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:

The rating doesn't save for PDF files for me. It does save for jpg and zip files from my experiment.

Are there any way to force Directory Opus to save to NTFS? Does saving to PDF file itself require external dependencies? For the record, I didn't install Adobe products.

It doesn't save at all, or it saves but gets lost when you update the files in another tool?

Are the files open in anything (e.g. a viewer inside or outside of Opus) when you make the change?

When you tested with zip files and saw those worked, were they in the same folder as the PDFs? Try in the same folder if you haven't, in case it's to do with the folder/filesystem not allowing NTFS ADS or permissions or something else blocking the change.

It's also possible antivirus / anti-ransomware software is blocking Opus from modifying anything to do with PDF files.

The rating is removed if I resave the PDF file with some new content. Otherwise it is stable. I wish it would be 100% safe.

The stuff about zip file, I don't remember. Must have been a year since we talked

If that's happening then the rating is probably already being saved to NTFS ADS, and the problem is happening because the software you're editing the file with wipes the ADS instead of preserving it when it saves a new version of the file.

It doesn't save at all. When I click a rating, the rating stays for a few seconds, then rolls back to empty. It happens for all PDFs. I've disabled my Antivirus.

Sounds like something else on the system is monitoring PDF changes, potentially.

You could use Process Monitor to check if something else is modifying the file after a few seconds.

It's also possible that the change cannot be saved due to the filesystem, permissions, or something blocking Opus from writing to files in that folder or files of PDF type (or files containing data it deems "private").

1 Like

Hi Leo, you are replying so prompt while I'm planning to record a video. Here you go!

From the recoding, my B drive is NTFS format. I have a number of PDF files, specifically they are scientific papers. The rating either goes away after a few seconds or after an F5 refresh. I also showed the rating stays with 0-sized zip, txt, and PDF files.

Two PDFs in case you want to try
pdf.zip (733.5 KB)

Files seem to be alright.