer is easier for doing a single arbitrary move (I thought that album was especially good and cheerful, so I'll put it in the Special Favorites Happy Music folder), it is not easier, or faster, for doing something systematically.  So for the benefit of others, perhaps:

You can save presets in RMCF, so that it does the same thing each time. It remembers the last preset you used. RMCF doesn't make it easy "to just drag things around" because you're not supposed to just arbitrarily drag things sround.

The idea with RMCF is to organize your files based on tags.  As in, for example, all albums should go to f:\flac\[album artist]\[album]   Create a preset rule in RMCF that moves things the way you want.

So you would select your new albums, hit F6 to invoke RMCF, click OK (which accepts the defaults based on your last preset used) and DONE. Shazam! That's it.

Select the Albums, F6, OK.  It's faster and easier then fumbling around in Explorer. Oh, and it doesn't break your metadata.

But you do as you like.  Have fun.

Thank you--I'll try your suggestions and find a way to get RMCF to work as painlessly as possible.
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