Editor’s note: This is the second article in a three-part series on utilities for IBM PCs or compatibles. For the first part, on enhancing input/output operations, see February 8, 1988, p. 22. A future article will deal with desktop utilities.

The disk operating system (DOS) that you purchase to run on your personal computer consists primarily of a set of routines that application programs can call upon, together with a facility for loading programs. The various built-in commands like “copy” and “dir” (for “directory”) and the separately supplied commands like “chkdsk” (for “checkdisk”) are just icing on the cake. Given the price, these add-in programs are an extraordinary deal, but many are incredibly primitive. Even worse, DOS can do dangerous things like overwriting a file without first waming you when you copy a file of the same name.

Fortunately, one is not limited to DOS commands. There is a wide...

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