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Can't see my existing data

Jul 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM
I wonder if anyone can help?
My data files are stored on a Windows 7 machine (64), when I use an XP machine across the network I can see contents of the metadata fields. Having downloaded and installed "File metadata" and associated the file extension, I see the fields available at the bottom of the screen but they don't contain the data I was seeing (and can still see) from the XP machine. Now there's a very good chance I'm being an idiot here and very happy for anyone to point that out to me, particularly if it means I start to see that lovely Metadata(sad I know).
Jul 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Hi sewfan99

File Meta stores metadata in a property store provided by NTFS and held in an annex to a file. This is not where XP stored its metadata, and accordingly, File Meta will not read metadata created with XP, typically using Explorer.

However, you are not the first person to wish that it did. I will investigate whether at least some form of import is possible. I don't know what the storage mechanism in XP was, but it worked with files held on FAT drives, and certainly had no dependency on NTFS. Time for a delve into the archives!

Jul 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I see, I think. In my car the data was stored via an application called wilcom es which is a commercial embroidery package. I can still store when running the application on the windows 7 machine and view from the XP machine. Thanks for responding by the way, at least I don't feel a total idiot.

Jul 12, 2014 at 12:50 PM
No problem. In fact, what you say raises a very interesting possibility. It seems that, owing to the magic of backwards compatibility, whatever the XP mechanism is, it still works on Windows 7. So, if I can figure out how to access it, I should be able to open up a whole new set of capabilities for people with XP still in their lives. There may be a whole bunch of people at some future point who are very grateful that you asked your question.

Jul 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Well that's very pleasing, although in my case I want to be able to see the metadata on another windows 7 machine across the network, the originating application being constrained to one machine via a dongle.

Jul 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM
Edited Jul 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM
Well, it looks like I was almost completely wrong. Apparently, XP would store metadata only for files on NTFS, and it used the same mechanism as File Meta. I've just used XP Explorer to set Subject and Comment metadata on a .txt file, copied the file to a Windows 7 system with File Meta installed and the property handler setup for .txt, and, lo and behold, the metadata shows up in Explorer there too.

To be clear, in XP I set the metadata using the Summary tab you see when you right click on the file in Explorer and choose Properties. How are you looking at your metadata?

Jul 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Hi sewfan99

As you may have gathered, I've been surprised to discover how XP handled metadata. To be clear, by metadata I mean properties like: Subject, Title, and Comment, as seen in the Summary tab of the properties dialog box in Explorer.

It seems that XP stored these metadata properties in one of two places.

For files of certain known extension types, the properties were stored in the file itself. Thus, the properties are always transferred with the file, and are available whether the file is held on a FAT or NTFS drive. For XP out of the box, the known extensions are: .bmp, .db, .gif, .ico, .jfif, ,jpe, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .rle , .tif, tiff, .url, and .wdp. Installing Office would doubtless add such extensions as .doc and .xls to the list. On Windows 7, properties for files with these types would only be visible where Windows 7 has knowledge of the appropriate file format, which, in most of the cases listed, it does.

For files with other extension types, XP stored the properties in alternate streams attached to the files. This mechanism is provided by and only available with NTFS, and is the same mechanism used by File Meta. Because of the dependency on NTFS, the Summary tab is only shown if the file is on an NTFS drive, and the metadata is lost if the file is moved to a FAT drive. In Windows 7, properties for these types would not be visible out-of-the-box. File Meta, however, should enable these property values to be seen.

So, to return to your case, I'm guessing that the embroidery program stores its data in a file with an extension that is not in the above list. You say, also, that the metadata is visible on machines where the program is not installed. I'm guessing that you are using Explorer to look at this metadata, and that it appears in the Summary tab. If all this is true, then the metadata should also be visible on a Windows 7 system with File Meta installed and the property handler set up for the file extension used by the embroidery program.

However, it seems that this is not the case. Are my assumptions incorrect? If not, one diagnostic is to use the metadata context menu installed by File Meta in Explorer to export the metadata associated with one of your files to XML. What do you see? Could you paste the contents into this thread?

Jul 14, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Sorry for the delay in replying.
Yes the file extension in my case is .emb. Yes I'm using explorer on an XP machine to see the metadata of files stored on a Windows 7 machine across the network. On that Windows 7 I have installed File Meta, and have associated the property handler for file extension type .emb . So yes your assumptions are correct with the possible chance that I've been an idiot somewhere along the line, and I'm going to take some time this morning (with a fresh brain) to just recheck everything. I will try to follow your suggestions and export the metadata.

I really appreciate your interest in my problem, I'm trying to see if I can set up a production workshop windows 8 tablet to interrogate the Metadata since it holds design information for our embroidery designs. I may have mentioned that the application we use is constrained by dongle so I can't actually run a second copy on the tablet.
I'll come back on this shortly.


Kerry Read

T: 01380 818858
E: [email removed]
W: &
Kerry Read

Jul 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM
I don't seem to be able to find the "context menu" installed in Explorer that you mention, could you possibly be a bit more explicit as to what I should be looking for?


Kerry Read

T: 01380 818858
E: [email removed]
W: &
Kerry Read

Jul 14, 2014 at 5:16 PM
Sure. If you right click on an .emb file in Explorer, you should see a Metadata entry in the menu that comes up. If you expand that menu, you should be given the option to Export the metadata to an XML file. You can see the contents of the file by opening it in, say, Notepad.

Jul 27, 2014 at 5:37 PM
Having delved into how XP handled metadata, there is another explanation that fits all the facts.

XP had built-in support for OLE Compound Documents, which was a mechanism for storing data files with complex internal structure that Microsoft was encouraging all application writers to use wherever appropriate. XP shows metadata from these documents whether or not the application is installed, but Vista and later do not.
In this blog post (in the comments), a Vista user is complaining about this, and the Microsoft developer recommends a solution. The answer is to add the following entries to the registry:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
if you copy the above lines and paste them into a new Notepad document, then save them as a file with the extension .reg, you will have a file which, when double clicked in Explorer, will add these entries to your registry. If the .emb file is an OLE Compound Document, then these entries should cause metadata to appear in Explorer on Vista and later (you may have to log off and log on first)