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FileTiger Project Backups in Plain English

FileTiger is a high-power information synchronizer and backup tool. It helps you keep your information up-to-date, wherever you need to use it. If you share information in an office, or have your own network, or do backups (on nearly any kind of backup gadget), you need FileTiger.

Files are Documents and Projects

Nearly all information stored in a computer is in files and folders and drives. A computer file is very similar to a piece of paper--it holds information, and you'll find them on your computer with names like 'Project 42.doc' for a document created in Word, or 'Projected budget.qpw.' for a spreadsheet built in Quattro Pro, 'New Site Logo.gif' for graphics created in your favorite art program. For all of these, you need to copy files from one location to another, so that you can have groups of related information together, and keep spare copies of older information so that if you need it, you can always look at an old version of a document. FileTiger will help you copy and move files.

Folders are, well, Folders

A computer folder is just like a folder that you would use in a metal file cabinet. It has a name, and it fits into a file drawer. You can make new folders in FileTiger, copy what's in folders, compare two folders and copy only the newer or missing pages, or you can delete (tear up) folders. Some people say that folders are directories. That's the old name from the DOS days--it's the same thing. And a subfolder is just a folder inside another folder. Easy.

Drives are File Cabinets

A computer stores files in folders in drives. A drive is a computer gadget that stores information in it, just like a file cabinet, and it has a label on the front, with a letter of the alphabet, like "c:". There are lots of parts inside the drive, and they all work together to feed information to the software that you're using. The hard drive's name is "c:". Sometimes you have one drive letter for one hard drive, and sometimes you have several. If you have several hard drives, like c:, d: and e:, just think of them as multiple drawers on the file cabinet. With FileTiger, you can copy whole file drawers if you want, or just copy the missing and newer parts--that's a very handy way to do a backup of all your projects.

A CD-ROM drive is a special file cabinet--you can look in it, but you can't change anything. Like any other file cabinet, it has a drive letter. On many computers, it's "d:". If you have more than one hard drive, the CD-ROM drive letter will be the next letter, like "e:".

Paths are Filing Instructions

Say you have a very, very organized office, and your file cabinets are perfectly in order. You can write a note for the office file clerk, "Get the list in 'projects-new building-doors-suppliers'" and the clerk will know to go to the file cabinet marked 'projects', and find the file drawer labeled as 'new building' and look inside for a folder called 'doors' and bring you the paper list of 'suppliers'. On a computer, it's just as simple, but named a little differently-- c:\projects\new building\doors\suppliers.doc. Each backslash is a folder. This document is down in a third-level of the folder list. Sometimes that's called a tree, because if you drew a chart of where all the files are, it would have a lot of branches. The full set of directions to any file or folder, like c:\projects\new building\doors\suppliers.doc, is called a path.

CDRW Drives, ZIP Disks, and Superdisks are Portable File Cabinets

The best backup of business data is one that isn't in your office during the fire. Or the break-in. Every computer has a portable file cabinet, called a floppy drive. It holds diskettes, which aren't floppy, but that's just a name that dates back to the type of diskettes used in the 1980's. A diskette doesn't hold much, maybe a few dozen small documents or one large one. It's more useful for sending copies of files somewhere else than for making backups. The floppy drive on your computer has a name--it's called "a:".

A bigger portable file cabinet is a Superdisk or a ZIP disk or magneto-optical disk. The names aren't important unless you're buying the cartridges to fit them; think file drawers. They all hold around 100 to 200 times as much stuff as a diskette.

A CDRW disk is an erasable CD-ROM. They look very much like an audio CD, but the shiny side is usually pale green or gold. These disks need special software, which came with the drive. If you have one of these drives, you can use it two ways: 1) You can copy a big set of files onto the disk all at once. This requires CD-mastering software, which came with the drive. 2) If you also have packet software, like Direct-CD from Adaptec, you can copy files to a CDRW disk just like any other drive, and you can move files, and rearrange folders, too, and all those tasks can be done in FileTiger.

Memory is a Blackboard

Just to complete the list, computer memory is a set of chips that remember information, but if the computer is turned off, they forget everything--they're like a blackboard that is washed every night, and all the chalk is lost.

Bytes hold Single Letters of the Alphabet

Kilobytes hold a Thousand Bytes or a Paragraph

Megabytes hold a Thousand Kilobytes or Several Documents

Gigabytes hold a Thousand Megabytes or Several Large Projects

Memory is measured in bytes. A byte is enough computer memory to hold one letter of the alphabet, or one character, like "$". A Kilobyte is enough memory to hold 1,024 bytes. You'll see that number, 1,024, frequently in computer geek-speak. 1,024 is used because it's equal to 2 raised to the 10th power, and that makes it easy for the programmers to work with. For them. For everyone else, think of it as 'around a thousand' and you'll be close enough.

OK, here's why computers are confusing: Too much stuff is measured in bytes and groups of bytes--it's like an office with five people named 'Bob'. Memory can be chips, measured in Megabytes, or hard drives, which are measured in Gigabytes (around a thousand Megabytes), or floppy disks, which hold 1.4 Megabytes, or CDROM disks, which hold 640 Megabytes. In a few years, we'll be talking about hard drives measured in Terabytes, or around a thousand Gigabytes, and storing files on DVD disks, like movies come on, and those can hold around 16 Gigabytes. It's all storage of information--all you need to know is that chip memory is the blackboard work space that gets erased, and drives are the file cabinets that hold information, and that some drives are cabinets with wheels, or removable.

Getting It All Together

You can use FileTiger to organize your files so that the data is all together in one area, and that will make it easy to copy all that information to any kind of removable drive, for taking work home from the office for more working, or just for off-site backup. Have thousands of document files, and you don't know which ones to copy? That's OK, FileTiger will compare your in-computer file cabinet (hard drive) and your rolling file cabinet (Superdisk) and copy only the files that you don't already have. Working at home? No problem, FileTiger can find and copy those, too.

Project Backup Steps, for Paper Files and for Computers

1) Look at project folders, and figure out which were changed most recently, browse inside them to see what they are, and then label them clearly, change the revision dates, and generally explore the file cabinet.

In FileTiger, you'll use the file lists and folder lists to look through the projects (files) and folders. If you use the right mouse button to click on a file, you can view it or open it or rename it. If you click the Attributes button, you can change the revision dates.

2) Moving the project files between two folders, including copying everything, copying only newer or missing files, and creating backup copies on other drives, or compressing groups of files into long-term storage--that's boxes in the attic for a paper office, or ZIP files for computers.

In FileTiger, you'll use the Copy, Move, Backup, and Tree Copy folders to put copies of projects where you need them, without having to pick up and move any files that are just fine where they are. You'll use the file matching options in the Select menu to find files that are in both of the folders you're working with, and to find the newer versions of those duplicated files.

FileTiger is designed to do these things easily by using a NEAR and FAR concept. All the buttons on the FileTiger screen are mirrored left-to-right. The button set nearest the file, folder, and file boxes is the NEAR set, and always work on the files on that side of the screen.

FileTiger is FILE-BASED. Only the Show Folder button works on the contents of the folder list. All the other buttons work on the contents of the file list. If you want to do something to a folder, right-click on the folder and choose from the options in the popup menu, or open the folder and work on the files inside.

Remember, FileTiger is ambidextrous. It copies, moves, or performs any other task as easily from right to left as from left to right. The NEAR side is the side you click the button on. The FAR side is where copied files will go.

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