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

XTree Gold 2.5. (hard disk management utility program) (Evaluation)
by Alan R. Bechtold

Less than six months after installing a second 30-mega-byte hard disk in my computer, I found that I was running out of space. Time to clean house again. I needed serious hard drive help--fast.

XTree Gold 2.5 means serious help for hard disk users. Always a premium hard disk management utility, this version has my head spinning with the scope and magnitude of its features and functions. When it comes to housecleaning, XTree and a mouse can actually make the job seem like fun.

XTree splits the screen into several boxes, giving you information on disk size, volume name, and the files in your currently selected directory. I've always liked XTree's tree-structured display of all the directories and subdirectories on any selected disk. Thankfully, this distinctive feature has survived all updates.

As you move through the graphic display of directories, a list of the files that reside in each highlighted directory appears along the bottom of the screen, just above a display of available commands. If you'd like to see more of the file list in a given directory, just click the mouse on the directory tree display or hit the Return key, and the tree-structured display will be replaced with a display of all the filenames in the current directory that will fit in the box.

Commands are given to XTree in a number of ways. In fact, you can enter most XTree commands several ways. With the keyboard always active, you can type a command, use a multitude of hot keys, or simply highlight a command with the arrow keys and hit Return.

XTree also supports a two-button mouse (the middle button on a three-button mouse will remain inactive), and if you choose to run it this way, you'll find the program to be one of the most mouse-intensive packages on the market today.

You can drag a highlight down directory listings to select individual files, tag files for action by clicking, or give virtually any program command by clicking directly on the display of available commands.

A series of pull-down menus across the top of the screen gives you full command of all the program's powers and capabilities. Again, you can access these pull-down command menus from the keyboard or with the mouse.

Of course, the number of files residing on most hard disks can overwhelm you when they're all displayed onscreen. That's why XTree makes it easy to sort any displayed list of files by name, extension, date, or size. Within any of those sort categories, you can also choose to reverse the order (from smaller to larger, oldest to newest, and so forth). You can even choose to display files sequentially, in the order in which they appear in your particular directory path.

I was particularly impressed with the program's Unsort option, which lets you put a file list into the same order you'd see with DOS's DIR command. This might seem insignificant, but most similar disk utilities won't do this, and there are times when you might need your files sorted in this manner. One of those times might be when you use XTree's Print Directory function to generate a hardcopy list of current files.

XTree allows you to split the screen into two displays. This capability is almost a necessity if you want to move files from one subdirectory to the other or search for those pesky duplicate files that grow on your hard disk like mildew in the basement.

When it comes to tracking down duplicate files, XTree doesn't just split the screen into two directory displays and leave you to look for them yourself. The program's Compare function will automatically locate all files with teh same names or dates. You can also search for all unique files--files without duplicates--or have it find files of the same name with the newest date or oldest date.

The Compare Directory command will search specified directories on your disk and locate matching files with the same criteria selections that are available in the Compare File command. You can also tell XTree to search selected directories or entire disks for files containing specified text strings. This makes it easier to find, for example, all letters addressed to one company in your Mail subdirectory, even though that company's name might never appear in the filenames themselves.

But the point of locating all these duplicate and unnecessary files is to find the ones you need to delete or move and clean up all that clutter. With XTree, you can just tag files as you go and then tell the program to take a specified action on the files you've tagged. This can be done file by file, or you can tell the program to tag all files that fit certain criteria. XTree will even tag every file on your hard disk.

Once they're tagged, it's easy to move files to another disk or directory, delete them, or even archieve them. You archive with PKZIP and you can compress entire directories or even an entire disk to save space. When you restroe the files from an XTree archive, just type the name of the archived file and it self-extracts, re-creating the file structure.

But wait! Before you delete that file or entire directory, you might want to take a peek inside and make sure it's a file you no longer need on your hard drive. In addition to the prodigious number of spreadsheet, database, and word processor formats that you can view with XTree, you can now display graphics files. The formats supported include BMP, DWG, GIF, IFF, LBM, IMG, MacPaint, MSP, PCX, PIC, TIFF, and WPG!

Something in a file that you'd like to change? Load 1Word, XTree's built-in word processor, and make any changes you need. While 1Word doesn't support a mouse, I don't think you'll be too disappointed. 1Word is surprisingly feature-laden for a built-in program.

XTree also includes a program launcher that allows you to turn your favorite programs with the click of a mouse button. Choosing files associated with applications, like DOC files for word processors, will load the application first, then the associated file--a handy option.

XTree Gold 2.5 does so much that all of its features and functions can't possibly be discussed here. Just remember that the program is a large one. You'll need a bit of hard disk space to get it all installed, but installation is so easy and the program is now so complete that I heartily recommend you sacrifice the disk space to harness this workhorse for the betterment of your computer system.