MicroSoft OS multiple file version Eliminator

November 27, 2008

MicroSoft OS multiple file version Eliminator
~James Dunn

I propose a software that monitors all files in the “Program Files” and “Documents and Settings” folders of XP based computers. The program would prevent multiple versions of the same document unless the user specifically instructed otherwise.
1) If a person tried to save a different version of the same document, the software would automatically assign a version number to the document and link the two so the user and administrators can track, archive, and/or trash outdated versions of documents.

2) Regardless of the filename, all files would have the data compared and notated in a list. Administrators could then either delete such duplication, coordinate a common name, and/or flag the document for revision control.

3) For common documents that formally require revision control, the administrator would have the option to change a duplicate found on the system to a read-only property and co-locate a link to the currently approved version of the document.

4) The software would provide statistics related to the amount of duplication in the system

Between my wife and I we obtain, modify, and produce hundreds of documents a year. In the hectic day to day life we often will take one document that is somewhat close to what we are going to create and then use it as a template to build another document. Often times we will decide to go a different route but that partially revised document still exists on our computers.

We have RAID and we use OneCare to backup our files. However, over the years we have many hundreds of files that just aren’t necessary anymore but they are mixed in with files we do want. So our file directories are broad and deep.

What we want is to stop the duplication in our future efforts, and be able to wean out the duplication that has already occurred.

The software would have to be configurable to allow for synchronization of backups. Either by other software, or resident within the proposed software. Certain directories for instance might be declared as protected or “off limits”.

MicroSoft Word has a manual mechanism to compare 2 documents and allow merging individual differences in either direction. I suppose I could create a macro to automate doing more than one document using that function. But I guess would be more useful is to do a document compare automatically and just tell me by what percentage the 2 documents are the same and display only those pairs that have a certain percentage or higher of duplication (user selectable). That way I can cleanup the worst offenders first.

What would be best is to avoid this problem in the first place. Having the operating system track data files and provide versioning information would be the most useful.

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