BBox: organize your files, folders, and URLs within a virtual environment

BBox is a free program that can organize files and folders within a virtual environment, allowing you to group with your files and folders into categories and work with them without moving the actual files and folders from their locations on your hard drive.

BBox can manage files and folders as well as URLs and notes, and supports drag and drop from Windows explorer.

If you’re asking why you might ask want to add this on top of Windows explorer, the answer is that it provides an extra layer of organization that is independent of the location of files and folders on your hard drive.

So, say your folders are organized by function (such as marketing, finance, design as examples); with BBox you could create categories (called “catalogs”) organized by, say, project or client, whereby you could place all the files pertaining to project “A” in the same place, without actually moving the files themselves around.

Its can also be a good way to organize a cluttered desktop, as by default when you move an item to BBox the program automatically hides the file in Windows explorer, so that your desktop appears “clean” despite the fact that the files are actually still on the desktop. Note that this hiding behavior is optional, and can be switched off in the settings (which is what I would choose).

BBox offers the following:

  • Manages file, folder, URLs, and notes in virtual categories (catalogs)
  • Drag and drop from Windows explorer.
  • Maintains Windows’ explorer right click context menu functions in the Bbox interface.
  • Notes: can add a note as an element next to your files. Can also add a note to any file of folder (but strangely, those notes aren’t searchable)
  • Finder: finds files, etc. in all catalogs based on a part of the filename
  • URL capture: choose this then point the cursor to the address box of any browser to capture a URL. A rather unusual implementation.
  • Import URLs: by exporting them to an HTML file from the browser then reimporting with BBox.
  • Declutter the desktop: achieves this by automatically hiding files or folders in Windows explorer when they are added to BBox. Can achieve the objective of decluttering, but can also be confusing.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Fix some bugs: at times, will fail to add a file of files (strangely, wouldn’t add MP3 files for example). Other bugs: is at times inexplicably unresposive. (Implemented)
  • Strangely, a user cannot easily move a file from one catalog to another within the BBox interface itself. Would be nice to be able to drag and drop to a different catalog, or drag+CTRL to copy, for example. (Implemented)
  • Windows explorer extension: for adding files or folders to catalogs, would be a great addition. It would also solve the point above.

The verdict: this is a very promising program that can potentially be very useful. It is still early in it’s development though and I hope that it gets pushed further.

I can see its potential in being an excellent and valuable organizational tool, but please try it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Version Tested: 1.1.2.0

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32bit and 64bit).

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 4.9 megs).


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • Anonymous

    “Decultter the desktop”

  • http://www.bainsoft.com BainsoftTeam

    Thanks a lot for review!
    We will do our best to improve this program.

    1) “Fix some bugs: at times, will fail to add a
    file of files (strangely, wouldn’t add MP3 files for example)”
    ——————————————————————————–
    >This is a bug and has been fixed now
    (It will merge into the next version)

    2) “Strangely, a user cannot easily move a file from one catalog to
    another within the BBox interface itself. Would be nice to be able to
    drag and drop to a different catalog, or drag+CTRL to copy, for example. ”
    —————————————————————————————————
    >In the current version,
    you can use “Cut/Paste” (CTRL+X/CTRL+V) right menu item to move a file
    from one catalog to another.
    NOTE: NOT Windows’ explorer right click context menu,
    please use BBox’s context menu:
    http://www.bainsoft.com/images/bbox-3-600.jpg

    In addition,a drag and drop function may be added
    in future version.

    • Samer

      @ Anonymous: fixed the typo, thanks for noticing!

      @ BaintsoftTeam: you’re welcome. Glad you were able to take care of the mp3 format issue

  • http://www.bainsoft.com/ BainsoftTeam

    A new version available:
    http://www.bainsoft.com/product/desktop-manager-release.html
    1) Fixed bug: mp3 format issue
    2) Added support for moving entries to a different catalog by drag and drop

  • what

    While the ribbon is acceptable for complex applications like office suites, is not recommended for simple applications. Despite all the work that Microsoft took explaining the reasoning behind choosing the ribbon interface for its applications, other developers totally missed the point of ribbon interface and began treating it like a new skin (or window decoration).

    The ribbon is unacceptable for this single purpose type programs. It’s inefficient and ugly. Consumes too much screen space.

    But it’s even worse, because like i said, programmers treat it like a skin. Lacking the usability resources of Microsoft, these programmers make a mess of their programs, creating unusable abominations.

    In fact most application are creating interfaces that are space efficient as possible: Firefox 4 and Google Chrome the most prominent examples.

    The trend is simplified interfaces not ribbon abominations.

  • miga

    Chrome/Firefox is a special kind of application,
    most users only use open URL, add new tab, add a bookmark function,
    So it’s interface can be more simple,
    But for other applications, this is a difficult choice.

    “Consumes too much screen space”, the ribbon designer maybe aware of this problem,
    so it provides a “Minimize the ribbon” option,
    I think it is not a bad choice.

  • Bryce

    Wow, if this works like I’m hoping, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for for my media desktop at home.

  • Pingback: WrapUp: Firefox Getting Better Tab Management, Taking Screenshots in Chrome, and More()

  • Hd Film Blogu

    Your article helped me so much on my works. Thanks

  • john

    Because I have a collection of videos, music, and images I would like to sort and organise all into it’s own individual hard disk so I can locate what I want without having to jump around different folders and not necessarily have the space required to place them all together, I was hoping this software would be able to merge different folders together much like a JBOD setup.

    Few things i’ve noticed is that when minimising to the tray and activating it, the window size resets itself (i like my windows maximised).

    Typo for “Group” in options and display.

    Folders do not get sorted properly. Some folders beginning with a number are placed at the end of the list. Even some folders that start with an A are there too as well as at the start. Adding other folders via drag and drop into a catalog also do not get sorted with the other items from other locations. So it’s a list of items from one disk (roughly sorted alphabetically) and then the items (again roughly sorted) following it, rather than all folders and files sorted.

    Though you can put the folders into a catalog, accessing a folder creates a windows folder to appear. Personally i’d prefer it if it would allow browsing within the software.

    Some things I would like to request could be an auto import feature for a catalog. If a file or folder is added to a music folder, it automatically appears in the catalog.

    Show the contents of a folder be displayed instead of the folder.

    Ignore certain files.

    Import/export catalog/group settings in case you need to reinstall again on new disk or new computer.

    I hope this feedback is useful. Besides the above issues it looks promising and i’ll be keeping an eye on each update.

  • http://www.bainsoft.com/ BainsoftTeam

    Reply to john:

    Thanks a lot for great feedback.

    These suggestions are very good,
    We have added to the development plan:
    http://www.bainsoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=30

  • Portable Man

    Nice application. I think it will be very useful for me.

    Thanks, Samer, for bringing it to my knowledge and for your excellent work.

    In addition, and specially for those who cares (I think, many), the application has a portable version.

    You didn’t mention that, Samer.
    You don’t care about that?
    It would be very appreciated if you in your reviews say (always) if an application is or isn’t Portable.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Jacque Lafleur

    I agree with Portable Man. All reviews should include whether a product is portable or not. When not portable I always try to find alternatives that are. Thankyou Samer. Love Freewaregenius!!!

  • clancolin

    I tried this, but found it impossible to get it to work. The icons/shortcuts already embedded in the categories worked well and as expected, but when I tried to drag icons from the desktop I seemed to be doing nothing.

    I then tried adding manually and again it seemed as if nothing was happening, I discovered by accident that shortcuts were there (the area of the shortcut appears as a dotted rectangle when moused-over) , but invisible – they had no icons associated, Take Firefox for example, I can manually add the path to Firefox.exe, but the standard FF icons are not accessible. Clicking on these invisible shortcuts does nothing,

    Its a shame – I could really do with help clearing my desktop, “Fences” is a great program, but leaves the desktop still littered with (now neatly arranged) icons. BBox seemed to fit the bill of arranging shortcuts but clearing them neatly away.

  • http://www.bainsoft.com/ BainsoftTeam

    Hi All,

    V2.2 is available now:
    http://www.bainsoft.com/downloads/cherbox.zip

    Portable version:
    http://www.bainsoft.com/downloads/cherboxp.zip

    Updates:
    1. The software was renamed to “Cherbox”
    2. Added multi-database support
    3. It can be used as a password manager now
    4. Skins has been removed
    5. The Ribbon Interface has been removed
    6. More features, Less memory usage

  • Colin

    Hi. I just downloaded the latest version and I’m still sadly disappointed. It seems to be billed as a password manager above all else. I’m not intererested in that, but I wanted to see if it would do this:

    a) If I have a presentation slide that I’d like to use in two presentations – say “Basic” and “Advanced”, I’d like to keep an “all slides” folder and have a project “Basic – June 2012″ and an “Advanced – June 2012″ project.
    Those two projects don’t physically need to contain the slide – I have the slide of course in the “all slides” folder. All I need is a reminder (via the projects) that the slide was in “Basic – June 2012″ and “Advanced – June 2012″.

    b) If I give the same presentation on different dates, but change a slide or two along the way, then project 1 may contain slides X,Y and Z. Project 2 is the same. Project 3 has slides X, Y.1 (changed) and Z. Project 4 as project 3. Project 5 contains X, Y.1 (changed) and Z.1 (changed).

    I installed and ran the program. It asked me to drag and drop icons from the desktop to start. I tried this and got the little “copy” icon (with the plus in the right-hand lower corner), but when I released it in Cherbox nothing was copied. I tried several icons, with the same null result.

    I then tried to make a new node and insert icon details manually. The program complained of not being able to find the specified file, even tough I copied the details from the file properties.

    I then deleted the program from Cherbox , thinking I’d try again later, but now I’ve found that program is permenantly gone! It wasn’t even in the recycle bin.

    So, Cherbox is teetering on the edge of being uninstalled, but be aware that it does this “permenant delete” thing and use with caution is my advice.

    • Samer

      @ Colin: I too went back to this one a couple of months ago, and was disappointed. I dont remember specifics though, I kind of just blotted it out of my memory. Sorry; hopefully you would be able to find something else that fits your needs.