SAN FRANCISCO (07/20/2000) - Let's face it: Windows Explorer is a lousy tool for managing files. Take a look at FileQuest 2.0, recently released by PiQuest Software Inc., and you'll see just how inadequate Explorer is.
What makes FileQuest special? Here's just one example: Think of your basic Windows Explorer screen, with a folder tree on the left and the contents of a folder on the right. Click a folder in the left pane and the right pane's display changes accordingly. With FileQuest, click on a folder in left pane, and you're looking at the contents of two folders. Click on another folder and you see three. This is the easiest way imaginable to view two folders at once.
You can simultaneously display up to a rather excessive 15 folders. That's just the start.
The program is shareware, so you can check it out for free. If you decide to keep it, registration costs US$24.95 for the full version, or $19.95 for the no-network-support FileQuest Lite. You can download it from FileWorld or from PiQuest's Web site.
Search Tools Vary
Searching is an important part of any file management system, and it's one where Windows Explorer is hard to beat. FileQuest beats Explorer in some ways, and falls behind it in others.
FileQuest automates searches like no other file manager I've seen. For instance, you can create a menu option that will find all of the files that match a set of criteria, then copy them to a Zip drive. FileQuest's automated search is limited, however, to copying, moving, and deleting files. Other useful tasks, such as compression and changing the archive bit, can't be automated.
FileQuest has a few more serious limitations. For example, you can't search by text within a file, something virtually every other search program offers.
Comparing Old, Others
How is FileQuest 2.0 different than FileQuest 1.0, which was released earlier this year? The new version makes some improvements to the user interface, and a adds few new features. For instance, you can now easily e-mail a file. Just select the file, click the e-mail button, and up the file comes in your e-mail program (assuming the program is one that Windows accepts as a default).
In other ways, the updated program is more configurable. Version 1.0 had an option for minimizing FileQuest to the system tray, for instance. With Version 2,0, you can control what that system tray icon does when you click it.
And how does FileQuest compare to other file managers, such as PC World Best Buy PowerDesk? FileQuest lacks .zip file support, FTP capabilities, and file viewers. On the other hand, PowerDesk lets you view only two folders simultaneously in one window, and it doesn't offer anything like FileQuest's search automation.