Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 140 / MAY 1992 / PAGE 110

WinConnect. (communications software) (Evaluation)
by Rebecca Rohan

If you regularly work on both laptop and desktop computers, transferring files between the two, you know what a headache it can be to keep the files in each machine up-to-date. With WinConnect, Traveling Software aims to simplify the process.

WinConnect is a new approach to keeping laptop and desktop files up-to-date without constantly checking file dates and shuttling files back and forth. Other approaches, a la GetC's File Shuttle, use cables to transfer actual copies of files between two computers. File Shuttle's method is convenient in most situations, but deciding which files to shuttle to which computer can be time-consuming, especially if you've made changes to files on both computers.

With WinConnect, you only have one decision to make: Which files have to be ready to travel? Once that decision is made, important files go on the laptop only. Use the 25-foot cable and WinConnect's software to turn the laptop into a file server for the desktop machine. When you need key files, you load them from the laptop server to the desktop client, work on them, and put them to bed on the laptop. Through the magic of WinConnect and the LAST-DRIVE statement, the desktop machine gets fooled into thinking the drives on your laptop are its own extra drives.

You can use any existing port, COM 1-COM 4 and LPT 1-LPT 3, to link client and server. Data travels over the cable at a default speed of 115,200 bps, but you can only open data files, not run programs that reside on the server. For example, you would open Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 on the desktop client and call a particular spreadsheet from the laptop server. To use the files both on the road and at the office, you need to have Excel or 1-2-3 on both computers. If you want to run programs from the server only, you need a remote-control program like Carbon Copy Plus. WinConnect includes hDC File Enhancer, which adds a small menu of housekeeping tools so you can delete, copy, move, replace, and append files, and create and delete directories across the cable.

The actual WinConnect software is written by hDC, the people who make First Apps and Windows Express, and adds the same type of additions to the Windows menu, including a red hDC logo on every control menu on every control menu on every Windows program you run, no matter who makes it--kind of like having an advertisement insent every frame of the video you bought . . . and every other video you own. But wait! Before you tear the program off the disk, hunt up MicroApp Manager, choose Options, and select Tear Off to jettison the ads and keep the program. You must uninstall other hDC applications before installing WinConnect so WinConnect can reconfigure the HDCLIB.DLL file.

WinConnect may be just the ticket for having all the files you need ready to go at all times. If someone grabs your laptop and runs, however, you won't have copies on the desktop unless you've made actual copies of the server files through File Enhancer, floppies, or a program like File Shuttle. But if you want to forget about updating files when the red phone rings and you have to take the Batplane to Belgium, check it out.