A free file management utility that saves time and money. Let's you zip/unzip files/folders, encrypt/decrypt files/folders & many more features.
After years of being dedicated to the Amiga platform I was transported to the PC world some six months ago. I left behind many useful utilities that gave me absolute and total control of my computer and in particular the hard drive. SID2 was one of a number that allowed me to access every single file whether it was hidden or not and manipulate that file any way that I wanted to at the click of the mouse. I could create a folder/file, delete it, copy it, move it, re-name it, view it if it was a picture file, play it if it was a sound file and set the protection flags to name a mere handful of operations. The list of SID2’s functions is almost endless. I longed for such a utility on the PC and have eventually found one. Powerdesk 4 is to all intents and purposes the SID2 of the PC world. It is free to download from http://www.ontrack.co.uk/powerdesk/ for personal use and at just over 1.1Mb it doesn’t take too long. There is Powerdesk 4 Pro with a multitude of enhancements that is as near to free as you can get these days at £12 plus vat, soon to be available for purchase in England. Currently it’s a buy from the states job and all that entails. Once downloaded a simple click on the .exe file installs the programme where it is supposed to go or it gives you the option of putting it where you will. For those people using Windows ME a box appears to tell them that this version of PowerDesk is not for ME but you can ignore that and carry on with the installation because it only applied to the version 4 and not the version 126.96.36.199 that is downloaded. In any case the FAQ’s on the web site inform ME users to update to version 188.8.131.52 that is totally compatible with ME. I tried but could not find that version but that doesn’t mean that it is not available. It just means that I could not find it. Technical support is not available for the free version you have to have the Pro version to get that, but the help facility i
s, well, helpful. After launching, a window opens with a row of ten menus at the top and underneath there are three rows of icons. The rest of the window is divided into two parts across the screen with the left hand one being less than half the size of the rest. The left part of the window displays the Desktop items and all drives such as hard drive partitions, CD, Floppy etc. thus you can get to any part of the whole system. The right side will display the contents of any drive or folder in the left side that is activated. SID2’s way of displaying the contents of a hard rive were done much more efficiently and in a different manner but this is PC and when did PC and efficient go hand in hand. The first thing to do is to go to menu View and select how you want the windows to be displayed, Single Pane as described above or Dual Pane Horizontal or Dual Pane Vertical. I would recommend that the users select whichever of the Dual Pane’s they feel most comfortable with, as the Single Pane is limited in its use. I favour the Dual Pane Horizontal as it is nothing more than two Single Pane Windows under each other and thus easier to use. The top Pane becomes “active” when you put the cursor anywhere in the Pane and click LMB as does the bottom Pane if you click in it. The bar just above each Pane changes to a dark blue when it is active. A mid grey bar means that it is not active. Both Panes will show the contents of the Desktop etc. and clicking on a drive or folder of your choice will display the contents in the right window. A simple click and drag will copy a file or folder with its contents from an active Page to the inactive page or you can single click a file/folder to make it active and then you can do with it what you will, like cut, delete, rename using the top row of icons or view it or read it using the bottom row of icons. The middle row is just a short cut to all the system drives. You can still righ
t click to create a new folder in the Page of your choice. Basically all the users need to remember is to make a Pane active and then they can do what they want to, subject to the programme’s limitations, in that Pane. Any copying is done to the inactive window so the destination has to be sought beforehand. I do not intend to detail all the various functions, as the reader would get lost in a morass of instructions but once you get used to the idea it is much easier than using separate windows. So the best way to find out how to use PowerDesk 4 is to go and use it. Start off with creating a folder in a place of your choice then copying one of your own data files, like a picture into it. Then have a go at deleting the copied file in one of two ways, recycle and delete. Play around because in this case familiarity does not breed contempt. This free version is limited in its actions and the Pro version will no doubt work minor miracles for the user and just as soon as I can find out where I can get it from, I will.
Powerdesk4 is ideal if you want to replace Windows Explorer. I wouldn't recommend that you delete Explorer though as you never know what problems that might lead to. Just use this programme alongside it. What is Powerdesk4? This is a programme that makes task of keeping your files in order, archiving and backup very much faster. This is really useful if you are one of those people who spends lots of time doing this. Moving, dragging and dropping files into a new location is made really easy. There is also a seperate window at the botttom of the page that lets you view a document or image without having to open it. There are also tools included to make the management of zip files simple and there is an option which you can configure to keep the information in your management system private. This includes encryption and even file shredding facilities. Powerdesk has a whole suite of useful (and not so useful) tools available. You can find out exactly what it can do by visiting the website at www.ontrak.com You can also download the programme from the above site on a shareware basis. It costs £14 if you want to buy it, which I think is extremely good value. There are extra options which you can select from the main site too. The features I find most useful in this programme are the ones on the 'tool' bar. You can find and compare folders and there is a disk tool which lets you format, label, create startup, and create rescue discs. The 'help files' that come with this programme are easy to understand. This is certainly worth a try as it makes file management so easy. Download it free and only pay (£14) if you decide to keep it.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Come on, gather round & hear about a FREE product that will truly amaze you! No, it’s not a miracle cure for your itchy backside, picking your nose or your addiction to Ciao or Dooyoo, or both, but you’re close! What is it then? Well, it’s a FREE (everyone’s favourite word!) bit of software that will replace that useless part of Windows called Windows Explorer! Before you say it.., no this marvellous piece of software isn’t going to delete Windows Explorer but merely make you stop using it. You just install the program & use it to your heart’s content. Once you’ve installed Powerdesk 4 you will never use Windows Explorer again. Powerdesk 4 is produced by Ontrack, who make ZipMagic & a few other excellent utilities. You can quite easily download Powerdesk 4 from: http://www.ontrack.co.uk/powerdesk/ The download is 1128kb, which won’t take long with a 56k modem or above. Here’s a list of my favourite tools that Powerdesk has built-in, but please remember that these are just some of the tools! The help menu is very comprehensive & should handle most of if not all of your questions. You could also use the Ontrack website to find out more information about Powerdesk. There’s also some free extras that can be downloaded & added to the program to make it better again! When you click on the ‘File’ option on the toolbar you get loads of options, some of which Windows Explorer has, but Powerdesk has loads more! My favourites here are: ~~ ‘Show all files on drive’ ~ lets you see all the files on the selected drive. ~~ ‘E-mail to’ ~ lets you e-mail files & makes the e-mailing process very easy. ~~ ‘Open with/associate’ ~ Let’s you open the selected file with another program. ~~ ‘Destroy’ ~ Handy when you can just wipe something, rather than just dele
ting it. ~~ ‘Encrypt/decrypt’ ~ Very handy indeed to stop prying eyes! When you click on ‘Archive’ option on the toolbar you get options for zipping & unzipping files, which saves you the hassle of having a separate zip program. Some good options here are: ~~ ‘Add files to Zip’ ~ exactly what it says. ~~ ‘Test zip integrity’ ~ Exactly what it says. When you click on the ‘View’ option on the toolbar you get loads of options which really make life easier when working with your files. Here’s some of the good ones that I use every day: ~~ ‘Dual pane vertical’ ~ Gives you two windows which let you view different files, folders & drives at the same time. Very good for dragging & dropping files between folders, drives * disks. ~~ ‘Dual pane horizontal’ ~ Exactly the same as the previous option except the windows are linned up differently. ~~ ‘Filters’ ~ lets you filter files from your searches & those that you want to view. This can be handy when you want to see several types of files at the same time & exclude others. When you click on the ‘Options’ option on the toolbar you are given loads of choices of how you can personalise your version of Powerdesk. There’s too many to list but, again here’s some of the good ones: ~~ ‘Preferences’ ~ You can adjust a lot of things here that makes life easier when using Powerdesk. ~~ ‘Align viewer pane’ ~ This lets you decide if you want the Viewer pane at the bottom or right of the window or detached. The viewer pane lets you see what’s in files & folders without having to open them fully. A very useful tool indeed! Here’s the meat of the program! When you click on the ‘Tools’ option on the toolbar, you get an awful lot of tools to work with. Here’s my favourites: ~~ ‘Find’ ~ This lets you look for files & folders on your PC. You also have the option of finding a PC on a network. This can be very handy for networked PCs. ~~ ‘Compare folders’ ~ Very handy for sorting through your files & folders for changes. ~~ ‘Disk options’ ~ This tool lets you do a lot of things like, formatting disks, labelling disks, creating a rescue/start-up disk. There’s more options here but it would take all day to list them. That’s the main features that I use regularly in Powerdesk, but there’s loads more which I haven’t mentioned. The best thing to do is to have a look at the Ontrack website & have a look at the FAQs for the program. There are also guides to using the program & trouble-shooters. In all, Powerdesk is a very powerful file management program that cuts down on the separate tools that you need. It’s totally free, quick to download & install & is very good at what it does. That’s it folks & sorry for droning on, but this program will save you time & money!