Stability of Rating (five stars) column

There is a column called Rating, which I use a lot. I can give 1 to 5 start for academic articles that I have stored. This is a field created by Opus. It is not available in Explorer for pdf files.

Sometimes it take a second for the data to show up. Sometimes I need to hoover over with the mouse. My questions is one of stability. How safe it the field? I spend a lot of time scoring articles for future use. If I lose this information it is almost catastrophically bad. Is it possible to make a backup of the info in this field?

Some general info would be appreciated.

Rating can only be stored in the file itself for certain file types that support it (and that Opus knows about).

For all other file types, Rating is stored via NTFS ADS metadata. This can be lost if:

  • Software edits the file in a way which does not preserve NTFS ADS metadata.

  • Software copies or moves the files in a way which does not preserve NTFS ADS metdata. (This can include Opus, depending on how it is configured under Preferences / File Operations / Copy Attributes.)

  • The files are archived. (Most archive formats like Zip, and almost all software for handling archives, do not have the facility to preserve NTFS ADS. Most file-based backup tools do not backup the data either, but ones which do a full disk-image backup will include it.)

  • The files are moved to non-NTFS storage, such as most USB sticks, FTP sites, and most non-Windows NAS devices.

You can use Tools > Print / Export Folder Listing to create a csv file listing the ratings of files below the current folder, if you want a way to backup that data specifically. For example:

Name,Size,Relative Size,Modified,Description,Rating
New Folder,,,Today 10:07:04,,*****
New Text Document.txt,0 bytes,,Today 10:06:43,,****
New Text Document (2).txt,0 bytes,,Today 10:06:43,,***
New Text Document (3).txt,0 bytes,,Today 10:06:44,,**

(In a real example, you would probably want to add the Path or Full Path columns, so the csv file had full details about each file and could be used by a script, or similar, to re-apply the ratings if needed.)

Thanks.

I store the files on OneDrive with a local copy on my PC. Any problems you see with this approach?

I suppose I should tick "Copy Metadata"? What about "Copy all NTFS data streams"

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You'll probably want to turn on the Copy Metadata option (and may as well turn on the Copy all NTFS data streams option below that).

I store the files on OneDrive with a local copy on my PC. Any problems you see with this approach?

I am not sure if OneDrive preserves NTFS ADS or not. Try it with test files of the type(s) you're concerned about, and see if the rating information is preserved from one machine to another, or when a file is deleted and re-downloaded, via OneDrive.

Problems.

I have clicked the boxes you suggested. I open a PDF with a Rating set by me. When if I enter a comment box in my pdf file (software FoxitPDF) the saved Rating disappears.

It is my file saved on my hard disk, so does not involve any uploading to OneDrive. I also disconnected by wifi to make sure not OneDrive connected. I do not move or copy the file. Just resave after having made a comment in the PDF file

Probably first item on Leo's list: FoxitPDF created a new file and deleted the original.

If you want to ask them to change how the files are overwritten to avoid losing NTFS ADS metadata, the ReplaceFile API in Windows handles it automatically.

But you'll always have the risk of losing the data when some other tool edits the files, even if you succeed in getting that one changed. If the data is very important then it might make more sense to store it in a field the PDF format supports (e.g. the comment field). Won't look as good as a column, of course.

Here is another idea how you can store metadata in PDF-Files which Directory Opus can display in columns: