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On Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista machines, figuring out which properties you want in a category can be a challenge considering there are 267 properties to work with. What I did initially to construct my four categories was to pick a folder that contained the types of files I was interested in (e.g., music files) and had GetExtendedFilePropertyDetails.hta output all 267 properties. I then noted the properties that contained data and included those properties in the array for that category.

I resorted to this rather drawn out method of creating categories because I found little documentation about the extended file properties in Microsoft.com. The only helpful information I found was in Windows Desktop Search 3.0 Properties (www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/topics/desktop/wdsprops.mspx). This Web page lists many of the extended file properties available in Server 2008 and Vista; these properties are placed into categories, such as Audio Files and Digital Photos. (Some properties are in more than one category.) Although some property names differ slightly from the headings used in Windows Explorer's Details pane, the name differences are minor. Thus, it isn't difficult to figure out which properties are associated with which headings. By comparing the properties in these categories with the extended file properties on your system, you can create predefined categories.

To make it easier for you to learn which extended file properties you have available on your computer, I wrote ListExtendedProperties.hta. This HTML Application (HTA) lists the names and corresponding index numbers of all the extended properties that could be associated with a file on your system. Alternatively, you can look at the SideBySideCompare.htm file, which compares the file properties available in Server 2008, Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000. You can download ListExtendedProperties.hta and SideBySideCompare.htm by clicking the Download the Code Here button at the top of the page. These two files are also included in the main article's download file.

If you want to create predefined categories and plan to use GetExtendedFilePropertyDetails.hta on several computers running different Windows OSs, you need to customize the categories for each OS. This is necessary because the index number-property pairings can differ between OSs—a fact that's evident in SideBySideCompare.htm. For example, as Figure A shows, the first seven index number-property pairings are identical in Vista and XP, but then they differ from that point on.