"Backing up" a manual sort

I have a directory that I have painstakingly manually sorted perfectly. I want to make sure that I don't have to do that again, so I'd like to backup or copy this order somehow. When I copy the folder to somewhere else and open it, DOpus does not sort it the same way. Is there a way to copy a directory while maintaining the sorting, or alternatively is there a way to backup the "metadata" that DOpus uses to remember the sorting?

It's stored in the folder's NTFS ADS metadata.

Whether the ADS metadata is included when the folder is backed up or copied depends on the thing doing the backup or copy. Opus can do it (depending on configuration), but will also only copy that data if the copy of the folder is created during the copy. If the folder already exists, the ADS metadata on it will be left alone. File Explorer is the same.

So you probably want a tool for synching ADS metadata from one folder to another. That's definitely possible (and could be done via scripting in a pinch) but I'm not sure what the best option is as it's not something I've looked for before.

Aha! The "Copy all NTFS data streams" option in the settings did the trick for copying with Opus. I'll look into if my backup solution preserves ADS data. Thank you for the help.

@Leo, some time ago, on the left panel of my Open-Shell Start Menu, I arranged the LNK files conveniently. As a backup, I saved the order by dragging and dropping each file into a manually sorted directory.

But I could never back this sorted order up to another PC, so a few days ago, I searched the forum, and I found this old thread. I have always had 'Copy all NTFS data streams' turned on in Preferences, and I experimented, first on just one PC, and then on two PCs.

  • I copied the original manually sorted files (using DOpus) to a new empty directory — the manual sort order was not respected (as expected from this thread).
  • I deleted them, then went to Preferences and copied the manual sort file format from the old directory to the new directory.
  • I again copied all the files (using DOpus) — still no manual sort order (as expected).
  • I then deleted the new directory, and copied the directory (using DOpus) as a single item — this time the new directory was correctly manually sorted, just as you promised above.

But now came a disaster — I removed one file from the new directory, and ran a 1-way DOpus sync. This certainly restored the one file into the new directory, but it also sorted BOTH directories in alphabetical order, thus destroying the manual sort in both DOpus panels!

    A second failure — I restored the manual sorting in the old directory, then I performed exactly the same multi-step exercise with a new directory on another PC on the network. This time, the manual sort was not respected, even when I copied the directory as a single item. (I did check that the new directory on the other PC is still configured as Manual Sort, even though I had deleted and re-copied it several times.)

CONCLUSION: It does look as if the situtation needs to be sorted out, because backing up to another PC, and syncing with another directory, are very standard operations. But I'm no techie — these two things may not be possible, or I may have fumbled something.

Neither operation would probably be possible without DOpus copying or DOpus sync. I found that the ADS file carrying the manual sort information (as numbering of the items) is attached to the directory, not to each file, and although other software such as GoodSync can sync ADS files, it would be a big ask for them to deal with the required renumbering in that XML file. I'm not sure, however, why the DOpus copying would fail.

It works the way I explained in my earlier reply. Very few tools will sync ADS data on existing directories, and there isn't really anywhere else to store the information.

To be honest, it's not something we ever envisaged being important enough for people to need to backup and be unable to recreate trivially in the event of restoring a backup. If you need more permanent ordering of files, I would use another mechanism, like names or date stamps or other metadata you can sort by.

Removing a file and copying it back should not re-sort the whole directory it is in. Only that one file would potentially be sorted alphabetically (or at the end if the others are all manually arranged).

To be sure I don't lose a custom sort order when moving or sharing files and folders, I rename the files in a way that preserved the sort order.
I realize that that solution is not always feasible.

If the file has not changed, GoodSync will not synchronize the ADS if only the ADS has changed.
The best way is to use overwrite for every backup.

Thanks, @Leo. I've already solved it by saving a screenshot in the same directory — simple. And there are plenty of other approaches. It's a very minor issue.

I just thought that because my PCs seemed to be behaving a little differently from the earlier posts, it was worth reporting.