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Useful Utils #2 – ZTreeWin

This is a bit of an old school one. I’ve been using ZTreeWin and its predecessor XTreeGold for well over 10 years. It looks like a DOS program you say? Well thats the idea. ZTreeWin is the Windows version of the late great XTreeGold. Essentially its file and directory manager that is incredibly fast to use (once you know the shortcut keys). It has the ability to work with small subsets of files very easily by tagging them.

ZTreeWin v1.50 - main view small

The problem with XTreeGold was that when we all shifted to Windows it was stuck in the days of 8.3 file names and short directory name. Plus the fact it was a DOS program limited to using 640k of memory! To give it its due, it still worked, but it was a bit handicapped.

Norton / Symantec, by some odd route, bought them out and tried to make a native Windows version but given that the ALT key is meant to activate menu’s and various assigned controls in Windows, it completely destroyed half of XTree’s short cuts making it piss useless. Plus it looked hideous and was a tad sloooow.

ZTreeWin v1.50 - split view small

So when I heard of ZTreeWin I was well chuffed. Like most things in life its not free, but at $29.95 its hardly expensive. It is also worth noting it is still actively developed by Kim Henkel. Its been done as old style console app that looks and works exactly (and I mean *exactly*) like XTreeGold but without the limitations.

One of my favourite things it can do is mirror folders from one location to another and accurately tell you how long it will take (yes, Explorer does this, but you give it a lot to do and you end up with a progress bar like this!). It is also very fast at searching files, you can get it log a directory, filter it down (by extension, or any sort of file filter), tag the files you want and then search them.

Of course it isn’t perfect. The lack of drag and drop is a pain and its inability to work with native UNC paths doesn’t help. It does provide a workaround in that you can open the “Map Network Drive” wizard, but there are times when you just want to quickly enter a path and get on with it. It doesn’t need to have a drive letter!

That said, along with SlickRun, I use it everyday and probably will for the foreseeable future.

There is a very comprehensive XTree fan site that spookily looks like the program. It contains a wealth of information about XTree’s history.

The original author of XTree, Jeffrey C Johnson, has a website as well. One of the domain names of which, www.xtree.com, was given to him by the author of ZTreeWin. A nice gesture I thought.

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