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                       The Prompt Solution - Online Edition
                       JP Software's Electronic Newsletter
                             Issue #5 - July 2, 2002
       >>  Special summer pricing on CD upgrades -- including a special
       >>  "second license free" offer!  To order go direct to our online
       >>  store at  See below for
       >>  complete details, tech tips, and more!
      [Sent to the address you gave us when you purchased a JP Software
      product.  For address changes and list removal see end of message.]
      In this Issue:
          * Summer Specials
              - Upgrade to the JP CD Suite -- Get a FREE Second License!
              - Tell Your Friends -- New CD Suite Purchases Get a FREE
                   Second License too!
          * Latest Versions of 4DOS, 4NT, and Take Command/32
              - What?  You Missed the Upgrade?? ... Newest Releases Offer
                   FTP Support, and Over 200 Other Enhancements
              - Latest Maintenance Releases
          * Tech Tips:
              - Understanding File Systems:  Something Old, Something New
              - Command Line Features You Forgot
          * Customer Service and Miscellaneous
              - Contacting JP Software
              - Newsletter Address Correction, List Removal, and
                   Privacy Information
              - Copyrights, Trademarks, and Fine Print
         **>> Summer Specials <<**
      >> Upgrade to the JP CD Suite -- Get a FREE Second License!
      Already own 4DOS, 4NT, or Take Command/32?  Now you can move up to our
      JP CD Suite with all three products for just $59.95 -- that's $10
      under the regular upgrade price -- AND we'll throw in a second CD
      license at the same time, at no additional charge!
      We know many of you now use more than one computer -- for work and
      home, for your children's education, as a network gateway, and more.
      This is the perfect opportunity to build in consistency and ease of
      maintenance across all your machines, at a very attractive price.
      If you don't need a second license for another system, you can save
      it, pass it on to a friend, or even give it to your boss (just let us
      know who it's going to when you order).
      Using more than two systems yourself?  We can help there too -- if
      you're taking advantage of the offer above for your own computers you
      can add on CD licenses for more systems (up to a total of 10), at just
      $39.95 additional per seat.  That's over 20% off our usual
      multi-system CD pricing!
      To order just visit our online store at:
      This special offer expires August 31, 2002, so act now!
      >> Tell Your Friends -- New CD Suite Purchases Get a
      >> FREE Second License too!
      We're happy to extend the benefits of this offer to new customers too!
      From now through August 31, when you order a new CD Suite you'll get a
      second license FREE as well!
      Need more beyond the second license?  Already own the CD Suite?  Take
      advantage of the same offer mentioned above:  go up to a total of 10
      machines at just $39.95 additional per seat.
      This offer also expires August 31, and is available through our online
      store at
         **>> Latest Versions of 4DOS, 4NT, and Take Command/32 <<**
      >> What?  You Missed the Upgrade??
         Newest Releases Offer FTP Support - and Over 200 Other Enhancements
      If you're still on 4DOS 6.02 (or below), 4NT 3.02, or Take Command/32
      2.02 -- or any earlier versions -- then perhaps you missed last year's
      major upgrades.  Well, they're still available -- and at the same low
      price.  Here are some highlights ...
          FTP Support:
              The single biggest enhancement in these versions is FTP
              support (in 4NT and Take Command).  This support extends
              across many commands and functions (e.g. you can use most file
              oriented commands -- COPY, DEL, MOVE, REN, TYPE, etc.  -- on
              FTP servers).  It enables file management on FTP servers from
              the command line, and brings all of the capabilities of 4NT
              and Take Command/32's enhanced batch scripting language to
              automation of FTP transfers.  It's an important tool for web
              developers, and anyone maintaining a web or FTP server and
              needing to manage it using familiar commands, and/or automate
              their work.  See the first "Tech Tip" below for details on how
              to use these features.
          @file Lists:
              Another significant addition, "@file" lists, adds even more
              flexibility to file processing, allowing you to take a list of
              files generated by another command, or another application,
              and use it as input to any file processing command.  Use @file
              lists to find text in files and then process only those files
              containing the matching text, to change the order in which
              files are copied or moved, or use the same file lists for
              internal commands and external applications with similar
              features (e.g.  .ZIP file tools).  See the second "Tech Tip"
              below for more information.
          Usability Improvements:
              We've also added plenty of little things that help with
              usability - like server and sharename completion on the
              command line, variable name completion, a more robust way to
              handle standard text-mode applications in Take Command/32, and
              dozens more.  And there are over 100 enhancements to existing
              commands, giving you more command line power and flexibility
              than ever.
          Batch File Enhancements:
              For batch programmers, this release offers a wide range of
              additional enhancements, including over 40 new variables and
              functions that offer capabilities like manipulation of the
              Windows registry, access to Windows system data, new
              arithmetic calculations, additional date handling, and access
              to new Windows 2000 file attributes.
      In addition all products are fully compatible with the latest
      operating systems including Windows NT / 2000 / XP and Windows 95 /98
      / ME.
      The price for all this?  Just $34.95 for the first product, $19.95 for
      each additional product, or $54.95 for the JP CD Suite.  Plus if you
      currently have one or more individual products you can convert to the
      CD Suite with all products for just $69.95!
      For additional details see the "What's New" section of the online help
      for each product.  A file with essentially the entire list of changes
      is also available -- check the ASCII files area of our web site at for WHATSNEW.TXT.
      >> Latest Maintenance Releases
      The latest releases of our most popular command line tools are 4DOS
      7.01, 4NT 4.01, and Take Command/32 3.01.  Earlier this year we also
      released a maintenance upgrade to 4OS2, version 3.03.
      To download these latest releases, visit:
          * Our web site at
          * Our FTP site at  See the product subdirectories
            for the file for each product (these are the same files
            available from our web page).
      This maintenance release includes bug fixes and compatibility
      enhancements developed since our last release.  It does not include
      any major new features or functions.  For complete details on all
      changes see the "What's New" topic in the online help, or the
      same information available from the Technical Support area of our web
      If you are currently running 4DOS 7.00, 4NT 4.00, or Take Command/32
      3.00, this is a minor upgrade.  To update your current copy, simply
      download the new version and install in a new directory (or over the
      old one if you wish).  For manual installation, see the brief
      instructions in README.TXT and/or the more detailed instructions in
      the ASCII Introduction and Installation Guide (included with the
      downloaded files).
      If this is a major upgrade for you (e.g. if you are running 4DOS 6.02,
      4NT 3.02, or Take Command/32 2.02, and have not yet upgraded) please
      see the previous article.
         **>> Tech Tips <<**
      >> Understanding File Systems:  Something Old, Something New
      Remember the good -- or, depending on your view, bad -- old days?  A 20
      MB hard disk was large, and file names were 8 letters or numbers
      followed by an extension of three more.  File systems were barely
      mentioned because there was only one, and of course pretty much all work
      on PCs was done in DOS and from the command line!
      Things are a little different now.  Some people don't even know what
      the command line is.  20 MB is more like a file size than a disk
      size.  And you have to make sense of a plethora of file systems --
      FAT, VFAT, CDFS, NTFS, NFS, and more.  What's more, each has its own
      unique characteristics and many are not compatible with each other.
      4DOS, 4NT, and Take Command can work with pretty much any file system
      that's provided on the platforms they run on.  However there are real
      differences in behavior that depend on both the operating system and
      the file system.  Understanding these differences is important if you
      work on multiple platforms, or with multiple file systems, as many
      people do.
      The operating systems under which our products run support four
      standard file systems:  FAT, VFAT, FAT32, and NTFS.
         * The FAT File System is the traditional file system used by all
           versions of DOS.  Its name comes from the File Allocation Table
           DOS uses to keep track of the space allocated to each file.
           Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP also support the FAT file
         * The VFAT File System is an extension of the FAT file system
           available in Windows 95 and above.  This system maintains
           additional information about files on FAT drives, including long
           filenames (LFNs).
         * The FAT32 File System is an additional extension to the VFAT file
           system.  It is available in Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2
           ("OEMSR2"), and in Windows 98, ME, 2000, and XP.  It is similar
           to VFAT, but supports larger disk drives.  It is not supported
           under Windows NT 4.0 or earlier, or under DOS.
         * The Windows NT File System or NTFS is a file system provided with
           all versions of Windows NT / 2000 / XP.  It is not an extension
           of any of the FAT-based systems, and instead uses a new design to
           support long file names and to offer improved performance and
           support for large drives.
      In addition, you probably have access to one or more file systems
      which are on other computers accessed across a network.  Those file
      systems may be any of the ones listed above -- or may be completely
      different systems such as Unix, VMS, or Netware file systems, whose
      rules and functions are quite different from the systems you are used
      to under DOS and Windows.
      The remainder of this article discusses some of the issues you can
      run into when working with a range of file systems, and how features
      of 4DOS, 4NT, and Take Command can help.
      File Names
      Often the most obvious difference between file systems is in the names
      allowed.  FAT systems support only traditional "8.3" names -- those
      with an 8-character name and a 3-character extension, all in upper
      case.  All of the other common systems allow longer file names,
      usually up to about 255 characters.
      If you are using a system which supports long filenames you can
      convert between the long and short names while typing at the command
      line, or programmatically in a command or batch file.  To convert
      while typing, type part of the name you want, then press Tab until the
      file name has been filled in.  Normally this will display the long
      filename; to see the short name instead, press Ctrl-A. Press Ctrl-A
      again to toggle back to the long name.  This feature allows you to,
      for example, display the long name of a file and then switch to the
      short name in order to pass it to an older program which does not
      handle long filenames.
      In any command or batch file you can also use the @SFN and @LFN
      functions to perform these conversions, for example:
           c:\>echo %@sfn["My Documents"]
           c:\>echo %@lfn[MYDOCU~1]
           C:\My Documents
      In addition the characters allowed in file names vary from system to
      system.  A complete discussion of the characters allowed is beyond our
      scope here, but on FAT systems you can use alphabetic and numeric
      characters plus the punctuation marks ! # $ % & ' ( ) - @ ^ _ ` { }
      and ~ in both the name and the extension of a file.  Other
      Windows-based file systems may allow additional characters, though
      non-Windows systems tend to be more restrictive.
      Because the exclamation point [!], percent sign [%], caret [^], at
      sign [@], parentheses [()], and back-quote [`] also have other
      meanings to 4DOS, 4NT, and Take Command, it is best to avoid using
      them in filenames.  If you do find filenames with these characters in
      them there are several ways to handle them.  Here are some examples:
         * For the % sign, use two -- to delete the file named my%file:
                del my%%file
         * Use the escape character ("%=") to remove the usual special
           meaning of the next character:
                del my%=%file
         * Place backquotes around the filename to prevent special
           characters from being processed when the command is first
               del `my%file`
         * Use SETDOS /X to disable the special meaning of certain
           characters (e.g. the backquote, or the command separator
           character).  See SETDOS /X for additional details.
         * Use a wildcard character in brackets if there is no other file
           name it will match; this command will delete all files whose
           name is "my", then any single character, then "file":
                del my[?]file
      The last two methods will only work for internal commands.  The others
      will generally work for external commands as well.  The last method --
      using [?] -- is the most robust and easiest, but can be dangerous if
      you have other similarly named files as it can match more than one
      Upper and Lower Case
      All of the DOS and Windows file systems described above (except the
      original FAT system) are "case-retentive", meaning they remember
      filenames as they were created with both upper and lower case letters.
      However they are also "case-insensitive", meaning that you can refer
      to the file MyFile as MYFILE or myfile or MyFile, all are equivalent.
      For this reason you will not usually have to modify or deal with the
      case of filenames under these systems.
      Network file systems, on the other hand, particularly those running
      under Unix, are often case-sensitive -- that is, MyFile, MYFILE, and
      myfile all refer to different files.  When accessing these systems you
      may want to take some steps to make sure you are using the correct
      file names.  Here are some areas where this can affect you:
           DIR:  Don't use the /E or /L switches when displaying directories
           for case-sensitive file systems.  These switches force the DIR
           output to upper or lower case, which will prevent DIR from
           displaying the true names of the files.
           COPY, MD, MOVE, RD, REN, etc.:  Commands which handle files or
           directories must be given the correct name, including upper and
           lower case characters, or they will not be able to find the file.
           The same applies to variable functions.
           When copying or moving files to case-sensitive file systems you
           may need to force the case to be what you want.  For example,
           this command will copy the file JANDATA.ZIP to an FTP site using
           4NT or Take Command/32's FTP features, and store it with an upper
           case name on the target file system:
                copy JANDATA.ZIP ""
           In most cases you will want such an operation to convert the
           filename to lower case, rather than making assumptions about how
           it will be transferred.  You can do this explicitly:
                copy JANDATA.ZIP ""
           Or if you do it frequently, you can set up an alias.  This
           example copies the file to a named FTP site, and forces the name
           to lower case (the FOR command is used to allow wildcard file
           names).  Be sure to enter the alias on one line:
                alias lcopy `for %file in (%1) copy %file
           To use this alias:
                lcopy JANDATA.ZIP
      International Issues
      One area that causes a lot of confusion is the use of "international"
      (non-English) characters in filenames.
      Under the FAT-based file systems you will generally find that any
      legal character from the 255-character extended ASCII set that you can
      enter on your keyboard can be used in a filename and will be stored
      and retrieved properly.  Your online help lists these characters under
      "Reference Information" in the "ASCII and Key Codes" topics.
      However, when using Windows NT's NTFS file system, which supports the
      use of "Unicode" in filenames to handle a wider range of characters,
      the issue is far more complex.  Windows will convert any characters
      you enter to Unicode prior to storing them as part of the filename,
      and will convert them back to ASCII when retrieving them for
      non-Unicode programs like 4NT and Take Command.
      This conversion is "symmetric" for standard English-language
      characters, so the character you type for the filename is the one you
      will see in directories and can use in file processing commands and
      functions.  However for non-English characters the conversion
      performed by Windows unfortunately is not symmetric, so that if you
      (for example) enter an "o" with a German "umlaut" over it in a
      filename, the character may appear completely different when displayed
      in a DIR, and may not match properly when used to manipulate the file.
      This problem does not affect all non-English characters, only some of
      them; occurs only on NTFS drives; and is less likely to cause trouble
      in Take Command than in 4NT; nevertheless, it can be quite confusing
      when it does happen.
      At this time the only easy solution to this problem is to use
      the [?] wildcard for the character in question, for example:
           ren dankesch[?]n dankeschon
      Note that this will also attempt to rename other matching files with
      similar names, and any character in the next to last position.  (A
      future version of 4NT and Take Command may provide Unicode support to
      address this issue, but development plans for such a version are still
      under discussion and are not final at this time.)
      Other Issues
      There are a number of other issues where file systems differ which we
      don't have room to go into in detail here, but we can give you a brief
      "heads-up" on some areas you should be aware of:
         - Under Windows 2000 and XP, NTFS drives can store a range of extra
           file "attributes" such as "temporary" or "offline".  These are
           not available in FAT-based systems, nor on NTFS pre-Windows 2000.
           See the online help for details.
         - Translations between file attributes on different operating
           systems are not usually reliable.  In particular, there is no
           clear way to map Unix file permissions to DOS and Windows file
           attributes, and attempts to manipulate permissions on Unix
           systems through a network using 4DOS, 4NT, or Take Command are
           likely to fail completely, or yield incorrect results.  To
           address this use a Unix-based tool or stand-alone FTP software to
           change the Unix permissions.
         - Not all file systems correctly identify themselves or their
           characteristics when working in a network environment.  In
           particular, the file system on another machine may appear to
           support long filenames when it does not.  Similarly, a directory
           may appear to 4DOS, 4NT, or Take Command to be a file, or vice
           versa.  If you see odd results from DIR (e.g. empty directories
           that you know have files, or mangled filenames) you should
           suspect that the file system on the other machine is not
           identifying itself and its characteristics correctly to 4DOS,
           4NT, or Take Command.
      >> Command Line Features You Forgot
      All too often, we get "suggestions" to add a feature to 4DOS, 4NT, or
      Take Command when the requested feature is already present.  Usually,
      it's been there for years!  This is no surprise -- with such a large
      feature set it's easy to find benefits in only a small subset of
      what's offered, and at times forget what else might be there.
      For this article we looked back through the list of command line
      features, and thought we'd remind you of a few you may have forgotten.
      (These descriptions use typical 4DOS and 4NT keystrokes; a few may be
      different in Take Command):
         * Command Completion:  This is basic but we've seen many
           experienced users ignore it.  Need to recall a previous command?
           Type the first part of it and press up-arrow, and you'll see only
           the matching commands.  This way there's almost never any need to
           press up-arrow repeatedly to search for a command -- even if all
           you remember is the first letter, you can speed up your search
           If you use command completion and see some useless commands in
           the history that are messing up your scan for the one you want,
           press Ctrl-D instead of the up-arrow.  That will delete the
           useless command and proceed to the next one, and next time it
           won't be there.
         * History Options:  Do you wish the command you just recalled would
           stay at the end of the history where you could find it again
           quickly, and in sequence?  Tired of going around in circles in
           the history list?  There are a whole range of configuration
           options that let you control how the command history works.  We
           don't have room to cover all of them in detail here, but you can
           read about them in the Configuration section of the online help.
           See History and LocalHistory under Initialization Directives, or
           on the Startup page of the configuration dialogs.  Also see
           HistCopy, HistMin, HistMove, and HistWrap under Configuration
           Directives, or on the History page of the configuration dialogs.
         * Automatic Directory Changes:  Are you still using CD (or CDD) to
           change directories?  That's the old way -- in most cases it's
           quicker to just type the directory name, followed by a backslash,
           and let the command processor find the directory for you.  For
           even more flexibility, enable extended directory searches and you
           can type just part of the name; see Directory Navigation in the
           online help for details.
         * Variable Name Completion:  This works like filename completion.
           If the argument begins with a %, the completion routines will
           scan the environment for matching variable names.  For example,
           if the PROMPT and PATH variables are in the environment, in that
           order, this sequence might be used to display the PATH:
                [c:\] echo %p
                [c:\] echo %PROMPT
                [c:\] echo %PATH
         * Customized Filename Completion:  Don't see the file names you
           want when you press Tab or the other filename completion keys?
           Check out the AppendToDir, CompleteHidden, and FileCompletion
           directives that you can add to your .INI file for a range of
           customization options (e.g. to add backslashes automatically to
           directory names, to only complete .TXT files when you are
           entering a NOTEPAD command, or to see only directories when
           typing an RD command).  The same options are on the Editing tab
           of the configuration dialogs.
         * F3:  That's right, the ancient F3 command that used to be one of
           the only ways to edit the command line.  What does it do?  It
           adds the rest of the previous command line on to the current one,
           starting after the characters you've typed.  Here's one simple
           use, to create a directory and change to it:
                [c:\] md newdir
                [c:\] c
           When you press F3 the command processor substitutes the rest of
           the previous line -- in this case, "d newdir", and fills in the
                cd newdir
           Then just press Enter to execute it.
         * Keystroke Aliases:  These assign a command to a single keystroke.
           They're often used with function keys, for example to use Alt-F4
           to enter and execute an "exit" command in 4DOS:
                alias @@Alt-F4 exit
           For complete details see the ALIAS command in the online help.
      This of course is only a sample -- if you'd like to review more,
      browse through the online help, reviewing the sections titled "The
      Command Line", "File Selection", and "Directory Navigation".
         **>> Customer Service and Miscellaneous <<**
      >> Contacting JP Software
      Use our web site at as a simple, centralized
      contact point for all departments, and for online ordering and file
      We answer most sales and customer service inquiries and respond to
      most technical support requests within 24 hours (assuming we can reach
      you!).  Orders are normally processed and shipped in 2 - 3 business
               JP Software Inc.
               P.O. Box 1470
               East Arlington, MA 02474
           Main number:  (781) 646-3975
           Fax: (781) 646-0904
           Order Line:  (800) 368-8777 (US / Canada, orders only)
               Web site:
               FTP site:
               Sales / Customer Service:
           Technical Support:
               Standard (no-charge) support:  Available via our online
               support forum, accessible from the support area of our web
               site.  Paid support options are also available; see our web
               site for details.
      Our normal office hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, eastern US time.
      >> Newsletter Address Correction, List Removal, and Privacy Information
      We send this newsletter periodically to all registered JP Software
      customers using the email address you gave us when you placed an
      To correct your email address, or if you have any other questions
      about our mailing list not covered here, send email to
      If you don't want to receive additional issues of this newsletter,
      just send a note to, and we will remove your name
      from our newsletter email list prior to sending out the next issue.
      We do not send this newsletter to anyone who has not given us their
      address voluntarily as part of a purchase or other customer
      transaction with JP Software.  We also will NOT give, sell, or
      otherwise distribute your email address to any other company without
      your permission.
      >> Copyrights, Trademarks, and Fine Print
      Copyright (c) 2002, JP Software Inc. All Rights Reserved.  4DOS (r)
      and Take Command (r) are registered trademarks of JP Software Inc.
      4DOS (r), 4OS2, and 4NT are JP Software Inc.'s trademarks for its
      family of character-mode command processors.  "The Prompt Solution",
      JP Software,, and all JP Software designs and logos are
      also trademarks of JP Software Inc. Other product and company names
      are trademarks of their respective owners.  Published July 2002 by JP
      Software Inc., P.O. Box 1470, E. Arlington, MA 02474, USA.

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