Clean up your messy computer with Belvedere, an automatic file sorter

Is your Downloads folder a mess? Do you wish your documents would move themselves from your desktop to, you know, Your Documents? Adam Pash, who writes for software and life hack blog Lifehacker, had exactly this problem–and decidede to fix it.

Meet Belvedere, your new servant

Belvedere is your new personal servant: he will do whatever you tell him to do, to the letter. Want all your old files taken out to the trash? He’ll ask, “How old?”  Want to delete EXEs if you don’t use them for 24 hours? Yes sir!

Belvedere is a program designed to make managing your files easier.  Based off of ideas from the Mac program Hazel, it can be extremely useful for those with messy computers who want clean computers–it’s set and forget.

Setting up your first rules

When you first install Belvedere, you’ll be met with a clean, empty interface.  To get started, just click the + button in the lower left hand corner:

Browse for the folder you want to monitor.

I chose to monitor my Downloads, because I always have huge piles of files in there.  After clicking OK, you’ll be left with the folder you chose in the left pane. Add a rule using the + button near the bottom middle:

A good first step is to choose which files to use. You can make it only do things if files have a certain name, a certain extension, were modified, opened or created at a certain time, or even by file size.

After you’ve chosen files to use–say, all JPG, PNG, and GIF files–you can choose an action. You can move, rename, delete, send to Recycle Bin, copy, or open files.
For instance, let’s say we want to delete all of our EXEs that were last opened more than a week ago.  To do this, we would just make a rule that said if the extension was EXE and the file was last opened more than a week ago…

…then send it to the recycle bin.

However, what if you want to be sure that it only effects files you want it to effect? While writing the rule, just hit the Test button. Here’s a test for EXE files in My Downloads:

Once you have finished writing a rule, be sure to click the Enable button in the lower right hand of Belvedere:

Clearing the Recycle Bin

If you decided that you didn’t want your files instantly deleted, you probably opted to send them to the recycle bin.  However, that doesn’t save any space, because Windows counts files in the recycle bin against hard drive quota.  Luckily, by going to the Recycle Bin tab, we can set Belvedere to automatically clear the recycle bin as well:

Conclusion

Having your own personal servant is expensive, unless that servant is Belvedere.  For the grand price of free, this tiny app allows me to do nothing while keeping my computer organized, just the way I like it.  On just the first run of deleting, I actually managed to gain 10GB of disc space–all because I’m a digital hoarder.

How do you organize your files?

Version reviewed:  v0.5

License: GNU Public License

OS Supported: Windows 7/Vista/XP, others maybe

Home page | Download link (1.0 MB)

VirusTotal (7/41)

Update: some users have noticed the large number of antivirus false positives. Belvedere is totally clean, and has been reviewed by sites MSN.com, PCWorld.com, Lifehacker.com (authors of Belvedere), and MakeUseOf.com.

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20 comments

  1. Rob (Down Under)

    For those interested in a non program approach, you could have folders all starting with the same letter EG D_Health D_Money D_Web (the D_ means Data, not a drive letter).
    Since they are all next to each other in your C drive, they are easy to burn to CD, etc.

    Regarding the downloads mentioned by Locutus, this is what I do.
    Create a folder in your C drive called Downloads (not down that horrible mineshaft of Documents and Settings).
    Tell all your programs, and browser, to save to the Downloads folder.
    Get a better File Manager than Windows Explorer, that has Tabs.
    XYPlorer is the best that I have found, and I have tested about 10.
    You can lock the Left Tab to the downloads folder, and have just that Tab sorted by Date.
    Say you were browsing the web, and saved a web page as .MHT
    Say there was also a link to a .pdf file that you downloaded.
    And say there was an exe or zip that you also downloaded.
    When you later move them, you want them all to be next to each other, and they already will be (similar date/time).
    When it comes time to move things out of the Downloads folder, you open up another Tab and get the focus on the desired folder. then select the three files (that I described), and drag them to the other Tab (just to the wee Tab Title at the top of the screen). If you let go immediately, they are moved for you. You can stay in the Downloads folder to get other files to move elsewhere.

    Rob
    PS I can provide a link to the Last free version of XYPlorer.
    (Or search within DotTech for XYPlorer, where I have sung it’s praises)
    It requires no installation, as it is portable.
    The free version is slightly quirky in Win7 (and I guess also in Vista, which was the beta for Win7). So you probably should get the paid version for Win7

  2. Giovanni

    @Locutus:

    Ok LOCUTUS thanks for your prompt answer.

    I was just wondering why SOFTPEDIA didn’t publish the real featureful version of BELVEDERE: maybe because they are not 100% sure that it’s totally clean??

  3. Locutus
    Author/

    @Giovanni: Well it looks like Belvedere# is a remake of the program in another programming language. By removing autohotkey from the picture, it can get rid of the false positive.
    However, it may not be as featureful as the real Belvedere.

    That second link, the one for Download.com, is simply an outdated link; it has 0.4, the most recent version is 0.5.

  4. Giovanni

    That’s strange!!

    I’ve just downloaded a program called “BELVEDERE” from Softpedia but the size of the .exe file is smaller than the one mentioned above:

    http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/File-Management/BelvedereSharp.shtml

    And guess what?? VirusTotal didn’t detect any malware, unlike this version of Belvedere.

    So what is it about?? Looks like a clone…LOL!!

    And on CNET there is another different version of this program:

    http://download.cnet.com/Belvedere/3000-2248_4-10913521.html

    What do you make of it, guys?

  5. Locutus
    Author/

    @Emrys: @Bud Gallagher: Whoops, sorry about that–I forgot to mention false positives for viruses and trojans in Belvedere are annoyingly common. However, Belvedere comes from a 100% reputable source and is even open source if you want to check the code and compile it yourself.

    Here’s a VirusTotal for the installer:
    http://www.virustotal.com/file-scan/report.html?id=4455fd6477fbf07fc513485d757ccd12397c13fd4cadaa4ca4521f358b78bb41-1306697364

    Here’s a post on MSN’s tech site; it’s actually even a cross post from PCWorld:
    http://tech.ca.msn.com/how-to/article.aspx?cp-documentid=26088131
    Says the post:

    (Note: Some security software may flag Belvedere, but we believe this is a false positive.)

    Again, this is totally clean, and is also awesomeware.

  6. Emrys

    The program had a file “exactly identified” as a Trojan by Returnal. I think it self-fixed, but need to run a scan. It may be a false positive, but be on the lookout anyway…