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December 3, 1996

version 1.0.1

MacUser's Install Tracker is Copyright © 1996 Mark W. Batten & Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

A. About MacUser's InstallTracker

MacUser's Install Tracker is a two-in-one utility. It can (a) manage installations of new software, and (b) ensure that when you're through with a program, you delete all of the files you want to get rid of -- what Windows people, who have much bigger problems in this area, call "uninstalling."

1. The Install Monitor

You use the first part of the utility, the "install monitor," when you're getting ready to install new software with an installer program. Most of these have "install" in their name, or end in ".sea." Instead of starting those applications as you normally would, waiting as filenames flash across the screen, and then wondering exactly what the installer did to your hard disk, just drag it to MacUser's Install Tracker. This utility will launch the installer itself, watch what the installer does, and then report back to you, listing every file that the installer created and where it is. Then you can decide what to keep and what to throw away, right from MacUser's Install Tracker.

2. The Complete Delete

Have you looked at your Preferences folder lately? If you're like most people, it probably contains a long list of all the programs you played with for a day or so and then deleted, leaving their preferences files behind. Well, no more. The second part of MacUser's Install Tracker, the "complete delete" function, makes sure that when an application goes, the files it created go with it. To use it, just drag any application you want to get rid of (or one of its files) to the MacUser's Install Tracker icon. The utility will find every related file and folder on the disk, and again give you the option of keeping or deleting exactly the files you want.

B. System Requirements

MacUser's Install Tracker should run on any Macintosh that runs System 7. System 7 is required, though.

C. Installation

Installation is a snap. The "MacUser's Install Tracker" file is an application, which can go anywhere you like. The "IT Watcher" file is a small system extension, which should go in the Extensions folder in your System Folder. Just drag it to the System Folder, and the Finder will put it where it's supposed to go.

NOTE: The "IT Watcher" extension is required for the "install monitor" function. If you just can't bear to add yet another extension, you can still use the "complete delete" function.

D. Operation

To start up, drag either an installer program or a file whose application you want to delete to the utility's icon. You can also just double-click the icon.

1. Opening Files

Once the program is running, open a file by pushing the green "O" button. If you open an installer program, MacUser's Install Tracker will automatically recognize it as such, and give you the option to run a monitored install -- that is, to run the installer while MacUser's Install Tracker observes in the background. Once the installer program quits, MacUser's Install Tracker will search for the just-installed files and display them in the main window.

Note: Some installer programs, such as Apple's, require that you quit all open applications to do an install. MacUser's Install Tracker should work properly with such installers. Use MacUser's Install Tracker to launch the installer, as described above. The installer will force MacUser's Install Tracker (and any other open applications) to quit, and then do its thing. To prevent MacUser's Intall Tracker from finding spurious files, it is best to then run MacUser's Install Tracker again as soon as the installer quits. This isn't a requirement, but when you do run MacUser's Install Tracker again, it will find all files created since it last quit.

If the file you open isn't an installer, MacUser's Install Tracker will assume that you're doing a Complete Delete, and will search the disk for related files -- preference files, documents, whatever. It will list its findings in the main window.

2. Getting File Information

When you click on a file listed in the main window, the file's path will be displayed at the bottom of the window. If you'd like to see the selected file in the Finder, push the purple "Show Me" button -- the one with the magnifying glass. You can see the Finder's file info by pushing the yellow "i" button.

3. Deleting Files

When you're ready to take action, select the files you want to delete and push the red button with the Trash can on it. MacUser's Install Tracker will either delete the selected files or move them to the Finder's Trash can, depending on which option you select in Preferences (the first choice in the File menu). Type Command-A to select all files and folders in the list. But don't casually select all the files and delete them -- look over the list and be sure.

Note that if you choose a folder to delete, MacUser's Install Tracker will send the folder to the Trash -- along with any files or folders it may contain. Delete folders cautiously!

4. Reviewing Install Records

Whenever you run an installer program through MacUser's Install Tracker, the utility will remember which files were installed. You can review the installations you've done by clicking the pink button with the disk icon on it. Pushing the button will bring up a dialog with a list of the installer programs you've run, and the date of the installation. If you double-click any of these listings, MacUser's Install Tracker will attempt to locate the installed files, and display the list in its main window. It's yet another way of making sure you keep only the files you need.

Note: MacUser's Install Tracker stores references to installed files internally. Over time, you may notice that the Install Tracker application is growing in size, because it's stored references to so many installed files. It's a good idea periodically to delete old install records by pushing the pink button, selecting old install records that you no longer need to keep track of, and clicking the "Remove" button.

5. Preferences

You can customize MacUser's Install Tracker to search the way you prefer. Take note of these options -- they have a significant impact on the way Install Tracker works.

The first choice determines what happens when you push the red Trash can button -- you can have MacUser's Install Tracker delete files directly, or move them to the Trash. The delete option saves a step if you're sure about what you're doing; the move option is obviously safer.

The second choice determines how Install Tracker finds folders. You can choose to include only folders that include the application's name (that is, the application you installed or complete-deleted), or all folders in which MacUser's Install Tracker found files. The former option is not as complete as the second; most installers, for example, create folders that don't include the application's name. But if you choose the second option, you must be careful about deleting folders that you want to keep. MacUser's Install Tracker tries to exclude system-related folders, but often folders containing other files that you want to keep may appear in the display. So a word to the wise -- if you search for all folders, BE CAREFUL!

The third preference item determines what disks MacUser's Install Tracker will search. If you always install files on your startup disk, as many people do, choose to search only that disk -- it's often considerably faster. But if you install software onto other disks, choose the "all disks" option to ensure that MacUser's Install Tracker finds everything that was installed.

E. A Note of Caution

As is obvious by now, the purpose of MacUser's Install Tracker is to delete files. That is often an irreparable operation. As a result, there is naturally a danger that you'll do something with the program that you wish you hadn't. We've all had that sinking feeling from having lost some critical document, and it's horrible. We hope you'll find MacUser's Install Tracker to be a useful tool, but it's a powerful one, so use it carefully.

F. Version history

Version 1.0 released October 30.

Version 1.0.1 released December 3. Fixes all known bugs in version 1.0

G. Bug reports and contact info

Feel free to contact the programmer, Mark W. Batten, at markbatten@aol.com.

MacUser's InstallerTracker is Copyright © 1996 Mark W. Batten & Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., All rights reserved. MacUser's InstallerTracker is distributed as a MacUser Exclusive, and is NOT public domain or shareware. You may make copies for personal use. You may NOT upload this utility to any online service, network, bulletin board, or the Internet. You may NOT make copies for any commercial purpose. Distribution is limited to Ziff-Davis Publishing's online services and electronic publishing projects.

If you obtained MacUser's InstallerTracker from any source other than MacUser, ZiffNet/Mac or a Ziff-Davis Publishing division please contact:

MacUser, 50 Beale Street, 12th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105

email: utilities@macuser.com

Limitations of Remedies

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS. IN NO EVENT SHALL MARK W. BATTEN OR ZIFF-DAVIS PUBLISHING COMPANY (HEREAFTER "COPYRIGHT HOLDERS") BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT OR SIMILAR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY LOST PROFITS OR LOST DATA ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE OR ANY DATA SUPPLIED THEREWITH EVEN IF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, OR FOR ANY CLAIM BY ANY OTHER PARTY.

SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

IN NO CASE SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS' LIABILITY EXCEED THE PURCHASE PRICE FOR THE SOFTWARE.


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