Turbo Browser can handle almost anything on the Web, but documentation and price are drawbacks

Turbo Browser can handle almost anything on the Web, but documentation and price are drawbacks

By William M. Frazier

Special to GCN

Turbo Browser 2000 makes an effective replacement for Microsoft Internet Explorer, combining the usual browsing functions with previews of numerous file types.

The 1.4M application is downloadable for $70 and stores on a single floppy disk. Install it by clicking the executable download file and choosing the installation drive and directory. Everything else is automatic.

My only installation complaint was that Turbo Browser insisted on placing its icon on my desktop. I don't claim to be the most organized person in the government, but I dislike lots of icon clutter. It's possible to delete the icon, but it would better not to have it in the first place.

If you want volumes of documentation with your software, Turbo Browser will disappoint you. It's available strictly as a download, and the only documentation is the Windows Help file. The toolbar icons do not have bubble help text, although you can display explanatory text to the right of an icon, which uses more real estate.

Turbo Browser's three windows keep surfers oriented and ready to migrate.

Turbo Browser 2000 peeks inside an exceptionally large number of file types. Instead of quoting a long list, I'll list those I know it can't handle. So far I've had no luck with Microsoft Access files, although I can view Access Report Snapshot (SNP) files. Nor can I view Adobe Photoshop images with .psd extensions. There are other file types, primarily for multimedia, that I haven't tried.

Like Internet Explorer

For a comprehensive list of the supported viewing formats, visit www.filestream.com/turbobrowser/features.htm.

The Turbo Browser interface, which resembles that of Internet Explorer, has the usual copy, move and delete icons. It also has buttons for local and networked drives on your system.

The address bar displays the currently displayed drive and directory. You type a uniform resource locator into the address bar to display a Web page. Below the address bar is the preview bar, which gives the location of the file displayed in the preview window.

Files are easy to rename in batches with a preview before committing to a change.

Below these toolbars are three or four viewing windows. The Folders window lists all your hard drives and directories. Next to it are one or two File windows, depending on which option you choose. A File window lists all the files in a selected directory. To the right of the File window is the Preview window and a toolbar for the contents of what's selected in the File window.

The Preview toolbar changes depending on file type. If you select an MP3 file, the toolbar shows play, pause and stop buttons. If you view a text file, the toolbar shows formatting buttons.

The final interface element is the Output window, which is divided into three tabs: Find, Compare and Queue. When you search for files using the Find option, the Find Output window opens automatically to display results. If you compare two folders, the Compare Output window opens.

To perform the same operation on several files, such as converting from TIFF to JPEG format, select them in the File window and move them to the Queue window.

Turbo Browser can display the contents of compressed .zip and Windows Cabinet, or .cab, files. You can preview files stored in those formats as well as extract them. The program also handles Unix Z and tar archives.

Box Score

Turbo Browser 2000

Browser and file manager

FileStream.com Inc., Locust Valley, N.Y.; tel. 800-732-3002


Price: $70

+Comprehensive file manager and '''previewer for most file types

'Fairly expensive

'Could benefit from a printed or PDF    manual

Real-life requirements:

Win9x, NT or 2000; 16M of RAM; 3M of free storage; Internet connection

Turbo Browser supplies ActiveX viewers for Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format, Office 2000, Windows 9x, AutoCAD DWG and MP3 files, among others.

It's nice to see the documents with all their formatting intact. You toggle an ActiveX viewer on and off by clicking the ActiveX button on the toolbar.

Internet tools

Turbo Browser provides still other Internet tools. For example, you can e-mail a file to another computer as an attachment if your e-mail program complies with the Messaging Application Programming Interface. You can download a Web site, with or without graphics, and set the number of levels or links to follow within the site.

An advanced group rename tool has complex options for changing filenames and previewing them before committing the change. You can compare folders by name, date or contents and change file attributes such as hidden, system, archive, read-only, and creation date and time.

Turbo Browser handles a myriad of tasks in a compact fashion. It easily manages, views, extracts, renames and compares files or folders, not to mention browsing and downloading Web sites for later offline study.

Its main drawback is comparatively high price. For example, the PowerDesk file manager from Ontrack Data International Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn., costs $50 less. Although PowerDesk is far less powerful than the $70 Turbo Browser, it has a split-screen interface, similar to two Explorer windows open side by side, that I like better.

Likewise, the WinZip decompression program from WinZip Computing Inc. of Mansfield, Conn., is $40 less. But if cost isn't a problem, get Turbo Browser.
William M. Frazier, a PC hobbyist, is postmaster of Taholah, Wash.


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