File properties, attributes & metadata

File properties, attributes & metadata are three very similar concepts that can easily be confused.

File properties are the basic info about a file, such as file name (1), file location (2) and file size (3). You cannot edit these file properties – they are reported on by the operating system and only change when the file itself changes (in name, size, etc.).

File attributes are properties of a file that can be set, the two best know file attributes are probably the Read-only (4) and Hidden (5) attributes. These can be accessed by right-clicking on a file and selecting Properties from the menu.

Metadata is additional information stored with the file and can be edited by a user or automatically by software. An example of this would be metadata stored with a digital photograph which may include information about the camera used, GPS location, aperture & zoom settings and more.

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iTunes is a great example of an application that allows you to view – and where applicable – add and edit file properties, attributes & metadata so that you can manage your media collection.