File Management

This was a subject that came up at the X vs. XP Forum, and I thought I would post what I wrote here as well. I still prefer using the Finder to Windows Explorer. And in response to the open-two-windows-of-the same-location thing - this is a very useful thing to do, and can be done with much less than some describe. I have a number of AppleScripts for file management that I use. One is to open a window clone. I find no such thing in Windows. another thing I grew to love in the Mac OS and have been miffed at in the 4 months I have been using Windows on a daily basis is the concept of Labels, coloring the folders for organization. Some people say this is hogwash but putting things in specific colored folders is a great thing. Not only that but replacing a folders icon in Windows is not the ease that it is in the Mac OS. If I want a folder to stand out, I put a custom icon on it. Not a very quick thing to do in Windows. There is a utility for Windows called Rainbow Folders that will replace the icon with a colored one, not the slick way of using metadata like the Mac OS does, but I can put up with extra .ico files to color my folders. i'm not kidding coloring a folder a specific color is very useful. Rainbow Folders is not a breeze to use, and is not quick to be able to color a folder, but it does the job, it just takes longer then Labels in the Mac OS. In the Finder in OS X there are icons for the 3 views, you can click on them to change the views. I would like to see something like that for the various views in Windows Explorer. So I can click from Thumbnail to Details and all the ones in between. Windows Explorer lets you cutomize the toolbar with a very limited amount of options compared to the toolbar in the Finder. I have a number of my file management AppleScripts in my Finder toolbar for example. I very much miss column view from OS X now that I use XP for most all my work. The tree view in XP is OK, but it does not let you drill down the heirarchy of your HD like Columns view does. spring loaded folders are also a big help in file management. If you want such a thing in Windows you have to get the entire Open Desktop package ($50 subscription) to get a rather small utility from the good people at Stardock named SpringFolders. There is no free utility that does this. You can spring load folders in Windows Explorer tree view finally, but not in list or icon view. Since there is absolutely no difference between browsing your files and browsing the web (in Windows), Windows cannot seem to keep the two separate. For example if I have the Google toolbar showing in Internet Exploder and I go to root through my My Documents folder it shows the Google toolbar right there above my files in the Windows Explorer window. This is poor design. And if you have any other IE toolbars installed they work the same way. Windows Explorer cannot save the information as to how you look at a folder, be it in icon view or detail view. It stores this information in the Registry, and this information is only kept for a few specific folders such as My Documents. The rest of the views go back to the default once closed. Even My Documents gets set to the default view sometimes. So if you go back to a folder it will probably not be in the view you want it in. Mac OS X uses an invisible .DS_Store file to control these types of settings. Having a folder the way you left it is something that helps a great deal in file management. For example, Save dialog boxes in Windows do not remember were you were last. That information is *sometimes* saved in the registry but gets overwritten even if the developer is smart enough to code this functionally in. I for one like my Save dialog boxes remembering were I last was. these are the observations I have had so far with Windows Explorer file management. I don't loath it by any means, I just prefer using the Finder over Windows Explorer. I think that over all file management under OS X far exceeds that of what XP has to offer. And for that matter I use Path Finder is OS X because it far exceeds what the Finder does (not because of file management mind you, but because of other very handy features).


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Comments (1)

Some of those sound like prime candidates for further Object Desktop enhancements, particularly the rainbow folders. Maybe you should consider posting over in the newsgroups - Brad's just asked for suggetsions in his "What would you like next?" thread.

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