Tags organizer utility - or: How useful are keywords / tags without a tool to manage / organize them?

Mar 8 at 4:04 PM
this File Metadata utility closes a much needed gap on windows systems for me. I would love to use it, but I haven't found any way to get a look at the tags present on my system. There seem to be a ton of crappy tags ("System.Keyword") and I guess they found their way on my machine by just importing or copying some files onto it.
The result is that I have a multitude of tags that are completely irrelevant to me. If I now start to use tags myself for organizing my stuff they will drown in this sea of unwanted and pre-defined tags. It is challenging enough, IMHO, to maintain identity with tags alone in a closed system (I mean ensuring, that I do not one day give one and the same concept the tag "stuff", another day "Stuff", yet another day "stuffz" and on a bad day "crap").
But if my tags get flooded with alien tags it gets really challenging.
To even have a chance to be able to be consistent, I would need at least the chance to take a look at all tags. So my considerations are:
  1. Is there any windows native way or extra tool where I can get a glimpse of e.g. all "keywords", "categories", etc. that are meta data'ed to my files?
  2. Assuming those tags are slumbering somewhere in my registry and I get a way to take a look at them: Can I delete unneeded tags or will that damage / corrupt or somesuch the file that is suddenly with a metadate which is not registered?
This tags issue alone is becoming enough of a bother for me to seriously contemplate foresaking windows and using MACOS or Linux for my private needs. Folders? Man, we are living in 2017. I expect a bit more of my primary information-technology device than mono-hierarchical folders and full-text search. Really.

Sorry for the rant. Your utility is great. I wish and hope I can find a way to put it to productive use for me... - but it won't help me without some method to manage / organize / garden some of my metadata centrally.
Mar 9 at 8:01 AM
Edited Mar 9 at 8:01 AM
I just need to clear up one terminological point before I answer your question. System.Comment, for example, is a property, not a tag. Tags are held in a particular property, called, somewhat confusingly, System.Keywords.

Windows defines a large set of properties, the idea being to support everything Windows knows about its files. Of course, that means that for most files, most properties are totally irrelevant.

The easiest way to see the properties that are defined for a particular file is to use Explorer. Right click on the file, choose properties, and select the Details tab, and all the properties associated with the file are shown. Note, however, that friendly property names are shown rather than the formal System.Comment et cetera (you can use the File Association Manager to see them if required).

The easiest way to see the properties that you’re interested in for a file is to choose the columns shown in the file list pane in Explorer. You can select from amongst any of the properties that appear in the Details tab.

Mar 9 at 9:13 AM
Edited Mar 9 at 9:16 AM
Hey Dijji,
many thanks for your quick reply and for the technological clarification. It is the "tags" (System.Keywords) I am mostly interested in. My question above was not about where to see all possible and/or existing tags or properties for a given file, but rather to be able to see all existing tags on my machine (for any file) and to manage/organize them: delete, rename, etc.
If I want to use tags for classification, (with the ultimate goal to enhance search) I need to be able to manage them somehow. The type ahead feature for tags is cool, but only if I get useful recommendations (tags I find useful). Otherwise those keywords are not any more useful than full-text, e.g. as in commentaries.

Is there any way to see all existing tags (System.Keywords) on my machine and manage them? (e.g. in the registry or somewhere?)
I suspect renaming won't be possible (for this the managing tool/file would need to know which files all have a given property - but at least being able to delete unwanted tags would help. Otherwise it is just text.

Your clarification is much appreciated.

Best regards!
Mar 12 at 10:51 AM
Edited Mar 12 at 11:28 AM
If you go into the File Association Manager, and press the Custom Profiles button, then all the property groups and properties currently defined on the system are shown in the controls labelled Property Groups and Properties. ‘System.’ needs to be added to the front of each of the names shown (except System) to get the full official name.

The File Association Manager populates these controls using the system API PSEnumeratePropertyDescriptions. This is one of a family of APIs that allows you to manipulate the properties defined in the system. PSRegisterPropertySchema, for instance, allows you to define a new custom property. It is worth noting, however, that there are no APIs that allow you to modify existing system properties in any way.

As far as I know, this is the only way to interact with the system property definitions. I don’t know where these definitions are ultimately held.

You may find this overview of the property system helpful: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ff728871(v=vs.85).aspx

Mar 20 at 11:10 AM
Edited Mar 20 at 11:12 AM
Thanks for the great work.
I was looking for a organizer utility too.
Because the system language is not English and my poor English, sometimes I cant find/associate the property name in explorer and its System.Property name, so, could the Custom Profile Definition shows the local name as shown in explorer column? Or, is there any utility can query the name between the two namespace?

Best regards!
Mar 21 at 12:07 PM
I don’t know of any utility that will give you the name. I agree that it would be great if the Custom Profile Definition showed both names. I will add it to the list of things to do for the next version.