Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 166 / JULY 1994 / PAGE 96

PC Tools for Windows 2.0. (disk/file management software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Peter Scisco

You might as well face it--you're addicted to tools. Before Windows, all kinds of little DOS utilities littered your hard disk. Central Point Software was there to help integrate all those utility functions with PC Tools, and it hasn't abandoned you now that you've moved on to the world of Windows.

The first version of PC Tools for Windows (PCTW) gave users extensive control over their work environment. From enhanced file management to virus protection and disk backup, it was as much an improvement over Windows as Windows was over DOS.

Version 2.0 continues that trend--not with small steps, but with substantial improvements and even more tools for the savvy Windows user's arsenal. Chief among them is better protection against system crashes. The CrashGuard system monitors system resources, free memory, and disk space. As CrashGuard's warning needle moves toward the redline, you can back away from potential crashes by closing inactive applications.

If you've used Windows for any time at all, you've probably experienced the nightmare of sifting through your system's various INI files. PCTW makes the job a little easier with plain-English descriptions of each INI line that it can recognize (it recognizes the majority of INI entries, but some strange anomalies escape identification).

Want better performance from your machine? Ask the PCTW System Consultant. In this improved version, you get more than just suggestions. You can click on the Do It button and have the changes made automatically. Suggestions range from defragmenting your hard disk to editing the system files.

One of the most attractive features of PCTW 1.0 was its reorganization of Windows into working desktops, complete with folders and file drawers. But the original Desktop required a lot of maintenance; as you moved files from directory to directory (as you're apt to do in the never-ending struggle to stay on top of your hard disk), the folders didn't reflect those changes. Version 2.0's AutoSynch option accurately recognizes all changes, either automatically or at your command. But the matches go only one way, and changes made in the Desktop interface aren't passed back to the filling system--you can't move a file from one directory to another by dragging its icon from one folder to another. Two steps forward, one step back.

The new File Manager replacement improves on an already robust module. Viewers for more than 100 different formats, and PKZIP 2-compatible compression make it easy to manage any disk. However, the PCTW 2.0 file viewer isn't interactive; that is, you can't copy portions of the viewed file to the Clipboard for use in other applications. The addition of that capability would make this the perfect file manager.


If you lose a file because you misplace it somewhere on your new 340MB hard disk, the PCTW 2.0 file finder, SmartFind, lets you locate it by name or by searching for a bit of text within the file. If you lose a file because you accidentally drop it into the electronic trash can, the program's Undelete feature retrieves and smooths out your virtual rumpled paper wad.

Disk optimization gains speed in the new version, but the module defragments only standard DOS format and DoubleSpace--there's no Stacker support. Central Point Anti-Virus 2.0 is an integral part of the mix, as is Central Point Backup for Windows, with support for tape backup, SCSI, and networks all part of the package.

Central Point has addressed almost all of the major complaints and suggestions from PCTW 1.0 users. The company continues to make Windows truly useful by capitalizing on its graphical nature and enhancing the interface between us and our machines.

Central Point Software (800)873-7409 $179.95 $49.95 (upgrade from previous version or any vendor's file management program)