This is a major new release for Agent Ransack and completes a big internal project to build Agent Ransack and FileLocator Pro from the same source tree. As I said in the Lite Mode post
Maintaining separate code branches for the Pro and Lite version is not an efficient way to develop the products. Over time the code diverges enough that it becomes harder and harder to apply patches from the Pro version to the Lite version. The loser in this patching battle is invariably the Lite version. Version 8 of FileLocator Pro has received nearly fifty enhancement updates since its release in 2016. The Lite version? Five.
So Agent Ransack will now be benefiting from the same update schedule as FileLocator Pro. Here’s just some of the new features that are now available in the Agent Ransack:
High DPI support
Faster file list loading, especially with ‘sticky’ sort.
Improved PDF searching
Updated language files
Dedicated portable installer
Freely available MSI files for unattended installations
and many small fixes
Probably the most prominent change you’ll notice is when you start Agent Ransack for the very first time, you’ll be asked if you want to try the Pro features:
You can, of course, just click ‘Lite (free)’ if you want to continue using Agent Ransack for free but if you are curious about what the Pro features might offer you can switch them on for the trial period. After the trial period has elapsed you can either switch back to the free Lite mode or pay for a Pro license.
I was looking at a recent error report and surprised to see included in the error report a screen shot of a software pirate at work. The miscreant appears to have been trying to figure out why a crash was occurring with the license checks removed:
It’s not the first time I’ve seen such screenshots but it’s a useful reminder of how hard people work on tasks that, consciously or not, undermine the structure of the company and the ability to support and improve the very products they, the pirates, want to use.
Back in Apr 2016 when I introduced version 8 of FileLocator Pro I ended with a ‘Roadmap’ of planned features for version 8:
Customizable columns – the ability to add/remove columns and column options such as Author or Comments.
Document preview – WYSIWYG view for the most common document formats.
Thunderbird email searching.
Allow file criteria to be included in Persistent Search Filters.
Support for WPD attached storage (e.g. Phones).
The list was based on customer feedback and contained features I knew people wanted and would be disappointed weren’t in the initial release. I’m pleased to say that with build 2878 of FileLocator Pro the last of those promised features has been implemented. Over the last few years there’s been a lot of really nice new features added to the product which weren’t on the list but honouring the promises on the list was a major focus of the development efforts.
If you’ve been paying attention to the release history of FileLocator Pro you may have spotted a new feature “Ability to switch to ‘Lite’ mode without installing separate product”, ie you can install FileLocator Pro but switch to FileLocator Lite functionality with just a few clicks.
It’s quite a major change and it’s going to affect the way we develop and distribute the Lite and Pro versions of the product. Rather than have a separate Lite product we’re going to be switching to a unified product that can switch Pro functionality on/off as required.
Support for long paths (ie paths greater than 255 characters) has been an increasingly requested feature and so I’m really pleased to see it added to the latest version of FileLocator Pro. Since FileLocator Pro does sometimes rely on the Windows shell for functionality such as file context menus it’s possible that, until Windows fully supports long paths, not every aspect will function perfectly but any issues should be the exception and not the norm.
File paths in Windows are more complicated than most end users realise but fortunately Windows hides much of the complexity, if you’re interested in some of the inner workings I recommend you read this blog post: DOS to NT: A Path’s Journey.
Although Microsoft has been adding long path support to Windows 10 it’s actually quite a difficult problem. Many third party applications have the value (commonly called MAX_PATH) hard coded since the Windows API documentation specifically refers to it. Therefore it’s potentially troublesome for Windows 10 to simply switch on long file support by default, those third party applications not expecting paths longer than MAX_PATH might start crashing with buffer overflows, or worse if the overflows are maliciously targeted.
Please try out the long path support in FileLocator Pro and, as always, if you find any problems please report it to Tech Support.
As part of our continued investment in customer data security we’ve moved to BCrypt password hashing for the main MyAccount authentication. Unfortunately this means that all previous passwords are now obsolete and have been reset. You can request a new password here:
It’s always a tricky balance deciding what new features to add to Agent Ransack and which to keep for the Pro (ie FileLocator Pro) user. Which new features will make Agent Ransack a nicer all-round product for the average ‘lite’ user without overloading on the extra features and control that the ‘pro’ user needs. I think Agent Ransack 2016 has found this balance, I hope you do too. So, what’s new? Continue reading →
“No FileLocator Pro does not use file or content indexes and for very good reasons. While indexing can certainly improve the speed of searches in certain circumstances there are many drawbacks. These drawbacks include …”
and I go on to list resource issues, syncing issues, security issues and more. So it might seem surprising that I’m now announcing that FileLocator Pro v.8 supports indexing. Yes, I know, I’m still a little surprised myself.
However, and this is a really important point, it’s not the type of indexing component that’s always running in the background. If you don’t use the feature then you won’t notice it because it’s effectively disabled by default. It won’t be running in the background consuming valuable CPU cycles and it won’t be building secret indexes consuming valuable disk space. It won’t do anything until you ask it to.
That’s because it’s not intended as a Desktop Search replacement instead it’s more for searching large repositories of fairly static data. Continue reading →
How is it already the end of 2015? Boy, times flies by when you’re having fun.
Looking back over this last year my Mythicsoft highlight of 2015 was the decoding of the 2013 OST format. After, literally, years of trying to coax Microsoft into providing us with the information we gave up and just did it ourselves. I won’t deny I’m still slightly annoyed we had to spend the extra time on what turned out to be such small differences but it was a very satisfying end result.
So what’s going to be the highlight of 2016 I wonder? Well, it’s easy… FileLocator Pro version 8! It’s been a long time in the making, the first prototyping of one of the new features goes back to 2011. To be honest, I had really hoped FileLocator Pro v8 would have been released in 2015 but the good news is that it’s very close. And because of the delay we’ll be extending the one year upgrade period so that anyone who purchased v7 in 2015 will be eligible for a free upgrade to v8.
One small admin note: Technical Support over the Christmas period will be available but the responses might be slightly slower than what you may have normally received.
Which just leaves me, and everyone at Mythicsoft, to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
An enthusiastic customer recently sent us an email:
Hi guys, please include the keywords “desktop search” on your home page so people may actually find your product when searching for a desktop search program. (All your competitors are named things like Google|Yahoo|Windows Desktop Search.)
Hope this little tip will help you and your users!
It’s really nice to receive comments like this, people WANT us to be found, but I’ve never really thought about FileLocator Pro or Agent Ransack as Desktop Search products. So, what is Desktop Search? A quick search of the Internet highlights a large number of different uses:
Desktop Search vs Mobile Search: Distinguishing between Internet searches that are performed by someone sitting at a traditional Desktop computer as opposed to someone searching the Internet using a mobile device such as a smart phone.
Desktop Search vs Internet Search: Distinguishing between someone searching files on a local computer as opposed to someone searching the Internet.
Other: And then you get some examples that really confuse the terminology. Bing Desktop is a Microsoft desktop app that allows people to quickly search the Internet, via their desktop. Google Desktop Search is (was) a desktop app written by Google for searching files on their local computer.