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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    File & Directory Comparison

    Some years ago I started using a program called Merge for Windows to compare the differences in two or more text files. This program also has the ability to compare the files in two (or more) directories to help you look for duplicate files. The text file compare and the directory compare are two completely different functions. Text file compare shows a side-by-side view of the two files with differences and let's you copy data from one to the other, as appropriate, in an effort to get the files "in synch" as it were. The comparison works for "plain text" files only, including HTML.

    However, when you want to compare files in two or more directories, Araxis Merge will allow you to do the comparison on "standard" directory level data, such as date, time, size, etc. BUT, if you choose to do so and are willing to take the extra time required for the comparison, it will compare the files in the directories on a bit-by-bit basis.

    Unfortunately for many people, Araxis Merge is a bit pricey and it has just been pointed out to me that there is a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> program called WinMerge that seems to look a lot like Araxis Merge. I wonder if there are any users in The Lounge who can say if the "bit-by-bit" file comparison of directories in this program is similar to what I've described?

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Dunno Al, but WinDiff (or WinMerge), the way you want it! might be a worthy addition. Now there's a funny thing. I set up XXCOPY once on somebody's computer, to do incremental backups. There were a couple of files it insisted were different (.XLS I think) but we couldn't see for the life of us how. There are <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> tools that will tell you if files are identical or not (at bit level) - we used one to confirm our "problem" files were, indeed different. Whether or not they show the differences, I couldn't say. I think TestPath 1.3 does, <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> for personal use.

    Alan

  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Alan

    I may be going word blind tonight, but it appears that these useful applications concentrate on file metadata. Do you know off hand ikf it can actually look, at say, the contents of a text or Word document and compare the text inside them? I am aware there are some functionality in Word 2K3 to do this but this would be great if these applications do it.
    Jerry

  4. #4
    Gold Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    One way to compare two files, is to print each to a PDF file, then compare the PDF.

  5. #5
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Yes that is a good point...

    The reason I ask is because it is examination marking time for me at the moment and some of the critters have a habit of, um shall we say, looking over each others shoulders and copying. After 40 scripts I go a bit <img src=/S/eyeout.gif border=0 alt=eyeout width=15 height=15> and was wondering if there is a way to check using automation. A colleague told me that Word has that ability to do this through the inbuilt compare and merge function. That is fine if it comes in Word but some send in work in PDF, text and HTML format
    Jerry

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    If they aren't password protecting their PDF files, you can extract them to text.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    It's not automated - but if you let something like Google Desktop index them on your PC, you can select a 'tell tale' sentence from each and search them all to see if there are any matches.

  8. #8
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    I used "Araxis Merge" years ago but their pricing got out of hand IMHO, so I switched to Beyond Compare. Give it a look over and see if it will do what you want.

    Jeff
    Jeff
    simul iustus et peccator

  9. #9
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Not sure what you're getting at Jezza. The TestPath program, for instance, states "Also program actually reads and compares each file for any different byte and reports files with differences." So it's designed for use at that level.

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    That works only if the files are created with hte same app, which appears to not be the case.
    Creating PDF for comparison eliminates app differences.

  11. #11
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Hi Howard

    I am aware that you use Adobe quite a lot. Just to assist me and other Loungers who are not aware of the technique of PDF comparing, could you explain it in a little bit more depth, I would be grateful to learn from your experience.
    Jerry

  12. #12
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    OPen two PDF files in Acrobat full product, then Tools |Compare.

  13. #13
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    Thanks Howard...

    Just learned something new about my version of Adobe Acrobat v7.0.8 Pro... the compare document feature. I gave it a whirl and it does a great job. I guess it might be true that we only use about 10% of our apps.... and only find new features when the need arises.

    Thanks again.

    Cheers, Bob

    P.S. Don't know about other versions of the full product but in mine, the compare feature can be found in the Documents menu.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Regards,
    Bob

  14. #14
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    I have version 5 of the full product.

    I began using Acrobat's Compare back in version 3 as I did not lke Word's compare.

  15. #15
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    Re: File & Directory Comparison

    These may not be quite what you're looking for, but you might find them interesting. Whether any program is actually performing a byte-by-byte comparison would have to be determined by an independent expert.

    Good Sync is available from Siber Systems, the same people who offer AI RoboForm, and it is free for moderate use. (I had one very large job which triggered a notification that I should pay $20 if I wanted to continue using it, which I was happy to do given the amount of work it saved me.) GoodSync

    DupeChecker Pro is a personal favourite for deduping. It's $40, and you can download a trial from Atory

    PowerDesk Pro from V-Com is (essentially) the Windows explorer substitute that was first put out by the (old) PCTools. It subsequently became Norton Navigator, and is now available here. It has a preview tool for a large number of formats including Word, and a folder synchronizer that may be best run on its own for your purposes, since it also has the preview capability and less distraction. (It can also do file searches for contents, but I guess it has plenty of competition in that respect.) I've had it in its various incarnations since PCTools days, which is a long time ago. $40. PowerDesk

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