When shopping for kitchen utensils, one piece of advice I hear time and again is “don’t get a unitasker.” A unitasker is a gadget that’s good for just one thing, as described by “gastrophysicist” and Food Network star Alton Brown. I find the same concept applies for software too: When it comes to GUI applications, I generally try to avoid tools that do just one thing (scripts and shell commands are a different matter). In the case of free utility Folder Axe, I might make an exception.
In a nutshell, it’s a folder splitter. You know all those utilities that split large files? Folder Axe is the same thing, just for large folders. If you’ve ever struggled to manage a folder with 8,000 image files, you might see why this can be a useful thing. Actually, a folder with thousands of image files is an easy case: How about a folder full of thousands of random files, with no rhyme or reason at all, like a typical downloads folder?
Folder Axe can make short work of any such folder, using five different slicing (or “axing,” if you will) systems. First, it can split folders by the amount of files. You can just point it at the folder you’d like to split, and specify a number like “50.” On my system, Folder Axe took less than five seconds to make a folder with 617 images into 12 folders with 50 images (and one with 17). That was fast.
You can also split a folder by size: This is very handy for backing up files. Let’s say you have a folder with 8,000MB of files, and want to burn it onto a bunch of CDs. No problem: Just dial in a preset folder size (CD, DVD, Blu-ray disc) or specify a custom size, hit Split, and you’re done. Folder Axe was amazingly fast here, too.
Another way to split a large folder is by filename: Folder Axe can create a subfolder called “A,” which will contain all files that start with A. It doesn’t just have to be the first letter, either: You can have AAA, AAB, AAC, etc. And if you don’t have files starting with AAB, Folder Axe is smart enough not to create an empty folder by that name.
If you have a folder with a hodgepodge of random files, perhaps splitting them by type would be the most sensible way. This takes just a single click with Folder Axe, and you get folders with names like “.JPG folder,” “.xml” folder, and so on. The case is preserved: If your files were called “something.JPG,” the folder name would be all-caps as well. You can also configure the suffix for something other than “folder” (“.JPG files” for example.)
Last but not least is the File Group feature. Here, Folder Axe gets smart and splits your files into multiple folders with names like “Archives,” “Documents,” and “Audio.” All MP3 and OGG files would go into the Audio folder, while PNG and JPG files would go into a folder called Images. It recognizes a wide range of file types, but was tripped up by the fact that my JPG files had all-caps suffixes (JPG rather than jpg). It failed to recognize them as image files, and instead filed them under “Miscellaneous.” When I changed the extension to lowercase, Folder Axe recognized them correctly.
Like I said at the outset, Folder Axe is a unitasker–but it’s a capable one. If you ever find yourself having to deal with thousands of files, give it a spin.