Contents of the FDU.DOC file
*+*+* File Description Utility *+*+*
Copyright (c) 1990 By Brad Kidder. All Rights Reserved.
*+* Shareware $20 *+*
This utility allows you to:
* View a directory of files with descriptions
* Add or change file descriptions
* Call a program to view files
* Call a program to view archive files
* Call a program to edit files
* Highlight another directory and then view it
* Print the directory listing to a printer or to a disk file
* Print text files
* Delete files and empty directories
* Rename files and directories
* Copy files with their descriptions to another directory or drive
* Move files with their descriptions to another directory or drive
* Sort the directory by Name, Extension, Size, Date, or Description
* Search for the first letter of a file name with the Alt-keys
* Change to another drive and directory
This archive contains the following three files:
FDU.DOC -- File Description Utility Documentation
FDU.COM -- File Description Utility Ver. 2.01
FDUFIG.COM -- File Description Utility Configuration Program
FDU.COM creates a hidden file in each directory where descriptions are
added. The description file (DESCRIPT.ION) is compatible with 4DOS, a
replacement program for COMMAND.COM. This utility doesn't require
4DOS. However, the DIR command of 4DOS displays descriptions created
by this program and 4DOS will copy the description when a file is
copied or moved to another directory.
I urge you to take the time to become familiar with this program. It
does more than just provide file descriptions. I use the description
area to make notes about a program or note what parameters to use with
a program. By highlighting directories and pressing F2, it is easy to
move around your hard disk, and F10 is a quick way to get to another
directory or drive. With a small viewing program it is quick and easy
to look at text files and decide to move them or delete them. Sorting
by time makes it easy to see the latest changes to a directory. The
alternate keys are a quick way to find the file you are looking for.
The syntax for FDU is:
FDU [d:][directory] [/E] [/S] [/T] [/D] [/U] [/?|H]
The optional drive and/or directory specifies the drive and/or
directory to be used; the single switch specifies the sort order:
Extension, Size, Time, Description or Unsorted. Directories are
sorted by filename as a default. The ? or H provides a usage
message. Any switch must be specified last.
While in FDU, the description currently highlighted can be edited.
The last letter of a full description is pushed off the end if more
characters are inserted.
(FDU.COM page 2)
*+*+* Control Keys *+*+*
F1 Invokes a help screen.
F2 Will do one of three things based on the highlighted line:
1. If the highlight is for a file with a file extension of:
.ARC, .DWC, .LBR, .LZH, .PAK, .ZIP, or .ZOO
it will call an archive program to view the file.
2. If the highlight is for a file with a different extension
than those mentioned above, it will call a program to
view the file.
3. If the highlight is for a directory, then FDU will change
directories and display the files in the new directory.
S-F2 Will call an edit program to edit the highlighted file.
F2 uses the programs specified by FDUFIG for these displays,
(See FDUFIG.COM below).
F3 Will display a menu allowing you to print:
1. The displayed directory to the first printer.
2. The displayed directory to a disk file. You will be asked to
specify the file name for the output.
3. The highlighted file with a descriptive header to the first
4. The highlighted file without the descriptive header.
Note, on the menu this is listed only as "(4. W/O)".
F4 Allows you to mark the highlighted description.
S-F4 Allows you to copy the marked description to the highlighted
F5 Allows you to delete a file or an empty directory.
F6 Allows you to rename a file or directory.
(Press Enter after changing the file or directory name.)
(Press Esc to escape without changing the name.)
F7 Allows you to copy a file to another drive and/or directory.
(You will be asked to specify the name of the new drive and
F8 Allows you to move a file to another drive and/or directory.
(You will be asked to specify the name of the new drive and/or
directory. If the drive is different, you will be asked to
confirm that you do want to MOVE the file for the first file.)
F9 Sort the directory listing by:
1. File name
2. File extension
3. File size
4. File date and time (latest at the top)
5. File description
F10 Allows you to change to a different drive and/or directory.
(FDU.COM page 3)
Ctrl-C Will exit FDU without saving the new description file
and will leave you in the displayed directory.
Ctrl-Q Will start all over by rereading the directory and adding
the file descriptions.
Ctrl-R Will restore a description, or file name, to what it was
when the cursor was last moved to that line.
Ctrl-X Will place the file name on the DOS command line and
exit the FDU program in the displayed directory. With 4DOS,
this will also put the cursor in column 1 in insert mode.
This command will not work properly, unless your system
supports writing to the keyboard buffer.
Ctrl-Y Will clear from the cursor to the end of the highlighted area.
Gray + and gray - will move the page up and down on the screen.
Alt-[key] Will search for the next file that begins with that key.
The Shift key, in connection with the Alt-key, can be used
to search for directories or for files that begin with the
special characters above the number keys.
Esc Will exit any sub-function or the FDU program, rewriting the
description file, if any changes were made, and returns you to
the subdirectory where FDU was called.
This program allows you to configure FDU.COM. It allows you to:
- Change the screen colors on color monitors.
- Set the starting mode to either overstrike or insert.
- Set the cursor shape for overstrike or insert modes.
- Set the viewing program and the parameters to use with it.
- Set the editing program and the parameters to use with it.
- Set the archive viewing program and the parameters to use with it.
- Select to pause or not before returning from a viewing program.
When setting a viewing programs, you also tell FDU whether you want
to wait for a key stroke before returning to the directory display or
not. FDUFIG will check that the program can be found in current
directory or in the DOS path. It will not accept it if it can not be
When the F2 key is pressed in FDU.COM, the program checks for one of
the common compression extension types, (.ARC, .DWC, .LBR, .LZH, .PAK,
.ZIP, or .ZOO) and will load the program you specify as the archive
viewing program to 'view' this archive file. SHEZ.EXE and FV.COM are
good examples of programs you could use here. If the highlighted file
is not an archive type file, and not a directory, it will load the
program you specify for viewing programs. If the highlighted entry is
a directory, then FDU will change directories to that directory.
(FDU.COM page 4)
When the shift-F2 key is pressed, FDU will call the program that you
selected as an editor to work with the highlighted file. The program
you select does not have to be an editor. It can be any program you
chose to work with the highlighted file.
Each of these 'viewing' programs can have parameters. These can be
specified on the parameter line for each of the viewing program.
In addition, some programs you may chose, will return to DOS when
they complete, without waiting for you to terminate them. FV.COM is
an example of this. It lists the files in an archive and then
returns to DOS, normally. This would cause FDU to redisplay the
directory without giving you a chance to see the list. To avoid
this, FDUFIG asks you if you want to 'Press any key' before returning
to the FDU display. You would answer 'y' for programs like FV.COM.
You will find it very easy to use FDUFIG to change FDU.COM to use
different viewing and editing programs for different needs. For an
example; you may have a special program that you would like to use
to print several files. You could select it as the EDIT program and
then use shift-F2 to print those files.
This file is created or updated in each directory by FDU. It
contains the file names with any descriptions that were present when
it was written. This file is nearly self-maintaining. Whenever FDU
is called, it gathers all the names of the files that are currently
in the directory and then matches the names in the DESCRIPT.ION file
with them. If any of the files had been deleted, then there would
not be a match and those descriptions are lost. Because FDU only
writes entries for files with descriptions, this DESCRIPT.ION file is
correct every time it is updated. FDU will keep the same attribute
that the file had before. If FDU creates the file, the file
attribute will be that of a hidden file.
NOTE: 4DOS changes this file's attribute to hidden any time it
(If you haven't met 4DOS yet, find yourself a copy on a local BBS,
download it and TRY IT! 4DOS is a complete replacement for the DOS
command processor, COMMAND.COM. It has a significantly better user
interface for MS-DOS, and the reaction of most people to it is that
4DOS provides the user interface and capabilities the MS-DOS should
have had. 4DOS is a shareware product with a reasonable registration
price. If you can't find 4DOS locally, contact: J.P. Software
P.O. Box 1470, E. Arlington, MA 02174 for information.)
NOTE: FDU.COM IS *NOT* SUPPORTED BY J.P. SOFTWARE, THE
DISTRIBUTOR OF 4DOS. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT J.P. SOFTWARE
WITH QUESTIONS OR SUPPORT REQUESTS.
(FDU.COM page 5)
*+*+* HISTORY *+*+*
FDU.COM (Version 2.01a 12/19/90)
1. Fix Delete empty directory
2. Fix Sort menu
3. Fix Insert in FDUFIG
FDU.COM (Version 2.00 11/28/90)
1. Add Print functions (F3).
2. Add Mark description and Copy Mark (F4).
3. Add Alt-[key] Search for file name.
4. Add Sort by Description (F9).
5. Add Change Drive and/or Directory (F10).
6. Add Edit file (S-F2).
7. Support longer program parameters.
8. Changed the format to display F-key functions on the screen.
9. Make Sort more like 4DOS [TEST2 before TEST10].
10. Make . and .. always the top two entries when sorting
and Highlight the .. as the top entry.
11. Support 16 background colors and add border colors.
12. Restore colors and cursor on exit and set DOS prompt
after last line rather than at the bottom of screen.
13. Insure that DESCRIPT.ION is written to the correct directory.
14. Improve cursor location when moving up and down descriptions.
15. Fix cursor by using 0 to 13 or 6 to 7 for all color monitors.
16. Pause if the viewing program returns with a return code.
FDU.COM (Version 1.21 8/28/90)
1. Fix the total byte count & full disk errors.
FDU.COM (Version 1.02 8/20/90)
1. Added the COPY file function with descriptions.
2. Added the MOVE file function with descriptions.
3. Added the ability to switch to a different directory.
4. Added the ability to use another program to view archive files.
5. Added a way to provide parameters to the viewing programs.
6. Removed the need for the 'FDU_ED=' environment variable.
7. Added the ability to delete an empty directory.
8. Added Ctrl-C to exit FDU in the displayed directory.
9. Put sorted directories before all other lines.
10. Provided the ability to stack the file name in the keyboard
input buffer (Ctrl-X).
11. Improved page-up and page-down on the first and last page.
12. Added gray + and gray - to move the page up and down.
13. Provided a configuration program (FDUFIG) to allow users to:
- specify the viewing programs and their parameters,
- change the handling of insert and overstrike,
- change the screen colors used by FDU.
14. Extended the cursor bar to include the file name.
FDU.COM (Version 1.01 7/19/90)
1. Provide an indication for one file attribute.
2. Indicate that there are more files above or below display.
4. Improve page-up and page-down bar placement.
5. Add Ctrl-R to restore a line to what it contained when the
cursor was last moved to that line.
6. Left the display on the screen on exit.
7. Added the DELETE and RENAME file function.
(FDU.COM page 6)
FDU.COM Version 1.00 (7/6/90) was strongly based on MDU.COM and
fixed many of the bugs in that program. The following problems
were corrected by FDU.COM 1.00:
1. MDU did not recognize the lower-case names that 4DOS's
DESCRIBE function used for directory names and would delete
any descriptions for these directory names.
2. When 4DOS came out with version 3.0, they changed the way
they handled the descript.ion file and started eliminating
the carriage return from the carriage return-line feed
pair at the end of every record. MDU couldn't handle this
and would lose all following descriptions.
3. MDU had an unsort switch [/U], but it didn't work.
4. MDU's ^Q didn't work correctly, if the editing program
changed the location of the DTA.
5. MDU's ^Q put the cursor in column one but the data got put
in the column where the last cursor happened to be.
6. MDU's ^Q also failed, if the displayed page was beyond the
first page. It put the wrong description for the top file
on the page.
7. When MDU sorted by extension, it didn't also sort by name.
8. MDU sorted the date and time in ascending order. I feel
that users prefer it in descending order as they are more
likely to work with the latest files first.
FDU.COM (Version 1.00) also provided a byte count for the files
listed in the directory.
FDU.COM is based on three other programs.
DIRNOTES - That provided the ability to specify descriptions
DR - That allowed you to list a sorted directory and
view files within the directory and to move,
rename, and delete files.
MDU - A program that took DIRNOTES and changed it to sort
the directory and view files, using an external
viewing program, and to use the DESCRIPT.ION file
used by 4DOS in a compatible way.
DIRNOTES.COM is the original utility program written by
Michael J. Mefford and published in PC Magazine, Sept 15 1987.
DR.COM was also written by Michael J. Mefford for PC Magazine.
It allowed you to view, move and delete files.
MDU.COM (11/29/88) is an adaptation of the DIRNOTES utility.
It was developed by David P. Lemire. It uses the 4DOS
description file format rather than the format used by the
original DIRNOTES. It also provides a much improved editor,
multiple file sorting options, a help screen and the capability
to invoke an external file viewing or editing utility, such as
BROWSE.COM or Vernon D. Buerg's LIST program.
(FDU.COM page 7)
Some of the improvements I am thinking of making are:
1. To improve the sort by using a different sorting technique.
2. To support screen sizes other than just 25 by 80.
3. To support more than 430 files in any one directory.
*+*+* Technical Information *+*+*
FDU.COM is written in assembly language and Assembled using the
Microsoft Assembler 5.1. I used CodeView for debugging the more
difficult problems. It has taken me well over 1200 hours since
the 16th of June 1990 to develop this program.
FDU uses some of the more advanced DOS functions, and requires DOS 2.1
or later, but makes no test of the DOS version. Thus, some functions
may not work. It also uses INT 16H function 5 to write to the
keyboard, to put the file name in the keyboard buffer. This will not
work on systems that don't support this function.
MDU used an environment variable to specify the view program to use.
I don't feel that this is a good use of these variables for programs
that may not be used all the time. I tried finding the path that
called FDU and use that same path to find the programs called to view
files. This required that you keep these programs in the same
directory with FDU.COM. Also, it didn't work when FDU was called from
within some other program. Therefore, I finally settled on searching
the PATH= string for the viewing programs.
FDU tries to use the RENAME function to move a file from one directory
to another. If this fails it will then try to copy the program from
one to the other. FDU checks to see it the drive is different and if
it is, it will ask you to verify that you do want to MOVE the file,
for the first file only. This is because I use MOVE quite a bit. One
day a friend wanted some of the files on my hard disk and I MOVEd them
to a floppy for him. Was I surprised when I couldn't find them later.
Also, FDU will ask if you want to replace a file if it exists at the
target location. This may be annoying, but it is safer.
If you try to delete a directory, FDU will try the DOS REMOVE
DIRECTORY function. For this to be successful, the directory must not
have any files in it including the description file. For you to get
rid of the description file with FDU, you must also remove any
descriptions for the . and .. directory names or the description
file will be written back when you leave the directory.
Like MDU, FDU changes the default directory to the directory that it
is displaying. This makes it easier for the viewing programs to work,
but may cause TSR programs to leave files where you don't expect them
to be. FDU will return to the original default directory when it
exits, unless you exit by the Ctrl-C or Ctrl-X key.
FDU.COM, as distributed, is set up without any viewing or editing
programs. You must use FDUFIG.COM to enter the program names you wish
to use with their parameters. I use SMOOTH.COM as the normal viewing
program, Personal Editor II as my editing program and SHEZ.EXE as the
archive listing program.
(FDU.COM page 8)
SMOOTH.COM is by Michael J. Mefford and can be found on one of the
two disks supplied with the book DOS POWER TOOLS 2nd edition by PC
Magazine. It provides a smooth scroll of the screen on EGA and VGA
SHEZ.EXE is a Archive File Handler program by James Derr, California
Software Design, James Derr, P.O. Box 15248, Santa Rosa, CA. 95402.
It should be available on most bulletin boards. FDU checks for all
the same archive extensions that SHEZ supports, so it is an excellent
choice to use with FDU.
*+*+* Acknowledgements *+*+*
I would like to thank Tom McCormick for letting me know that he was
losing his cursor; David Fox and Drew Allen for their suggestions; Ben
Rees, Greg Mendizabal, Paul Winter and Joe Beda for their support and
for the many suggestions that they have made; and to Michael Mefford
and David Lemire whose programs led up to this one.
*+*+* Shareware *+*+*
FDU is supplied for personal, private use. Feel free to distribute
the non-registered version of FDU given these restrictions:
- The program shall be supplied in its original, unmodified
form, which includes this documentation;
- No fee is charged;
- "Commercial" use without a license is prohibited;
- The program may not be included, or bundled, with other
goods or services. Exceptions may be granted upon written
request only. This also applies to clubs and distributors.
This program is provided AS IS without any warranty, expressed or
implied, including but not limited to the program's suitability for
any specific purpose. Considerable testing effort has been expended,
but the user is advised to check the program's suitability before
relying on it. The user assumes full risk as to the results of using
this program. In no event shall the author be liable for any
consequential damages arising from the use, or inability to use this
The idea of shareware with its low cost distribution of quality
programs can be of great value to computer users. Programmers with
good ideas can afford to implement them. The programmers are talented
people that may forego salary to implement their ideas. They are
making a bet that their efforts will be accepted and that users will
respond. FDU version 1.21 has been available since 8/28/90. I asked
then for donations in any amount. I have received only four and two
of those were from friends. With this version, I will try a different
approach. If you will send me $20, I will send you information on how
to register the program and eliminate the beep and request on exit.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
(12/10/90) (FDU.COM page 9)
------------------------ REGISTRATION FORM ------------------------
FDU Registration Fee: $20.00
Please make checks or money orders payable to: Bradley P. Kidder
Remit to: Brad Kidder, 5126 Glentree Court, San Jose, CA 95129
Please Register FDU Version 2.01a to:______________________________
Send Registration to:
City, State, Zip: _________________________________________________
Where did you find the program? ___________________________________