CMFiler Ver 6.04 User Manual

Links to Topics and Operations



The Display:

(We will generally refer to the program files as CF.COM, CF.OVY and CF.CFG, because this is a renaming convention we recommend just to give the user a shortcut in typing DOS command lines. You should think of "CF" and "CMFiler" as interchangeable.)

Each "panel" corresponds to a "path" to files, in the DOS vernacular, and the terms "panel" and "path" are used interchangeably throughout. Open the right panel by pressing the right arrow. You will be prompted at the bottom of the screen to specify a drive letter. (The bottom lines become the "dialog" area for information to you about what CMFiler is doing, or what it is waiting for you to do.) Just press the letter corresponding to a valid drive - don't press Enter, just a letter key. The current directory of that drive will be shown in the right panel in the same format as the left panel. The bright yellow color of the path specification on line 2 and the blinking cursor now identify the right panel as the "source" path. The left panel has become the "target" or "destination" path for the copy , append and move operations. Ctrl-W sWaps the panels left and right.

When you first start CMFiler, the left panel shows the contents of the current directory on the default drive. Line 1 of this active panel shows the disk volume name if any, and a prompt area for four display enhancement features: the key combination Ctrl-O (denoted by ^O to save space) allows selection of one of nine file Ordering schemes; ^H toggles the "Hide" mode switch; ^C toggles the "Compare" mode switch; and ^M allows specifying a file "Mask". Line 2 shows the path to the current directory. In 25 line video display mode, the first 20 entries, directories first, then files, are displayed in lines 3-22. Line 23 gives vital information about the disk, such as room left, and lines 24-25 contain an abbreviated help screen.

The thick versus thin sections of the vertical line to the left of the file list denote the relative position and size of the current screen display within the full directory listing.

If you do not press a key within about 1-1/2 minutes, the screen goes into screen-saver mode. Just press any key to return to the main display. You may force the screen-Saver mode with Ctrl-S.

Integer Kilobytes versus Actual File Size:

Now take a look at the file listing. You see the name of the file, date, time and size in kb. As with the disk space information just below the file list display, size is in integer multiples of kilobytes. If you want to see exactly how big a file is, in bytes, press "+" to expand the size field. (I had to give away the file attributes to do this and still keep the two panels readable.) Shift back to the "contracted" kilobyte form of file size with "-".

Displaying System Date and Time:

The display of system date and time may be toggled on or off with the "5" key. There is no obvious mnemonic; however, one user suggested that 5 o'clock is Miller "Time".

The Prompt Area:

The two-line help area at the bottom of the screen contains a set of abbreviated cues to assist with the recollection of the mnemonic single-key commands. With no "modifier" keys pressed [i.e., the Shift-, Alt-and Ctrl- keys all up], the help area shows the operations available with the unmodified keys, with the mnemonic code highlighted. These are typically the most frequently used operations; the letter C for "Copy file(s), E for "Edit file", D for "Delete file or directory", T for "Tag file", the number 1 for "toggle the file Read-only attribute", and so forth.

Additional commands are available which use similar mnemonic devices, but with the keyboard modified by Shift-, Alt- or Ctrl-. Press one of the Shift- keys, and notice the change in the bottom lines. These are the commands enabled by the letters shown in highlight, modified by the key you are holding down. Press Ctrl- and Alt- in turn. All these operations, both "unmodified" and "modified", will be explained as we go along. Just be aware that the visual cues for the modifier keys are there when you want them.

More on the "Modifier Keys":

Incidentally, there is some rationale for which of the Shift-, Alt- or Ctrl- keys was used as the modifier for a particular "modified" operation, and there are some devices which may help you remember the modified keys as well as the more straightforward mnemonic devices of the unmodified keys: o The modifier "Shift-" is often used for operations involving transfers of control or data to or from the other panel. For example, Shift-Enter, when the cursor is on a subdirectory entry, means display this subdirectory in the other panel and jump across to it. Other commands which follow this convention, and which you will encounter in more detail, are Shift-Left/Rt Arrow, Shift-P, Shift-*, Shift-\, and Shift-F. o The modifier "Ctrl-" is most often used to "toggle" the state of a "switch" or "tags" - that is, to invert something. For example, Ctrl-H toggles the state of the "hide switch" , i.e., if Y ("yes" or "on") it goes to N ("no" or "off"), if N it goes to Y. Other examples include Ctrl-O, Ctrl-M, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-A, and Ctrl-L. o The modifier "Alt-" is most often used just to indicate an operation associated with a mnemonic alphabet key, but for which the unmodified key was already in use as a mnemonic for a more frequent operation. For example, C means "Copy", and is one of the most frequent operations; Alt-C means "add file spec to Command tail", and is used far less frequently. (In the editor, Alt-modified keys are used a lot, since the unmodified keys are used for typing text!)

Comparison Mode:

At the top of the screen you see a message "^Comp=Y". The "Y" means comparison mode is enabled, so that any file in the target panel whose name is the same as the file in the source panel will be shown and its date-time stamp highlighted for easy identification. If the files have different date-time, the newer version will be blinking, except when viewing notes. You may toggle this switch with the key combination Ctrl-C.

In comparison mode there is a useful feature which enables you to get quickly to a file with the same name in the opposite panel. In arrowing back and forth between panels in comparison mode, with some files by the same name in each panel, you probably noticed that the target panel shifted as necessary to bring the duplicate name into view, but as soon as you shifted over to the target panel, it "remembered" and adjusted the display back to where the top line and cursor had been left, and you lost the duplicate file from view. But suppose you had seen a more recent file in the target panel, as evidenced by the blinking highlight, and you really wanted immediately to arrow over to it and copy it into the source. The Shift-Left/Rt Arrow combination does this. It resets the target panel display parameters so the cursor goes right to the matched file name.

Hide Mode:

Also at the top is the message "^Hide=Y". The "Y" means that hide mode is enabled - the screen display will not show any hidden files - those with the hidden attribute set. This is handy for cleaning up your displays - just hide the overhead! You may toggle the state of this switch with the key combination Ctrl-H. The current state of the Hide and Compare switches is set as the default any time you do a Shift-O user Options, a Shift-S options Save, or a Shift-F10 edit, discussed in Chapter 4 on application launching.

Mask Template:

Also at the top is the message "^Mask=*.*". This is a mask that lets you sift out all but files with a certain characteristic. For example, if you want to see only the .EXE files, press Ctrl-M, Tab, type "EXE", and Enter. Tab and Shift-Tab position the cursor on the extension and name fields, respectively. The left and right panel masks can be set independently. As a visual reminder, the mask blinks whenever it is other than *.*.

Color Palette:

For display in CGA/EGA/VGA systems, CMFiler has four choices of color palettes. The command Ctrl-P (for Palette) lets you cycle through the choices with the spacebar, and select a different color scheme with Enter or return to the original one with Esc. The choice may be permanently recorded in the .CFG file (discussed in more detail later).

In addition, each palette can now be edited by pressing E within the palette facility. Each of five colors in the file list display can be selected by arrowing around an 8x8 color array, and pressing the spacebar when the desired color is reached. The affect of each selection is shown as the arrow is moved around the color array, so no guesswork is required.

This facility is best used with both panels open, and some files tagged in one of the panels, since the file tagging color and both the source and target path line colors are independently variable. When finished editing one palette, hit Enter to return to the original level of the palette facility, and either Enter to set that palette as the default choice, or another key to rotate to the next palette. The editor and tree displays are not independently adjustable, but take their colors from the current palette.

The palette edit routine (Ctrl-P, E) also has the option to toggle the high-intensity bit selectively for each color field. The command "T" in the color menu toggles between high- and normal-intensity foreground color attribute.

In addition, the color palette exit sequence has the option to set an internal flag which causes a "pip" to be shown in front of the extension of each file with today's date stamp, and colors the extensions of certain "preferred" files differently from the normal file color. The initial setting of this flag is "on", and the "preferred" extensions which are specified for the special colors are the executables - .COM, .EXE, .BAT and .BTM. The flag may be turned off, and the preferred extension colors may be edited:

1. When you leave the palette menu with the Enter key, you will be asked if you want to flag today's files and the "preferred" files. If you answer No, the exit sequence is complete.

2. If you answer Yes, you will be given an opportunity to edit the colors for each of the preferred extensions in the same way as you edited the main palette colors. When you are finished, exit this secondary color facility with the Enter key.

The preferred extensions may themselves be edited in the Ctrl-O Order menu.

Alphabetic Case Options:

CMFiler also has four options for the alphabetic cases used in the panel displays. The command Ctrl-E (for casE) lets you cycle through the choices with the spacebar, as in the Palette above, which are: 1) files and directories all upper case, 2) directories in upper case, files in lower, 3) all in lower case, and 4) all in "modified-Tauck" convention, where all letters are lower case except the first and any that follows a non-alphabetic character (e.g., Cmfiler.Com or Read_Me.1St). Case 2 is the default, but I find case 4 easiest to read.

Command Line Parameters (Startup Options):

CMFiler supports optional command line parameters to specify the initial path for the left panel, right panel, file mask and color set, in the syntax:

   cf [pathspec1[\mask1] [pathspec2[\mask2]]] [@color]

where pathspec1 and pathspec2 are directory specifications to the initial directories to be displayed in the left and right panels, mask1 and mask2 are any valid mask specifications, and color is C, V, M, L, E or T for the CGA/EGA/VGA, monochrome, generic LCD, Epson or Tandy LCD color attribute sets. The masks may be attached to either pathspec or stand alone, but must be of the form "*.ext". The color specification may appear anywhere. Examples of valid command lines might be:

   cf c:\assembly\*.asm c:\pcw @c
   cmfiler c:dos @m
   cf c:\dos\*.com  d:\utils\*.exe

Security Features:

CMFiler incorporates security features which support its use on systems containing sensitive information:

o You may specify a password, and change it at any time during a session, which must be given back to reenter CMFiler once it has gone to screen-saver mode (about 1-1/2 minutes after last keystroke from main screen display). This password is the bottom-most field in the data entry screen presented by the key combination Shift-F10 - discussed in further detail in Chapter 4.

o You may force CMFiler into screen-saver mode with the key combination Ctrl-S. This is so that, if you want to secure access to your computer immediately, you don't have to wait the 1-1/2 minutes for the screen-saver and password to automatically be invoked.

o During any file copy operation, CMFiler always fills in the "slack space" in the last sector with the string "cfcfcf . . . ", to ensure that no sensitive information residual in the DOS I/O buffers is inadvertently passed into the last sector slack space.

o If you set the option "wipe old files before HARD Delete, " on the Shift-O user Options screen, CMFiler overwrites all the data sectors of old files with "cfcfcf . . . " before calling the DOS file- delete service (which does not destroy data, but alters only the directory table). This feature ensures complete data destruction and is useful if you deal with sensitive information.

o CMFiler employs a rudimentary check-summing routine to check the .COM and .OVY files each time they are loaded. This routine will sense any changes in the execution code and fixed data areas of either file, and warn the user of the corruption. Files may become corrupted as a result of an operating system error during data transmission, a sector going bad on a disk, or external tampering by a person or a virus. This check-summing feature can detect (and has detected) the presence of some older file infecting viruses, but may be foiled by modern stealth viruses, so do not count on it for virus protection. There is no substitute for good antivirus software. I use and strongly recommend Wolfgang Stiller's Integrity Master. He is President of Stiller Research and a member of the ASP's Virus Information Panel, and a recognized expert in the anti-virus community.

o CMFiler also protects the file integrity signature data created by your anti-virus software from being overcopied. The default integrity data file name is ZZ##.IM, the default assigned by Stiller's Integrity Master, but this name may be changed with Alt-I (for "ID name change").

Monitor Options:

CMFiler should work with all reasonably current IBM-compatible CGA/EGA/VGA and monochrome monitors, though I have heard of some problems with machines under very early BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) versions.

When first run, if CMFiler cannot find a .CFG file containing previously specified user option data, and does not sense a monochrome video card installed (which only supports one color set), it knows it cannot tell for sure what you have installed and will ask you to specify a monitor type by pressing C, V, L, T, E or M. Your choice is recorded by CMFiler creating a .CFG file. If you have an LCD monitor other than Tandy or Epson, you may invoke a generic LCD color set with the letter L. For Tandy or Epson LCD's try T or E. If you are not satisfied with the result, try the choices available in the Shift-O user Option screen, lines 10 and 11, until one seems to work.

If you have a "monochrome" monitor being driven by a color card, CMFiler senses the color card's presence, not the monitor's. Press M for this case to force the monochrome color set.

When running CMFILER.COM from the DOS prompt, you may put one of these six letters in the command line, preceded by the character @, and bypass the initial question.

Precautions and Limitations:

There are a few precautions and limitations the user should be aware of:

o Terminate-and-Stay-Resident programs should not be launched from CMFiler. At best you will end up with a fragmented memory when you exit CMFiler, and at worst you will have a system crash.

o CMFiler requires a minimum of 252 kb of free memory to run. This permits generous memory allocations for the directory listings, a print spooler buffer, and a copy buffer. During application launching, however, the resident portion of CMFiler can be made to occupy as little as 22 kb, using the "Small" footprint option of the "Kernel" command (letter K pressed from the main screen - discussed more in Chapters 1 and 4). This is the default selection on initial start-up.

o Maximum directory size recognized by the main module varies from 300 to 2400 entries, depending on free memory available. If the directory size limit is reached, an informational note is given. The rest of the directory is inaccessible, as though it were hidden. This is a benign, non-damaging limitation.

o The algorithms used by the editor module place certain limitations on it in "edit" mode which do not apply in "view" mode. If you attempt to edit a file which exceeds these limitations, the editor reverts to view mode automatically:

o The tree module limits the number of entries in a directory tree structure to 1700 total subdirectories. The limit on number of files is strictly a function of available memory.

o The main and tree modules both limit the depth of directory nesting to eight levels (e.g., "C:\1\2\3\4\5\6\7\8" is an example of the most deeply nested path allowed), and the length of path specifications to 66 characters (this is a DOS limitation).

o A limitation of DOS itself which users frequently run into and are puzzled by, because of the cryptic error message DOS returns, is the maximum number of entries permitted in the root directory. This number is 112 for 5.25" disks formatted at 360kb and 3.5" @ 720kb; and 224 for 5.25" @ 1.2Mb and 3.5" @ 1.44Mb. The error message returned is "Access denied creating file". Be aware that the volume label and each subdirectory is an "entry", as well as each file.

Main File Services Module

Cursor Movement:

Shift back and forth with the left and right arrow keys. You are in effect switching source and target paths. Use the up/down arrows, PgUp/PgDn, Home and End keys to move the cursor within a panel. PgUp moves the cursor to the top of the panel if it was not already there, and then moves up one page in the directory. PgDn is similar for the opposite direction. Home goes to the first line of the directory, End to the last.

If a mouse driver is installed, CMFiler will respond to mouse movement by opening a five-symbol menu bar beside the highlighted entry. Click the left button on the triangular up or down arrow symbol for PgUp or PgDn. Click on the triangular left or right arrow symbol to jump across to the opposite panel.

The command G (for "Go to...") lets you type in a file name to move the cursor to within the directory listing. As you type, the cursor is repositioned to the first file described by the character string you are building. When you have come to the file you want, press Enter or Esc. Alt-G is the equivalent "Go to. . ." for subdirectories.

In Compare mode, whenever there is a duplicate file name highlighted in the opposite panel, you may jump directly across to it with the move Shift-Left/Right Arrow, vice the unmodified arrows.

The default cursor configuration is a block shape, to make it easy to find on the screen. You may reduce the size of the cursor by pressing Ctrl-K (for "Kursor" height - shown as "Kursht" in the prompt area). Each press decreases the height. This configuration can be saved to the CF.CFG file.

File Ordering:

Ctrl-O (for "Order") sets a screen which gives nine choices for file ordering, with the current selection highlighted. Press a number key 1 through 9. The files will now be reordered in the new scheme. You may toggle the sort algorithm between "bubblesort" and "quicksort" with the letter A. Pressing E in this screen allows editing three "preferred extensions." These are file extensions which will be highlighted by special colors, which may be selected in the Ctrl-P Palette menu. Files with preferred extensions may be listed first by toggling the switch in this screen with P.

Swapping Panels:

In the main and tree modules, you can quickly swap panels left-for- right and right-for-left, keeping the cursor in the same panel, left or right, with the command Ctrl-W (for sWap).

Compare Mode:

Whenever CMFiler is in "Compare" mode and the cursor is on the name of a file in the source panel that also happens to exist anywhere in the target path, the target panel display is adjusted so that the file appears in the panel, and its date/time signature is put in high- intensity to catch your eye and show you the duplication. If the date, time and size of the two files are not the same, the date/time signature of the newer file will blink. You can toggle compare mode off and on with the key combination Ctrl-C (for "Compare").

Changing or Adding a Volume Label:

Press V and a data window opens at the bottom for you to enter a new volume label for your disk. The existing volume label is offered as a default for editing ease.

Switching Drives or Disks:

CMFiler cannot tell when you have changed disks in the drive whose contents are shown on one of the screen panels. You have to tell it by putting the cursor in that panel and pressing Shift-R (for "Relist"), or N (for "New disk"), and then the letter designator for that drive at the ensuing prompt. If you want to switch drives, say from A to B for the right-hand panel, put the cursor to the right, press N and B.

Alternatively, click the left button on the three-line menu symbol in the mouse bar, click on the "New drive" line, and highlight and click on the letter of the desired drive.

Sometimes when you are doing single-panel operations, like constructing a note set or editing files, it is a distraction to have both screen panels open at once. To close the right-hand panel and return to single left-hand panel display, put the cursor in the right- hand panel and press N and Enter.


Make a new subdirectory in the source path by pressing Ins while the cursor is on a directory, or M (for the DOS command "Mkdir") and entering a name. CMFiler will create this directory and put the cursor on it. Press Enter. Note the new path on line 2 of the screen display, and only the "" entry in the file listing. Go back to the parent directory by pressing Enter with the cursor on the "" entry, or P (for "Parent") with the cursor anywhere in the panel. You can navigate down and back up through the directory levels in a path this way, one level at a time. If you are several levels deep, there is another quicker way back to the root directory than by hitting P repeatedly, and that is by pressing the backslash key \. It works like the DOS command "cd \".

To change directories using the mouse, highlight the directory name by moving the mouse up or down, move the mouse left to highlight the left-arrow symbol, and click the left button. (Clicking on this leftmost mouse bar arrow symbol always has the same effect as hitting the Enter key.)

To put a subdirectory from the current source panel list into the target panel, put the cursor on its name and press Shift-Enter. The subdirectory is listed in the opposite panel, and the cursor shifts over to it. In similar fashion, Shift-P puts the source panel's parent directory into the opposite panel, and Shift-\ puts the source's root into the opposite panel. Finally, Shift-* puts the source directory itself into the target. This is handy for quickly setting up the same directories side-by-side for ZIPping/UNZIPping, discussed in Chapter 4.

Remove a subdirectory by placing the cursor on it and pressing Del or D (for "Delete", which I use interchangeably for file deletion and subdirectory removal). Note that the subdirectory has to be empty first - a DOS safeguard that I have preserved.

Directory Attribute:

Normally, directories can only take the "Hidden" attribute. You may press 2 on a directory in the main or tree module to toggle the Hidden attribute.

Jump to Any Path:

The Jump command may be used to jump to another path. In either panel, press J, and type in the new path, including drive if desired. If the path exists, CMFiler will read and display its directory contents and set it as the new path for that panel.

Defining an Alias Path:

A "path alias" facility is available in the main module. This allows assigning the commands Alt-1 through Alt-9 to your nine most frequently used directories, for instant navigation from any drive and path. To assign a path to the alias list, first go to the subdirectory you want to add, then press Alt-A (for Alias). The Alias menu shows a list numbered 1 through 9, each with a user-definable title and path. Pick a free number, press it and type in the title you want as your key for the path. Hitting Enter saves the alias.

Jumping to an Alias Path:

To navigate to an aliased path instantly, either press Alt- and the number you assigned (if you remember), or press Alt-A, look over the list, and while still holding down the Alt-key press the number. The alias facility can also be used in place of pressing a drive letter after the New drive command, or when arrowing over to the right-hand panel when it is blank. The Shift- key, used with Alt-1 through Alt-9, puts the aliased path into the opposite panel and goes across to it, in much the same way as Shift-\, Shift-P and Shift-Enter on a directory name act to put the selected directory into the opposite path and jump across.

File Attributes:

In the file list, to the far right in each panel, you will probably see A's. This means that the DOS "Archive" attribute bit is set in the file attribute byte. DOS sets this bit every time it operates on a file. CMFiler lets you operate on this bit and the other bits in the DOS file attribute byte - "Read-only", "Hidden", and "System". Before doing this exercise, look at the top line of the display. If you see "^Hide=N", that means that files with the DOS "Hidden" attribute set will be displayed anyway - i. e., the CMFiler "Hide switch" is off. Chances are you will see "N" instead of "Y", meaning that the Hide switch is off - the default setting. In the "Y" setting, files will disappear from view as you set the DOS hidden attribute, so you need to ensure the hide switch is set to "N". Press Ctrl-H if necessary to toggle the hide switch off.

Either tag one or more files, or position the cursor on the file whose attribute(s) you want to set, and press 1 to toggle the state of the Read-only attribute, 2 to toggle the Hidden attribute, 3 to toggle the System file attribute, 4 to toggle the Archive attribute, or 0 (zero) to clear all attributes. You may also toggle the hidden attribute (with 2) of a subdirectory, but this may be done one subdirectory at a time. Note that "hiding" a file makes it invisible to CMFiler only when the hide switch is set on, as shown in the top line. Decide for yourself which setting of the hide switch you prefer. Some people like to hide the "overhead" files and directories on their disks, and leave the hide switch on as the default setting to "clean up" the display.

Tagging Files:

For all the file commands (copy, delete, move, back up), the operation is performed on all the tagged files in the source panel, if any are tagged, and only on the file at the cursor if none are tagged. Some file managers offer different commands for "copy tagged" and "copy file at cursor", and so forth. I have always found this unnecessarily complicated. For the few occasions in which you have a bunch of files tagged to do one of these operations (say you want to copy them), and you discover just before you start that you really wanted to do some other operation on just one of them first (say you realize one of them is out-of-date and you want to delete it), you will have to either untag them all with A, do the operation on the one file, then retag and do the original operation; or just postpone the one-file operation. For this example, it is easier just to toggle the tag on the one out-of-date file off with T, copy the other bunch, clear the tags, and delete the one. It becomes just a matter of a little thought about the order in which you do things.

The "view" operation (discussed in Chapter 2) does not clear existing tags. So, suppose you are cleaning up a disk, tagging files that you recognize by name as no longer needed in preparation for a single, massive delete, and you come to one you aren't sure about. Put the cursor on it, press Enter (the "view" command), browse through it and decide if it's a keeper, and Esc from view mode. Note the previously placed tags are still there, and the cursor is still on the mystery file waiting for you to decide whether or not to tag it.

In addition to T or spacebar (which toggles the state of an individual file's "normal" Tag) and A (which clears or sets All tags), there are some more tagging operations. Alt-T applies an "append tag", discussed later. Alt-M tags all the files in the panel with the same naMe as the file under the cursor, Alt-E same Extension. Alt-D tags all files in the panel with the same Date as the file at the cursor, Alt-N tags all files Newer, and Alt-O Older. Alt-P tags in the oPposite panel all the files with the same names as files tagged in the source panel. And finally, Ctrl-A toggles the state of All tags in the panel.

If, for example, you wanted to copy all .COM files, put the cursor on any .COM file, press Alt-E, and C. Or suppose that, at the end of the day, you wanted to copy/update all the files written or revised today. Just put the cursor on any file with today's date and press Alt-D and C. Then suppose you wanted to delete all the earlier files. Press A to clear the tags, Alt-O and D, and confirm the deletion as requested, after a final check of the screen.

Copy Files:

Put the cursor on a file name and press the letter C. This copies the file from the source to the target path. "Tag" several files with the letter T or the Spacebar or with the mouse right button. Now press C to copy this group from source to target. Clear all the tags with A (tag/untag All). Press A again, and see that all the files are now tagged. Untag an individual file with T. ("T" actually toggles the state of an internal tag bit assigned to each file and used for temporary marking purposes only. "A" clears all the tags if any were set, or sets all the tags if all were clear. No information is changed on the disk itself. These are "volatile" tags, maintained only until the directory is re-read for some reason, such as a file deletion or a copy operation into the directory.)

Copying files is also a selection in the mouse menu, popped up by clicking on the three-line symbol in the mouse bar.

CMFiler looks first at the space available on the target path before it starts to copy. If it doesn't see enough room free, it doesn't start the operation, and alerts you to this limitation. This prevents write errors, messed up file allocation tables and incomplete files that can result when space runs out during a copy operation.

CMFiler has several special features in the copy operation:

o If an identical file exists in the target path - same name, extension, date, time and size - CMFiler does not normally copy the source to the target, as this would be wasted motion, on the assumption that the files are identical. This "no overcopy" feature is controlled by one of the switches which may be toggled in the user options menu brought up with the command Shift-O. It is sometimes useful to change its state.
o If a file by the same name but newer date/time is found on the target, CMFiler will ask you specifically to verify that you really do want the newer file overwritten.
o If the source and target files have the same date/time but the source is a different size, CMFiler will ask for overwrite confirmation. If the source file has length 0 bytes, it will never overwrite a non- zero-length target. Zero-length target files will always be overwritten by non-zero-length source files of the same name, regardless of age. These features provide some protection against overwriting good files with ones which have become corrupted by previous copy errors.
o If a file by the same name but with the read-only attribute set is found on the target, CMFiler will ask you to verify that you want it overwritten. (Likewise if the target file is hidden and the hide switch is on.)

Appending (Concatenating) Files:

Suppose you have two files that you want to concatenate (stick together as one, heel-to-toe). Tag them with "append" tags with the key combination Alt-T or Alt-spacebar in the order in which you want them to be concatenated, and press C. CMFiler will offer you a file name for the new concatenated file consisting of the name of the first file Alt-Tagged plus the extension "APF" (for APpended File). You may edit or accept this name as given.Then CMFiler creates this file in the target path and appends into this file each of the Alt-Tagged source files in order. You may concatenate up to 35 files at a time this way. The order in which the file was Alt-Tagged is shown in the character that appears to the left of the file name as it is tagged (1-9, then a-z). Or, if you had pressed B instead of C after affixing the Alt-Tags, the concatenated file would have been written as a backup into the source path instead of the target.

Backing Files Up in Same Directory:

With a couple of files tagged, look at the line just below the last line of the directory listing. You will see the space in use in the current directory ("KB Used"), the amount of disk space occupied by any tagged files ("Tagd") and the space still free ("Free"). Also, in the line below will appear after each tagging operation the current number of files tagged. Disk space is expressed in kilobytes, rounded up to the nearest integer value.

Assuming the amount of space represented by tagged files is less than or equal to space available, press B to back up all the tagged files. CMFiler's convention for assigning backup file names in this operation is to reuse the name and the first two letters of the extension (filling blanks with exclamation points if necessary), and then make the last letter of the extension a tilde character (~).Thus the backup should always immediately follow the primary file in any alphabetical listing.

Copy with Rename:

You may copy a file and rename it in one operation. Only one file at a time may be copied in this way. The command is Alt-R (copy with Rename). It operates only on the file at the cursor. Pressing Down Arrow enables Win 95 long filename support for the file to be renamed.

Moving Files:

With the panels selected to different subdirectories on the same disk, one or more files may be "moved" from one subdirectory to the other. This operation does not read and write the file data clusters, but only changes the subdirectory table entries, so large files may be moved around quickly. Tag files if desired, as with Copy, and press the move command Shift-C (instead of C - think of moving as just another kind of "copying", but you are "shifting" files to a different directory instead).

If the conditions are not satisfied for moving the files (e.g. the directories are not on the same disk), CMFiler will copy the files to the target path, and then ask for confirmation that you want to hard- delete the source files to complete the move operation. This encumbrance is deliberate; because CMFiler is so fast, I have made it require confirmation whenever any file destruction is involved.

The Floppy Filler:

CMFiler can fill a collection of floppy disks from a hard disk directory. This is good for making wholesale backups. Select in one panel the directory from which you want to fill (the source). Tag all the files you want to copy (CMFiler will tag them all if none were tagged), and press Shift-i (for "fill"). CMFiler will first ask which floppy drive to fill to, and how much space you want to reserve on each floppy for future growth. Then it will copy as many files as it can to that drive, and prompt you to insert the next disk. If the disk is not already formatted, CMFiler will ask what density you want, and then format the disk before continuing with filling. CMFiler will repeat this process until the whole directory is copied.

This floppy filler is "smart". It first looks at each floppy to see if there are existing files that need to be updated, and copies them first. Then it copies other files to fill the remaining space if it can. Thus the floppy filler can be used to update a set of existing backups as well as create a new set.

After each floppy disk is filled, the source files that were successfully copied are untagged. You may interrupt the fill operation and then resume it where you left off, as long as you leave the source panel with its tagged files as-is.

The File Freshener:

CMFiler can also freshen the files in one directory from another. The convention is to freshen the source from the target, so it works opposite the floppy filler. With the source panel set up on the directory to be freshened, and the files tagged that you want freshened (CMFiler will tag them all if none are tagged), CMFiler will update the directory by copying from the target all the newer files whose names match tagged files in the source.

Deleting Files:

With the cursor on a file and no files tagged, pressing Del or D results in deleting the file at the cursor, after confirmation. If one or more files are tagged, they will be deleted after confirmation, not the file at the cursor. Alt-Tags, discussed below, are treated the same as normal tags as far as the delete operation is concerned.

On hard disks, the default configuration of CMFiler actually performs what I will call a "soft" delete for this operation. The files are not deleted using the DOS delete function, but rather are moved into a "trash can" directory created by CMFiler, called "~TRASH~". If you delete files from your hard disk by mistake, they are reliably recoverable just by switching to the ~TRASH~ directory and moving them back to the directories they came from using Shift-C.

If you delete a second file by the same name as a file already collected in the ~TRASH~ directory by a previous soft delete operation, CMFiler tries to rename this second file by replacing the last character in the extension with a "1". If this name is already in use, it tries to rename with a "2" instead, then a "3", and so on, through "9". Thus, you are assured under all reasonable circumstances of not losing any deleted files, even duplicates.

Each time you select a new drive in the main module, CMFiler looks to see if it is a hard drive (A and B are always taken to be floppies), and then looks in ~TRASH~ if it exists for the presence of files. If it finds any, it will ask you if you want to purge them - that is, perform the "hard" DOS file delete on the current trash. You have the options "yes", "no", or "Enter to view" to see what is in the trash can. You probably want to keep the ~TRASH~ as uncluttered as possible, just to avoid tying up disk space needlessly. If you prefer to "empty the trash" less often than daily, be prepared to be pestered with the same question the first time you select that disk each day! (The D command always performs a "hard" delete in the ~TRASH~ directory -this is the one exception.)

This "soft" delete facility is not intended as a means of backing up files, but rather is built in solely for the purpose of reliable recovery from inadvertent file deletion.

An additional delete option is available - Ctrl-D, or "hard" delete. This operation performs the DOS delete always, regardless of the type disk selected. Use it when you know you will not want to recover the deleted files. If you wish to obliterate all data in files before issuing the hard delete command, set the flag "Wipe old files . . . " in the Shift-O user Options screen.

And if you are really sure of yourself, you can turn D from soft delete to hard delete. There is a switch available for this purpose also in the Shift-O user Options menu mentioned above.

Precaution Regarding ~TRASH~:

The directory ~TRASH~ is not permitted as the source for a copy or move operation in the tree module. Since this directory contains deleted files, files in this directory may only be moved/copied from the main module, and only after confirmation.

Splitting a File into Same-Length Files:

The main module has a file splitter for creating split files of the same length, called by Alt-S. With the target panel set up as the destination path for the split files, position the cursor on a file in the source panel and press Alt-S. CMFiler first asks for confirmation that you desire to split the file into smaller files, with extensions .A00, .A01, - , .A99, .B00, etc. Then it asks for the file size for the split files, in kilobytes. Split files are created in the target path, and the original file is left untouched in the source. The file splitter provides the option to split files at the nearest end-of-line (defined by a carriage return, a line feed, or the combination in either order), which is useful in splitting text files. The file splitter also works with a single panel open.

Splitting a File at Arbitrary Dividers:

The file viewer, called by putting the cursor on a file name in the main module and pressing Enter, also has a file splitting facility. Put the cursor at any place you want to insert a divider, and press Alt-I (for dIvider). Do this up to 19 times. Then press Alt-S (for Split file), and confirm that you want to create split files as listed. These files are created in the same directory as the original file, and the original file is unaltered. The files may be rejoined by using the Alt-Tag and C or B commands (see Concatenation).

Rename File or Directory:

The command "R" renames the file or directory at the cursor. The default offering for the new name is the old name, since oftentimes you only want to modify the old name.

The wild card character "*" may be used in place of the new name or the new extension, and the old name or extension is kept. Or "*" may be used in the upper window (just press the Up Arrow to get there), to declare that you want to rename all the files with a certain name or extension. You may use the "*" in the name or extension field of the upper window, but not in both. Used in the extension field, for example, it means "change this name, wherever it appears, to the new name below".

If used in the upper, old name window, the "*" must also be used in the second window in the same position. CMFiler always senses the use of "*" in the upper window, and seeds the lower window with this character in the right position.

In the rename facility there is a special file name-swapping feature that lets you quickly swap system files like AUTOEXEC and CONFIG for special-purpose backups. If you tag exactly two files and press R, the rename facility asks if you want to swap the names of the two tagged files. If you decline, the normal rename facility is activated for the file at the cursor.

The rename facility supports Windows 95 long filenames. If CMFiler detects Win95 as the operating system, it will add a note to the rename prompt area telling you to press the Down Arrow key for long filename support. Pressing Down Arrow opens a box next to the filename for long filename entry.

Win95 long filenames may be up to 255 characters. Win95 assigns an "alias" filename in regular DOS 8.3 convention consisting of the first six non-white-space characters of the long filename plus a tilde (~) and a number, followed by the extension assigned to the long filename. In using Win95 long filenames, it is advisable to pick the first word in a way that the alias 8.3 filename will mean something to you. For example, if you name all your correspondence files "Letter to Jim 2-3- 96", "Letter to Sally 4-5-95", and so forth, the file listing in CMFiler (which uses the 8.3 aliases) will look like this "LETTER~1", "LETTER~2", and so forth.

You can see the full long filenames using the notes facility in CMFiler.

Comparing Two Files:

You may compare two files to see if they are identical. Put the cursor on the first file and press Ctrl-R (for compaRe). The second file may be on a different directory or disk. Find it and press Ctrl-R again. The prompt area at the bottom of the screen will tell you whether they are identical, and if not, where the differences begin.

Changing the Date/Time Stamp of a File:

You may change the date/time of a file by putting the cursor on it and pressing Alt-F. Data windows open for you to enter the new date and time, with the old date/time as default. You may set a group of files to the same date/time by tagging them first, then pressing Alt-F, and confirming the operation for the group.

Making Some Notes About Your Files:

If you are like me, you sometimes forget what a program with a strange name does, or what a particular data file is. CMFiler lets you write notes to yourself about any file. Press Ctrl-N and a Notepad opens up in the opposite panel for editing. You can type a description for each file or subdirectory in the directory. The editing keys work much the same as in the line editor. Each time you call up the notepad, it appears as it did the last time you edited it. You may just browse with the up/down arrows, PgUp/Dn, Home/End, edit or add, etc. Leave the notepad with Esc or Ctrl-Enter. If you use Esc and did any editing, you will be asked if you want to save that edit of the notes. Exiting with Ctrl-Enter automatically saves the edit.

A "view Notes" command Shift-N simply replaces the target panel display with the notes for the source panel, but all the file and directory service commands, including the source-to-target commands, such as Copy and move (Shift-C), are still active. However, the blinking feature in the directory comparison mode is disabled while the opposite panel is showing the notes.

The notepad is contained in a file called "DESCRIPT.ION", following the convention of NDOS/4DOS, and notes follow the file when it is copied or moved to another path or renamed. If you delete a file, its notes will be lost the next time you call up the notepad. You may make the DESCRIPT.ION file Hidden and/or Read-only with user Options in the Shift-O menu.

Notes in Version 6 and Windows 95 Long Filename Support:

CMFiler now fully recognizes Windows 95 long filenames, and preserves them in all copy and move operations in the main module and tree module. The editor preserves the long filename when editing a file, but not in the original file when saving it as a backup. The notes facility in CMFiler imports long filenames as notes. The Make directory and make File commands, as well as the Rename command, allow creation of new directories and files with long filenames.

File and directory make and rename functions, F, M and R, go initially to standard DOS 8.3 format. However, one press of the Down Arrow key selects Win95 long filename mode, if Windows 95 is installed.

In Version 6, the old CMFiler note file format, NARATIVE.CF, is retired, and notes are now kept in the standard DESCRIPT.ION file format established by 4DOS and NDOS. Before running CMFiler Version 6 the first time, run the companion utility CONV-NAR.COM in the CMFiler file set. This utility examines every directory on any hard disk you request, and does the following:

a. Reads and loads as an image in memory the DESCRIPT.ION file for this directory, if one exists.

b. Determines if Win95 is the operating system, and if so, finds all long filenames and imports them into the memory image of the DESCRIPT.ION file.

c. Reads and translates into DESCRIPT.ION format the NARATIVE.CF file for this directory, if one exists, and adds to the memory image.

d. Reads and translates the DIRN-???.DAT file for this directory, if one exists, and adds to the memory image.

e. Removes duplicates, then checks each note to see if it has a corresponding directory entry, removing extraneous notes, and writes a new DESCRIPT.ION file into the directory.

f. If the new DESCRIPT.ION was made without error, deletes the old, now superfluous NARATIVE.CF file.

The heirarchy in consolidating existing notes into the new DESCRIPT.ION file is: (1) existing DESCRIPT.ION entry; (2) Win95 long filename; (3) existing NARATIVE.CF entry; and (4) existing DIRN- ???.DAT entry. The CMFiler view-notes and edit-notes facilities also perform the same consolidation in the specific directory in which they are called, so information will not be lost by not running CONV- NAR.COM first. However, for efficiency, it is recommended that CONV- NAR be run before CMFiler Version 6.

As an assist in quickly loading DESCRIPT.ION files with many (>300) notes, CMFiler also creates a file called DESCRIPT.PTR, which is a table of pointers to the starting address of each note in memory. This companion file to DESCRIPT.ION is non-essential, and is for time- savings only. It may be deleted if there is some indication it has become corrupt, such as loss of notes in the view-Notes facility.

The previous limit of 39 characters on notes viewed or made in CMFiler no longer applies with this changeover in Version 6. Notes may be up to 260 characters long. Win95 users should be aware that Win95 puts a system limitation of 255 characters for long filenames on files and directories, and 260 characters total for full path specifications using long filenames.

About Win95 Long Filename Aliases:

When a long filename (LFN) is created in Win95, Win95 also assigns an "alias" filename in standard DOS 8.3 format. This alias generally consists of the first six characters of the long filename, not counting whitespace, plus the "~" character and a number, starting with 1, plus the LFN's extension, if it exists. Thus the alias Win95 would try to assign to the long filename "This is a long filename.txt" would be THISIS~1.TXT. However, if a file by this 8.3 name already exists in the directory ("folder"), then Win95 increases the numerical tail until it finds a unique alias.

CMFiler still uses the 8.3 filename as the primary sort and display name for all files, even Win95 LFNs. It is possible to have the same 8.3 LFN aliases representing different files in different directories. They may appear to be the same file in the CMFiler side-by-side listings, but they may or may not be the same. During copy and move operations, however, CMFiler uses the actual LFNs for establishing the identity of files, and applies the safety nets for overcopying newer files with older of the same LFN, or read-only files with non-read-only files with the same LFN. Likewise, if you copy one file with a given LFN alias from one directory into another which has an entry with the same LFN alias, but a different LFN (i.e., is actually a different file), CMFiler will copy the file using the Win95 extended LFN file services, and let Win95 assign a different alias. In this way, CMFiler prevents any possibility of inadvertent file destruction resulting from confusion over LFN aliases.

However, what this also means is that you may have to use the CMFiler view-notes facility (Shift-N) when comparing directories side-by-side, to see whether same-named LFN aliases represent the same or different files. A good practice in assigning long filenames is to use unique first words or character combinations. Avoid naming every letter "Letter to Jim", "Letter to Sarah", but rather try "Jim Jones letter 1-3-96", "Sarah Smith letter 2-5-95", and so forth.

Printing a Directory Listing:

Press Alt-L to send a directory Listing to line printer 1. If you do this from either of the Notes displays, you also get a listing of the notes, and the file size entries are either the abbreviated or full values, depending on the display mode set in the directory table (toggled with + and -).

Printing a File:

You can print a file to the parallel printer just by putting the cursor on the file and pressing L (print fiLe). A menu will appear as follows:


         Move cursor with Up/Dn Arrow; type option desired.

              Form feed after print, if not one already? Y
              Print header with file name and date/time? N
                      Set left margin of 0/5/10 spaces   0
                            Send file to  LPT1 or LPT2?  1

         Press Esc to cancel file print, Enter to proceed.


Modify the defaults as desired, and press Enter to print the file.

The file will be put into a special print "queue" for printing to the parallel port of your choice as a background process while you are doing other things, like editing another file, updating disks, etc. Up to five files may be put in the print queue, which may be viewed with Shift-L.

At times the printer may halt momentarily during disk operations. CMFiler gives preference to disk operations over printing, to avoid any conflict in time-critical operations. You may terminate printing with Ctrl-L. This actually clears the entire print queue. To force a form feed at the end of the file you have just queued, press Ctrl-F before you queue the next file. CMFiler sets an internal flag to check that the last character sent to the printer from that file is a form feed. If it is not, then it sends one. (Ctrl-F is active when no file is printing, also, as a way of form-feeding the printer from the keyboard.)

Creating a New File:

A new file may be created from the main module by pressing the letter F ("new File") and entering a name for the new file in the data entry line. The new file will appear in the directory from which the F command was issued.

Edit a File:

In the main module, put the cursor on a file you wish to edit and press E.

View a File:

In the main module, put the cursor on a file you wish to view and press Enter. If the file is a .COM or .EXE file, CMFiler asks if you want to execute the file instead of view it. Press N. If the file is a .ZIP, .LZH, .ARJ, .ARC, .BIN or .EXE compressed file, the editor will first search for and display the names of all the files in the compression.

Child Processes (Application Launching):

So far, you have seen the features that make CMFiler useful for file and directory management - neatness of file display, flexibility in manipulating directories and files, transparency of operation, and even the ability to edit files without leaving the environment of CMFiler. What really makes CMFiler useful as an operating environment, though, is its ability to execute user applications with an economy of keystrokes.

Running programs in the DOS environment is one of the more cumbersome and confusing aspects of DOS, and therefore, by its nature, this chapter is not terribly straightforward. I will make it as simple as I know how.

Terminology: User Application as "Child" Program:

A "user application" is nothing more than a "child" program, executed by the DOS operating system under the command of the "parent" program, which stays resident and waits for the "child" program to finish. When you ran CMFiler from the DOS system prompt, it was as a "child" of the DOS COMMAND.COM command processor. Some word processors permit you to "shell" to DOS, leaving the word processor program code resident in memory. What the word processor program is actually doing is running the DOS COMMAND.COM command processor as a child. From this DOS "shell", you could run yet another program as a child of COMMAND.COM. The more layers of child programs you have at any time, the more RAM you eat up for the currently running program with the resident program code of generations of parents waiting to resume control.

Resident Footprint of CMFiler:

If you use your computer for more than just one task, therefore, you may find CMFiler useful as an "inner shell" of your operating environment. You may let all 156 kb stay resident (the CF.COM kernel plus the CF.OVY overlay) while the child is running, or if you are memory- limited you may force CMFiler to give back to DOS for allocation to the child all but 22 kb for the CF.COM kernel. This option is exercised by pressing K (for "Kernel"), and then pressing either L or S at the prompt (for "Large" or "Small"). "Small" is the initial default setting. This setting is updated to the current option any time the .CFG file is saved.

There is a trade-off here. The large kernel option ties up more RAM that could be used by the child if it is a humongous program, but the return to the CMFiler environment after it finishes is instantaneous. The small kernel option is good for freeing the maximum amount of RAM for the child, but there is a small delay in returning to CMFiler while the resident kernel reloads the overlay. With today's hard drives, this delay is hardly noticeable. You be the judge. The best thing is that you can decide before each launch, if you want, at the cost of only two keystrokes!

"Shelling" to DOS:

You may "shell" to DOS - that is, execute the DOS command processor - any time you want from the main screen just by pressing S. A prompt will tell you to return to CMFiler when you are done by entering the DOS "exit" command. This is the most elemental child process in CMFiler.

Review of DOS Command Line Structure:

Before talking about how CMFiler launches applications, let's review how it's done from the DOS command processor. Say you are in the root of the C drive, and you want to start your PCWrite word processor, which is named ED.EXE and is in a directory called PCW off the root. Further, let's say you want ED.EXE to edit a file called USER.LST in a subdirectory of PCW called DATA. At the C:\> prompt you could type:


What this command tells DOS is: 1) leaving C as the default drive and the root \ as the current directory, go to directory \PCW, find and execute ED.EXE, and pass the string "C:\PCW\DATA\USER.LST" along to it as a "command tail", so it knows what you want it to do. (The "command tail" is nothing more than everything in the DOS command line after the program specification (in this case PCW\ED.EXE).)

   < -prog spec-->  < ---command tail---> 

If you have typed a lot of DOS command lines, you know how tedious they can become, particularly if there is more than one parameter in the command tail after the program specification. But you know that most of the time, the one or more parameters in the command tail are filenames or file specifications (filenames with full path specifications in front of them), and sometimes there are parameters the program will use to configure what it does - command line options.

The ensuing discussion may be simpler if you think about each step in launching an application from CMFiler as having to do with constructing either the program specification (the first argument in the command line, which tells DOS what program to run), or the command tail (which tells the program what to do once it's running).

Launching a Program from the Main Screen:

You can run any "executable" (.COM, .EXE, .BAT or .BTM) file from CMFiler, as a child program, anytime you want, from the main screen. There are several ways to do it:

Immediate Execution:

This is the quickest way. Just position the cursor on an executable file entry on the screen and press Q (for "Quick execute"), or hit Enter twice, or the mouse left button twice with the arrow symbol highlighted on the mouse bar. This is ideal if the program is located in the same directory as any files it might look for, and it does not need a command tail to tell it what files to operate on or what optional switches to set. This is just like typing in the name of the program at the DOS command line, once you are selected to the directory containing the program.

Execution with Command Tail:

However, as discussed above many programs expect data in the command tail, such as the name of a file to operate on, and CMFiler has provided several ways of constructing the DOS command line.

The simplest is this: First, position the cursor on the file you want to execute and press X (for "eXecute"). This constructs the "program specification" for the DOS command line. A prompt message will tell you this file is ready for execution, its path and name put into a special buffer in RAM, lined up and waiting for the launch command from you to commence execution as soon as you select a "default path" -- the current drive and directory the program will be looking on for its files. Select the default path in either panel, and, with that panel set as the source panel, press Alt-X. A data entry window opens at the bottom, in which you may enter a command tail for the program's use. Enter any file names or other command tail data your application expects, and hit Enter to run.

Execution with a Single File Name in the Command Tail:

The simplest case of the command tail is a single file name. CMFiler offers a shorthand way of running a program with a one-filename argument as the command tail. Put the cursor on the name of the program file you want to run and press X as before. The program is ready to run. Now find the directory containing the file you want this program to operate on, put the cursor on the filename, and press Ctrl- X. It's off and running, editing (or whatever other operation it's doing on) that file. Two keystrokes. Ctrl-X means "add the name of the file at the cursor to the command tail and execute immediately."

It is a good idea to have the program file and its supporting files in the same directory as the "operand" files when you use this method of execution, unless the program is smart enough to locate its supporting files in another directory in the DOS path environment.

"Seeding" the Command Tail:

In some cases, the above quick way to specify a one-filename command tail is not enough. You may find a need to put into the command tail the names of several files on the default path, or the full specifications of several files not on the default path, or both.

In CMFiler, there are shorthand ways of "seeding" the command tail window with file specifications and filenames. These may be used either before or after readying the program file for eXecution with X.

o To seed the command tail with the full specification (path plus name) of a file on which you want the program to operate, put the cursor on the filename and press Alt-C (the C in this case is a mnemonic for "build Command tail"). The information window at the bottom will show you the command tail in its current state. This procedure may be repeated to build a command tail as long as there is room in the command tail buffer. The command tail is limited by DOS to 125 characters.

o Just before pressing Alt-X to show the command tail window for final pre-launch editing, you may normal-Tag or Alt-Tag one of more files in the default path. These file names, without paths specifications, will all appear in the command tail in the order they were Alt-Tagged or in the order listed on the screen if normal-Tagged.

Now press Alt-X to open the data window with the seeded command tail. Once you have edited the command tail the way you want it, hit Enter, and the program is off and running. After the launched program finishes and returns control to CMFiler, its file specification stays in the "execute queue" until you ready another executable file with X, so you may perform multiple runs of the same program just by seeding the command tail again as above, and pressing Alt-X again. As a further time-saving feature, you may recall the previous command tail by pressing the up arrow or PgUp while in the command tail edit window at the bottom of the screen.

Once you get used to the above conventions, you will find that in many situations you don't need to edit the seeded command tail, and the key sequence Alt-X-Enter seems cumbersome. For those cases I have included the option Shift-X. Use it after you have seeded the command tail using Alt-C and/or T/Alt-T, and avoid the extra Enter stroke. Its effect is to commence execution of the program with the as-seeded command tail, with no edit.

Changing the Command Tail "Seed" Delimiter:

You probably noticed that there was always a space between multiple entries in the seeded command tails created using the Alt-C and T/Alt- T seeding operators by the procedures above. But what if your application looks for commas as the field delimiters for data in the command tail, instead of blanks? Just press Ctrl-Enter from the main screen to pick from three choices for default command tail field delimiters - space, comma, and semicolon.

Customizing Your User Application File Specifications:

Got a few pet applications that you run more than most? Save the aggravation of hunting them down and pressing Q or one of the X key sequences each time you run them. You can call them with just a touch of one of the function keys F1 through F9! To set this up, press Shift-F10. You will see a data entry screen that lets you specify up to nine executable file names in the entries "F1 = ", "F2 = ", etc., and an optional default command line parameters entry for each, labelled "F1 Cmd Line Parms = ", etc. Further down the page, you will see places for similar entries for compression and extraction utilities, and a bottom entry labelled "Password = ". (You may use this last entry to specify a password which must be entered to get back to the main screen from the screen-saver mode - a handy way of blocking undesired access to your files.)

In any "Fn = " data window, just type in the filename, including extension, of an executable file you use frequently. Optionally, in the "Fn Cmd Line Parms =" line, type any frequently used command line parameters that you would like to show up as a default entry in the command tail construction. You do not need to include the path in the file specification if the file is on one of the paths listed in the DOS path environment (via a previous "path" command from the DOS system level) - CMFiler will hunt it down and update its internal record of where that file is, so it doesn't have to hunt the next time you call it. However, if you do include a path specification, be sure it is complete (e.g., "C:\LETTERS\ED.EXE").

Once you have made all the entries you wish, press Ctrl-Enter to record the new entries and leave the F-key data entry screen. (Esc will abort the edit.) CMFiler will then find and update the CF.CFG configuration data file to add the customized F-key information.

There are three ways to now use these F-key options:

o Press the F-key corresponding to an application you specified with the Shift-F10 operation. (This may be done from either the main screen or the F-key information screen shown by pressing just F10.) You will get the message at the bottom that that file is readied for execution, just as though you had hunted it down, put the cursor on it, and pressed X. Seed the command tail and set up the default path desired in the source panel as before, and press Alt-X to get the command tail entry window, also as before. This time, though, if you had specified default command line parameters for this F-key, they would appear in the command tail window, in front of any seeded entries. Edit the command tail if desired, and press Enter to start execution.

o A nearly equivalent method is to seed the command tail first, set-up the default path, and press Alt-F-Key to ready the program and show the command tail for editing.

o If you know the command tail will be the way you want it, and you are bugged by the extra Enter keystroke to accept the seeded command tail, seed the command tail with Alt-C if you want, set up the source panel to the default directory, Tag/Alt-Tag any files from this directory you want to appear in the command tail, and hit Shift-F-key. The program will run immediately with the seeded command tail, with the default F-key command line parameters between the Alt-C seeds and the T/Alt-T seeds.

o If you are just operating on one file, put the cursor on the name of that file and press a Ctrl-F-key for instant one-key execution. In this case, the F-key default command tail offering will appear in the command tail preceding the name of the file the cursor was on. (This is the feature I use most.)

There is, in fact, a rule as to where the F-key default command line parameters get placed during the construction of the command tail. They are inserted at the point that the F-key itself (or F-key modified by Shift- or Ctrl-) is pressed. The file names Tagged/Alt- Tagged in the current directory always appear last. In an exotic case, for example, you could: (1) Alt-C a file spec, (2) press F1, (3) Alt-T a file name, and press Shift-X to execute with no edit of the command tail. The program assigned to the F1 key would run, with a command tail consisting of the file spec Alt-C'd in (1), plus the F1 default command line parameters, plus the file name Alt-T'd in (3), all separated by the command tail delimiter character last selected from the main screen with Ctrl-Enter.

The business above may seem cumbersome, but if you spend a lot of time typing the same old things in at the DOS command processor prompt, you will find it is worth the investment of time to figure out and use.

Specifying a Password for Access from Screen Saver:

At the very bottom of the Shift-F10 screen you see a data line for password. You may enter any combination of alphanumeric characters up to six letters. This password must be given to restore access to CF from screen saver mode. The password routine is case insensitive.

A Further Execution Option - Instant ZIPping/UNZIPping:

Phil Katz' PKZIP.EXE and PKUNZIP.EXE (c) have become dominant file compression and decompression programs in the shareware market, so much so that I wrote a special explicit feature to employ them with just a few keystrokes. The commands which invoke these programs from the main menu are Z and U, respectively. CMFiler can find these programs as long as you have not renamed them from PKZIP.EXE and PKUNZIP.EXE, and they are on one of the paths that you specified in a DOS path environment. If for some reason you want to rename them or put them on a path not listed in the DOS path environment, you may specify them explicitly via the Shift-F10 data screen.

ZIP a File:

1. Decide where you want the compressed file to go, and select that path in one of the panels. If you are updating an existing .ZIP file, Tag or Alt-Tag it while you are there.

2. Now switch to the other panel, and select the path to the files you want to compress. Tag them, or Alt-Tag them in the order in which you want PKZIP to compress them if order is important to you. If none are tagged, CMFiler assumes you want them all to be ZIPped, and puts the command line argument *.* in place of a file list.

3. Now then press Z. CMFiler will show you a command tail at the bottom of the screen, in the PKZIP syntax (options first, then .ZIP file, then list of files to be ZIPped.) Since the files to be ZIPped are in the current source path as set up by CMFiler when you Alt-Tagged them, no explicit path is included for them. You may edit the command tail. Once you are satisfied with the command tail, press Enter.

[In step 2 above, if you do not Tag or Alt-Tag any files for compression in the source path, CMFiler assumes you want to ZIP them all, and places "*.*" in the file list argument of the PKZIP command tail.]

[In step 1 above, if you do not Tag or Alt-Tag a target .ZIP file, CMFiler assigns a default compressed file name for PKZIP to create, which is either:

(1) the first Tagged or Alt-Tagged file in the source path from step 2, or;

(2) if no source files are Tagged or Alt-Tagged in step 2, the name of the file the cursor is on. (PKZIP attaches the default .ZIP extension).]

[In step 3 above, if you know you don't have to edit the command tail, you can bypass the extra Enter keystroke to enter the command tail by pressing Shift-Z instead of Z.]

UNZIP a File:

1. Set up one panel with the target path for the UNZIPped files.

2. Switch to the other panel, select the path with the .ZIP file to be UNZIPped, and put the cursor on it.

3. Press U, edit the command tail if necessary, and press Enter. As with ZIPping above, if you know you don't have to edit the command tail, press Shift-U instead.

The PKZIP/UNZIP utilities are available from most bulletin boards, or may be had for a $47 registration fee from PKWARE, Inc., 9025 N. Deerwood Drive, Brown Deer, WI 53223 (BBS 414-354-8670).

Tailoring CMFiler for custom ZIP/UNZIP spec:

If for some reason you want to specify an explicit path to PKZIP/PKUNZIP, you may include an explicit file specification using the Shift-F10 feature. Just follow the procedure and precautions under "Customizing Your Executable File Specifications" above, and operate on the " Compress = " and "Extract = " fields.

If you are familiar with Phil Katz' option switch syntax and find yourself using one or more switches most of the time, you may enter standard options in the indicated fields ("Compress Options =" , "Extract Options = ") while you are at it.

Once you are comfortable using the ZIP/UNZIP feature of CMFiler, and you find you are not having to edit the ZIP/UNZIP command tail most times, you may start getting bugged about having to always hit Enter when you see the command tail displayed. There is an alternative! Just like with the tailored F-keys, hit Shift-Z/U for instant ZIPping/UNZIPping.

Using Other Compression Utilities:

As it happens, some other compression utilities use the same command line construction as the PKWare utilities. Specifically, the ARJ utility by Jung and the LHA utility by Yoshizaki use command lines of the form:

   archiver options archivefile file1[, file2[ , . . . ] ]

where archiver is program spec, options is the collection of commands and switches to accomplish the desired operation, archivefile is the spec to the file which will contain the compressed data, and file1, file2, etc., are the specs of files to be compressed.

The CMFiler ZIP/UNZIP facility may be used to accomplish compression and extraction with either ARJ or LHA, and perhaps others as well. Here is how to do it with ARJ as an example:

o Make sure the file ARJ.EXE is on one of the paths specified in your DOS path environment, so that CMFiler can find it.

o In CMFiler, press Shift-F10 to bring up the user-defined applications screen for editing, and down-arrow to the line "Compress = ". Type in ARJ.EXE. Do the same for the line "Extract = ", since for this utility, unlike the PKWare set, the same program does both tasks.

o For the most rudimentary compression and extraction options with ARJ, the only parameter required for the "Compress Options = " line is the letter a, and for the "Extract Options = " line, the letter x. These parameters tell ARJ whether to add (a) or extract (x). Type them in, and press Ctrl-Enter to save the new data.

Compressing and extracting now work just the same as previously described for the PKWare utilities. To compress, optionally Tag or Alt-Tag the archive file in one panel, go to the other panel, find the directory with the files to be compressed (the same path is permitted) and Tag or Alt-Tag them, edit the command tail if necessary and press Enter. To extract, set up one panel with the destination path for the extracted file (may be the same as the source), arrow across to the other panel, put the cursor on the file to be extracted and press U. Edit the command tail and press Enter.

The Data Entry Window:

The data entry window defined by the " > < " pair you encounter for input data responds to most of the usual line-editing key presses:

o The Insert key toggles between Typeover and Insert mode. The mode indicated as an "i" or "t" in front of the " > " , stays set for each subsequent entry. In Typeover mode, any default entry is cleared if the first keystroke is an alphanumeric character.

o Ctrl-Lf/Rt Arrow and Tab/Shift-Tab go right or left to the space following the next blank or punctuation mark.

o Home goes to the beginning of the field. End goes to the first blank following the last non-blank character.

o Lf/Rt Arr, Bksp and Del perform the usual functions.

o Alt-Keypad permits entry of any ASCII code as a decimal number. Hold down the Alt-key while you type in a number from 1 to 255 on the numeric keypad. When you lift the Alt-key, the IBM symbol for that ASCII code will appear in the window, and the cursor will advance a space.

o Ctrl-D deletes to the end of the line.

o Esc cancels the operation.

o Down Arrow is equivalent to Enter. In some cases, Up Arrow moves up a line. (The rename facility in the main module and the "replace string" facility in the editor use this keystroke to move up to the entry above.)

For entering file names and subdirectories, all letter keys are registered as upper case, regardless of Caps Lock or Shift-key positions, just for the sake of uniformity and ease of alphabetizing. For command lines parameters, which may be case-sensitive, both cases are enabled.

Formatting Floppy Diskette:

Floppy diskettes may be formatted without leaving CMFiler. The command is Shift-M (forMat). Double- and high-density 3.5" and 5.25" formats are recognized. If an existing format is detected, CMFiler requests confirmation to proceed. Diskettes cannot be "unformatted" after this command is used, so be certain the disk contains no valuable files before using. All data sector are overwritten with the format "fill" character hex F6, so, unlike the FORMAT.COM of MS-DOS 5 and later, the CMFiler formatter is good for obliterating sensitive data.

This formatter is also called during operation of the floppy filler, if needed, so unformatted diskettes may be used for filling. If the formatter encounters a bad sector on the diskette, it will alert you, and will not complete the formatting. You should simply discard this diskette. (Other formatters mark bad sectors in the FAT table and complete the formatting. NoVaSoft's philosophy is that, with the high quality and low cost of diskettes on the market today, defective media is such a rarity that, when a bad sector is encountered, the diskette should just be discarded as a cheap safety measure.)

The formatting routine also places a "boot-through" code on the floppy boot sector. If you boot your computer with a CMFiler-formatted diskette in the boot preference floppy drive, this boot routine will first check its own integrity, as a rudimentary test of whether it has been infected with a boot sector virus, and then load and transfer boot control to the C drive if it is present.

Copying Floppy Diskettes:

A built-in diskette copier is accessible with the command Shift-K ( for disKopy). Double- and high-density 5.25" and 3.5" floppies are recognized. You specify hard drive to store master disketter image on, drive to make copies on, number of copies to make and whether each track should be verified as it is written. Number of copies left to go in the batch is displayed after each successful copy.

If disKopy encounters a bad sector while formatting or writing the copy, it will alert you that the diskette is bad, and not complete the copy. As discussed above, you should simply discard this diskette.

The disKopy facility allows a diskette image to be saved as a file on your hard disk for reuse. After the diskette is read, CMFiler asks if you wich to save it on the designated hard drive. If you answer Y, you will be asked to provide a file specification for the saved file. You may enter a full file spec with path, or put the file on the current directory selected on the hard drive by typing in just a file name.

The saved image file may be used to create more diskettes. When you press Shift-K, CMFiler first asks if you want to use an image file to create the diskette copy. If you answer Y, CMFiler seeds the entry line with the name of file that the cursor is on. This gives you a handy way of reusing a diskette image file: just put the cursor on the name of the image file, press Shift-K, then Y, then Enter to accept the seeded file name.

Scanning a Diskette Sector-By-Sector:

You can look at the absolute contents of a diskette with the scan facility, Shift-A (for scAn). Apparently empty diskettes may contain all sorts of interesting information, because the DOS file delete does not obliterate the data, just reallocates the clusters via the File Allocation Table.


In addition to the two-line mini-help area at the bottom of the screen, a help facility may be summoned on-line at any time in the main module of CMFiler by pressing H or F1. Arrow or PgUp and PgDn through the help screens, or press the first letter of the keyword you are looking up. For example, to move instantly to the page with information on tagging, press T. Esc exits back to the main screen.

The help screen is accessible in the editor and tree module with Alt=H or F1

Configuration File:

When it is first run, CMFiler creates a configuration file called CMFILER.CFG. If you rename CMFILER.COM and CMFILER.OVY to CF.COM and CF.OVY, you must rename the configuration file to CF.CFG -- which is the way we will refer to it in this section.

CMFiler will normally look in the directory from which CF.COM was run for CF.CFG. If no file is found, it will create CF.CFG. This is the default situation. You can specify a different directory for the CF.CFG file by means of a "set" commmand in your AUTOEXEC.BAT. For example:

    set cf-cfg=C:\SETTINGS\CF.CFG

will cause CMFiler to look for CF.CFG in the directory C:\SETTINGS instead of the default.

Many program settings are stored in the configuration file, such as the color palette and current selection, screen mode, parameters of the editor module, typeover or insert mode of the data entry window, and so forth. The selection of path alaises and the program launcher selections are in CF.CFG. There is also a set of thirteen user options which can be set with the Shift-O Options menu discussed below.

Saving the Configuration:

You can save the configuration any time by pressing Shift-S (for Save CF.CFG). The configuration is also automatically saved any time you edit the Ctrl-P color palette or when you exit the Shift-F10 launcher menu with the save option. It is also saved when you quit CMFiler with the key combination Esc-S.

Custom Configurations on Networks:

Different users on a network using a common copy of the CMFiler program files may specify their own .CFG file through an environment parameter CF-CFG. For example, if your configuration file is MY.CFG in the path U:\SETTINGS, include a DOS set command SET CF-CFG=U:\SETTINGS\MY.CFG in the batch file that runs CMFiler for you.

Setting User Options:

There are thirteen setup options which you may use to tailor the look and function of CMFiler using the Shift-O users Options menu. When you visit this menu and then leave by pressing Enter, the configuration file CF.CFG is updated so that these switches settings are remembered the next time you run CMFiler. The nature of these thirteen switches is such that you probably will not change them often. They represent your preferences as to a standard configuration of features.

When you press Shift-O, you will see the following menu:


        Move cursor with Up/Dn Arrow.  Type option desired.

                                           Define F1 as Help? Y
                                 Redefine "D" as HARD Delete? N
                           Wipe old files before HARD Delete? N
                     Overcopy files with same date/time/size? N
               Refresh directory contents after Screen Saver? N
                     Assign Hidden attr to DESCRIPT.ION file? N
                  Assign Read-only attr to DESCRIPT.ION file? N
                        Turn off DESCRIPT.ION file updating?  N
                                       Turn Screen Saver off? N
                       Use European date convention dd-mm-yy? N
                 Invert function of high intensity color bit? N
         Cga/ega, Vga, Mono:    LCD: Tandy, Epson, other Lcd  V
                                  VGA display: 25/43/50 lines 4

            Press Esc to cancel changes, Enter to accept.


These thirteen "switches" represent setup features that various users have asked for. The default settings are as shown for the first ten. Any switch may be toggled between Y and N by putting the cursor on it using the Up/Dn Arr keys, and pressing the spacebar or the letter N or Y. When you have reconfigured the way you wish, press Enter. Esc exits with no changes. Here is an explanation of each feature:

1. In keeping with the convention most often used by other programs, the F1 key is assigned as a "Help" call in the editor and tree modules, and this is the default setting for the main module.

2. For those who do not wish to use the "soft" delete feature nor be bothered with the ~TRASH~ directory, the D key may be reconfigured to "HARD Delete", identical to Ctrl-D, by resetting this switch to Y.

3. Setting this switch causes all files to be "wiped" (their data overwritten with "cfcfcf . . . ") before deleted with the DOS file delete service, to ensure complete destruction of files.

4. In the default setting, CMFiler does not waste time during file copy operations overcopying any file in the target path that is reported by DOS to be the same date/time and size as a tagged file in the source path. However, sometimes you might want to mass-overwrite files on a backup directory or disk that are suspect, even though they may appear to be identical. Just set the overcopy switch to Y.

5. For Windows users, if you run CMFiler in a window, it does not have any way of knowing when it returns from the background to the foreground whether any other application has written to the directories that it is selected to. In the default setting, it does not refresh the file listing (reread the directory tables). Windows users may want to reset this switch to Y.

6. and 7. The DESCRIPT.ION file, created in each directory as necessary to contain file and sub-directory notes, may be assigned the Hidden and / or Read-Only file attributes for neatness of directory display and / or protection from inadvertent deletion. The default values are No.

8. Unless you turn it off, CMFiler will always update the DESCRIPT.ION file when a file with a note is copied into the directory, deleted from the directory, or removed.

9. The automatic Screen Saver may be turned off with this switch, if you have a favorite resident screen saver installed.

10. European users will want to see dates in the form dd-mm-yy in all of CMFiler's displays, and will want to toggle this switch to Y.

11. Certain LCD displays invert the action of the high-intensity color bit. If the display is all high-intensity except for the line the cursor is on, try changing the switch to Y.

12. The color attribute set may be changed by pressing C, V, M, T, E or L. If, for example, your system has a color card driving a green- screen monochrome monitor, you probably would be more satisfied with the monochrome color set invoked by M than the default color set C.

13. If you have an EGA or VGA monitor, 43-line and/or 50-line display mode is probably accessible to CMFiler. You may set this variable to 4 or 5.

There are other features of CMFiler, particularly in the display options, which you may reset lots of times in process, but which don't need to be recorded permanently each time you change one. For example, I leave the file ordering scheme set at the default value of "1" (straight alphabetical), but sometimes I want to look at files in the order I last modified them. I will temporarily reorder using the Ctrl-O command, but I still want CMFiler to come up with ordering scheme "1" next time I run it.

These values are savable. The other in-process option features that are savable are the Compare and Hide mode switches, the resident Kernel size, and the system date/time display on or off. They are saved 1) whenever the Shift-O setup Option menu is exited with Enter, 2) whenever the Shift-F10 user-defined application menu (discussed in Chapter 4) is exited with Ctrl-Enter, or 3) by pressing Shift-S (Save options).

Quitting CMFiler:

There are two commands for exiting CMFiler: Esc followed by another key, and Alt-Q. The Esc-other key combination reestablishes the default drive and its current directory as CMFiler found them. The Alt-Q combination leaves the default drive and its current directory as it appears in the source panel. In either case, if you were printing a file, you will be asked if you really want to quit, since the print spooler does not stay resident and quitting will terminate file printing. You may answer N.

Editor Module

The Display:

Record Delimiters:

On CGA/EGA/VGA monitors, the record delimiter appears as a single colored "blank" character at the end of the line, whether it is actually two characters (e.g., CR+LF) or one (e.g., LF). It may be deleted to join two lines, but not over-struck - it always pushes right, even when you are in typeover mode. The red "End-of-File" (EOF) marker is not actually part of your file, but rather is only a visual aid for you to see where the text ends. When the cursor is on the EOF marker, the "byte number" in the legend corresponds to the number of the next character, if you were to type one. The EOF marker also always pushes right, and cannot be deleted. The height of the cursor shows the status of the "Caps Lock" switch.

The default color display mode for "record delimiters" [carriage return (CR), line feed (LF), and the combinations CR+LF and LF+CR] is to show their color values, which are cued in the legend at the bottom (blue=CR, green=LF, cyan=CR+LF, magenta=LF+CR). In addition, the end of the file is denoted with a red End-of-File (EOF) mark. Sometimes it is very useful to know exactly what delimiter combination your word processors use, so you can duplicate it when you edit with CMFiler. You can toggle the colored delimiter symbols off and on with Alt-Minus or the gray minus key. (This is also covered in a help screen you can get by pressing Alt-H or F1.)

Information Area:

The name of the file being viewed is shown in the lower left prompt area. The lower right prompt area shows the ASCII value of the character at the cursor (decimal and hex), the position of that character in the file (starting with 1), the line (called "record") the cursor is on, and the position of the cursor within the line (called "Column", which for a long record is not necessarily the same as the screen column). This information display may be toggled off and on with Alt-Plus or the gray plus key.

When the modifier key Alt- or Ctrl- is pressed, this information area displays the block, navigation and special editing commands enabled by the modifier key.

Line Wrapping:

The default display mode is line wrapping, where any line longer than 80 characters is wrapped to the next screen line, so that all text is visible. This mode can be toggled between "Wrap" and "No Wrap" (see the Wr/NW at upper right for current status) with Alt-W. In the NoWrap mode, each line longer than 80 characters simply extends off the screen to the right, but is accessible for viewing by putting the cursor on it and [Ctrl- or Shift-] Rt Arrow-ing (see below) to any place on the line.

Cursor Movement:

The arrow keys, either on the cursor keypad or numeric keypad, move the cursor one line up or down and one character left or right. Ctrl- Left/Rt Arrow move left or right one word at a time, and Shift-Left/Rt Arrow and Home/End move to the beginning or end of the line, as in PCWrite. A second press of the Home/End key moves to the top/bottom of the page, and a third press moves to the beginning/end of the file contents in memory.

PgDn/PgUp moves the display up or down one page frame (20, 38 or 45 lines), and leaves the cursor on the same relative video line. Ctrl- PgUp/PgDn moves the display by 10 page frames for fast paging through a file. Shift-Up/Down Arrow moves to the top/bottom of the current page. Alt-B/E moves to the Beginning/End of the file contents in memory.

The mouse moves the cursor similar to the arrow keys. A special mouse feature allows variable speed scrolling as well. Hold the right button down and move the cursor down a little bit. The file begins to scroll slowly up the screen. Move the mouse down a little more and the scroll rate increases, through a total of four speeds. Moving the mouse up reverses the direction.

For very long files, exceeding available memory, the editor loads only as much as fits. When you get to the end of that section (i.e., the current "file contents in memory" referred to above), the next operation that asks for another page or line causes the editor to load in the next section, remembering the file position of the start of the previous section so it can backtrack if you want. (It actually loads the next section with some overlap to the previous section, so that a little bit of backtracking does not result in reloading the whole previous section.) This "heel-and-toe" sequential loading is limited to 50 sections.

Typeover vs Insert:

Look at the small reverse video box in the upper right corner of the screen. "T/O" or "Ins", then CMFiler is in edit mode. Toggle between typeover (T/O) and insert (Ins) modes with the Insert key. Typing action is just like any word processor. In typeover mode, the Bksp key does not pull the text left. This is to avoid unintentionally shortening the file when editing length-sensitive files, such as .COM and .EXE files.

Edit Mode Limitations:

CMFiler permits edit mode only if the file fits all at once into available memory, has fewer than 16,380 records, and (in NoWrap mode) has no record longer than 8190 bytes. CMFiler will revert to view mode if these conditions are not all satisfied. If you have a lot of memory tied up in resident programs or RAM disk/cache, then you may not be able to edit extremely large files. Chances are, however, that this will never be a practical limitation.

Editing a Line:

You operate on a line at a time, and the "normal" editing keys work - i.e. Bksp, Del, Tab, Shift-Tab, the unmodified and modified arrow keys discussed above, and any ASCII-code keys. To create a new line, just Shift-Arrow to the beginning or end of the current line, depending on whether you want the new line above or below the current one, and hit Enter. This inserts the default delimiter combination, CR+LF, into the text to set up a new line void of text, but ready for you to start typing. The combination Ctrl-Enter gives you a menu screen from which you may select a different record delimiter. Join two lines by deleting the record delimiter at the end of the first line to be joined. Delete a line with Ctrl-Y ("Yank"). Delete from the cursor to the end of the line with Ctrl-D. Delete a word and its associated whitespace with Ctrl-T.

Alt- Keypad and Alt-N:

Any ASCII code from 1 through 255 can be entered from the numeric keypad using the Alt- key modifier. A special combination is provided for ASCII zero ("NULL"), since Alt-Zero is not recognized by any keyboard drivers I have seen. It is Alt-N (for "Null").

Changing Case:

Pressing Ctrl-U/L/I on a letter forces it into upper or lower case, or inverts the case.

Block Operations . . . or the REAL Power of CMFiler's Editor:

All the block operations - there are six - are keyed to Alt-key combinations, and they are all intuitive (sort of). They are: Alt-{ Mark, Yank (delete), moVe, Copy, Print and Output }.

Marking a Block, and the Copy Buffer:

You may also manipulate blocks of lines. First mark a block by putting the cursor on the first (or last) line of the block you want to do something with, press Alt-M (for "Mark"), move down (or up) with arrows, PgDn/Up, etc., and mark the last (or first) line of the block, again with Alt-M. The marked text is written into a dedicated internal copy buffer for later use. If you made a mistake, a third press of Alt-M clears the marks, but leaves the copy buffer intact. The contents of this copy buffer remain available for multiple use until a new block is marked. You may exit the editor back to the main module, and edit another file, and because the editor copy buffer is a dedicated chunk of RAM in the main and editor modules, the buffer is still intact. Just copy it into the next file with Alt-C.

When you are marking a block, note that the information box at the bottom left of the screen expands to show you the attributes of the marked block - the number of the first and last records marked, and the number of bytes in the painted area. There is an arbitrary 32 KB limit on the copy buffer. The upper right-hand information box shows "Blk" (for "blocked") instead of "T/O" or "Ins", meaning that normal editing is not permitted while you have a block marked.

Delete, Copy, Move:

Delete the block with Alt-Y ("Yank"). Or put the cursor in an unpainted area of the file, and copy the block into that area, just ahead of the line where you put the cursor, by pressing Alt-C ("Copy"). Or move it with Alt-V ("moVe"). As noted above, the block previously "marked" into the copy buffer is available for multiple use. Just put the cursor where you want the block to be copied and hit Alt-C again.

Restoring from Inadvertent Block Deletion:

If you just deleted a block in error, put the cursor where you want to restore it, and press Alt-C to copy the buffer back into the file.

Sending a Block of Text to the Printer:

Print the copy buffer to the parallel printer with Alt-P ("Print"). After printing, if you want a form feed, press Ctrl-F ("Form feed" - note the use of Ctrl- vice Alt- as the modifier key, since Alt-F was already used for "Find").

. . . or to a File:

Finally, output the copy buffer to a file in the same path as the file being edited by pressing Alt-O (letter "O" for "Output"). A window opens at the bottom for typing the name of the file for CMFiler to create (if it doesn't already exist) or append to if it does. (The file will be created or opened in the current directory on the default drive. Therefore the characters ":" and "\" will not be recognized.)

Find a String:

Want to look for a particular word or string of characters? The key combination Alt-F (for "Find") opens up a data window at the bottom for you to enter a short string. The data window is seeded with the word the cursor is on. The previous entry can be recalled with the UpArrow. After you press Enter, CMFiler will find the first appearance of the string from the current cursor position, and put the cursor on it. Alt-X (for "neXt") finds the next appearance, and can be used repeatedly until the string no longer appears, which is signalled at the bottom of the screen. The search process starts at the cursor location and goes, if necessary, to the end of the current file contents in memory.

If the file is long and is being viewed by the editor module in sections as discussed above, only the current section in memory is available to the Find operator. The search is case-insensitive.

If the cursor is placed on a word that you want to find the next appearance of, a quick search mode is available by pressing Ctrl-G. CMFiler locates the next appearance of that word (all the text between "white spaces"), even if it has to recycle to the beginning of the file.

Leading and Trailing Blanks in the Data Window:

The data entry routine truncates leading and trailing blanks, but blanks may be included as leading or trailing characters by enclosing the string at either or both ends with quotes (") Suppose, for example, you wanted to find all of the appearances in a file of the word "mark", but not "remark". Press Alt-F and, in the data entry window enter: Find string: > " mark < . This works for the replace string as well.

Replace and Global replace:

In addition to the Alt-F "find" feature, there is an Alt-R "replace" and an Alt-G "global replace" feature. Just press Alt-R or Alt-G and enter the find and replace strings when prompted. (If you see a mistake in the find string while you are typing the replace string, just arrow back up a line and reedit it.) For Alt-R, CMFiler will find the first match and ask you to confirm the replacement. It continues finding and requesting confirmation until you press Q (for "Quit replacing") or Esc. Alt-X reactivates either the find or replace routine, whichever was used last. Alt-G replaces all appearances of the find string with no confirmation. It may be terminated with any key press. When global replace is thus terminated, Alt-X reactivates the confirmatory replace, not the global replace.

Pop-Up ASCII Table in Editor:

Ctrl-A pops up a convenient table of ASCII symbols for use in file editing. Just navigate to the symbol you want with the arrow keys or mouse, and press Enter to insert the symbol into the text.

Leaving Edit Mode:

After editing is complete, press Esc. When leaving the editor after editing an existing file, there are several decisions you have to make: 1) under what name to save the edited file; 2) whether to use the current date/time or the original date/time of the edited file as the save-file's date/time stamp; 3) whether to rename the original file so it is also saved; and 4) whether to return to the editor after the save operation.

The default selections for these options - the ones most often used - are: 1) save the edited file under the original file's name; 2) do not reuse the original date/time stamp; 3) do not rename and save the original file; and 4) do not return to the editor. You can accept these default options by pressing Enter, or Y, or if you had hit Esc by mistake, you can press Esc again to return where you were in the editor. If the defaults are not acceptable, press N, and CMFiler will take you through each option.

In the first option, CMFiler offers the original file name as the save- file name, but you can edit it, including adding a path to have it saved in a different directory. If you do not want to save the edited file at all, press Esc.

In the second option, you may press Y to reuse the original date/time stamp of the file that was edited.

In the third option, CMFiler offers a default name to rename the original file, replacing the last character of the extension with an exclamation point. You can edit the name, or press Esc to avoid renaming the original file.

In the fourth option, you may press Y to return to the editor.

Saving File in Mid-Session:

The command Ctrl-S lets you save a file in mid-session while editing. This is prudent during a long session just to make sure you don't lose the edit to a power failure. Ctrl-S provides a sequence and defaults similar to the exit sequence above except that you return to the editor instead of leaving.

Tree Services Module

The Display:

If you entered the tree feature with both panels open, you see that the source/target panel relationship is preserved, and the paths displayed at the top and indicated by the cursor highlights in the tree structure itself are as existed from the main screen. The structure under the cursor in the source panel, namely the selected directory and all its files and subdirectories and their files, is shown as a highlighted block with a bright background, while the current directory selected in the target structure is shown highlighted with a reverse video background.

If you entered the tree module with the right-hand panel closed, you may open it the same way as you would from the main screen - right arrow, then press a drive letter at the prompt.

Line 1 at the top of the screen gives the status of two display enhancement switches. The "hide" and "compare" switches are passed from the main module, and have the same function. When the hide switch is on (^Hide=Y), subdirectories with the hidden attribute set are masked (i.e., not displayed). When the compare switch is on (^Comp=Y), any match in the target panel to the currently selected path in the source panel will be highlighted in a high-intensity color, similar to the highlighting of file matches in the main screen. The hide and compare switches may be toggled using Ctrl-H and Ctrl-C (shown as ^H and ^C); their states are transmitted back to the main module on return.

The "Goto" string also appears on the top line when the Goto file or Goto directory command is given (G or Alt-G). More on that later.

Information about the selected structures is contained in the two lines at the bottom of the screen. In each panel, there are two pairs of numbers, one pair for the amount of disk space used by the files in the structure, a second pair for the number of files in the structure.The first number in each pair describes the files in the immediate directory that the cursor is on (think of this as the "root" of the structure), and the second number in each pair describes the file ensemble in the entire highlighted structure.

Cursor Movement:

Cursor movement is much the same in the tree display as in the main screen. Left/right arrows switch panels, up/down arrows move one line up and down the tree, PgUp/Dn move up and down the tree several lines at a time, Home/End move to the very top or bottom of the tree, and P (for "Parent") moves the cursor up to the directory's parent. Two additional cursor moves are Shift-Up/Dn Arrow, which moves the cursor up or down one directory in the same level; and Shift-Lf/Rt Arrow, which moves the cursor directly across to the match if you are in compare mode and have a path in the target matching the path of the currently selected structure in the source (same feature as in main module).

Mouse action is much the same as in the main file services module. Changing disks or drives (Shift-R or N), renaming subdirectories (R), setting the hide attribute for a subdirectory (2), and toggling the hide and compare switches (Ctrl-H and -C) also all work the same as in the file services module, except that no wild cards are permitted in the rename function.

Tree Image Facility and Options:

In Version 6, the tree module has a feature that captures to a subdirectory ~TREES~ (which CMFiler creates for this purpose) an image file of the tree and of its filenames for each drive when that drive is first accessed. These image files are then available for use as a quick alternative to rereading the whole drive the next time the tree module is entered and that drive is selected. The image files load the tree structure in a fraction of the time it takes to read the whole drive and construct the directory and file lists. The ~TREES~ directory will be created on the path in the configuration environment parameter CF-CFG, if one has been specified by a SET command. Otherwise it will be created on the root of C.

The first time Version 6 is run in tree mode, CMFiler explains three basic setup options to help the user use this new feature in the best way. In one option, you can tell CMFiler to ask permission to reread the drive and refresh the tree image on file after copying a structure into the drive tree. It is often convenient, if you have several structures to copy, to wait until the last before rereading the drive and refreshing the tree image.

The tree image can also be manually updated using Shift-R (Refresh tree). The tree image option menu can be brought up with Ctrl-O (for image Options).

Show the File List:

The command S, for "Show files", is the way to get a look at the file names in a subdirectory without leaving the tree environment. This command opens a window in the target panel showing the first 16 files in the directory at the cursor in the source panel. You may continue to scroll up are down through the source panel as before, but now the file window changes as you do to show the contents of the current directory. You may do any other operations that involve only the source window, such as toggle the hide mode, make a new directory, delete a portion of the tree, even get a new drive. Two-panel operations such as copy and move are blocked in this mode by the presence of the "Show files" window.

To see more than the first 16 files, arrow across with the left or right arrow to the file window and scroll up and down using the up/down arrows, PgUp/PgDn, Home and End, or use the mouse. View or edit the file with Enter or E, as in the main module. Move between the tree and its file list with the right or left arrow keys. To return to the main module and perform an operation on a file in the file list, press Shift-Enter with the cursor on that filename. CMFiler immediately returns to the main module, to the directory selected, and places the cursor on that file, ready for you to edit, view, execute, copy, etc. Leave the "Show files" mode with Esc or S from either panel.

Viewing or Editing Files:

The editor is accessible directly from the tree module. In either the Show files or Goto file mode (discussed below), with the cursor in the file list window on a file name, press Enter to view or E to Edit the file.

Deleting Files:

Another feature in the Show files and Goto file modes that speeds disk cleanup is individual file deletion while the cursor is in the file list. The following commands are available, which mimic commands in the main file services module: Tag (or spacebar) toggles the tag on an individual file; tagAll clears or sets all tags; D soft Deletes file(s) to ~TRASH~ (unless the D key was redefined as hard delete in the main module); and Ctrl-D hard delete file(s) off the disk. This feature gives you a more macroscopic view of your disk while you are cleaning it up.

Find (Goto) a File:

One of the most powerful functions in the tree arsenal is the filename finder. There are lots of file-finding utilities around, but most of them tell you where a file is by giving you its path which you have to type into a DOS "change directory" command. Cumbersome.

CMFiler offers a file finder which gives you an instant visual cue to the directory(ies) containing the file you are looking for. Simply press G (for "Goto file", just as in the main module). A data window opens at the bottom for you to type the name of the file to search on. It supports the "?" and "*" wildcards. When you type the first letter, the "Show files" list opens in the opposite panel, and both the tree display and file list dynamically adjust to show current matches. Keep typing until the matches have been narrowed down as far as you need to go, and press Enter or Esc.

Assuming there is at least one file that fits that specification, note that several things have happened:

o At least one directory name in the tree is highlighted with a blinking "pip";

o The cursor has automatically repositioned to the topmost subdirectory containing a filename match; and

o All the file matches are listed in alphabetical order at the top of the window, and are also highlighted with the same blinking pip.

If you have a long tree structure with subdirectories out of view off the bottom of the panel, you may not see all of the highlighted subdirectories containing file matches. If there are some subdirectories in the tree containing matches but which are off the screen above or below, a flashing "More" will appear at the top or bottom in the tree display. The cursor movement in the "Goto file" mode that lets you quickly position up or down to the next directory containing a file match is Shift-Up/Down Arrow. Use Shift-Up/Down Arrow to navigate to all the directories with a match. Otherwise navigation and services are the same as Show files mode.

If there are matching files out of view above or below the file window, a flashing "More" will appear at the top or bottom of the file window frame. Quit "Goto file" mode with Esc, G or Alt-G.

Goto a Directory:

There is also a quick way to navigate to a subdirectory anywhere in the tree that, like the "Goto file" command, mimics a command in the main module. It is Alt-G, and it behaves similarly to G above, except that the file list is not opened in the other panel, and the tree display is changed dynamically to highlight the directory name matches and position on the topmost match. Type the name of the directory you are looking for, and when it has been singled out to your satisfaction, type Enter or Esc. Matches are also highlighted in the target tree, if any exist. Shift-Up/Down Arrow to the next match up or down; otherwise navigation and services are normal. Quit "Goto directory" mode with Esc, G or Alt-G.

Find Text:

Another powerful operation in CMFiler's tree services, to complement the filename finder, is a file text finder. Press Shift-F (Find text). Enter the text to be found (the search is case-insensitive), and then enter up to eight filenames describing the types of files you want included in the search, separated by + signs. The pipe symbol (|, ASCII 124) placed in front of a filename means "do not include this type". So, for example, the entry:

would result in a search of all files with the name CMFILER except CMFILER.COM and CMFILER.OVY, plus all files with the extension .TXT.

CMFiler's guess at this point on what part of the disk to search is that you wanted to look only in the selected portion of the tree - the structure at and below the cursor. Just to be sure, it asks for confirmation, and will allow you to extend the search to the whole disk if you wish.

An option for the text search string is the character "*", which means "accept any text". This is useful, for example, if you wanted to see all the files of several different descriptions in the tree, but didn't want to do each at a time using the filename finder (which only supports one entry), and didn't care what they contained. Suppose you want to see all the executable files on your disk. Just press Shift- F, enter * as the text, and *.COM+*.EXE+*.BAT as the names to search on.

Copying Tree Structures UNDER:

If you, as I, never previously thought or visualized much about the structure of the data on your hard disk, and never thought in terms of moving around big blocks, the conventions about to be described will take a little getting used to. However, you will come to find these operations a great convenience.

Select in the target panel a path under which you want to replicate a substructure from the source panel. Pick a small structure in the source panel for starters. Now picture the source block that is highlighted in red (if you're in the default color - in reverse video if monochrome) appearing under the top subdirectory in the shaded area of the target panel. Press C. The structure selected in the source panel is reproduced, subdirectory-by-subdirectory, file-by- file, under the target path. (One prohibition - CMFiler does not permit copying a structure onto itself. That is, if you have the same drive selected in both panels, a structure in the source and its host (the subdirectory it originates from) in the target, the command C will be ignored.)

This copy operation is good for backing up major structures hard disk-to-hard disk or hard disk-to-floppy. Once a backup structure exists on another medium, you may keep it up to date the same way. Just remember to set the path in the target panel to the host directory of the structure you are backing up. Updating is possible because the file copying and protection convention used in the tree module is the same as that employed in the main program of CMFiler. Namely:

o Files encountered in the target structure with the same date/time stamp and size are presumed identical, and not rewritten, unless the "file overcopy" switch is on. As with the "hide" and "compare" switches, the current state of the "overcopy" switch is passed from the main to the tree module.

o Files of the same name encountered in the target that are newer than the source, or that are read-only and the source is not, or that are system files, require confirmation to be overwritten.

o Files of zero length in the source structure are not allowed to overwrite files in the target. Non-zero-length files in the source structure always overwrite zero-length files in the target of the same name.

Copying in progress may be terminated using Esc. Any errors during file copying cause a pause in the tree copy operation, and the user must confirm continuing.

The copy function tries to anticipate the disk space required in the target for the structure being copied, and will proceed without delay if it finds there is enough free space on the target disk to assure the completeness of the copy. It does not attempt to check the target path for possible file duplications with the source block and take for credit as "available space" the space occupied by files which will be overwritten. If it senses not enough space to cleanly copy the whole structure, it will alert you to the possibility of an incomplete copy, and ask for confirmation to proceed anyway. Then, as the copy operation proceeds, it checks disk free space before each file is copied. If there is insufficient space for that file, it tells you so, and asks whether you want to try copying the next file. The answer "N" terminates the whole operation.

When backing up structures on your hard disk using the tree structure copy function, if the backup floppy is at all tightly packed, you will get this advisory message. If you know there is a lot of file duplication between the source structure and the backup floppy, you may proceed with the copy operation with confidence that all the files will be properly updated.

A final word on the copy function, and the move function discussed below. The original cursor position in the target panel, which specified the target path for the operation, is reset after the copy or move operation to show the top line of the new structure just created or moved, so that you can see that the copy or move actually took place and check using the information at the bottom of the screen that all the files were reproduced or moved. However, on the next keystroke, the target path is reset again to its original position.

The "Copy INTO" Function for Tree Structures:

As seen above, the copy function replicates, as a structure under the target directory, the source block. The structure has the same "name" in both cases, meaning that the top line of the block in the source panel is the same as the top line of the replicated structure in the target panel. Another way to view this is that the subdirectory which serves as the "root" of both structures has the same name.

While this seems a convenient way to copy structures between two large mass storage devices, as it forces a uniform convention on the naming and construction of the structures themselves, it may not always be the most convenient way to backup structures from a large mass storage device to a smaller one. This sounds very cryptic, so let me try an example. Suppose one of the major structures in your hard disk is a directory under the root, containing all your files pertaining to your word processor. Let's call this directory WORDS. In it are all the program support files (the editor, the printer, the configuration files, etc.), and two subdirectories, NOTES and LETTERS. If you were to copy the structure with WORDS as its "root" to a virgin floppy, the screen would end up looking like this:

    C:\                                   A:\
    |-ANYOLD.DIR                        [ '-WORDS
    |-WORDS       ]    ,--------------->[   |-LETTERS
    | |-LETTERS   ]----'                [   '-NOTES
    | '-NOTES     ]

But suppose you plan to dedicate this floppy exclusively to the backing up of the files in the WORDS structure, and so you really wanted to put the word processor program and its support files into the root directory of the disk in A:, and have the LETTERS and NOTES be directories of the root, not of a directory WORD. That is, you want not to create the unnecessary layer of a directory called WORDS, but you want the A: disk tree to look like this:


This is where the command "Copy Into" does the job. Just press the letter I instead of C, and the contents of the structure in the source panel block are copied Into the target directory, instead of being replicated as a new, complete substructure. Because of the subtle difference between the commands C and I, a confirmatory message is displayed on the screen when you use the copy Into command.

Moving Tree Structures:

In much the same way, structures may be moved within the same disk with the commands Shift-C (which moves the structure to under the target directory, similar to Copy) and Shift-I (which moves the structure into the target, like Copy INTO). The condition for moving is that the target path is not currently the host of the structure selected in the source panel. When the move is within the same disk, it is accomplished using the DOS rename service, and no copying of any file data itself is performed, just modifications to the directory tables, and so this is a quick way of doing major reorganizations of your hard disk.

"Move" (Shift-C) and "move into" (Shift-I) default to straight "Copy" and "copy Into" if different disks are selected in the source and target panels, followed by confirmation to hard delete the source structure. Moving may be terminated with Esc.

Copying Just the Files:

The command J (for copy Just files) works somewhat like the copy Into command, but copies just the files in the source subdirectory into the target path, and not the subdirectories and their files and subdirectories, etc.

Copying Just the Directory Array:

The command Alt-C is similar to C, but copies just the skeleton of the structure, the directory array and no files, under the target path. Alt-I, similar to I, copies just the directory structure Into the target path.

Deleting Tree Structures:

This is the scariest of all the tree functions, because a couple of false keys and a fast hard disk and you're destroying files real fast. For this reason, I have added a second confirmation step which warns you how many files are about to be destroyed before it starts, and, for hard disks, have used the same "soft" delete convention for the operator D as discussed in Chapter 1 on the delete function in the main module. (If the structure selected consists entirely of empty subdirectories, CMFiler doesn't bother asking for the second confirmation, since directories are a whole lot easier to re-create than files.) Thus, when file destruction is involved, three keystrokes are required to delete a structure - D, Y, and Y - and, for a hard disk, the files deleted will reappear in the ~TRASH~ directory. As in the main module, the alternative "hard" delete function is Ctrl-D.

Esc terminates tree deletion in progress. CMFiler deletes all the files in each subdirectory shown in the tree structure - hidden and read- only, as well as normal.

The move and delete operations use a routine to remove the (assumed empty) tree structure in the cursor block in the source panel after all the files have been moved or deleted. If there is a hidden subdirectory in this structure, and the hide switch is set to "Y", however, it will not be seen by the file moving or file deleting routines, as well as the directory removal routine, and a strange- looking error message will be returned, namely "Access denied" during directory removal. This is classic DOSese, at least most of the time, for "there is something still in there." Toggle the hide switch with Ctrl-H and reexamine the remnants of the structure you tried to delete.

To save you time, CMFiler does not reread the tree from the disk after a piece has been deleted, but rather marks the image it made in memory of the tree structure to note the part has been deleted and should not be used in drawing the tree. As a consequence, the statistics - files and KB used by the directories above the deleted portion -- will not be accurate. After several deletes, you can refresh the tree data from disk with Shift-R (Relist).

Delete Just the Files:

The companion delete operation to the "copy Just files" command is Alt-D - delete just the files in the source subdirectory. This is a "hard" delete.

Except in the Goto file and Find text modes, the command Alt-L (same syntax as in the main module) prints a copy of the tree structure to the parallel printer. In Goto file or Find text mode, however, Alt-L prints an alphabetical listing, organized by directory, of all the files identified by the preceding search. The date, time, disk volume and search parameters are all printed at the top of listing.

Quitting the Tree Functions:

There are three ways to leave the tree display. Enter goes back to the main program display, with the path(s) for the left (and right, if open) panel(s) as selected on the respective trees. Esc goes back to the main program with the path(s) set as they were on entry. And finally, Alt-Q has the same convention as in the main program - quit CMFiler altogether, with default drive and current directory as selected in the tree source panel.