Tempest. (file management software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Charles Idol
Housekeeping is a chore in any sense of the word, and computer housekeeping is no exception. Your hard disk has grown bigger and bigger, and it holds lots of files, many that you've probably forgotten. Every now and then, a little cleanup and management is called for, and even with the improvements in DOS 5.0, file management from the DOS command line is a tedious, time-consuming task. The TEMPEST program is designed to ease that task for you, and it does a very nice job.
The program presents you with a screen containing three windows, a menu bar, and a toolbar. Two of the windows show icons representing the contents of your computer. At the highest level, you see your drives, both floppies and the partitions of your hard disk. Double-click on a drive, and the window changes to show the contents of the root directory of that drive. Double-click on a subdirectory, and you see its contents. When an icon is selected by a single click, another click on the Information tool of the toolbar brings up information on that item. For a drive, you see the type, capacity, free space, and number of files and subdirectories. For a directory, the information is name, number of files and subdirectories, byte size, and date and time of creation. For a file, you see name, size, date, and time.
A very powerful feature of the program is that the two icon windows are independent and you can switch between them simply by clicking. You can have a different drive in each window, at any level, or you can have different levels of the same drive. The third window presents the tree structure of the selected drive or directory.
One of the tools of the toolbar copies or moves a file or directory. To use it, you select an item in one icon window, bring up the destination directory in the other icon window, click on the tool to select Move or Copy, and drag the icon to be moved from one window to another. TEMPEST gives you a progress report as the action takes place; it will show an error message if the destination has too little space for the item to be moved. A very convenient aspect is that if you're moving, copying, or deleting a directory, TEMPEST will act on the entire contents.
An attractive feature of the program is the variety of its icons. Default icons are provided to show the two types of floppy drives and a hard drive, a directory symbol, and different representations for the various types of files. TEMPEST assigns icons to files based on the file extension and will portray exe, com, sys, and bat files differently. There is a generic icon for files with an unassigned extension. If you wish to be creative, you can draw your own icon and assign it to a file extension.
With all its attributes, TEMPEST deserves better documentation. While there are numerous help files--and with a little persistence you can discover what you need--it would be much more convenient if the manual offered such information as a description of the function of the tools in the toolbar.
Aside from that, I consider the program a very valuable utility. Modest in its appetite for disk space--about 1Mb--and selling at a very modest price, its file management capability compares well with that of Windows.
IBM PC or compatible, EGA or VGA, hard drive; mouse recommended--$29.96
ABACUS 5370 52nd St. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49512 (800) 451-4319 (616) 698-0330
Circle Reader Service Number 448