I tend to hate the fact that Windows Mobile has evolved five times in the past seven years and they always forget to improve the little old File Explorer. WM6's glossy new looks did manage to make it more attractive and in harmony with Vista's explorer, but many of us would want these Vista desktop looks to also be matched with a Vista desktop experience in tools and functionality. Resco has not only improved these deficiencies years ago with their first version of Resco Explorer, but they have also managed to evolve the concept (now in version 2007) of an improved explorer with many other integrated solutions that allow users to do many things in the same interface. Will all these improvements manage to make Resco a solution for your file explorer needs? Read on to find out!
To an enhanced File Explorer, these guys added a Recycle bin, Today Plugin, Strong File Encryption, ZIP Compression, Built-In Viewer, Network Browser, Registry Editor, and FTP access. Though these enhancements were all available in past versions, this latest one, version 2007 (6.15), manages to improve their functionality with more options like:
- Today Plugin with Task Manager
- Folder Properties
- File decryption in memory
- Advanced Network Settings
- File Types Highlighting
- Quick-search bar
- Status Bar
Setup is pretty much what we're all used to. Start by connecting your device because this setup won't leave everything ready for a later installation.
There are three basic screens where you accept the license agreement, choose applications to install and a final "Finish" screen. I enjoy the fact that I get to save memory in not installing what I don't like from the explorer. Everything can be installed in your device's storage card, though I strongly recommend that if you wish to make the Resco Today Plugin a keeper, install it on the device's storage memory to avoid startup issues on future soft resets.
After the installation is complete, the Today Plugin is automatically inserted and our programs folder now includes the Resco File Explorer, Resco Registry, Resco Update and System Info.
Two changes are to happen on your PC. The Resco Crypting and a "Send To" option are now shown in the dialog box that appears when you right click any file (Context Menu). The Resco Crypting option is available for Encrypting or Decrypting files. The new "Send To" option has a new command at the end named "My Device", which is always visible, but only works when your device is connected to your PC. It opens a mini File Explorer that gives you the option to send the file you are selecting to whichever folder you choose within your device.
Resco Explorer 2007 goes way beyond what you'd expect from a simple file explorer and the integration of all these features could come in handy. We'll start with The Explorer and later all the add-ins and their specifics. My first impression always accounts for speed, and I can say it's relatively better than WM's explorer.
Visual Interface and Navigation
One of the best advantages Resco Explorer 2007 offers is flexibility in looks and interface. For example, I honestly hate Resco's initial looks.
I'm just not a fan of the striped separation, nor the light text seen here. But to my luck, these can be changed.
Options allow you to change the color of the stripes, make your text bold or the neat new ability to apply different colors to selected file types.
The View option even allows large folder icons or a Tree view with a vertical or horizontal separator.
Another option would be the fact that the explorer was effectively designed to be used with a both a stylus or soft keys. You can either use both, or choose to keep only one of them. If you're a WM2003 fan and want to get rid of the soft keys, Resco thought of that too. Good one Resco :)!
Flexible integration and functionality are other key strengths available. Yo can choose to work within all the add-ins you installed or work separately in cases like the Resco Registry add-in.
An integrated view of all applications versus the single view of the Registry Add-in working alone.
What really makes it be a true file explorer solution are the tools involved. If you need a file specific solution, you'll find these on the context menu. If you need Explorer specific tools, you'll find them on the "Menu" soft key or the icon toolbar.
View Supports images, just about any text type file and some other surprises. It also allows you to view the file in ANSI, Unicode and Binary formats. It does sound like a good memory saving idea at first, but it would tend to hang with large pictures, so I guess it's back to the drawing board on this one:rolleyes:.
The viewer is pretty much as simple as they come, view the file without calling the default application.
This is a five star feature not available in the built-in explorer. It expands and gives you the option to first simply open the file, second choose which program opens the file, and third, it gives you an automatic option to choose a default application. Neat!:D. Just watch it when ever you choose to open system files like .Dll's since taping on them automatically calls the Open With menu.
"Open with" does a great job in reminding you how the desktop explorer works.
Another great solution that is missed out in the built in explorer. It allows you to quickly send a selected file or folder to somebody else via Email / MMS or as an OBEX transfer from Bluetooth and Infrared. It also has the option of sending it to the Today Screen Plugin and the My Documents Folder or even build a short cut in the start menu.
"Send To" Can't get any better. It gives you all the options you'll need for an easy transfer to just about any destination.
Copy To, Move To Both options follow their names in functionality.
One copies the selected file from it's current location to another selected folder and the other moves it.
If you own a mobile device with little old WM5 and a slow processor, opening the Windows folder takes ages. This solution helps you save that time by allowing you to add a file to the folder without ever opening it. I just wish Resco would've considered adding a "ask for my confirmation" before the copying or moving takes place. Its fairly easy to make a big mess in your files if you map these commands to a hardware button and press it by accident in delicate folders like Windows.. And yes, it happened to me twice already:o.
Encrypt This option was designed to protect your most valuable content from unauthorized access.
Resco has many types of encryption formats that range from basic encryption to 256 bit encryption after you choose your password.
Probably the only thing I didn't like at all is the decryption process. After taping on the file, you're asked for your password and then Resco eliminates the encrypted version and returns your file to normal state instead of allowing you to work within the encrypted file. The viewer does give you this option, but your are still just "viewing". Another is that there should be an option for these files to be protected from deletion. If I took the time to encrypt them it's because they're important, and I obviously don't want to loose them:confused:.
Stands for building a .zip archive.
Resco allows multiple compression options and the ability to set a password for access and even verify the archive once built.
Here they did address the encryption flaws and you are able to open, use and save the file in a temporary folder while zipped without much fuzz. I tested it on a couple of cab files and got their size reduced in half. Pretty decent if you ask me.
This may not be much of an important feature, but there are two things I personally find very handy:
One is the option to make files Read Only and Hidden, the other, it allows you to see what percentage of storage space is used by a folder.
Find Resco Explorer 2007 has two ways to search for content.
You can either use the Find tool available in the Menu Soft Key, or you can simply start typing the file name and Quick search jumps in.
The difference here is that the Find tool will search thoroughly in the folder selected and sub folders until it finds a match or positive matches. Quick search sadly only searches an exact match in whichever folder you have open. As I type the word, the explorer opens a small bar at the bottom with your text and starts searching for matches. It'll stop you from typing whenever no more matches are found. This feature looks promising, but I hope future versions allow a sub folder search or even a simulated Windows Desktop Search for file content.
Resco has also included a simple way for you to have your favorite folders quickly accessible. I'm very fond of this feature, it saves you time.
It includes certain folders by default but you can choose to organize these in which ever way you like or add new ones.
Sadly, Resco's concept of Run is not what a power user would look for. You'd expect it to run the .exe files from the windows folder by default just like a desktop does with commands like MSCONFIG (Activesyn as a WM device example) but this one doesn't.
You first have to look for the file on the exact path, even in the windows folder, and then run it.
If you don't change the path or know the correct one, it will simply look no further than in the folder you have active at the moment. I'm trying to understand the point in having a run tool if it's as complicated as looking for the file in a folder. Come to think of it, the "Find" tool does a much better job at searching for anything you want to run than this one does. Lets hope Resco deals with this in future versions.
Network I haven't found a simple "share this folder" option in any application yet and that includes the Resco Explorer. What Resco includes is the ability to search for a folder in the network and then map it for easy access from your device. Pretty much another Favorites solution.
You must type in the correct path of the folder you want to map or choose it from the "Computers Near Me" tree.
Once done, a shortcut for the drive is available on the "My Network" plugin. The feature is nice but that's not real network browsing. It would be better if you didn't have to map everything you want to see in the network. Resco also needs to improve their support on it. The help feature is scarce in detail and the web site has no tutorials on it. It took me some time to figure out how it worked, and to be honest, I'm still not sure I got it right.
Is an extended feature that has nothing to do with the File Explorer, but doesn't bother to have either.
It let's you see how your device's resources are currently doing. Resco needs to tweak the Backup Battery meter since my device lacks one.
One great tool I enjoy using is the recycle bin. The fact that I can think twice before completely eliminating a file gives me piece of mind.
A dialog box not only asks you if you are sure you want to continue, but it also lets you choose to use the Recycle bin or not.
It works just like your typical Desktop explorer with options for controlling the amount of space it'll take, a restore and an empty option. A good Resco Trick is the fact that I still haven't been able to figure out where the Recycle Bin folder lies on the root of the device. I don't think it lies in the storage card, but I sure wish it does;).
An option that came to my surprise is the button mapping.
It allows you to choose hardware buttons for Copy To, Move To, View, Move Forward or Back and many other features
It's worth checking it out and probably becoming part of your way to interact with the explorer. I can't say I've used it a lot, specially after I accidentally moved the contents from a folder to another in such a flash that it took me time to find them:o.
Resco Today Screen Plugin With Task Manager
I can't be sensitive about this one. My first impressions on the today screen plugin were catastrophic and after trying it for one day, I ended up uninstalling it. It's just ugly, the skins available are even worse, and the time it takes for the plugin to shift horizontally when using a slid able QWERTY keyboard is slow.
The plugin includes a task manager, detailed info regarding Battery Life, Storage Memory and Program Memory.
You have the ability to choose what you want to see in each of these meters for cases when you prefer to see how much memory you're using instead of how much you have left. Shortcuts can also be added to de plugin for programs or files you prefer. Initially the plugin only includes one default skin. You must download the other three skin options when you tap on More Skins. Each skin takes from 60 to 70kb in storage space, and Yes! They all suck! I know it was harsh of me to keep the HTC Home plugin active for the review, but my point is simple: "If a hardware manufacturer can make elegant software, than software developers should do better". Deal with it Resco!
This add-in allows you to modify the device's registry just like the REGEDIT command does on your PC. If you're not familiar with how the registry works and what are do's and don't's, do yourself a favor and avoid using it. Any bad moves can leave you no choice but to Hard Reset.
You can choose to use it from the explorer and have access to the stylus icon bars and also by itself without this option.
There is not much to say about the Add-In. It does practically everything a registry editor can do, and in some cases, others do the same for FREE (PHM Registry Editor). You can create new Keys, String Values, Multi Line String Values, Binary Values and DWords. You also have the ability to Import and Find the keys you need. The only two enhancements I could say are available in comparison to any other free Registry Editor are the availability of a "Favorites" menu, and the ability to interact with the application through soft keys. One Big Flaw that I did notice is that there are no options to backup and restore registry. PHM Registry Editor does, so Resco does have much room for improvement here if I'm going to have to pay for it.
My FTP Locations
Now here is a feature I did enjoy learning how to use. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and it practically does the job of a web based hard drive. Resco was nice enough to include the option to have your favorite FTP locations available for easy access and all under a file explorer interface. It sure beats having to use your typical Internet Explorer for access. Great Job guys:)!
Once you create your FTP Session, a folder is left for you to Connect any time you need to.
The Session verifies your User information and later connects you to the server.
Once in the Session, you can browse through all the folders available and download the content you need. I would've probably enjoyed it more if the connection would remain active after you send your mobile device to standby. Resco could probably consider that for future versions.
Finally, when you buy it, your registered version accounts for one year of software updates. You are are asked for your name and are given a registration key based on that name. Be very careful in adding the same name you have active on the built-in "User Information" in Windows Mobile.
The Application will use this name to match the code.
If you gave out a different name, you can simply go to User Information and change it temporarily to activate and then change it back. The problem here is that once you soft reset, you'll have to register again.
I'll try not to be harsh, I promise. Resco's Help features simply suck. Not all tools had a help page and the ones that did had little detail on what everybody wants to know. It's was nice of Resco to include one or two videos on certain features available, but no part of the help menus give us a hint on their availability. For software this complex, the least we should get is a desktop manual.
A quick word to Resco on this: You just can't have a complex piece of software be available without a user friendly way to understand how EVERYTHING works. You could probably say the application was designed for power users, but the mobile device market is quickly evolving to many new users that need the functionality Resco offers, but will just be too terrified to go beyond the 14 day trial. No company likes to miss out on the opportunity to make new customers, so figure out a way to embrace the new market out there with help that literally does help.
Resco Explorer 2007 runs on any device with Pocket PC 2002, Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6.0. The version we reviewed was designed for Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional and I ran it on an HTC Herald p4350. There is also a Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard version for those interested.
Memory wise, the today plugin takes up a tiny 182 kb of storage space from your Device's memory. If you choose to install the rest of the bundle on the storage card, the File Explorer will take 1.3 MB of card space and still take up a minimal 6kb from your device's storage space. The FTP Add-in takes 157 kb of storage card space and the Registry Add-in another 130 kb.
BUGS AND WISHES
I honestly saw no bugs, everything worked as it was suppose to. My issue with the viewer opening large images probably isn't a bug, but should be looked into. I do wish Resco would work on improving the following details:
- The viewer should somewhat be better than using default applications. I saw no significant improvements in features or loading time
- The Today Screen Plugin needs to have a more elegant look and feel to compete with other applications
- The Registry Editor needs a backup and restore feature to go from Good to Great
- The explorer should have an option to protect encrypted files from deletion
- The new quick search feature would be good if it would support sub folders. It would be superb if it evolved to simulate Windows Desktop Search
- If the run tool did a similar job as the Find feature does, it would then be a real "Run" tool
You can purchase Resco Explorer 2007 directly at our pocketnow store. You can try it for 14 days and later pay $29.95 for the bundle. Support can be found at Resco's Web site by going directly to the Resco Explorer 2007 section.
Great combination of tools in one package
Good flexibility of user interface
Integration between tools and even with your desktop PC
- Complicated operation with poor support available
- Certain interface elements and tools should improve
What do these ratings mean?
Overall I must say I liked the explorer up to the point of keeping it. I enjoy software that does it all and is flexible on how you choose to do it, but, there is still much room for improving things like user friendliness and looks on certain features. In the end, even these issues can't fade the fact that this is one great application. "Resco Explorer 2007 has managed to bring a great solution for the real "near to desktop" experience users want in a mobile device in things that go way beyond a simple file explorer."