FRSFileMgr
 
 
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The "Intro", "How-to", "History", and "Support" tabs shown above constitute what is known as the FRSFileMgr Documentation Center. Within these tabs you will find everything you need to successfully use the application. If you have never used FRSFileMgr before, be sure to at least read through this page once.

What is FRSFileMgr?

FRSFileMgr is a software tool that makes it easy to manage the files, directories/folders, and drives on your computer. It has been designed as an alternative to Windows® Explorer, the "file manager" provided with the Windows operating system.

Why Did We Create FRSFileMgr?

Microsoft created the old File Manager, which was a very powerful tool, as part of Windows 3.1 and NT. Starting with Windows 95, the File Manager product was dropped in favor of the new Windows Explorer. It provided the ability to do file management, and so much more. Starting with Windows Vista, and continued with Windows 7, Explorer became more complicated and more overloaded with many extra features that had nothing to do with file management. It has really morphed into a complete computer management tool. You know the phrase, "Jack of all trades, master of ...". The product seems to get worse with each new major release of Windows, and, in our opinion, Windows 10's version of Explorer is just about impossible to use!

We wanted the power of the old Windows File Manager, but with the abilities of the modern-day operating systems and a more updated look. FRSFileMgr provides you with tremendous power and flexibility, with many features that are not provided in Windows Explorer. For example, Microsoft has been working on Windows Explorer for over 20 years now, yet you still cannot print a listing of all the files in a directory! A feature that was provided with version 1.0 of FRSFileMgr! There are many such file-related specialty features that have been implemented in FRSFileMgr that Windows Explorer simply does not provide.

If you do any kind of file management in your day-to-day work, we recommend that you start using FRSFileMgr instead of Windows Explorer. Should you find any short-comings in FRSFileMgr for which you find yourself needing to go to Windows Explorer, let us know so that we can add the capability to FRSFileMgr. We listen to our customers.

How Do I Get Started?

FRSFileMgr presents two panes within the main window. On the left is the Directory Browser, and on the right is the main Files grid. The Directory Browser only shows drive letters and directories, and the Files grid only shows files (Windows Explorer also shows sub-directories with the files listings, which is confusing). In FRSFileMgr, when you select something on the left in the Directory Browser and the selected drive or directory itself contains any files, they will be shown in the Files grid on the right. If it has no files, the listing on the right will be empty.

The Directory Browser lists all of physical disk drives inside your computer. It will also list any connections you have established with other computers, via your home or office network, as drive letters. External drives, such as hard drives, digital camera media readers, a cell phone, and e-readers can also be shown as drive letters if your computer has the necessary drivers installed for those devices and Windows recognizes them.


fig. 1: FRSFileMgr in use

Initially, FRSFileMgr will show just the drive letters on your computer. Click on the "+" symbol to the left of the drive letter, which will expand the listing, showing all of the top-level directories found. You can further expand individual directories to reveal their sub-directories. As you expand more and more directories, it may become visually overwhelming. You can then click on the "-" symbol next to an expanded directory and collapse (or hide) its listing of sub-directories.

Manipulating a Directory or a File

To do anything with, or to, a directory, select it in the Directory Browser, and then click on the desired menu command of the main "Directory" menu. You can also right-click on the directory in the Directory Browser.

Similarly, to do anything with, or to, a file, click anywhere in the row where the file is listed in the Files grid, and then click on the main "File" menu. You can also right-click on a file in the Files grid.

Be sure to explore all the menus to find out what all FRSFileMgr can do for you. And, above all, take your time. FRSFileMgr is a very powerful tool, and it can do a lot of damage if you are not careful. So, please, take your time and "experiment" with the application. Read the rest of this Documentation Center to find out how to do something using the application.

How Do I Get the Latest Version?

You can always download FRSFileMgr directly via the "Download" tab above. However, FRSFileMgr automatically checks to see if a new version has been released each time you run it, if you have enabled that option and your computer has an active Internet connection. When a new version has been found, it will be downloaded, and you will be notified of the automatic upgrade when you close the application. Making sure you are always up-to-date is both free and easy!

status bar upgrade download

When an upgrade is being downloaded, a download icon appears in the status bar (shown here on the right). Note that you can close the application at any time. If an upgrade was in the process of being downloaded, the application will stop and try again the next time you run it.

status bar upgrade ready

When the download has completed, the icon will change to one showing a sun (as shown here on the right). At that point the application will be upgraded when you close it.

If for some reason you wish to disable automatic upgrading, click on the "Settings | Automatic Application Upgrade" menu command to turn OFF that feature. The state of the check mark to the left of that menu command indicates whether or not FRSFileMgr checks for new upgrades. If you turn that option ON again, FRSFileMgr will immediately check the Fourth Ray Software server to see if a new version is available, and download it if there is one.

For How Long Can I Use the Free Version?

status bar trial period days remaining

FRSFileMgr comes with a one-time, 21-day trial period during which you can use the full functionality of the application for free. There are no restrictions during that time period. When the free trial period is over, you must purchase a license to continue to use the application (click on the "Buy" tab above). All of the settings you made during the free trial period will still be there after you have paid for your license. There is no separate download required after you have purchased your license. The status bar, as shown here on the right, indicates how many days you have remaining in your free trial period.

How Do I Enable the Paid-for Version?

When you have paid for a license for FRSFileMgr, you will receive your unique serial number. You can enter the serial number via the "FRSFileMgr | Enter Serial Number..." menu command. You will also see this window when you start the application and you have allowed your trial period to expire. You need to enter the serial number you received from us. We recommend copying and then pasting the serial number, as it is easy to mistype it. When ready, press the OK button to have FRSFileMgr verify the serial number. If it is valid, the application will switch to a "paid-for" version, which you can verify by clicking on the "FRSFileMgr | About..." menu command.

Documentation Center Conventions

Within this Documentation Center section of the web site, the following standards are used:

I am a link

Text appearing as shown here are hyperlinks to another page within this Documentation Center. Sometimes they may also be links to web sites on the Internet. Whenever they are links outside of this Documentation Center, clicking on the link will launch another web browser window or tab.

Topic

Some pages cover multiple, related topics. These are separated by topic titles as shown here.

Sub-topic

If a particular topic on a page has several paragraphs that are loosely related, these paragraphs may have sub-topic titles.

OK

Whenever a particular user interface item is referenced, it appears as shown here. They are items such as buttons, edit fields, etc.

Find

Whenever pop-up windows are referenced in a paragraph of text, they are identified by their name as shown here. These pop-up windows can only be dismissed by their OK, Cancel, or Close buttons.

"Edit | Copy"

The text example shown here indicates a menu command. The vertical bar in between words indicates the next sub-level within the menu structure. So the example here refers to the "Edit" main menu (shown near the top of the application window), and its "Copy" menu command.

Note

If a particular point needs to be emphasized within the text of a paragraph, this style of text will appear.

Glossary of Terms

Below is a listing of terms used throughout FRSFileMgr and this Documentation Center, in alphabetical order.

Bookmark

The term "bookmark" is generally associated with a web site address that you want to remember and it is stored in your web browser. We use the same term in FRSFileMgr to remember the location of a file or directory. The Bookmarks menu stores the bookmarks that you add, and it provides the functionality to manage them. When you click on a bookmark on the Bookmarks menu, FRSFileMgr will display that directory or file in its main window. Note that a bookmarked file is not opened or executed; it is just shown in the main window. Just like a bookmark in a physical book. For convenience, up to the first 9 bookmarks will be directly accessible via the up-to-nine bookmark toolbar buttons.

Bug

In the software world a "bug" is not a physical insect, but a malfunction of the application. They seem to creep up from out of nowhere, which is why the software industry started calling them "bugs". If FRSFileMgr doesn't do something you expected it to do, or worse, it crashes (i.e. stops working or disappears from the screen), then we want to know about it. Please e-mail us with a description of the problem.

Documentation Center

This is our name for the document you are reading. It contains all the information you need to be able to effectively use the application.

Directory

A directory is an organizational entity on your computer's disk drive that can contain additional directories (sometimes referred to as "sub-directories") and/or files. You can think of it in this way: in the traditional office filing cabinet, the individual filing cabinet drawers are the "drives", the individual folders within each drawer are the "directories", and the individual documents or papers in the folders are the "files". Starting with Windows 95, Microsoft started calling "directories", "folders". This was to help bring the analogy closer to home for novice computer users, and to start introducing the idea of "virtual folders", which aren't real directories but simply placeholders for links to actual directories on your computer's disk drive. An example of this is the "My Documents" folder, which isn't an actual directory, but a link to an actual directory on your computer. Because FRSFileMgr deals mostly with real directories, we use the terms "directory" and "sub-directory" throughout this Documentation Center and in the user interface of the application itself. When we use the term "folder", we mean the virtual (i.e. not-real) directory.

Download

To download a file means to copy the file from an Internet server to your computer. FRSFileMgr downloads upgrades to its own application files when Fourth Ray Software releases a new version. These files are replacements of existing files that were installed on your computer when you installed FRSFileMgr. They allow us to continuously improve the functionality of FRSFileMgr. Best of all, upgrades are free!

Drive

A drive is a physical device in your computer, or attached to your computer that can store files. Every computer has at least one hard disk drive, which is a device that holds the Windows operating system and many directories and files. A CD, DVD, or Blu-ray drive is usually also installed in your computer. You can also attach removable disk drives, thumbnail drives, memory card reader drives, digital cameras, and cell phones to your computer, usually via one or more USB ports on your computer. If the device registers itself with the Windows operating system as having a disk drive, it will show up in Windows Explorer and in FRSFileMgr. Most of the time you can manage the files and directories on these devices via Windows Explorer and/or FRSFileMgr. Generally a drive is assigned a letter in the alphabet anywhere from A to Z. Drive letters A and B are reserved for floppy drives (these are rapidly becoming obsolete). Drive C is typically the first and main internal disk drive on which the Windows operating system is installed. If you have additional disk drives installed in your computer, they will be drives D, E, etc. Also, you will typically have a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray drive installed, which will also have a drive letter assigned to it. As you plug in a removable device (such as the ones mentioned above), the Windows operating system will typically assign them the next available drive letter. When you unplug the device from the computer, the drive letter will disappear. Note that the drive letter could potentially be reused for another device as well. Finally, if your computer is connected to a local area network (via your office or at your home), you will typically have directories or drives that you can see on one or more of the computers connected to your network. Each of those will be assigned a drive letter as well. FRSFileMgr can only interact with files on other computers if the directories or drives containing those files are mapped as network drives (mapping network drives can be done in FRSFileMgr).

Field

A general term used to describe something in the FRSFileMgr user interface wherein you can type or select something, or where text is shown.

File Sizes

File sizes are expressed in "bytes". A "KB", or kilobyte, one might think, is a thousand bytes, but it actually is 1,024 bytes. Similarly, one megabyte ("MB") is 1,024 kilobytes. And, again, a gigabyte ("GB") is 1,024 MB. With the disk drives getting bigger and bigger in their storage capacity, terabyte drives are now common place. A terabyte ("TB") is 1,024 GB.

One extra note about file sizes: both FRSFileMgr and Windows Explorer report file sizes as the size of the content of the file. When a file is stored on a computer's disk drive, its presence actually takes up more space than that. A computer's disk drive is broken up in sectors. Each sector can hold a fixed number of bytes (typically 512). Since files are almost always much larger than 512 bytes, a "cluster" of sectors is used to group the bytes of a file in sequential order on the disk drive. A cluster typically holds 8 sectors. A cluster is therefore the smallest unit or grouping of bytes that can hold data. If you multiply 8 times 512, you get 4,096 bytes. So, to store a file on the disk drive, it is split up into 4,096 bytes of clusters. Ideally, the file's clusters are stored sequentially on the disk drive. That way the next time an application needs to load that file into memory, it can just read the sequence of clusters from the disk drive, which is incredibly fast. However, as the disk drive becomes more used, it gets harder and harder for the computer to find such sequences of space. So, to store a file, the computer may put a handful of bytes of the file in one set of clusters and the rest in another set of clusters. Over time, and especially with large files, the file can be spread out over a large portion of the disk drive. This makes loading the file into memory very slow. A special software application called a "defragmenter" can be used (Windows has one built-in). What it tries to do is group as many of the clusters belonging to a file as close together as possible, thereby vastly speeding up reading files.

So, what does that have to do with file size? Well, if a file is 3,100 bytes in size, due to the cluster size, it is actually occupying 4,096 bytes on the disk. That is, the remaining 904 bytes are wasted. Also, for the computer to find that file again, and to know each of the clusters that it is required to read in order for it to be able to load that file into memory again, a sort of addressbook is required to record the location of those clusters associated with that file. So, the fact that a file is created means that space must be allocated on the drive to remember the associated location of each of the clusters. When a disk drive is formatted, a chunk of space is set aside at the beginning of the drive specifically for that addressbook. It is also where directory names are stored.

That is why when your disk drive gets close to being full, you may want to invest in a new drive to add to that one before it reaches 100% of capacity, because files take up more space than is reported on a per-file basis. Within FRSFileMgr, you can view the "progress" bar on the lower left-hand corner of the main window to see the status of the drive that is selected. That number actually shows the complete total of all the space taken up by all the files as they are actually stored on the drive.

Folder

Starting with Windows 95, Microsoft started calling "directories", "folders". The two words appear to be used interchangeably now, but there is a distinction between them. We rely on this distinction within FRSFileMgr and this Documentation Center. A directory is an organizational entity on your computer's disk drive, but a folder is a link to an actual directory. A folder is not an actual directory. An example of this is the "My Documents" folder, which isn't an actual directory, but a link to an actual directory on your computer. The idea behind the concept was that the actual directory referenced by the "My Documents" folder is usually some complicated, nested path, and that path can be different on different computers. Also, since you can have any number of people using your computer, each user has his or her own "My Documents" folder, which references a different directory for each user on the same computer. Because FRSFileMgr deals mostly with real directories, we use the terms "directory" and "sub-directory" throughout this Documentation Center and in the user interface of the application itself. When we use the term "folder", we mean the virtual (i.e. not-real) directory.

Fourth Ray Software

The company that created, owns, maintains, and publishes FRSFileMgr. FRSFileMgr is a copyrighted work of Fourth Ray Software. All rights reserved.

Grid

A visible collection of data organized in columns and rows. Columns are vertical groups of data. Rows are horizontal groups of data. One data field in the grid is called a cell. As an example, FRSFileMgr uses a grid in the main window to show all the files found in a particular directory. If you are familiar with Microsoft's Excel or any other spreadsheet program, you know what a grid of data is all about. For more information about how to interact with a grid, see the Grid/Spreadsheet Control topic.

Local

This computer term is used to describe the personal computer you are using at your home or office. See also "Remote" below.

Macro

A macro is a sequence of instructions. Macros are optional in FRSFileMgr and allow you to execute one or more specific steps repeatedly and automatically once set up. This is useful in such cases as test scenarios.

Main Menu

This is the menu bar near the top edge of the application. It lists the words FRSFileMgr, Network, Drive, Directory, File, Bookmarks, Launch, Macros, Reports, Tools, and Settings. When you click on these words in the application, you will see a list of "menu commands" which will allow you to further interact with the application, or the selected file or directory. FRSFileMgr has a minimum width set aside for each menu (e.g. "File" and "Undo"). This is so that it is easier to hover the mouse over the desired menu, rather than accidentally triggering the display of the next menu, which can be annoying.

Operating System

The critical software needed to make your computer functional and useful. FRSFileMgr is designed to run on personal computers that use any edition of the following Microsoft® Windows® operating systems: Windows® Vista, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, and Windows® 10.

Remote

This computer term is used to describe the server or computer at some remote location to which a connection is made via some modem (dial-up, DSL, or cable) or corporate network. These are computers stored at a physical building such as at your Internet Service Provider or IT department. See also "Local" above.

Spreadsheet

See "Grid" above.

Sub-directory

See "Directory" above.

Tag

FRSFileMgr used to have the "Tags" menu, but that menu has been renamed to "Launch" menu. What it means to "tag" a file within FRSFileMgr is that it is added to the "Launch" menu (see the "Launch | Tag File for Launch" menu command). Then, later if you wish to run, open, or edit that file, you simply click on it in the "Launch" menu, rather than having to first go and find it within the directory hierarchy. Conceptually, it is somewhat similar to a shortcut on your computer's Desktop.

Technical Support

This is a way for us to receive communication from you about how our product is working for you. We would like to hear from you if you are enjoying the product, and we would like to hear from you if the product is not working as you expect it to. We want to continue to improve FRSFileMgr and make it a very useful product for our customers, so your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Serious problems, such as crashes, will be fixed as soon as possible (turn-around in a day or so if the problem is deemed to affect all customers, otherwise when the next version is released). General annoyances and short-comings will be added to the "to-do" list for the next release. Requests for new features will be added to the "to-do" list to be implemented in a future version, but no guarantee as to which future version.

Trash Bin

FRSFileMgr used to use the Windows Recycle Bin in which to store files or directories that you deleted using FRSFileMgr. However, experience showed that the Windows Recycle Bin can be both slow and unreliable. So, starting with version 5 of FRSFileMgr we now use our own implementation, which we call the "Trash Bin". When you delete a file or a directory, it is compressed and backed-up to a temporary directory. As long as you do not exit FRSFileMgr you will be able to reverse any and all file or directory deletions. When you close FRSFileMgr, the Trash Bin is automatically emptied and the files and/or directories you deleted while using FRSFileMgr will then be permanently deleted as well. This provides a temporary "buffer" to allow you to change your mind, while not adding to the large collection of temporary files your computer can accumulate over time. If you prefer to permanently delete a file or directory, hold the Shift key down while you click the file or directory deletion menu command or toolbar button.

Upgrade

No software application is perfect right from the start. FRSFileMgr is no different. Additionally, new features are requested and added. For you to be able to enjoy these new features and to have broken features fixed, FRSFileMgr must be upgraded. FRSFileMgr does upgrades automatically and at no cost to you (other than your normal Internet connection charges, of course). What this means is that FRSFileMgr checks the Fourth Ray Software server to see if a new version has been released by us. If so, it downloads the new or updated application files from our server to your computer. When you exit FRSFileMgr, the old application files are replaced with the new ones and obsolete ones are deleted from your computer. Important: FRSFileMgr never touches any files that do not belong to it. FRSFileMgr never deletes your data files, and never uploads any files on your computer to our server or any other computer on the Internet.

Upload

To upload a file means to copy the file from your computer to a server. FRSFileMgr does not upload any files from your computer to a server.