Rediware Software's

System Tools Executer

© copyright 2002 Rediware Software and Services


Introduction and purpose

     Rediware Software's SysTools is a fully configurable utility that lets you put all of those hard-to-remember Windows utilities on one place. The versatility of SysTools lets you decide what you want to put in your tool box without being overly complicated. Now you can easily get a handle on your Windows tools.


Running SysTools

     SysTools has been tested on Windows 98 only. SysTools should, without a problem, run comfortably on Windows 95. However, most of the Windows tools will have to be located as they may be in different locations than Windows 95. SysTools makes this easy.

         This help file was written with the intent of being run with Microsoft Internet Explorer. It has operates successfully with IE 5.0.  Other internet browsers should display this file properly also. When help is clicked in SysTools, your default browser will load this file.


A Brief Look At SysTools

(the screen shot)

the selection buttonstenter command line parameters here the help button loads this help file run the selected option button runs the selection clicked above if this box is checked, this application will close automatically when an application is run add a new selection button by clicking this delete a selection button by clicking quits the application edit an existing button by clicking restore all selection buttons to their original defaults get a command line parameter (or file to run) without typing it in execute the file in the command line parameter textbox directly

     The screenshot of the SysTools Application is interactive with Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 4.0 and up. Click an area of the picture to take you to the discussion concerning that area, or ........ just read on.

     Note that the bottom of the screen (in dark purple) is not displayed in the SysTools application unless you are going to be using it.


the selection buttons that appear in each layout

     The number of selection buttons can vary, depending on how many tools or utilities you want. The maximum buttons each SysTools layout can hold is 32. The entire set of buttons on each tab is referred to as a layout in this text. Since there are 26 tabs, SysTools can store a maximum of 832 buttons!

     Each button represents a Windows tool or utility, program or application and is labeled with the utility or application that it holds. Each button is configurable, and you can add, remove, or edit buttons as often as you like. Before you can do anything in SysTools, (except read the help file) you must click one of the selection buttons. This selects the button (and the underlying tool) you wish to work with.

     Clicking on a selection button will automatically replace anything displayed in the command line parameter textbox (described below) and display the default command line parameter for that button (if you have defined one).
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the command line parameter
click here to see parameters for customized buttons

     The command line parameter field is a specialized field. In this textbox will be displayed the command line attached to an application when a button in a layout is clicked, if one has been assigned. This is the display mode of this textbox.

      You can edit this parameter manually before you run an application, if you wish. Just change the text to reflect the needed parameter. Some applications must have, or can take parameters. Parameters are pieces of information that the application can use as it begins, such as the name of a file to open. For example, if you ran Notepad from SysTools, the Notepad utility would open, ready for data entry. But if you entered a file name (path and file, such as: C:\My Documents\history\american.txt) into the command line, Notepad will open and then load the specified document automatically. Because the receiving application can flag an error for erroneous command line parameters, you may encounter more than one error (one from the application and one from SysTools) if your command line is incorrect. Remember, you don't have to use the command line parameter for most applications.

     Anytime you need a filepath and filename as a parameter, you can always use the get param button rather than type it in manually.

     Clicking on a selection button will automatically replace the text in the command line parameter box with the parameter for that button, or it will be blank if no parameter has been assigned to that button. If you are going to use a different parameter than the one assigned, enter the command line text after selecting the selection button so that clicking the button will not replace the data you have already entered.
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help button

     We've got to cover this sometime, so I guess now is a good of a time as any! Clicking the help button will automatically load your default browser and load this file. Hmmmm, sounds like a command line parameter is in there somewhere, doesn't it?
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run the selected option button

     After you have selected an option by clicking one of the selection buttons, you can click the run button. Your selected application, tool, or utility will be run. It a parameter is displayed in the command line parameter textbox, it will be included in the run operation as a parameter to that application.
     Make sure that if you are running an application/file that does not require you to close all running applications and you wish to come back to SysTools afterwards that you uncheck the checkbox!
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add a new system tool button

     If you have less than 32 selection option buttons on a layout, you can add more. Click this button and a dialog box will pop up.

     Use the standard navigational tools to find the application you want to add. After selecting it, click Open. A new input textbox will appear, with instructions for entering each piece of data. If you change your mind, click Cancel, and the operation will be aborted.

     In these examples, the mode box (on the left) says EDIT, but if you are adding a button, it will say ADD, or if your are naming a layout, it will say TAB. The defaults (in the textboxes below) will be blank for ADD, display the existing data for EDIT, and be blank for TAB.

     The first entry asked for is the command line parameter that will be assigned to the application selected. Either enter one (if needed) or click the get param to get one. If there is no parameter needed, make sure the textbox is empty and click the next button.

     

      The next entry asks you for the text you want to appear on the button face. Type the text you want the button to display. Then click the next button again.      

     When your cursor is in the textbox, pressing escape (ESC) will abort the operation.

     That's all there is to it! Your new button will be created.  
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delete a selection button

     Before clicking this button, click the selection button you wish to delete. You may wish to delete buttons for utilities you don't have or don't use. Click the delete button, and you will be asked for verification. Verify your intent to delete the button, and it's gone.
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quit

     Click this button and the application closes. All changes have already been saved.
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edit the selected button

     Before clicking this button, click the selection button you wish to edit. Then click the edit button. As with the add button, a dialog box will appear, asking you to select the replacement application for this button. Editing is very similar to the add routine.

     As before, use the navigation tools to find your utility or application you want connected to the selected button. After selecting the file, click Open. The special data entry controls (textbox, instructions, and the next button) will be displayed.

     There is a difference here from the add routines. When adding, clicking cancel will abort the routine. When editing, clicking cancel will continue with the routine. Do this when you want the application to remain the same, but just wish to change the parameter and/or button face text.

     Enter a parameter if wanted or needed. (you can use the get param button if desired) Click the next button.

 

     You will need to enter a description for this application which will appear on the selected button face. As with the add routine, enter the desired text to appear on the face of the button. Then click the next button.

     There! It's finished. Your button has been edited.
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original defaults

     When you have added, edited, deleted, or otherwise totally made a mess of your selection buttons, you can rest easy knowing that clicking the original defaults button will restore everything to it's initial condition, as when you first got SysTools. You will be asked for verification before the restoration, because all your work will be lost. Use this only when you are testing the application out, to see how it works. (yes, you can do that!)
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check box - this program will close....

     Normally this check box should remain checked. Depending on the tool or utility run, you may or may not want to close SysTools automatically. If you decided to run Scandisk, you would definitely want to close SysTools because Scandisk prefers everything closed before running, and therefore would want this box checked.. However, if you just wish to open up a Notepad file, and then return to SysTools, you would then want to uncheck this box. SysTools will then remain running.
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working path

     There is no entry required on your part here. This just displays the working path of any file selected for adding, editing, or the working path of a file selected by clicking one of the selection buttons.
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add, edit, or tab notification box

     This box takes no input from you. This box will display ADD, EDIT or TAB when you are performing one of these operations. It is simply there to remind you what you are in the process of doing.
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text input

    During an ADD, EDIT, or TAB routine, your data entry will be typed into this box. Pressing ESC (escape) during any entry will abort the routine.
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entry instructions

     Anytime you must enter data into the input textbox, instructions will appear above, letting you know what data is needed.
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the next button

     The next button gets clicked after each text entry in the input textbox. Thus tells SysTools you are ready for the next step.
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get param button

     To save typing (I'm always looking for ways to save steps) you can use the get param(eter) button to get a command line parameter file from an Open dialog box. This is of no use unless the parameter is an actual file. If it is data you need, you'll have to type that in yourself. For example:

     You want to run Notepad, and have selected the Notepad selection button. You want to load a specific txt file into Notepad when it opens. You can click the get param button to locate the txt file. The file along with the pathname will then be displayed in the command line parameter textbox. If you click the run the selected option button, the selected file will be loaded into Notepad.

     You can use the get param button to load a filepath and filename as a parameter in the input textbox when adding or editing a button too.
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execute (param)

     The execute param(eter) button works almost like the run the selected option button, but there is a difference well worth mentioning. Lets say you want to load a bmp file into Paint. Lets say you do not have Paint listed as one of your selection buttons. Instead of having to create a new button for paint, simply click the get param button to locate and select the bmp file. It will be displayed in the command line parameter textbox. Click the execute button, and Paint will automatically load with the selected bmp picture loaded into it. How can this be, some of you ask. If you use the execute button instead of the run the selected option button, the default application for that file type will load and run. But...... if you wanted to load a txt file into wordpad, you MUST use the run the selected option button, because the execute button will always load a txt file with Notepad, unless you have configured your computer to make another application the default application for a txt file. With the selection buttons, you can load a txt file into Wordpad even thought it is not the default application. You cannot do this with the execute button.

     If you click on the execute (parameter) button and nothing is in the command line parameter textbox, My Computer will open and display your file directory.

     You can use the get param button to locate and select ANY exe file, and then use the execute button to run it. It does not have to be attached to a button in a layout!

     You can use the get param button to locate and select any file, and if an application has been designated as the default application for that file type. The execute button will load that file into the default application!

     Make sure that if you are running an application/file that does not require you to close all running applications and you wish to come back to SysTools afterwards that you uncheck the checkbox!
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the tabs

     The default tab (whenever SysTools loads) is A. There are a total of 26 tabs, lettered A through Z. Each tab represents a separate layout. Clicking on a tab will have one of two results:

     If a layout for that tab letter has already been defined, that layout will be loaded and displayed. A layout is defined by the buttons displayed, applications each one runs, the command line parameters attached to each, and the button captions. With this system you can have up to 26 different layouts at your fingertips!

     If a layout has not been defined, you will be notified. You will then have the option of creating a new layout using the currently loaded layout as a template. Clicking NO will result in no changes. Clicking YES will result in a new loadable layout designated by that letter. The new layout (which will be identical to the old layout) will be displayed. You will know it is the new layout because the newly selected tab letter will still be selected. If you had clicked NO, the original tab would be selected.

     The new layout will be an exact copy of the layout that was currently displayed. The new layout routine uses the displayed layout as a template for the new one. It will now be up to you to redefine the new layout with the add and edit controls.

    You will then be asked for a layout name.

     Enter a name for this new layout. Then click the next button. Pressing ESC will about the new layout routine.

     Now that this new layout has been created, you can add, delete, edit, etc. Your changes will automatically be saved to the new layout file. After creating a new file (designated by the letter selected) you will then be able to bring up that layout simply by clicking the tab with that letter on it.

     By utilizing this feature, you can actually have all of your system tools on one tab, all your drawing applications on another, all your word processing applications on another, etc. You can make SysTools your one application for all of your start menus and shortcuts!
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tab features

layout names

     The purpose of giving each layout (tab letter) a name is so that when you hold the mouse over the tab letter, the layout name will be displayed. This enables you to easily find the layout you are looking for. Layout A is named System Tools by default.

right-clicking on the tab bar

     If you right-click on the tab bar, two selections will be available to you on a popup menu.

     Selecting 'delete this layout' on the popup will enable you to delete a complete layout. You will be asked for verification. Verify the delete, and it will be done.

     Selecting 'rename this layout' allows you to give the existing layout a new name, to be displayed whenever the mouse is over that tab. You will use the input text box to enter the name.

      Note: You cannot delete the layout designated by the letter A. This layout is the main template for the other layouts.

     Important!! Make sure the tab you want to delete or rename has already been selected, or clicked, and is displayed in the layout frame. If layout B has been selected, right-clicking on tab Q for deletion will still delete layout B. Whatever tab is selected at the time will be the layout affected by the operation you select.
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the active indicator bar

     The active indicator bar is a display for your convenience. The layout files that correspond to each letter of the tab strip may or may not exist, depending on whether you have created them or not. A red bar under the letter means the layout does not currently exist, and a green bar under the letter means that it does. This makes it easier to see which layouts are available for adding a new layout..
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uninstalling SysTools

    To uninstall SysTools, got to your control panel and use the Add/Remove utility. Select SysToolsEx for removal. You will get a notice that some components could not be removed. This is because the SysTools application creates files as it runs your index listing files). After uninstalling, simply navigate to the location where SysTools was installed (default is C:\Program Files\SysTools and will be there unless you changed the installation location when installing) and delete the folder SysTools including all of it's contents. MAKE SURE you have uninstalled SysTools FIRST!
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a note about the default tool buttons

     It is probably safe to say that some of the default tool buttons (tab A) that come with Systools will not work on all computers. Most of these tools do come with Windows 98, but if your version of Windows is different, or you have installed these utilities somewhere else rather than their default locations, you will get an error when running them. The first thing you may wish to do is to test the default buttons, and if the file isn't found, use your Start/Find/Files Or Folders utility to locate these tools. When you have found them, you can edit each button accordingly.
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customized default buttons

     Some of the buttons that appear in the default have been customized so that you can easily do complex chores. It is suggested that you do not edit (for good) the parameters of these default buttons unless you know what you are doing. Of course, you can always restore the default by clicking the original defaults button. All customized buttons and their functions/parameters are listed here.
     When editing any of the command line parameters below keep in mind:
      * It may be best (unless of course, you know what you are doing) to edit ONLY the command line parameter to suit your needs before running, and leave the actual default in place as a template. In other words, it is best not to use the EDIT function for these buttons.
     * Make sure, when editing the command line parameters, that the spaces in-between each parameter are left in tact. These buttons will not run correctly otherwise.

cab extractor (exe): This button extracts system files from the cab files on your Windows 98 CD. If you have a corrupted system file, simply extract the file using the button, rename your corrupted file (suggested is OLD and the filename) and copy the newly extracted file to the folder (usually Windows/system) where it belongs.
     The default parameters for the cab extractor are:   /A d:\win98\base4.cab mfc42.dll /L C:\Mydocu~1
     To ensure that the cab extractor works, change ONLY the following in the command line parameter box before running: The path to the cab files plus the first cab in the file should be left alone unless you are running Windows 95. In that case it must be changed to d:\win95\win95_02.cab (if your Windows CD is in CD drive d)
     This is the file you wish to extract. Change this to the desired file.
     This is the path you wish to save the extracted file in. The default is in the folder My Documents. Note that you must use DOS paths and not Windows long-filename paths.
     The black switches MUST remain the same.

Cab extractor (batch): This button has the same function as cab extractor (exe). The only difference is that it runs from a batch file rather than the exe file. If you are having trouble getting a new parameter to work in the exe version, try using the batch version. The DOS window is designed to stay open (rather than close immediately) so that you can get an idea of where the error is in the parameter line.

Directory lister: The directory lister button writes a file containing a directory listing which includes all of the subdirectories and files contained in the parameter. The default parameter command line is: c:\Mydocu~1\ /s c:\Mydocu~1\dirlist.txt
     The first parameter is the starting directory (or folder) you want a listing of. All subdirectories and files will be included in the list.
     The second parameter (/s) is a switch parameter that designates that the list contain all subdirectories also. The batch file that this button activates expects three parameters. If you do not want to list the subdirectories, put another switch in this parameter that will not affect your intent. The available switches are: (more info than you want to know!)
/p = pause in-between each screen of info (not useful since the lister writes to a file and not the screen)
/w = wide format
/a = attributes to list (followed by the specific attribute)
     /ad = directories
     /ah = hidden files
     /as = system files
     /ar = read only files
     /aa = ready for archiving
/o = order in which the listing is presented (followed by the order attribute)
     /on = by name
     /oe = by extension
     /og = group directories/subdirectories first
     /oa = by last access date
     /os = by size
     /od = by date
/s = include subdirectories
/b = bare format
/l = use lower case
/v = verbose mode
/4 = use 4 digit years

     The third parameter is the destination where the dirlist.txt file will be written. The default is in your My Documents folder. Note (again) that DOS filenames are to be used, both in the source and destination paths.
      As the batch file stands, you cannot use more than the three parameters, and therefore cannot use multiple switches. If you are knowledgeable, and will need multiple switches, you can change the tree.bat file in the application folder to reflect the number of switches you use.
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ADDITIONAL NOTES:

     Rediware Software and the author make no guarantees that SysTools will suit your needs or expectations. Rediware Software and the author are not responsible for any system incompatibilities or file or system corruption due to the installing, usage, or uninstalling of SysTools. SysTools has been tested on Windows 98 without incident, and none is expected. However this disclaimer must be in place should a software conflict arise. Note that the installation software and dynamic link libraries are written by Microsoft and are independent of SysTools. I welcome e-mail on any glitches or bugs that you may encounter. When reporting any bugs, please attempt to recreate the glitch in a step by step fashion so that you can relay to me the exact steps that caused the problem. When installing SysTools, the installation software will detect if you have older versions of dll files and ask you if you wish to install the updated versions. It is recommended that you do so. The versions contained in SysTools are the latest available at the time of release and are official Microsoft-released libraries.  
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CREDITS and RIGHTS:

     SysTools is a Rediware Software and Services release, and Rediware Software and the author retain all rights to the SysTools application and coding.

    SysTools may not be redistributed by anyone through any means, unless given explicit permission by Rediware Software. When this permission is granted, SysTools may be redistributed as long as the entire program package is in it's original distribution form, unmodified, including all files, rights, and notices, including this help file.

     © Rediware Software and Services, released 2002
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Contacting Rediware Software:

     You may contact Rediware Software via e-mail:  Rediware

     Visit our website for other software available for free or low-fee:  Rediware Software and Services