Category : Utilities for DOS and Windows Machines
Archive   : 4LOG05.ZIP
Filename : 4LOG.DES

Output of file : 4LOG.DES contained in archive : 4LOG05.ZIP

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| Version 0.5 (Beta) |
| May 22, 1991 |

Program Overview/Getting Started

Copyright (c) 1991 by Mike St. Clair
All Rights Reserved

This file contains the 4LOG description and background.


4LOG is a performance evaluation tool for the PC user who wants
to maximize performance and is looking for information about

system usage to help in that effort. It uses data recorded by
the 4DOS log command as input to its analysis. 4DOS is a widely
used, superior Shareware DOS shell produced by JP Software which
adds a great deal of capability to all versions of DOS. If you
haven't ever evaluated 4DOS, I urge you to do so. Although a
fairly new 4DOS user myself, I can't imagine going back to the
straight MS-DOS environment I used before.

If you don't use 4DOS, 4LOG will be of no value. However, in
order to evaluate 4LOG, you don't have to be running 4DOS, and if
you run 4DOS, you don't have to be collecting log data. I have
included a small sample log file in the distribution archive to
make it completely self contained. This will allow you to run
4LOG and see the results even though you don't currently run 4DOS
nor collect LOG data. The distributed Shareware version of 4LOG
is complete and contains all capabilities available in the
registered version. The only difference is a Shareware reminder
in the Shareware version which is removed in the registered
version when you brand it with an official serial number and

May 22, 1991 4LOG.DES(Overview/Getting Started) Page 1 of 4

4LOG can be customized to control how summarization is to take
place. Through user specified parameters taken from a
configuration file, the DOS environment, or the command line you
o Exclude the internal 4DOS commands
o Exclude a user specified list of commands
o Exclude the commands to switch the default disk drive
o Exclude commands shorter than a user specified length
o Drop the command extension (e.g. EXE or BTM)
o Drop the * character from the front of commands
o Exclude infrequent commands (below a specified count)
o Display output on the screen and/or a printed report


After a long and happy?! career using IBM mainframes as a systems
programmer, a few years ago I discovered the joys of the personal
computer. It's really nice not to compete with others for
computer time. It's also much less stressful when trying one of
my many wild ideas doesn't lead to several hundred angry users
lined up at my door and ringing the phone off the hook. I never
understood why they couldn't see the great value in trimming
another microsecond off IOS queue time, making it worth the risk
of a crash!

However, on the PC, I've always missed the lack of activity
tracking and performance monitoring tools that are available on
the mainframe. Having recently discovered the glories of 4DOS I
found, to my delight, it includes a logging facility which can
provide some capabilities in this area. The development of 4LOG
resulted from my desire to make use of the data collected in the
4DOS log file in understanding the usage on my own PC and thereby
improving its performance.

4LOG summarizes the contents of the LOG file, showing which
commands are used a lot and, by omission, which are not used at
all. One easy use of this data is in deciding which programs
might be located on a ram disk, if you use one. An old computer
rule of thumb says that 80% of the activity will come from 20% of
the programs. I found that on my computer, just a few of the
external utilities accounted for over 90% of usage. Placing a
few of those on a small ram disk produced an immediate and very
noticeable improvement in performance. Other steps that can be
taken are to place high use programs at the beginning of the path
or to execute them using the complete path name through a 4DOS
alias, 4DOS BTM file or a DOS BAT file.

May 22, 1991 4LOG.DES(Overview/Getting Started) Page 2 of 4

It's smart to carefully evaluate those programs you use the most.
Ask your self, is there a more efficient alternative to the
program I used 300 times last week? If you can turn a 5 second
process into a 1 second process, it will save a lot of time when
multiplied by 300. Researchers have discovered a strange thing
about the way the human mind works: perception about computer
response time is largely determined by the worst 10% of all
responses. If response is consistently more than a second, users
work in a less effective way than with sub-second response. Of
course, you can't replace a program that does the job slow with
one which won't do the job, but runs quickly. 4LOG will make it
easier to see which programs you should ask the questions about.

Of course many measures taken to improve computer performance
involve trade offs with other resources (e.g. memory or disk) or
flexibility (keeping track of changes you have to make when
reconfiguring). However, it is a lot easier to make good
decisions about those trade offs if you have factual information
to base them on. Any one time performance improvement effort in
a changing computer environment is destined for futility. To be
effective, the effort has to be on-going. And nothing changes
quite as often as the configuration of a PC in the hands of an
enthusiast. What is best today may be totally inadequate next
month. 4LOG is intended to be used periodically to review system
activity and allow adjustments to be made whenever indicated.

It is not necessary to turn the log on permanently in order to
use 4LOG. A short period of use every month or so may be
sufficient to accomplish what you want. On the other hand, by
carefully planning and customizing your log usage, it is possible
to have it be a permanent part of your daily usage and to collect
the maximum amount of useful information with the minimum amount
of data collected. LOG is an internal command imposing minimal
overhead, making it possible to dynamically turn it on/off or log
your own entries instead of using standard command logging. A
little creativity can make it a very valuable and effective tool.

Required Hardware/Software

This beta version has been developed and tested only on systems
with EGA/VGA monitors and may not work well on monochrome
displays. Before version 1.0 is released, monochrome support
will be added and tested. The amount of memory required to run
4LOG is primarily dependent upon the command array size
specified. With the default parameters, about 128K of ram is
required. 4LOG has been tested under several versions of MS-DOS
and PC-DOS through 4.01 without problem. Minimal testing under
Windows 3 and DESQView 2.26 revealed no problems. All testing
used 4DOS version 3.

May 22, 1991 4LOG.DES(Overview/Getting Started) Page 3 of 4

Getting Started

It's easy to install 4LOG for evaluation. I suggest creating a
directory called 4LOG on your hard disk and copying the contents
of the 4LOG05.ZIP file into it. For a quick look, just type 4LOG
after switching to the 4LOG directory. It will run using the
default options against the sample log file included. This will
give you an idea how 4LOG works and looks. To quit processing at
any time, just press the "escape" key, then reply "Y" when the
question "Do you want to quit? Y/N" appears on the screen.

There are a number of options which can be selected to override
the default settings. Read the document, 4LOG.REF for a complete
discussion of these options. You'll also find in the same
document, some planned future enhancements. In this beta version
(0.5) there is no online documentation or help available, but I
expect to add these before release 1.0 is launched.

Your comments, suggestions, problem reports, even (shudder)
criticisms, are invited. If you find 4LOG useful, please let me
know and register your approval. Besides giving me warm and
fuzzy feelings, your registration will inspire herculean efforts
in enhancing and improving 4LOG. If there is sufficient usage
and interest, I will work on improving the processing speed as
well. In any event, I will continue to add function because I
find it is useful to me. Whether or not you find it does
something useful for you, you are welcome to pass it on to others
for evaluation (as a complete package only, please).

You can reach me for questions or comments through BBS messages
via any of the following:

all the 4DOS conferences
the Interlink SHARWARE conference
Channel 1 BBS - (617) 354-8873/2400 - (617) 354-3137/HST
Hacker's Haven - (801) 224-4031/2400

Or by mail:

Mike St. Clair
327 North 800 East
American Fork, Utah 84003


4DOS is a product of and copyright by Rex Conn and JP Software.
MS-DOS is a product of and copyright by Microsoft.
PC-DOS is a product of and copyright by IBM.

May 22, 1991 4LOG.DES(Overview/Getting Started) Page 4 of 4