Manage your files effectively with this multi-column file manager.
This section contains very important information.
Definitions of terms
"LMB" = left mouse button. "RMB" = right mouse button. "MMB" = middle mouse button.
Active file = the main focused file.
Active reference = reference of active file.
Active column = the column which contains the active file.
Menu title = the top item in a menu, if it is bold, represents the menu title. Click the title to close the menu.
A "*" after a menu item means that the function works with the selected files (if any), instead of the focused file.
After a menu item is the shortcut key for calling that item.
File title = the full name of a file: path, name, extension. A file title is valid only if none of the following characters is present in it: " < > | " ? ".
Path trail = "\" or "/".
File path = the path (absolute or relative) of a file. It always ends with path trail.
File name = the name of a file, without any path. A file name is valid only if none of the following characters is present in it: " < > | " : \ / ? ".
Reference of a file = if the file is not a link, the reference is the file title. If the file is a link, the reference is the file title of the link's reference (/ target).
File name filter = a filter is valid only if none of the following characters is present in it: " < > | " : \ / ".
Basic mouse operations
Double click with the left button of the mouse on a file: open the directory or run the file.
Click with the left button of the mouse on a file and drag the mouse: show the "File-drag" menu. Use this menu for operations on files, which need a source and a destination directory, like: copy, move.
Click with the right button of the mouse on a file: show the "File" menu. Use this menu for operations on files, which need only a source, like: delete, view, edit, search.
Click with the right button of the mouse on a file (in a column) and drag the mouse a small distance: show the "Mouse" menu. This menu let's you access fast some of the operations which can be performed on a file. In order to perform an operation from this menu, you have to release the mouse button when the mouse cursor is over the item of the menu which displays the name of the operation.
Click with the middle button of the mouse on a file: toggle the selection of the file.
Drag a directory name from the directory tree navigator and drop into a column to display the content of the directory in that column.
If you want to go to the parent directory of a directory displayed in a column, click on the column's button which shows the directory title, located at the top of the column.
If you want to navigate in your file system using a directory tree, you can display a directory tree dialog with a "MMB" on the button (at the top of a column) which displays the current directory. You can also display this dialog using the "File \ Navigate \ Tree navigator dialog" menu.
You can find the context menu of the system (the menu normally displayed when you make a right-click on a file) under the name "System" menu. This can be displayed from the mouse menu or with a right-click on the file type field (if the type is visible or simulated).
If you display or simulate (this is by default) the file type field (see the "Options" dialog, "Show file type"), you can perform additional operations by directly clicking a mouse button on this field. See the "Mouse operations" tab in the "Options" dialog, to see how you can change these operations.
When you move the mouse cursor over a visual control, a hint is displayed at the bottom of the main window, which describes what that control does when used.
Sizes displayed as real numbers, with different number of digits from case to case, are subject of approximations, so the true value may be different than what is displayed (you will probably never meet this case). They may be written as "xey"; this means "x (10 to the power y)".
The date is displayed in long format, as defined by the system. Between parentheses is the index of current day in the current year; the first day has the index 1. The clock is displayed in long format, as defined by the system. Between parentheses is the number of minutes (of 100 seconds) elapsed from the beginning of the day; the lowest value is 0.
"Recycle file" is a function that moves files in the "Recycle Bin", thus allowing you to restore those files, at later time. "Delete file" is a function that removes the files without the possibility of restoring them. "Delete file" is faster than "Recycle file", and also creates space in your computer's storing memory.
If you want to centralize your documents then use containers. This way you can centralize files (including directories) in a single place.
In "Send" and "SendDrag" directories there are links to some programs that you may have to download from the Internet.
The following are considered options:
The internal options of the program are contained in the "FileMatrix.ini" and "FileMatrix.fmo" files. If you want to reset the internal options, just delete these files.
If you want to change the content of the "FileMatrix.ini" file, you must close FileMatrix before you close the editor with which you change this file.
The "FileMatrix.ini" file is loaded when FileMatrix is started. The "FileMatrix.ini" file is saved when FileMatrix is closed.
The directory where the internal options are saved can be changed by using the "File \ Attributes \ Special paths \ Mark Options" menu. This directory is saved in the system's registry, in the current user section; this allows every user of the system to have his own internal options files.
Each column can display a container. The content of a container is put in a file (from a directory which can be viewed using the "Program locations" menu called "Container"), with the same name as the index of the container (and extension ".txt").
Each such file is a simple list of file titles, each title on one line. Partitions are not added to a container. The items may be duplicate, that is, they may refer the same file.
The content of a container is loaded when the program starts, and is saved when the programs is closed. Therefore, if you modify the content of a file which represents a container, save the file and then close the program, the file will be overwritten (and what you saved is lost).
If you want to modify the content of a container, you must either do it using the program or close the program before you save the file which represents the container.
Media play-list file
A media play-list file must have the ".mpl" extension. To play such a file, just view it.
A media play-list file must contain a list of file titles (each on a different line): media files or links to media files (the referenced file is played). Files within a media play-list file can be other files than media files which can be viewed by the file viewer, but they are skipped.
You have to manually create a play-list:
Create the play-list file with the New file menu, using an ".mpl" extension, like this: "PlayList.mpl".
Use the "Clip titles" menu (with a filter) to find the media files in your system.
Edit the play-list file.
Paste the clipboard content (using "Ctrl+V").
Order file titles the way you would like them to be played.
See the "SongsPlayList.mpl" file for a play-list example.
Copy as hard-link
A hard-link allows a single file to have multiple file titles within a fixed partition. This way you can directly access the file from more than one directory.
Any operation with that file applies on the hard-link (not the file itself). If you try to move the hard-link to a partition that doesn't support hard-links, a copy of the actual file will be moved. However, when the hard-link counter becomes (less than) 1 (meaning there is no hard-link to that file), all operations apply on the file itself.
Copy as link
When the link already exists at destination, FileMatrix will show you the Overwrite dialog were the source is the real file (not a link with the same name). Don't worry, a link will be copied, not the real file. Also know that because the source is not yet a link, its "Modified" time should not be compared with the "Modified" time of the destination, and its size is displayed as 0.
If you try to move some files which already exist at destination, and choose not to overwrite them (or choose to overwrite all older, but there is no older file), the source files remain. Because of this, the source directories (if any) can't be deleted (/ moved), so errors will occur: you should ignore them.
Every time a file is send as parameter to a program, the title is putted between quotes (" "). Exception from this is when you send the file to a link (and the link has command line substitutions).
The menu title identifies what will be processed:
Each menu item has an associated file link (with the same name as the menu item's title). Each link has to target the proper program. The location of this program can be different on different systems, so you might need (or want) to change the targets. To do that, go to Send directory. Here select the link you want to retarget, and edit its properties. Change the content of the "Target" field to the path you want then click "Okay". See Links for more information.
Create your own links to programs in Send directory, like this:
Copy as link, into the Send directory, the program to which you desire to send the active file.
Write the parameters you want to send to the program, in the section of parameters (in the link's Properties dialog).
Delete the content of the "Start in" field (in the link's Properties dialog), so that the current working directory would be used.
The "Link as Send item" function automates most of these actions.
This menu belongs to the system. It is available for all selected files.
The "System" menu for the terminal (for the parent directory of any partition) is actually for the system.
It is just like System menu, but because the working directory is the destination column, any program in this menu can use it to do stuff in it.
The information displayed in the title of the main window is updated every 5 seconds.
The following information is visible only if the "Show system info" option is checked:
"Date" ("day in year") = Current date, in long format (as defined by the system). Between parentheses is the index of current day in the current year; first day has the index 1.
"Clock" ("minute in day") = Current clock, in long format (as defined by the system). Between parentheses is the number of minutes (of 100 seconds) elapsed from the beginning of the day; the lowest value is 0.
"RAM" = Free RAM size (in bytes), total RAM size (between parentheses).
FileMatrix integrates (within the interface) a file viewer.
In this panel the viewer displays the files.
If the active file is a link, then its reference is viewed instead of the link it self.
If the active file is a media file, then the media-player is started. The file is loaded in the media play-list dialog.
If the active file is a media play-list file, then the media-player is started. The content of the file is loaded in the media play-list dialog.
When the active file is viewed and its content changes, the viewer does not automatically reload it.
Each column has some attributes, among which the fixed attribute is the most important.
By using the fixed attribute, columns can be grouped to act in a similar manner as a menu: when you "open" a directory shown in a column, its content will be displayed in the column at its right (if that column is mobile, that is, not fixed). Also, when you go "up", the content of the directory will be displayed in the column at its left (if the directory's column is mobile). Still, each column can be used to navigate individually.
In columns, files are sorted by type: directories, links, programs, documents, and generic files (the rest). For "programs" and "documents" you can change the recognized extensions, in the options file.
Each file / item / row in a column contains: the type (the rectangle on the left of each file name), the name, and the extension (the rectangle on the right of each file name).
A group of columns contains all columns beginning from a fixed column till the last consecutive mobile column (after which is another fixed column).
When you insert a column, the last column is deleted. So, if you rotate columns toward left (so that the first column becomes the last one), then insert a column somewhere, all information about that last column is lost.
In a column are displayed all the files contained by the current directory. These files are organized into groups, according to their extensions. In each group files are sorted by name.
The type / group of a file:
At the left of each file name is its type; this area displays the extension of the file. If this field contains "»" it means that the file is a directory. The width of this area depends on the height of the row (including extra pixels).
Active file / focus
The active file is the file used to perform operations. The active file is contained by the active column.
The name in the active file is set, at every column load, with the nearest match of the last name in active file.
When you enter into a directory, the active file is set on the:
First file, if you have never visited that directory.
The last file you have focused in that directory, if you have visited it in that column and if it still is in the history of the column.
The last file you have focused in that directory, if you have visited it in any column and if it still is in the history of that column.
The inactive file is a file that would be the active file if the column in which it is would be the active column.
All functions of FileMatrix that use files as parameters actually use the active file as parameter, except for some cases (see Selection).
If you use the scroll-bar, and make the active file invisible (it is outside the visible rows of the file-box), when a directory is loaded in that column, the active file is set on the first (or the last) row.
Automonitor means that FileMatrix monitors continuously (once per second, on fixed partition) the displayed directories for changes.
Autoload is performed, for any type of partition, when FileMatrix receives the user focus (in maximum one second).
The automonitor does not detect the change of the active file.
Autoload is a function that automatically loads the displayed directories if there is any change in them, change detected by the automonitor function. The autoload is performed only in specific cases, so you would know if a change occurs, but not to be disrupted from work.
Autoload is forced after an internal function is used.
Working with columns
You can set the number of working columns for each board.
When a directory is loaded, if it can't be loaded, then the parent directory will be loaded instead.
Functions to work with in the active group of columns:
The working directory is the directory displayed in the active column. If the directory is not valid, then it is used the Temporary directory.
The working directory for any function is the current working directory (the path of the active file), except for:
Send reference to program from File-drag menu: the working directory is the path of the reference of the source file.
Send reference used with Send menu and System menu: the working directory is the path of the reference of the source file.
Send-drag menu and System-drag menu: the working directory is the directory in the destination column.
Print, Edit, Open with from File menu: the working directory is the path of the reference of the source file.
When you run a link, the path specified in "Start in" field has priority, and is used as working directory.
Selected files stay selected until the directory (which contains them) is loaded, or until after a Compare, Copy, Copy as link, "Convert picture", Move, Recycle, Delete, "Clip titles" operation is performed (each file is deselected immediately after it is processed).
The active file is not selected. Therefore, it is ignored with the operations specified above, if there are selected files in the source column. Only these functions use selected files, if any, instead of the active file.
"Find common text" is a particular case because it uses only selected files.
"Steg" is short for steganography.
Use the steg functions to hide / retrieve any file into / from a picture file (except monochrome pictures).
The following menus are part of the steg module:
If you want to hide some text so that nobody can find out you have hidden the text, use steganography to hide the text in a picture. To hide (= "steg-in") a text file (called a "source file") into a picture, drag and drop the file over a picture file (which is called "carrier file"), and click the "Steg-in" menu. The program will display a dialog where you'll have to type the password used to encrypt the text. After this, click "Okay" and the text file will be encrypted and hidden in a picture file with the same name as the one over which you made the drop, but with a different extension (".png"), which is called "resulted picture".
There are some carrier pictures which can't be used for the steg-in process because of their format (for example they have translucent pixels). Since the program automatically performs a steg-out after every steg-in, you'll get an error for such pictures.
The format of the picture resulted from this process has to be stored without losses, that is, all pixels must have exactly the same color no matter how many times the picture is decompressed and recompressed again. A bitmap could be used, but the PNG format is better because it also compresses the data, that is, a smaller space is required to store the picture.
Now, if a spy has access to your files, he can't know you have hidden some text in a picture because the resulted picture looks (for the human eye) like the original picture. Of course, if you have also stored the original picture on your computer, it can be compared with the resulted picture and, because there are specific differences, the spy would know there is something hidden in that picture. If the spy is some law enforcement agency, you could be sued for hiding evidence.
To avoid this, you have to keep on your computer only the resulted picture. If the carrier picture is in PNG format, when you drop the source file over it, the resulted picture will overwrite the carrier picture since they have the same name, and thus you automatically keep only the resulted picture on your computer.
If you use as carriers pictures, files downloaded from the Internet, you must alter them (with a picture editor) before you steg data in them. This is because even if you don't keep the original picture on your computer, a spy could find it on the Internet and can compare it with your resulted picture. However, if you alter the picture before you use it, and you don't remember what functions you used for alteration, the original picture can't be used for comparison because the two pictures can't be identical.
Instead of downloading carrier pictures from Internet, you could take some pictures yourself and transfer them on your computer.
There is one thing which can raise suspicions about you hiding files in pictures, and that is because, usually, pictures are stored in formats which have losses of information but have higher compression factors (even 10 times higher than the PNG format), like JPG. The only explanation you could give to anyone about storing pictures in PNG format instead of the JPG format, is the fact that you need to store the pictures with the highest quality, and that is the quality with which the picture was taken. This explanation is very good if you took the picture yourself.
However, if the carrier picture was downloaded from Internet, this explanation is not very good because the picture was (most probably) already in the JPG format. So, why would you store it in the PNG format if the quality would be the same but the space required to store it is much bigger? An explanation would be that you might want to process the picture at a later time, but you need to keep the original because you may start over with the processing.
After the program terminates hiding your source file, it will display a dialog confirming the successful operation. This dialog shows you a number called "Integrity". You can remember or write down this number (after all, it's just a number). Later, when you want to unveil (= "steg-out") what you have hidden in a picture, if the decryption operation fails just look in the error dialog for the "Integrity" filed. If this value is not the same as the value you remember, it means that the picture file you are trying to use in the steg-out operation is not the same file as the one resulted from the steg-in operation. But, if the value is the same, it means the password you use now is not the same as the one you used in the steg-in operation.
If even a single bit of the resulted picture is altered, it may become impossible for you to retrieve the document hidden inside.
If you set the resulted picture as wallpaper, the wallpaper picture file is a copy of the resulted picture file, so the (original) resulted picture is unchanged. If you later change the wallpaper, the original resulted picture is unchanged.
"Noise" defines those bits from the carrier picture which could be used (= replaced) by the file you want to hide. Normally, the source file is split into bits and each bit is stored in the least significant (= least visible for the human eye) bit of each color channel (= red, green, blue) of each pixel color from the carrier picture.
However, if you use the "View steg noise" function while the active file is a picture, you could see in the displayed picture that its noise is not necessarily random. Without noise management, the resulted picture would have a completely random associated noise image.
Therefore, the program uses noise management, that is, a decisional module which chooses the pixels (from the carrier picture) where data can be hidden. If you look at the noise images of both the carrier picture and the resulted picture, you can see they are very much alike. This means that without the original pictures to make comparisons with, noise management ensures spies can't have any evidence that you hide data in pictures.
Use only colorful photographs as carriers pictures.
None of these shortcut keys are displayed by the user interface.
"F1" = Help for the visual control which has the input focus. If you want to display help for a static menu item, then focus the item and press "F1".
"Alt + F1" = Help for the visual control above which the mouse cursor is.
"Esc" = Close dialog / menu.
"Alt" = Close menu.
"Ctrl + Alt + Del" = Show the task manager.
"Apps" = Show the "File" menu.
"Enter" = Run file.
"Ctrl + Enter" on a directory = Enter in directory: automove to left.
"Shift + Enter" on a directory = Enter in directory: autoopen to right.
"Alt + Enter" on a directory = Enter in directory: autohold.
"Home" = Focus first element in column.
"Ctrl + Home" = Focus beginning of page.
"End" = Focus last element in column.
"Ctrl + End" = Focus end of page.
"PageUp" = One column page up. The active file stays put in window.
"Ctrl + PageUp" = Focus beginning of page.
"PageDown" = One column page down. The active file stays put in window.
"Ctrl + PageDown" = Focus end of page.
"Up" = Focus previous file in column.
"Ctrl + Up" = Focus previous file / subcolumn: move all down, the active file stays put in window.
"Down" = Focus next file in column.
"Ctrl + Down" = Focus next file / subcolumn: move all up, the active file stays put in window.
"Left" = Focus previous / left column.
"Right" = Focus next / right column.
"Numeric-pad Left / 4" = Focus previous / left subcolumn.
"Ctrl + Numeric-pad Left / 4" = Focus previous file / subcolumn: move all down, the active file stays put in window.
"Numeric-pad Right / 6" = Focus next / right subcolumn.
"Ctrl + Numeric-pad Right / 6" = Focus next file / subcolumn: move all up, the active file stays put in window.
"Numeric-pad Up / 8" = Focus previous file in column.
"Ctrl + Numeric-pad Up / 8" = Focus previous file / subcolumn: move all down, the active file stays put in window.
"Numeric-pad Down / 2" = Focus next file in column.
"Ctrl + Numeric-pad Down / 2" = Focus next file / subcolumn: move all up, the active file stays put in window.
When the column hover window is displayed: "]" = play media (if it is not playing), fast forward with 5% (if it is playing); "[" = play media (if it is not playing), fast backward with 5% (if it is playing).
You can perform many distinct operations with the mouse on a file (from a column), but only 6 click and 4 drag operations at the same time. See the Options dialog to see how you can change the operations you can perform with the mouse in columns.
All operations are performed when the mouse button is released.
If the mouse wheel is rotated when the mouse cursor is above an inactive column, the column is set as the active column.
If you need to automatically locate a file referred by a link, file that is no longer where it's supposed to be, use the "Go to reference" menu.
FileMatrix does not recognize links with a relative file title in the "Target" field (in the link's properties).
When you run a link, sometimes it is necessary not to have a path specified the "Start in" field (in the link's properties): FileMatrix must set that path, and it does so only if "Start in" field is empty.
You can create your own links.
Command line substitution
When you run a link file and send to it a file as parameter, FileMatrix will make some substitutions in the link's sections.
The "Target" field (in the link's Properties dialog) can contain a reference (the program you want to run) and the parameters that will be sent to the program. The parameters must be separated with blank space from the reference. If you want to send, to that program, the active file, use %n% to specify where the name of the file (including its absolute path) is to be putted inside the command line. Sometimes it might be necessary to put %n% between " " (like this "%n%"). If there is no %n% in the parameters, then the file in the active file will not be sent to the program.
You can use the commands in the following sections of a file link (only ".lnk" links):
All commands (the part before "="), present in any section, are substituted with what they represent (the part after "=").
The names are case sensitive.
Commands depending on the parameter. In the following lines, "file" defines the active file:
Put "d" in front of all commands to use the file in focus from the destination column (basically the active file when the Send-drag menu is displayed) as the file. This is used only with the Send-drag menu.
Commands not depending on the parameter:
Let's say you want to display a list of thumb images, using IrfanView, from the Send Menu. Right click on the directory (on its type) you want to display, then click (in the Send Menu) on the "IrfanView Thumbs.lnk" item.
FileMatrix comes with a link to IrfanView, which you can call from the Send Menu. If you have the IrfanView in a different directory, change the "Target" in the "IrfanView Thumbs.lnk" link from the Send directory.
Let's say "Target" is "C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view32.exe %n% /thumbs".
Let's say the active file is "C:\Images" (a directory). Then the working directory is "C:\".
The command line will be "C:\Program Files\IrfanView\i_view32.exe Images /thumbs". This way IrfanView will display the first image in the directory ("Images") in the main window, and thumbs of all files in the directory, in the thumbs window.
How it works
FileMatrix does not process command line parameters.
Run file = The file is executed. It is send to the associated (by extension) application.
Run link to file = Run the referred file. When you run a “.lnk” link file, it will not be run directly, but rather the information from the link will be extracted, and the target (of the link) will be run.
Run directory = Enter in directory: the content of the directory is displayed in the active column. There is a time-out of 10 seconds; only directory content loading is included here, the sorting and any other operation is not. After the time-out, you can choose to continue loading the directory, or not. You can use the following keys:
Run link to directory = Run the referred directory.
For the Compare, Copy, Copy as link, "Convert picture", Move, Recycle, Delete, "Clip titles" operations, the dialog does not show every file processed because it is updated only once every second (in which time many files are processed). Still, when an Error dialog is displayed, the file title in the processing dialog is the currently processed one; also the last processed file is the last displayed file.
There is no Error dialog when calculating size.
Except for Compare, "Clip titles", before the actual operation:
The files to be processed are checked.
If there is any link to be processed as reference, a dialog will ask you to continue or not. This is also done for Compare and "Clip titles" if you use file reference.
The size occupied by the files to be processed is calculated.
Destination files are overwritten entirely: any file streams that are not in the source file will not be preserved (only the source streams will be at the destination).
If you click any "Overwrite" button, destination files with the "Modified" time smaller than the "Modified" time of the source files with the same names, will be overwritten.
The newer file is determined like this:
Be careful with the "Overwrite all older" button when: a file is modified, then (after, let's say, 10 minutes) the clock is officially set back with 1 hour, then (after let's say 30 minutes; less than 50 = 60 - 10) another file with the same name is modified. The first file will appear as older than the second one, so if you try to move the second file over the first one, it is not correct, but the system does not know that. It is best that you don't work in that 1 hour, so no problems would occur with any program on your system. Normally, no operating system should change the time while working, because of cases like this. Also, if you change the time manually, remember this case.
This dialog is not displayed if it is already displayed.
The System error is not always reliable; this is because it represents a smaller context than the context of the operation that resulted in an error.
The "Okay" button: Click it to close the dialog (and continue with the operation).
The "Okay (no errors)" button: When you use a repetitive function (like Copy in a directory), if an error occurs at some point and this dialog is displayed, you may want to continue the operation, till it ends, without any error dialog being displayed, so click this button.
The "Cancel" button: Same as "Okay (no errors)" button, but the operation is aborted (= no further processing is performed).
The "Log" button: click it to log the current error into the "Errors.log" log file. If the operation is successful, the default system sound will be generated.
The log file is cleared whenever it gets bigger than 10'000 bytes.
Pictures are cache only when they are displayed. If a picture file is modified by an application, it's cached thumbnail is updated only when the column which displays it is reloaded.
The function which generates the random numbers uses mouse movements to randomize more the output.
Find common text