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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - File operations

Q: Can certain files be excluded from copying?
Yes, there are two lines in the copy dialog, one for the target directory and a name change, and a second line for the files to be copied. Here you can not only specify file types to be copied (e.g. *.doc *.xls), but also those which should not be copied, e.g. *.* | *.bak *.old
File types behind the vertical line will then not be copied. The line (pipe symbol) is used because it's not allowed in normal file names.

Q: Total Commander cannot access files containing certain characters like ALT+255. What can I do?
DOS and Windows use different character sets, ASCII and ANSI. Certain characters contained in ASCII such as DOS line drawing characters do not exist in Windows! You must start a DOS box and rename the file by hand with RENAME. A similar problem exists on Windows NT: This system uses Unicode to store file names. If there is a file name from a different language than set in Windows (e.g. Russian or Chinese), Total Commander cannot access it.

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Q: Total Commander has problems to write to my CD-RW drive. What could be the reason?
To write to a CD-RW drive, a so-called UDF driver is used, e.g. EasyCD from Adaptec. Depending on the used software and its age, the driver may be good or bad - some drivers only seem to be tested with the Explorer. Solution: Either use a different driver software (e.g. the above mentioned), or change the Total Commander settings to copy files through the Explorer. To do this, you need to add the following line to the file wincmd.ini under the header [Configuration]
Disadvantage: You loose extended copy capabilities like copying in the background.

Q: Why is the deletion of files so slow on Windows 2000?
This happens if you have disabled the recycle bin on the Desktop, but not in Total Commander. Solution: Disable the recycle bin also in Total Commander under Configuration - Options - Operation, or change the Total Commander settings to make it delete through the Explorer. To do this, you need to add the following line to the file wincmd.ini, under section [Configuration]
The strange name comes because the recycle bin was first introduced in Windows 95.

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Q: There is no longer a PIF editor in Windows 95. How can I change the settings of my DOS programs?
Just press ALT+ENTER on the application or its PIF file. This will open a property sheet for this application.

Q: Why can't I change the date of a directory?
This is a limitation of DOS. To change the date of a file, DOS must open the file. Since you cannot open directories for reading or writing, you cannot change their dates. Since version 4.03, it's possible to change the date/time of a directory through a DOS function for long filenames. Starting with Total Commander 4.53, you can also change the timestamp of directories on Windows NT and Windows 2000, but only if you login as an administrator, because you need backup privileges to open folders for modification.

Q: How can I easily rename a file? The current name of the file should be given as the default!
Select the file and press SHIFT+F6.

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Q: How can I format or copy floppy disks using Total Commander?
When you right click on the drive letter, it opens a context menu which contains the two commands. Under Windows NT/2000 this only works if the drive isn't the current drive - therefore you have to use the drive button bar (can be enabled through the Configuration dialog). Alternative: Create a button in the button bar with one of the following commands:
rundll32.exe diskcopy.dll,DiskCopyRunDll
(for copying), or:
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,SHFormatDrive
(for formatting).

Q: Is it possible to use F2 for renaming (as in Explorer)?
Yes, you can re-map keyboard shortcuts through Configuration - Options - Misc - Redefine hotkeys. The command for renaming is cm_RenameOnly .

Q: How can I split a file to a user-defined size?
Use Files - Split file, and enter the desired size by hand. Please note: When you enter the size in k or M, please consider that 1k=1024 bytes and 1M=1024k! Normally a CD-R can hold less than 640M.

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Q: How do I create a shortcut (lnk file)?
There are two possibilities:

  1. In the other window by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F5
  2. In the same window by right clicking on the file for 1 second or by pressing Shift+F10 and selecting the command Create Shortcut.

Q: How can I verify files which I have written to a floppy disk? Why isn't this done automatically?
The problem is the disk cache: When writing the files to a floppy disk and reading them back immediately afterwards, they are not read from the disk, but from the disk cache. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to erase the disk cache.
Solution: Remove and re-insert the floppy disk! You can then either select all files and copy them to NUL (with F5), or use the command 'Synchronize dirs' to compare the files by content with the originals on the harddisk.

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Q: Although the recycle bin is enabled both in Total Commander and on the Desktop, Total Commander deletes the files directly.
This happens if the recycle bin is damaged. To repair it, proceed as follows:

  1. Enable the display of hidden/system files in Total Commander (through the Configuration menu).
  2. On all drives, delete the directory called \recycled in the root of the drive. Warning: This empties the recycle bin!
  3. Delete one file in Explorer. This re-creates the recycle bin.
  4. Do not modify the content of the \recycled directories. To access the recycle bin, right click on the F8 button in Total Commander.

Q: How can I print a file list, or import it into a different program?
There are several ways to print a directory from Total Commander, although it's not possible directly:

  1. Use Files - Print - File list to print the selected file names. Depending on the current display mode, you can print either only the file names, or all file details. Please note that some fonts like Fixedsys may not work with your printer. To print to a file, install the printer Generic - Text only, and connect it to FILE: .
  2. Use the command cm_copynamestoclip (e.g. add it to button bar) to copy all names via clipboard to other programs
  3. Use the diskdir plugin from our addons page to create a list file, which you can then print from Word or Excel.
  4. Use a third party tool like print folder pro from It's specialized on printing folders.

Q: How can I compare one or more pairs of folders by content, e.g. after burning a CD-R?
You can use the function synchronize dirs: Select the folders which you want to compare, and choose commands - synchronize dirs and choose the options Subdirs, by content and ignore date. Then click compare. Click the = button to hide/show equal files.

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