Archive Project part 1

September 18, 2021

The issue that came up was when I went back to an old CD archive to pull an old Business card I worked for somebody, they needed some updates. I noticed that the Mac wouldn’t read the disc or the next 2 I tried. In research found that the current Mac OS doesn’t support the old file system. Which started a multiple month project of archiving my old CDs to Blu Ray Disc.

This archive project consisted of archiving several CDs that were made before 2012 on a Mac. This project used a Mac and Python programming to help sort through and remove unused items. This post will follow only the various work arounds needed on the Mac. The Python program will be in Part 2.

To start off the reason the disc couldn’t be read is that newer Mac OSes doesn’t support the old file system that was used to create the original backup discs. To get around this I needed to find an older mac that would have at the latest Mac OS 10.14, it looked somewhere around there was the last to support that file system, HFS.

Purchased an older Mac to copy over the discs, then when it was getting low on space copied them over to the main computer. Organized the discs by year after copied over. A Mac glitch while working on this caused some rework. I was moving the files from one computer to another (holding Command, this deletes the copy after it’s copied over) if there was some permission or locked file it would stop the move it would say it couldn’t move the folder but copied over the ‘folder’ name. When looking into the folder I noticed items missing and the locked file looked like the last item there. Went back to the original disc and re-copied it over. From there I copied the folder then deleted them from the older computer.

After coping over and organized the backup discs, on the new computer that would do the final archive run of the program (remove files not needed and add extensions). Before I would run the program, I noticed some of the names of the files had non-normal characters in the file names such as: slashes, checkmarks, bullets, etc. These needed to be cleaned up before archive, I could do that in the program (the slashes could cause and issue) but it’s really simple and quick to do this on the Mac:

Replace characters in file name

To remove or replace the non-normal characters in the file names.

  • Search for the character you want to replace like ‘/’
  • push down arrow select name matches (if you don’t it will search inside of the files)
  • selected the full folder of the archive to search in or this will go through the full computer.
  • When search was done highlighted all (command + a)
  • right click on any of the selected files; select ‘Rename file’
  • choose ‘Replace Text’ in Find: / (or whatever char you’re needing to replace) and for Replace with: you can replace it with something like ‘_’ or you can leave it blank to just remove the character from all of them.
  • Hit ‘Rename’ and you’ll start see the names getting changed.

Do this for any other non-Alpha-Numic characters you want to remove.

Add extensions to files

When doing a previous burn to a DVD I found out that if the file had no extensions it caused the file not to open on the disc. Not sure if this is for all types of discs or something with the particular recorder, so this is to err on the side of caution.  With this issue I knew I needed to make sure that all the files in this archive would have an extension. I was going to do this all with programming, but hit some issues. There are Python libraries to do this but when testing they couldn’t tell what the file type was. Went another way to do it in programming, by reading the header, but found that didn’t always work out. When looking at the file headers for some of them, I seen some had their file types at the bottom, since some of these files were large images 100megs+; I decided to fix those another way. Some of these files are Microsoft Word and Excel were at the bottom, and plain text files had no headers. To fix those types and a couple of others I used the Mac’s built in search features to add those extensions it’s a simpler way of doing this than through code:

Find and Add File Extensions in Mac Instructions:

  • Using the Mac’s build in search I did a search for ‘a’ (and try other vowels later)
  • selected the full folder of the archive to search in
    (Don’t push down for filename like in previous steps we want to go through the text in the files)
  • click the + sign
  • select ‘Kind’ then for the text files
  • select ‘text’ from drop down for plain text files, you’ll also get rtf, html.
  • For Microsoft Word and Excel, I choose ‘other’ and typed in Microsoft to get all of them.
  • Then in the search results click the column ‘Kind’ this will put all the same types together.
  • Then highlighted all the same type of files like: Microsoft Word files, Text files, etc.
  • right clicked on one in the selected group and choose ‘Rename’.
  • In the popup menu: selected ‘Add Text’
  • add the extension you need after like: ‘.txt’, ‘.doc’, ‘.xls’, etc ‘after name’; (without quotes)
  • hit ‘Rename’
  • it will ask you do you want to add the extension, you have to click ‘Add’ for each file. If you hit enter that will cancel the renaming. This will take some time and be a bit boring.

With those steps done it would be ready to run through the program. If you’re not going to write a program to do this, you can keep doing the search and add extensions to the other files you want to keep.

Remove files

To remove files you don’t want you can follow the above highlight the ones you don’t want and delete them (command + delete).

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