rom E-Racer/2's former name, DupeFind, it is easy to tell what the program does. Why the author changed it to E-Racer/2 I don't know; perhaps he thought the meaning would be more easily guessed when you pronounced it and found it sounded like "eraser", or maybe it is meant to give the impression of speed ("racer"). Regardless, E-Racer/2 is billed as the fastest duplicate file finder for OS/2 Warp, a tool for trimming the fat from you hard drive by locating and deleting the files you don't need two or more copies of.
E-Racer/2 is a character mode application (.GIF, 5.6K) rather than a Presentation Manager (GUI) one, which can be run either fullscreen or in a window. The installation program simply creates a folder and icons for it on the Desktop. Most of the documentation is accessed online through IDK's web site, and an icon that the installation program creates will take you there. The program itself does have sufficient built-in help, however.
E-Racer/2 is pretty good at scanning your hard drive, and in my tests I found that it discovered significantly more duplicates than other clone finders. Benchmarking it was a little harder, however. Since E-Racer/2 bills itself as the "fastest" duplicate file finder I had to time it next to Clone Cleaner, also reviewed in this issue. The trouble was that even though E-Racer/2 took three minutes longer than Clone Cleaner to scan the same two hard drive partitions (without help from a database, mentioned later), it also found 4,000 more files than Clone Cleaner (36,000 for Clone Cleaner in 25 minutes, 40,000 for E-Racer/2 in 28 minutes). No adjustments of the settings appeared to get them to see the same number of files and produce a fair test.
E-Racer/2, like Clone Cleaner, can compare suspect files by checking what E-Racer calls their "signatures", which is probably a CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) of each file's contents. This allows E-Racer to dismiss files that may have the same name or file size, but different contents. It also allows it to find duplicates in files that have different file names.
Also a bonus is the ability to search inside ZIP files as if they were just another directory. And important for those wanting to refine their search to save time, or screen out files that don't need checking, such as e-mail, is the ability to add directories and masks to an Include/Exclude list (.GIF, 11.4K).
Since scanning an entire hard drive can be so time consuming, E-Racer/2 can be set to keep a database of all the files it finds, so on later scans it may skip files that it has already checked. Indeed, on the second scan, checking my entire drive took only about two or three minutes as opposed to the almost half-hour deep think of the first run.
The only problem is that, at least for me, this database can grow big. With 40,000 files checked on my hard drive, the database file in E-Racer's directory had grown to 3.5 megabytes. This could offset the benefits of finding and deleting the duplicate files you don't need anymore. Deleting the database poses no problems, however, and E-Racer simply does a full scan again the next time you run it.
After the scan is complete, E-Racer displays all the duplicates (.GIF, 11.8K) it found along with full paths so you can pick the ones you don't need anymore and delete them. Once a duplicate file has been found you'll probably want to make double sure it's not a mistake by viewing it first before you delete it. E-Racer, being a character mode application, does not honor any file type associations you may have on your Desktop, but does have the ability to launch several different file viewers such as e.exe for text files and PMView for image files.
One feature E-Racer lacks is a "path checker" similar to Clone Cleaner's. When E-Racer displays files to be deleted, it does not flag whether those files reside in a directory referenced in your PATH, DPATH, LIBPATH or HELP paths. Therefore, users must be careful not to delete a copy of a file which may be required to reside in a certain directory by some other program.
When the time comes to delete a file though, E-Racer does have the ability to delete from within a ZIP.
E-Racer/2's database does much to improve its performance beyond that of Clone Cleaner. The character mode interface, although stone-age in comparison, is still very nicely done and may not matter to you if you plan to only run this program once a month. The shareware version is fully functional except for a 10-delete limit per session until you register.
Chris Wenham is the Senior Editor of OS/2 e-Zine! -- a promotion from Assistant Editor which means his parking spot will now be wide enough to keep his bicycle and a trailer.
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