FileStar/2 File Manager: A Review, Part 3

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 03/07/01

This is our third part of a major review of FileStar/2. Last week we looked at the features listed under the first two headings of the Main Menu. This week we will complete our tour through the Main Menu, and next week we look at some of what I have termed "macro features" embedded in FileStar/2 as well as look briefly at the Toolbar and how to use it.


    Note: Many of the items on this menu will be the same or similar to those encountered on the Drives or Directories menus. In general, these duplicate menu items will not be mentioned or commented on.

  1. Copy/Split/Append

    This allows the user to easily perform these three common operations on files. Intuitive windows are displayed for each of the commands, greatly simplifying the task, thereby ensuring the correct result.

  2. Filter Commands

      FileStar/2 possesses an intriguing set of filter commands. Let's take a closer look:

    1. Select All *.txt

      Select All automatically highlights (i.e. selects) all files with the same extension as the currently selected file in the current directory. (The extension displayed in the menu item changes to match the selected file.

    2. Select All

      This feature automatically selects all files in the current directory.

    3. Invert Select *.txt

      This feature automatically selects all files except those whose extension is the same as the currently selected file.

  3. ZipView

    ZipView is a powerful feature, and will be discussed next week when we look at the FileStar/2's "macro-features".

  4. Execute

    Clicking on "Execute" provides a quick method of handing a .CMD program over to an OS/2 command line (window or full-screen).

  5. File List

    File List allows you to perform a number of operations on the selected list of files:

    1. Save to a file.

    2. Copy file list to the clipboard.

    3. Copy file specifications (full drive, path, and filename) to the clipboard.

    4. Print the file list to a printer.

    5. Modify the format of the list layout.

  6. WPS Object

    This is an extremely important and useful feature. By default FileStar/2 "hands-over" certain files to an application based on FileStar/2's programming.1 However the user may have defined different associations for special file types. Or FileStar/2's assumptions may be incorrect for other reasons. The solution is to define the correct association using the Properties Object (which can be accessed directly from FileStar/2). Then instead of double-clicking as you usually would, right click on the filename and left-click on "WPS Object". This will load the application defined using the Properties Object earlier. (An even quicker method of accessing the WPS-defined application is the acceleration key, <Alt><Enter>.)


  1. The experienced user of FileStar/2 will probably use this menu only infrequently, since it is quicker and more efficient to use the icons at the Files Window corners or Accelerator Keys. However, these make a good place to illustrate the type of window operations, and are often useful to reset the windows or as a reminder.

    1. The Ring

      The first five items on the menu are each a different way of viewing the information in the directories:

      1. Title Vertical

      2. Title Horizontal

      3. Cascade

      4. Custom

      5. Twin

      Together they form a ring, so that clicking on Toggle Ring or Pressing <Shift-F11> or <Shift-F12> will automatically procede from one viewing method to the other.

  2. Hide/Restore Toolbar

    Use this item to create more window space by temporarily removing the Toolbar.

  3. Hide Menu

    Use this item to create more window space by hiding the Main Menu. Note: To restore the Main Menu, left-click on the Title bar of the Directories Window, popping up a context menu. Then left-click on Windows, and left-click on "Restore Menu".

  4. Select

    Provides a means to select each FileStar/2 window type using the Menus. In reality, the user is far more likely to point and click using a mouse or an accelerator key to get to a specific window.


  1. Settings

    Clicking here opens the User Notebook, one of the primary means of customizing this product. This will be covered in more detail next week.

  2. Toolbar

    This function allows the user to customize the toolbar and tools in pretty much any way he or she desires. This too will be covered in more detail next week.

  3. Auto Seek Directory

    This interesting feature determines how the directory tree in the Directory Window will be arranged. When on, FileStar/2 will automatically move the current directory near the top of the Window if it has moved out of view. This tends to minimize the amount of scrolling required by the user. The feature is ON by default. [Note: there is a small 'S' near the top right corner of the Directories Window that can be toggled on and off by clicking to control this feature.]

  4. Save Configuration

    Click here saves all the current settings to disk.

  5. Selection Type

    This feature allows for three different methods of enhancing the usual method of selecting files with a mouse. Multiple files, even discontiguous ones, can be selected with a single swipe of the mouse.

  6. Sort By

    This feature allows for sorting a window by File, Name, Extension, or Date; ascending or descending can be specified for each.

    1. Note, too, that in the Panel (the long window at the very bottom of the FileStar/2 window) contains several simulated LED's embedded in the line immediately above the window containing the current date and time. The user can right or left click on these "LED's" to select any of the options available to this menu option. See the bubble help or main help for more details.

  7. Display Information

      The bottom section of the menu controls some of the optional information displayed in the current FILES window.

    1. Show Titles

      Version 3 of FileStar/2 has the ability to display a file's Title2 in addition to its actual filename. To display the Title you must enable this option. Note: this option will be greyed out unless the "Load titles" boxes in the Settings notebook are checked. If the "Show Titles" option is selected, Titles will be displayed in the current FILES window, but only if they are different from the filename.

    2. Show Subject.

      Like the "Longname" EA, the "Subject" EA can also be displayed in the current FILES window by first checking the "Load Subjects" boxes in the Settings notebook, and then selecting this option.

    3. Show EA Size

      This option causes FileStar/2 to display the number of bytes used to hold the extended attributes for each file in the current FILES window.

    4. Show Date Last Accessed.

      If selected, th current FILES window will display the date AND TIME at which each file was last accessed.

    5. Show Date Creation

      If selected, the current FILES window will display the date AND TIME at which each file was created.

Walter Metcalf

For Further Reading:

An Overview of Features [in FileStar/2]
A partial list of the features in FileStar/2 by the author of the product.


1 These FileStar/2 associations can be overridden by using the Settings Notebook. We'll discuss this further next week.

2 The Title of a file is its "Longname" Extended Attribute.

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