By: Mark Dodel, (firstname.lastname@example.org) http://home.ptd.net/~madodel
When I first heard about XFolder (I think it was a WarpCast post), I thought
'Oh just what we need another WPS enhancer'. Well it was freeware so I went to the
guy's site and checked it out. The early version made modifying Warp's folder menu's
a breeze. Just Drag n' Drop an object to the XFolder configuration folder. However
it didn't support shadows. That and more have changed with the more recent versions.
The thing that impressed me the most when I first looked at this utility/enhancement
was the high quality of the documentation. the author includes an INF file in both
English and German, not only going into a great deal of detail about XFolder, but
also covering the how and why of WPS programming. I corresponded briefly with Ulrich
and found out that in real life he is a law student in his last year of school in
Germany. A very impressive little package for someone that isn't even a full time
OS/2 Warp 3.0 or Warp 4.0 with the Work Place Shell installed (that is the standard
OS/2 Warp GUI interface). The author states he has never used Warp 4.0, but I can
attest that it runs fine on Warp 4 with Fixpack 6.
Installation was fairly simple. You can obtain the download file from the developer's
web site - http://www2.rz.hu-berlin.de/~h0444vnd/os2_d.htm.
For the English translation just click on the British flag. The zip file contains
both English and German documentation. Unzip the file (preserving directory structures)
into a directory and run install.cmd. It will ask which language you want English
or German. It then warns you that it is about to replace several system WPS classes.
No files are actually copied over though. If you agree the command file then deregisters
and then registers 5 WPS classes, including WPFolder, WPDesktop, WPDisk, WPObject
and WPSystem. You can then either elect to restart the WPS or wait until you reboot
your system for XFolder's changes to take effect. The same install.cmd can be used
to de-register XFolder's changes and restore your system back to it's original folder
So what does XFolder do for you? Well like I said before it adds the ability
to modify the folder (including the desktop which is just a big folder) menus by
dragging things to the XFolder configuration folder.
Notice in the above menus that all objects in the XFolder Configuration folder
below appear at the bottom in the later menu graphic where XFolder is enabled. This
includes special WPS objects like the Relish Phone Book Bun which I have never been
able to get Warp Center to accept as well as shadows of other objects I like having
quick access to. Some standard selections XFolder comes with are the Command lines,
Quick Settings (which configure the folder the menu is open for) and Create another
which has selections for Folder and Program objects. You can modify these menus
by dragging new objects to the subfolders in the XFolder Configuration folder.
But it adds more than this. Theres a DDE Netscape link which if you select it
will first check to see if an existing copy of Netscape is running before it will
try to start another. XFolder also adds a configuration page to all folder properties,
allowing you to display the full path for that folder in the title bar, allow the
use of 'hotkeys' in that folder and allow "snap to grid" for this folder's
contents. Also XFolder enhances the folder view so that it will automatically scroll
down if you expand a link in icon tree view, to show the newly displayed contents.
In addition to the folder options, the Desktop properties has another page with
options specific to the Desktop menu. These include the ability to remove the following
items from the menu - System setup, Lockup and Shutdown. There are also new Shutdown
options. You can add a selection to "Restart the WPS", Autoclose non-PM
sessions on shutdown (so no warning message pops up telling you a VIO or DOS session
is still running and asks if you want to close it). Also there is a confirm option
that applies to both the Shutdown and WPS Restart that allows you to display a confirmation
window if you select either of these two actions. Why would you want to just restart
the WPS? Some times when you install a new application that doesn't require changes
to the config.sys, or new drivers to be loaded, you don't really need to reboot
to use the new app. You can just restart the WPS and your changes should take effect.
Finally on the Desktop page is the option to replace the standard OS/2 shutdown
process. I find this to be one of the best features that this product has to offer.
How many times have you had something hang (did someone say Netscape/2?)? XFolder's
replacement Shutdown process adds several features. First it gives a visual display
of exactly what it is doing, telling you which process it is closing down. and on
the display is a Skip button. if a process is hung just select skip and it will
go on to the next process. This allows the shutdown to complete so any desktop setting
changes are not lost as when you are forced to do a
Besides the very detailed documentation in the included INF files, each setting
on the settings pages has context sensitive help. The INF file is well layed out
and a pleasure to read just to learn more about OS/2.
Some of the features are probably found in other apps. I know CAD Commander has
the ability to select reboot on shutdown. Over all I find no reason not to run this
package and at least one really big benefit from it in the new shutdown functionality.
Plus the documentation was enjoyable to read, and I usually never bother with documentation
unless I have a problem.
There are a lot of things that can be done to configure XFolder that I haven't
yet tried. There are folder shortcut key combinations. He also documents REXX command
files to further enhance the WPS in conjunction with XFolder.
The author just put an announcement out on WarpCast that he is working on a the
next version of XFolder which should be out in the next few weeks. He adds that
there is a problem with the replacement shutdown process giving an error if the
INI files can't be updated (that is the files have the Hidden and System attributes
set). He states the next version will fix this problem and as a work around he suggests
"open a command line
(with ? being your boot drive) and then
ATTRIB -R -S -H OS2*.INI"
I have not experienced this problem at all. I highly recommend this application
and when I get the chance I plan to look at some of the other freeware apps by the