XTree for Windows 1.5. (Windows file and program manager) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by J. Blake Lambert
Why bother with another Windows file and program manager? Doesn't Windows do it all? Well, no. XTree for Windows adds more, while making many operations simpler. The package actually consists of three programs: XTree (the file manager, viewer, and archiver), XTree Command Center (the program manager and macro recorder/language), and XTreeLink (the disk-drive sharing utility).
XTree's file viewer and AutoView window are very useful. They display most word processor, graphic, spreadsheet, and database files without having to launch the original applications, which makes browsing your hard drive much faster and easier.
Double-check on a ZIP (archive) file, and it becomes a volume (like an additional drive) in your directory tree. You'll see the ZIP directory, and you can view each file. XTree handles extracting and compressing transparently. In initially had troubles viewing files in the new ZIP 2 format, but a patch available in XTree's vendor support area on CompuServe solved that problem.
XTree Command Center could be the solution for cluttered Windows desktops. Instead of group windows, you create CommandBars. These are like keypads of buttons (icons and/or text) that you click to launch. You can start Command Center when you load Windows or even replace Program Manager with it. CommandBars are easy to create and modify, and they save lots of space on the desktop. You can drag and drop a program or document from XTree onto a CommandBar to make a new button, move buttons from one CommandBar to another, or bring a button into the Event Scheduled to run macros or programs automatically. You can also have a button display other command bars and assign hot keys to buttons.
Command Center also has a macro recorder, and you can edit and debug these macros using a macro language. The language is simple to learn and provides DDE and Network DDE support.
Finally, XTreeLINK lets you connect two PCs with a serial null-modem cable or a (faster) parallel data transfer cable. All the drives on the remote PC then can be accessed as if they were partitions on the local PC. You can transfer files form your desktop computer to your laptop, and even run programs on the other computer's drive.
XTree for Windows is a fine product and a good value. With its rich feature set, especially the powerful file viewer, this program almost makes me look forward to file management.