Multimedia Xpert is equipped to deal in a respectful way with files or folders that have their read-only flag set. The intention of the R-flag was originally that an application isn't allowed neither to rename such a file nor to modify the content (think of a rock). Many applications out there don't care or just remove it. Multimedia Xpert's (resp. all Atlas apps) philosophy is to respect the R-flag. If you do mass operations and such an element is encountered you will get a dialog where you can choose to either skip the processing, reset the flag temporarily, or reset it for all elements of the batch. Some dialogs even have a checkbox where you can choose to ignore the flag before you even start, so you won't be bothered with them.
Multiple Instances, Client-Server
Multimedia Xpert has a `Client-Server` architecture. It can be run in multiple instances (sessions) at the same time, but that's not really recommended because the settings are persisted only once. The settings from the last closed instance win, so you could loose changes made in other instances. To avoid this, the first instance acts as a the so called `Main Server`. Additional instances send their commands to the server and will display the results in their own environment, either as output in the command shell from where they were called or as a message box in the case of a File Explorer popup function.
If you start a second instance without arguments you will be asked whether you want to switch over to the first instance. You can refuse and still use multiple instances in parallel. This can be useful in rare cases. But remember that you will only have the state of the last closed instance later on, and this includes the content of the Log panel.
One big advantage of such a client-server architecture is the very fast execution of multiple commands in sequence, for example if issued from a batch/command file or from the popup menu in File Explorer.
Note that you could start the first instance in administrator mode and later issue commands from instances that are running in user mode. This will require an account with admin privileges and can sometimes be useful.
All of Multimedia Xpert's functions are built to handle files and folders of huge lengths (no 4 GB limit)
Multimedia Xpert is especially equipped with functions to handle network file systems with case sensitive names. For example Linux and Unix are like that but Windows is not. Actually all Atlas apps support that (see The Atlas Xperience™) .
As an element of The Atlas Xperience™ all Atlas applications support pathnames longer than 260 characters. In Windows this feature was introduced gradually over the last years, and several areas still can't do it. For example File Explorer doesn't fully support long pathnames, even in Windows 10. If an application has produced a nested folder with a long pathname, File Explorer will refuse to work with it and say something like "File not found", "Path too long" or just not react on a double click. The start of an application doesn't succeed and you can't even delete such a folder. In addition the throwing into the trash doesn't succeed. You must first shorten the parent folder's names interactively. But Atlas Informatics provides another useful tool, Mighty Desktop, which has some functions that can deal with long pathnames and for example has a function 'Delete' in it's right-click menu.
While Multimedia Xpert is fully long path enabled, the compatibility is still limited by the .NET Framework's and Windows' abilities. Windows 10 pretends to be fully compatible on paper while Windows 8.1 still has some non-compatible areas. But even in Windows 10 you can't start a program in a long directory neither can any program fetch its icon. In addition any commands based on the 'Shell' module of Windows are not long path enabled [up to this document's date]. This also includes the dialog for opening files. But there's a bypass solution: Thanks to the drag & drop features of Multimedia Xpert you can drag such items directly from the browse dialog to Multimedia Xpert's window behind.
Regular Expressions, abbreviated Regex, are supported on many locations. This is a globally standardized pattern system for string matching. It's extremely versatile, you could say the ultimate pattern matching system, but also a bit complicated to use. A good introduction can be found here.
Some additional functions can be obtained by holding a combination of [Ctrl], [Alt] or [Shift] keys if a function is executed:
- Ctrl+Alt+Shift at the start of the app will cancel the automatic restart of processes waiting in the Process Queue
- Ctrl+Shift during the start of the app will force a license and live tables update from the Atlas Server.
If you start the app and there appears an error message about taking a settings backup, the latest settings file seems to have been corrupted. It can happen, but very rarely. To fix this issue Multimedia Xpert stores the last 10 settings files in the folder "%appdata%\Atlas Informatik\Multimedia Xpert" named "Settings <n>.bak". You can just take an older one, copy it to "Settings.xml" and try out which one will work.
File Lists, Copy & Paste, Drag & Drop
Many dialogs support file and folder lists in a textual form. This means you can create a plain text file, for example in a plain text editor like NotePad, or much better in the freeware Notepad++, and write multiple pathnames in it, each pathname on a line. Empty lines are ignored. Or you can select multiple rows in a datagrid and drag these to your text editor. Such a list can also be inserted in another datagrid by pasting or dropping. That can be used to save hand picked compilations of pathnames to be used later on repeatedly.
Multimedia Xpert's Advanced Copy&Paste System puts an extended XML description of the copied rows on the clipboard as well as just a simple textual one. In case of a paste or drop it tries to extract data primarily out of the XML or else out of the textual description. For example you can copy a folder item in the Atlas app Multimedia Xpert and paste it in the Scan for Defects tab. Since the tab knows that it can only accept files it will automatically scan the folder for files and add these to the list.
Take note of another goodie: If you are dropping Windows Desktop shortcuts into a file list where it doesn't make sense to have shortcuts in, Multimedia Xpert will automatically resolve the shortcuts and instead add the targets. To give you an example: If you are in Turbo Join tab it makes no sense to add a shortcut. Nobody in the world would ever concatenate shortcuts. So Multimedia Xpert assumes that you want to concatenate the media files referenced by the shortcuts and adds these.
Another example where File Lists can be useful: Maybe you would like to get a list of some files with absolute paths in your text editor? Select them in File Explorer, Drag & Drop them in the Scan for Defects datagrid, select the first row, Ctrl-A to select all and Ctrl-C to copy. Done.
- Windows doesn't allow Drag & Drop between applications running in Admin mode and those not. For example you can't drag something from Windows Desktop to Multimedia Xpert when Multimedia Xpert is running in Admin mode. So, if the drop shows a minus icon this could be one of the reasons.
File Overwrite management
In the case where a destination file is already there you will get a comfortable dialog with several options:
The standard with overwrite and abort is the usual, but you can also
- modify the proposed name
- let it automatically append a new running number " (n)" at the end
- skip all overwrites of the same pass, provided the files have the same length. This can greatly speed up a repeated transfer of many files if only a few source files have been changed. But it is important to know that it can fail if two files have the same length but are different.
The Log panel has some tricks in its sleeve too:
- Scans the output text for words like "Error", "Warning", "failed", "Problem" and also in their localized translations and paints it red or orange to draw attention
- You can double click on a pathname and the log will open the corresponding file or folder. In case the automatic detection fails you can select a part of the text and trigger the function "Start Selection". If the pathname is followed by a line and/or column number it will always be opened in the text editor you configured in the settings. In all other cases it will be run by the corresponding program. Example: An html file will be shown in the browser. But you can force the opening in your text editor by holding down [Shift].
- You can let a pathname (file or folder) be shown in a new File Explorer window in a similar way as the above described starting resp. activation of the pathname resp. selection. The menu item is "Explore Selection".
- Use Alt-double-click to select a word.
- Always Show End: The log will scroll to the last line whenever a new line is added
- Click in the first pixels of a line to go into line selection mode
- You can copy out any text.
Whenever you see an error message like "...no access...", "NoAcc" or "N/A" in Multimedia Xpert it could be because it has not enough privileges. You can try to restart Multimedia Xpert in Administrator mode and check if it works then. There is a button in the About tab to simplify this.
Multimedia Xpert uses a lot of rarely used functions of Windows (Win32 API). These functions are plagued with bugs that were never corrected up to now. Some of the problem cases are WPF's 'FlowDocument', basic dialogs, the clipboard, the handling of images in general, network connections and hardware drivers. You will recognize 'FlowDocument' issues if you try to copy formatted text like RTF to the clipboard. Another point is that up to Windows 7 the task processing library of .NET had some flaws. If you can't stop a running task by pushing the ‘Stop' button try upgrading to a higher Windows version. Since Windows and .NET aren't Open Source I can't repair it, I can just catch the exceptions, and sometimes not even that (:<). Sorry, that's not Multimedia Xpert's fault. It remains a constant source of problems that newer versions of Multimedia Xpert will have to deal with and I had and will have to program around.
Foreign File Systems: If you enter paths to non-Windows file systems like Linux there are issues with the letter casing (capital or lowercase). Windows doesn't make a difference but these systems do. For example you could have a file "x" and a file "X" in the same folder. Because there is an information loss on the Windows side the drivers for foreign file systems have a very hard task. For example the Samba file system driver for the Dreambox/VU+ has multiple strange issues in that department. All Atlas applications contain complicated code to correct some of the problems. For example if you type a pathname in different casing, Atlas apps will automatically correct that as long as only one version of the name is present. This will improve the user experience greatly and also cure some non-understandable errors but can also reduce the efficiency. But in my opinion it is worth it.
Multimedia Xpert can do some processing in the background. It's sometimes hard to find the cause of something that doesn't seem right. For example if you start to experience longer delays on the UI or Multimedia Xpert is not showing up at the start for some seconds, don't blame it. Try these things first:
- If pathnames in any datagrids of tabs point to a not-connected network drive, IP addresses can't be resolved or internet is not available, a considerable startup delay can occur. This is because Windows is asking drives to spin up and waits for the answer. During this time the Windows UI is not well responsive.
- A common cause is too much data in the settings. For example try to clear big history lists by opening dropdown boxes and pressing [Ctrl][Delete] and also by switching to the Settings tab and using the specially provided clear buttons. Also, some huge datagrids in the tabs, the 'Log' aso. can put a heavy burden on Multimedia Xpert. What's more you can change the maximum remembered items of history lists in the Settings to a lower value.
- Some tasks on remote drives can take a lot of time in Windows. For example if you scroll through a file list with files of a remote drive, the fetching of the icons can slow down the scrolling considerably.
- Some third party applications are, how to say that, not well programmed. If Multimedia Xpert is asking them for their window title I noticed that some of them took several seconds to answer. This indicates that a long running task inside the application is performed without servicing the Windows Message Queue. Multitasking programming is one of the hardest things to do in software development, it is understandable that such delays can occur in some programs. Nevertheless the authors should think about embedding more calls to the system in long running loops. For example Atlas apps check constantly whether [Ctrl-Break] or [Pause] is pressed.
If icons of files or apps seem missing at first glance please note that Windows doesn't cache icons as it should, as for example Mac OS does, but instead fetches each one from the executable again and again. Because this is very slow, especially on network drives, this had to be implemented as a background task. If many operations are synchronously running there will be no time left to load and display icons. Another reason can be that the file is not accessible with the rights of the current user. Try restarting Multimedia Xpert in admin mode (see About tab).
One more tip: At a few locations you can switch on a field, checkbox or option named 'Verbose'. The corresponding process resp. task will then write detailed status messages to the 'Log' panel. This can help solve problems.
Another point: If something doesn't work as expected, please think first sharply what could be wrong with the input you entered or your other apps and only then send a feedback by the button in the About tab or by mail with the precise info about the application including as much details as possible:
- Name of other app
- Version number of other app
- 32 or 64 bit
- Number of Windows version
- What did go wrong
- What result did you expect
- Other Info that could help.
Then I will have a chance to fix it.
If your operating system is very old there can be some backward compatibility issues. Please try first updating your OS and install Windows Update patches and try again.
In any case, be patient! Thanks for your understanding and support.
Localization / Translation
Multimedia Xpert is one of only a few apps on the market that can be fully translated on the user's side without any program changes. The main application is programmed in US English. Adding another language is as easy as adding an additional textual translation file beside the exe file, nothing more. Sounds easy at first but consider that for example if labels that are aligned vertically change their width and everything right of it must rearrange. Something like that was only possible with the flexibility of the new WPF technology. The feature of 100% translation on the customer side without any adjustment of the layout could maybe be a unique feature in the whole world, only available to Atlas software.
We would appreciate if you help us by creating a translation for your language if it's not there. It's as simple as opening the text file 'AppTranslation_xx.txt' in the app's program folder, duplicating it, setting 'xx' to your ISO language code (eg. either 'fr' or 'fr-FR') and translating the lower line of each pair. Please ask us beforehand whether we have this version already and then send this file to our e-mail address. You will get a free lifelong license and a mention in the ReadMe! Thanks in advance!
If you alter the program language in the Settings, the names of the default items like the burn instruction can change. In addition some file names can also change. But it will not change the input format of numbers, date or times. These are controlled by the 'Region' control panel of Windows. Note that the functions added to File Explorer will only change their language after File Explorer (explorer.exe) was restarted. This can be done by restarting the computer. Please note that there is functionality in the Desktop tab of our brother tool Mighty Desktop, with which the desktop can be restarted and all running apps and Explorer folders will be restored as they were when the restart was initiated.