Software foils floppy-disk file fluster

Sheridan Software Systems Inc., Melville, N.Y.; tel. 877-347-5228
Price: $50

+ No training necessary
+ Floppies treated as virtual hard drive
+ Zip utility a nice extra
+ Color-coded folders ease organization

Real-life requirements:
Win9x, 16M RAM, 10M free on hard drive, CD-ROM drive

No matter how large hard drives get, there will always be a need for floppy disks. And
as long as there are floppies, users are going to forget which file is on which floppy.

Sheridan Software Systems Inc.’s DiskCataloger makes sense out of the desktop
clutter of floppy disks, writable CDs and removable media. DiskCataloger can keep track of
each and every disk you use.

It’s refreshing to find such a simple and useful tool.

In essence, DiskCataloger tricks your computer into thinking it has another hard drive,
comprised of all your removable disks. You click on the DiskCataloger icon to see the fake
hard drive’s contents, just as you would explore your actual hard drive.

Users familiar with Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98 will not even need to run
through Sheridan’s tutorial.

When I installed DiskCataloger, I did not plan to start testing it for at least a week.
To my delight, it immediately started tracking the mound of floppies that store screen
shots for my articles.  

When you click on the DiskCataloger icon, it displays the contents of the faux hard
drive, indicating each known floppy as a folder. Click on the file you want, and the
program prompts you to insert the proper disk.

All you have to do is name or number your floppy and removable disks. That is far
simpler than trying to keep track of lengthy filenames listed on small disk labels as you
add or delete files.

DiskCataloger can assign each disk a color as well as a name, visually prompting you to
grab the correct colored cartridge or color-labeled floppy.

The program’s finest feature by far is its consolidated presentation of mountains
of floppy-disk files. You simply tell DiskCataloger to search for a specific file, and it
prompts you to insert the right disk.

No more pulling up directories and scanning the filenames on every disk. With just a
tiny bit of help from you, DiskCataloger will keep your files as well-organized as the
Library of Congress.

A bonus: Disks with compressed files are handled exactly like uncompressed ones. You
can examine all the files inside a compressed directory without unzipping them. And you
can drag and drop compressed files into folders. DiskCataloger unzips and compresses them
in background while you work.

The program takes into account the fact that you might use some disks at other
computers. When you insert a new disk, you are asked to assign it to one of two
categories. The first category is for local use only, and the program does not rescan the
disk each time you use it. It updates the catalog information only when you add or remove

The second category maintains information about disks for use elsewhere. In this case,
DiskCataloger will scan for changes each time the disk is inserted. This takes a little
longer, but the records stay updated without user effort.

If you’re like me, losing floppies is still a problem. But at least DiskCataloger
can identify the floppy that you need to find.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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