Three Programs and a Freebie for Windows 95
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1995. First
published in Our Computer Player, December 1995
4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 3470
San Francisco, CA 94111 USA
Quick View Plus
401 North wabash, Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60611 USA
approx. $50 (US)
Arcada Software Inc.
708 Fiero Commerce Park, Suite 5
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 USA
805-782-4400/ 805-544-9209 (fax)
Windows 95 is a big step forward in features and
usability over the
various versions of Windows 3.1 that have pretty much defined personal
computing for the first half of the ?90s. It has a friendlier
long file names, more-or-less plug and play hardware support, and is
powerful and less crashable than its predecessor. (Or as cynics are
?Windows 95 sucks less?).
It?s interface is good enough that it?s taken most of
the steam out
of the formerly thriving industry creating software to enhance Win 3?s
anemic Program Manager. Symantec Software, for example, is targeting
Win95-compatible Norton Navigator as something to ?enhance? Windows
features, rather than to replace Windows features, as it did with the
3 Norton and PC Tool?s Desktop programs.
Better as Windows 95 is, there remains room for
enhancements, and a
number of companies are producing products to fill in some of Windows
Take long file names, for instance.
Windows 95 finally breaks with the 1981 DOS standard
of 8-letter file
names (with no spaces, please). It allows for file names as long as 256
characters (even the Mac only allows 32 characters)-- I?ve seen student
?essays? that were shorter than that.
Unfortunately, this is only supported with new,
32-bit, Win95 compatible
software. Your existing Windows programs are still only aware of the
8 letter version... and so a word processor file named ?Letter to the
about Taxes? will appear as LETTER~1.DOC if you?re using last year?s
Symantec Norton Navigator includes a feature allowing
old Windows programs
to use long file names-- but it only works with programs using Windows
long file names, and a few others. It doesn?t support the popular
Office programs, for example.
Vertisoft?s Name-IT is a simple program that does this
but does it well. When running, it adds long file name support to
all old Windows programs. If the programs use the Windows 3 common
boxes for Open and Save As, it replaces them with their Windows 95
complete with long file support. If your program uses custom dialogue
for these functions, it adds a ?Long File Name? button onto the
box-- pressing that opens the Windows 95 dialogue, again allowing long
It worked with all the old software on my system--
allowing me to use
this useful (and long overdue) Win95 feature, without having to update
all my software to new versions. (Note however, that this will NOT
you to safely use older utilities such as defragmenters/optimizers or
programs, without risking damage to the long file name structures). My
only wish is that the program could be run needing its icon taking up
TaskBar real estate.
Quick View Plus
One of the new skills for Win95 user?s is to
right-click on everything...
New computer users may find this easier than upgraders from Windows 3,
for whom the right mouse button often seemed as little used as an
Right-clicking most things brings up a pop-up menu,
with items customized
to the selected object. Right-click on some data files in Explorer (or
My Computer), and one of the menu items says ?Quick View?. Choosing
brings up a handy view of the contents of the file, without needing to
waste time bringing up the application that made the file. This is
handy if you don?t actually own the application that created the file,
or if you want to check a bunch of documents to see if they?re
(If you installed Win 95 from floppies, Quick View wasn?t installed--
on the CD version only).
Symantec thought highly enough of this feature, that
even though it?s
previous Win 3 products, like PC Tools File Manager, included a
set of document viewers, it relies on Win95?s Quick View to provide the
same feature in the new Norton Navigator.
The only problem is that Quick View only provides
viewers for a handful
of file formats.
Inso Corporation, who actually provided Quick View to Microsoft, in
the past has been known for the excellent Outside-In utility, which
a huge range of file converters. They are marketing a replacement for
View, called (surprise!) Quick View Plus.
Instead of the 30 viewers included with Win95, QV-Plus
lets you view
over 200 document formats-- virtually all of the common DOS and Windows
word processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphics formats, and even
several of the more common Mac formats.
Replacing Quick View in the right-click menu, QV Plus
does a good job
of showing fonts, line spacing, even, in many cases, embedded graphics.
It will even let you view the contents of compressed ZIP files.
It can be used with e-mail in Microsoft Exchange--
e-mail that now can
contain graphics or other binary attachments. Or it can be used
with the Start Menu's FIND command... either to find a file, or even to
find a file containing a particular text string. Once you've viewed the
file, if you want, you can print, directly from the Quick View Plus
even if you don't have the original application that created the file.
If your viewed file contains an OLE object's icon, that too can be
Graphics files can be cropped or resized, and the
clipboard can be used
to copy and paste all or part of a document into a Windows application.
Individual files within a ZIP archive can be viewed, copied, or moved--
all without opening the archive .
Get used to right-clicking-- it?s one of Windows 95?s
And if you find the range of viewers that ship with Windows 95
take a look at Quick View Plus.
One of the big areas of complaint from Win95 upgraders
has been backup.
Hopefully, we all know about the importance of maintaining current
for protection against viruses, power failures, theft, and other
Older backup programs, like other disk utilities,
however, are incompatible
with Windows 95?s long file name structure. Win95 includes usable
for other disk utilities-- ScanDisk and DeFrag both work well, and
be used in place of older DOS or Windows equivalents.
There is a backup program included with Windows 95, as
well, but it
seems like the weakest of the bunch-- written by tape drive
Colorado, it provides support for some Colorado drive models, but does
not support most of the wide range of tape backup units available. No
support for example. (Of course there?s no support for floppy
in the era of common 500 meg- 1 gig hard drives I shudder to think of
number of floppy disks needed for a backup).
Arcada are backup specialists. Their earlier products
have been licensed
to other utilities companies, appearing under well-regarded names such
as Norton Backup. Under their own name, they have marketed higher-end
aimed at network managers, and alternative operating systems such as
Arcada Backup for Windows 95 claims to support all
tape drives commercially
available today... the wide range of DC2000 (QIC 80) tapes, the new
Travan tapes, SCSI tapes, parallel port units, and more. It uses
multi-tasking and multi-threading abilities to speed up backup, even
the computer is being used for other tasks.
An included Backup Wizard walks the user through the
customization. Backups can be automated, allowing them to take place
at night, for example. As a true Win95 program, it safely supports the
long file name structures. As well, special thought has gone into
with the Windows 95 System Registry.
The Registry is the central repository for data about
software, and users on a particular machine. It can pose problems with
backup and restore processes... if new hardware or software has been
since backing up, restoring the backup could result in a loss of the
Arcada-95 handles this by treating the Registry files
other data files-- these aren?t simply restored, instead, they are
line by line, with the existing file-- minimizing potential danger.
choices can be saved, allowing users to save a set of parameters for a
minimal daily backup, and a more comprehensive weekly backup, for
This program is a must for anyone who values their
data or their computer?s
setup under Windows 95.
Power Toys-- the Freebie from Microsoft
Not to be left out, even Microsoft is enhancing the
basic Win95 product.
We?ve previously review Microsoft Plus!-- the $49 add-in. But a number
of the Windows 95 interface programmers have been working, on their own
time, and created a collection of little utilities that Microsoft left
out. These are being distributed for free, by Microsoft, and other
sources, as PowerToys. (Try http://www.microsoft.com if you have
PowerToys have been updated every few weeks, but as of
right now, includes
a number of useful enhancements. Several features are added to that
right-click pop-up menu... for example, you can now view inside those
compressed *.CAB files that came on your Win95 CD or diskettes, and
find a particular file. Even nicer is the addition to the SEND TO
by default, right-clicking on a file gets you a SEND TO choice,
you to send a file (or files) to the A: drive, or to a few programs.
95 HINT-- copy shortcuts of anything to the \WINDOWS\SEND TO folder,
they will appear on the SEND TO list... add printers, fax,
whatever you want). PowerToys adds a SEND TO... ANY FOLDER item, making
it the easiest way to copy or move files in Explorer.
There are some nice enhancements to the audio-CD
player. New to PowerToys,
is perhaps the most powerful feature of all-- TweakUI. This installs as
a Control Panel icon, and allows the user a huge range of customization
features... removal of cluttering desktop icons such as Network
or the InBox, for example, or an easy way to get rid of the Cloud
at boot up.
Lots of features, and the price is right. Anyone who
wants more power
over the Win95 environment should take the time to track down and
a copy of this one.