How to Use Folder Actions in Windows

If you’re a Mac user, you may be aware of the ability to apply folder actions to a given folder. This feature allows you to set up events for the times files are added to the folder. Folder Actions for Windows is a great freeware application that can emulate the same behaviour and apply folder actions in Windows.

Folder Actions for Windows offers a number of different actions that can be tied to a specific folder. These include:

  • Showing new file alerts
  • Automatically moving or copyiing files to a new folder
  • Converting image files
  • Converting audio files
  • Converting video files
  • Compressing or decompressing files
  • User defined action

Although it is quite powerful, using Folder Actions is also a very straightforward affair.

1. Click the green “+” to add a folder you wish to apply a folder action to.

folder-actions-add-folder

2. On the right hand panel, select what action you wish to occur. By default, no action is selected. For this example, we will select “Show new file alert, copy, move files”, and the sub-option “Show new file alert.”

3. Test this new folder action by copying a file to it. A box pops up notifying us that a new file has been detected and asks if we’d like to view the new file.

The conversion features for applying Folder Actions in Windows are extremely useful so we will go through them in a little more detail.

Convert Image Files Feature

This feature allows you to automatically convert from a large number of filetypes to JPG, TIF, BMP, PNG or GIF, and to set the compression level (or colour depth, depending on filetype). You can even add a rotation to images and set a final output folder for them. Additionally, it can delete files after processing.

Convert Audio Files

Audio files can be automatically converted to MP3, AC3, FLAC, OGG or WAV, and quality can be set. And again, files can be moved to a new folder and deleted after processing.

Convert Video Files

Video files can be automatically converted to MP4, FLV, 3PG, AVI and MPEG. and again quality options can be set and files can be moved to a new folder and deleted after processing.

Something that makes Folder Actions especially powerful is the option to create a user-defined action. This essentially lets you run a batch file or even code a batch file from within the program itself. If you have no idea what a batch file is, then you might find utilizing this functionality a little bit challenging. A good little batch file tutorial is available, although you will need to know MS DOS commands in order to make proper use of a batch file in any event.

Folder Actions for Windows is a powerful application that can automate many tasks that you may otherwise have performed manually. Let us know in the comments below how you plan to use the software to help your productivity and if you know of another way to apply folder actions in Windows.