How to sort a drive of chaotic folders?

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MattPointZero
MattPointZero Contributing Member • Posts: 814
How to sort a drive of chaotic folders?

I guess I won't be completely alone with this.

Over ten years or so I have started and changed multiple lightroom folders, gone to Capture one for a bit, then started again, then found a load of pre-lightroom photos, moved windows to mac...

Here I am in 2018 with a 2 terabyte external disk with tens of thousands of RAW files in no order.  Date-named folders, subject folders, folder trees longer than you can believe, empty folders, duplicate folders...

I'd love a sensible, searchable or at least uniformly folder-named system that gave me a chance of finding anything.  Where would you  start to sort this out?  I own LR, PS, photomechanic (that I have never used and seems slow and hard work for limited benefit to an unskilled eye) and bridge of course.  I have run a dupe finder and hopefully sorted that out, but honestly, a manual process will take forever - accepting it will take some work either way, anyone have any good ideas or have been through the process?

I'd love to just import the whole drive to lightroom and sort it out in there, but I can't imagine life would be that straightforward

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