Capture file system status information

Manually tracking a file system can be a complex task. This task is especially difficult in an OS with a directory structure composed of large, loosely organized folders, such as Windows NT. To complicate matters, most packages install and uninstall with automated utilities that give you little tangible feedback. Although this setup is efficient and easy to use, it complicates monitoring file system changes. Directory Catalog 2.0 from BarnStormer Software is a solution.

Directory Catalog builds, maintains, and examines snapshots of your file system. These snapshots, or Catalogs, record a file system component's state at a given time. You can customize the content and level of detail a Catalog contains. Also, you can access all Directory Catalog's features, including the online user manual, through one graphical interface.

Why Use Directory Catalog?
The primary purpose for building a Catalog is to capture the state of a piece of your file system at a specific time. By itself, this functionality is not particularly useful. However, Directory Catalog also includes a Reconcile feature that compares a Catalog with your file system's current state. For each Catalog entry, Reconcile determines whether the corresponding file still exists and, if so, whether its timestamp, date, or size has changed. Reconcile also checks whether you have added any files to the current directory. As the lower pane in Screen 1 shows, Reconcile summarizes all discrepancies in a tabbed window that lists changes by category.

Suppose you install NT on a new system. With Directory Catalog, you can build Catalogs that capture your system's brand-new state. You can build new Catalogs for each system upgrade or you can simply refresh previous Catalogs. With these Catalogs, you can archive a history of system modifications. Directory Catalog also includes an export facility, which lets you pull these archives into other applications, such as Microsoft Excel. Also, if you encounter system problems, you can use your Catalog history and the Reconcile feature to generate a list of files that you have changed, removed, or added. This information can pinpoint the source of your problems.

Creating a Catalog
After downloading the software from BarnStormer's Web site and completing the installation, you create a new Catalog by clicking the New Catalog icon. The system then presents you with a file dialog box that lets you traverse your file system. When you find a folder you want to include in the Catalog, you highlight the selection and specify whether Directory Catalog should include the folder's subdirectories in the Catalog. Also, you can specify a file mask. A file mask lets you use standard wildcards to filter the cataloged files based on filename patterns. You can use the Add Directory Mask option to add files to a preexisting Catalog. For example, you can build a new Catalog of executable files by specifying a file mask of .exe. You can then use Add Directory Mask to add libraries to the Catalog using a .dll file mask.

Specifying Catalog Content
For each file in a Catalog, Directory Catalog contains a distinct entry that matches a directory mask at the time you created or last updated the Catalog. Each entry contains the name, full path, size, date, and timestamp of the corresponding file. You can also specify file entries, digital signatures, and version information.

The Verdict
Directory Catalog is easy to learn and use. This product provides a convenient method for capturing and analyzing the state of your file system. Directory Catalog is a handy utility that lets you monitor and analyze your file system's changes.

Directory Catalog 2.0
Contact:
BarnStormer Software * 704-545-2373
Web: http://www.barnstormer-software.com
Price: $12.95
System Requirements:
Windows NT Server, NT Workstation, Windows 98, or Win95, Less than 1MB of hard disk space