this day in family photos

I’ve been pretty good at keeping all of my digital family photos organized over the years. I keep them in folders on my Windows computer that are named for the date and event. For example, here’s the name of a real folder on my computer:

2011-12-25 Christmas morning

Naming my folders this way makes them sort nicely and allows me to quickly find a photo from a past event, no matter how long ago. It also makes a good foundation for the purpose of this article, a daily reminder that I call “this day in family photos”.

You’ve certainly seen stories like “this day in world history” or something similar. Well, I’m pretty heavy into genealogy and I appreciate looking at the same thing but specifically in the history of my own family. Therefore, each morning, waiting for me on my computer screen, is an Explorer window that looks like this:

Notice that while the years and titles of the folder names vary, the months and dates are all the same, today’s date. I can click on any of those folders to browse the photos and videos from that day. It’s a lot of fun, and a bit nostalgic, to look back and see what happened on this day in my family. So, here’s how I do that.

Assuming that you name your photo folders similarly, this setup only requires three additional items:

  • Everything
  • Windows batch file
  • Windows Task Scheduler

Everything is a Windows desktop search engine. While the name is a bit interesting, I find it to be a very powerful and handy tool. So, you’ll need to download and install Everything. 😀

Next, create a Windows batch file that launches Everything and shows the list of folders for today’s date as shown above. If you’ve never created a Windows batch file, start by launching Windows explorer (Win+e). Create a folder at C:\scripts (hopefully you can figure out how to do this). In that new folder, create a new text file named something like “todayphotos.bat”. Here’s the contents:

@ECHO off
SET MM=%DATE:~4,2%
SET DD=%DATE:~7,2%
SET ARG=folder:????-%MM%-%DD%*
"C:\Program Files\Everything\Everything.exe" -s %ARG%

For purposes of this article, I’m not going to explain the details of the above file. You can research that if you want; just look for info about the Windows SET command along with Everything’s searching syntax. For now, just create the file, save it, and exit. Then, double click the file to run it. This should pop up the Everything search window, with a search for folders named with today’s date.

Now, schedule it to run every day. I’m not going to explain how, because you can already find many articles about how to schedule a task in Windows.

That’s it. Enjoy looking back on your own family history. Merry Christmas.