Sort files in Vista easily with The Magic Folder

Daniel Pataki
Dec 9, 2007
Updated • Feb 15, 2013

While surfing the net I tend to download a lot of stuff. Not because I enjoy cluttering my hard drive with thing's I'll never look at again, but for example to make a blog post I need a picture from here, a link from there, all this mounts up to a lot of stuff.

When I installed Vista for the first time I scanned through sidebar widgets and found the perfect one to help me keep track of what I downloaded, while also keeping my desktop free of unnecessary stuff. The gadget you need is called The Magic Folder.

The essence of it is that you can set a watched folder, for example your downloads folder for your Firefox, and the gadget will automatically sort the files into other folders based on extension. You can of course drag and drop stuff from your desktop as well. I use the second way, since I still like to see what I have downloaded, but I want to sort if really quickly. I can just drag and drop everything and they will go into the folders I want them to, here's how:
Magic folder setup screenshot

Head over to The Magic Folder on Windows Live Gallery and download it. You may need to save it first, since I have trouble auto-installing gadgets. Just download it to your desktop and run it and you should be fine. Once you see it in the sidebar click the settings icon and first of all check the "Turn on the Watched folder" setting.

If you are annoyed by the way the icon looks with the bunny (I was), then click on the "Visual" and change the style and color to whatever you need. In the screenshot I have captured a blu, default folder.

Click on the "Folders" and set where you want to sort your files. You can specify a folder for each type you see listed. You can also create new ones using the plus sign. When you are finished setting up your sorting folders click on the extensions tab. Here you can choose an extension, and also choose the location where you want to sort it.

It takes a few minutes to set up, but it's well worth it, happy sorting!

Update: Microsoft has retired desktop gadgets which means that many that were previously available are no longer available. A selection of Firefox extensions are available that you can use including Download Sort.


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  1. Dan said on August 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Search “RoboBasket” in google you will find a application from Easy-to-Use Software which can automatically process your files based on user predefined rules. You can process your files based on name, size, date, mp3 tag, extension and more other attributes. and choose actions from move, copy, rename, delete and more.

  2. rupert said on December 9, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    If you want a windows version, try Free Download Manager:

    It is a download manager that you can set to automatically save download files to different folders based on their extention…

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