July 1993

WordPerfect Tip: Document Backup

No one likes to lose valuable information. WordPerfect's timed backups save your document in case of a power failure or a computer "crash". However, sometimes you may delete information from a document, then save the document, only to realize later that you need what you deleted. This can happen, for example, if you forget to copy a "form" document before you edit it. Timed backups don't help in this situation. What you want is the file as it existed before the last time you edited it.

WordPerfect can automatically keep the "prior version" of every document, if you choose to turn this feature on. If you do, there will be two copies of each document. The older one will end in ".BK!", indicating that it is a backup file. To recover the previous version of the document, just rename the file and use it.

To turn on the automatic creation of backup files, use these keystrokes (for WordPerfect 5.1):

SHIFT-F1 (Setup)
3 (Environment)
1 (Backup Options)
2 (Original Doc. Backup)
Y (Yes)

Then press Enter three times to return to the document screen.

Removing Backup Files

The disadvantage of using WordPerfect backup files is simply the disk space they take up. The "BK!" files stay on your disk until you delete them. Even if you delete the current version of a document, the "BK!" file will remain.

We have developed a solution for DOS systems. Usually you know pretty quickly if you want to recover the previous version of a document, so you can just erase all the "BK!" files that are more than, say, five days old.

It is easy to get a list of all ".BK!" files:


There are two problems. First, we need to pick out files which have not been modified in the last five days. DOS keeps this information, but the DIR command cannot list files based on the date of their last modification.

Then we must take the list of files and delete them. Unfortunately, the DEL command does not accept a list of files to be deleted, like this:


The vertical bar is the "pipe" symbol, which means that the output of the DIR command is used as the input to the DEL command. The file names "flow through a pipe" from the command before the vertical bar to the command after the vertical bar.

As we said, the DOS file deletion command, DEL, does not work this way. Even if it did, we would still need a "filter" so that only files unchanged for at least 5 days would be deleted.

Our solution was to write a short C program, called RMFILES (for "remove files"), which accepts a list of files and deletes them if they have not been modified in a specified number of days. RMFILES will accept a list of file names from the DIR command:


where 5 is the number of days we want to keep the backup files. The K is just there to make it hard to accidentally delete files. Without the K, the RMFILES command does not "kill" (i.e., delete) any files.

Details Of The Fax Server

In the last issue we mentioned that RTG can set up a fax server to send faxes from any PC on your local area network. You need a PC to act as the fax server, a fax modem connected to an outgoing telephone line, and software. Here are a few additional details.

A WordPerfect user first creates a document to be sent by fax. The first page of the document is a cover page, which must include the fax number of the destination. The document may also contain graphics, such as a letterhead, a logo, or a signature.

The PC creates a request file for each fax to be sent. The request file includes the document name, where it is located on the network file server, the fax number (extracted from the cover page), and the user's initials. Optionally, a document management program can supply additional information: the client and matter for billing, and the initials of the document's author.

Once the PC creates the request file, it is no longer involved in sending the document. The fax server reads request files, converts documents to fax format, attempts to send them, monitors the results, and creates one log file for the individual who sent the fax plus a master log for billing.

Our fax server does not take memory away from each PC, unlike other DOS-based fax servers, which capture "printer" output using a memory-resident program on the PC. Also, with our method, there are no "per user" software fees, which keeps the cost low.

Contact RTG for more information if you would like to send faxes from the PCs on your local area network.

RTG Bills and RTG Timer are trademarks of RTG Data Systems. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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