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Why is this procedure so complicated?

Archiving images on CD or moving complete directory structures onto a different PC, changing the directory structure because of a change in the operating system used - these seem to be natural and everyday actions performed regularly on systems running ThumbsPlus to categorize and track images. However there is no internal procedure available to move images onto a CD while keeping track of the associated database information. This is because neither ThumbsPlus is a CD writing software nor is this operation transparently supported by any Windows platform.

Another - less complicated - way would require you to have a packet CD writing software like DirectCD. With this kind of software it is possible to use a CD writer as a regular exchangeable media with read and write capabilities. This means you can copy/move/delete files as if the CD-R or CD-RW in the drive is a giant floppy disk. Until recently, reading such a CD later required a special "UDF" driver to be installed on the client's system - however the newer versions of this kind of software seem to allow the user to finally modify the media and make it compatible to standard CD-ROM drives and systems. CD-RW media might still not be read without problems in older systems due to their different kind of layer structure.

What do I have to do?

In a very few words, the thing to do is to steel away the images without telling ThumbsPlus what you are doing. This will result in orphans in the database structure which then can be re-associated with the image file at its new location.

How is it done?

First you have to make certain that some program options are set correctly for ThumbsPlus not to interfere with this procedure. Showing the orphan thumbnails is not necessary for this procedure, but it helps to illustrate the process on this page and certainly helps you to keep track with your images. In any case you must prevent ThumbsPlus from automatically remove your orphans from the database, because for a short time before the images on the CD or any other new location are re-associated with their database entries, these entries will be orphans fromThumbsPlus' point of view!

OK, we start from a database with a collection of image files on a local hard disk. The images are associated to thumbnails and database information like user fields, keywords and annotations in a ThumbsPlus .td4 database file:

After having done necessary image operations like rotating portrait-type digital camera images into the upright position, removing color casts or creating downscale versions for different purposes, you might want to permanently secure your images on a CD-R and add them to your collection of image CDs. So you burn your images onto a CD using any brand of CD writer software available.

(The image shows the German user interface of WinOnCDTM, which is not in any way related to ThumbsPlus, Cerious or the author)

When you are frequently writing subsequent sessions onto a single multi-session CD, you should make sure to set the ThumbsPlus options to ignore the CD-ROMs' serial numbers. While it is easy to preserve the CD's name when writing subsequent sessions, the serial number normally is changed by the writer software. Setting the ThumbsPlus option to ignore the serial number will force ThumbsPlus to identify offline CDs by their name instead.

After having double checked that all images were correctly written onto the CD-R it is time for you to delete the image directory structure on your hard disk. This has to be done from outside ThumbsPlus in order to conserve the database information associated to the images originally contained in these directories. The easiest way of course would be to use the Windows explorer.

Directory structure before deleting the original image directories.


Directory structure after deleting the original image directories.

Back to ThumbsPlus you might need to refresh the directory tree display in order to show the changes in its structure, namely the deleted original directories and the inserted newly written CD-R media. The images in the directories on the CD-R should still appear as red crosses, indicating the lack of thumbnail and database information. The preview window should correctly display the image as it appears on the CD.

If you chose to display orphaned thumbnails, the images still appear in the now deleted directories. The images should show the (-) indicator marking an orphan as well as the directory icons should appear in gray.

Now the final step is to reassociate the image files on the CD with their database information and thumbnails still linked to the old position on the hard disk. This is not more complicated than simply dragging the gray folders in the directory tree to their corresponding location on the CD. ThumbsPlus will then automatically adapt the database links to the location of the image files on the CD.
By the way it is not necessary that the directories on the CD and the original directories on the hard disk share the same name. ThumbsPlus only uses the images contained in these directories. Thus it is possible to move the images of more than one original directory into one directory of the CD or even the CD's root directory. However you only have one shot per original directory!


Dragging the original directory entries in the ThumbsPlus folder tree onto their new location re-associates the orphaned database links with the new location of the images.



Finally the image on the CD and the database information, keywords and thumbnail are reunited in the ThumbsPlus database.

Now the CD with all the images it contains is also listed under "offline CDs" and as such its information is available for search and thumbnail preview any time you want without it even being near the computer.



Text and images on this page are © Uwe Zimmermann.
Cerious Software Inc. is free to use and modify its contents.

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