Finding files with File Finders

Finding files with File Finders

File Finders

If you didn’t know which forum to search, finding a file on CompuServe would be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, CompuServe offers several ways to search across forums for a particular file.
Several File Finders are available, which can search multiple forums for different kinds of files. Specifically, CompuServe offers the PC File Finder, the Macintosh File Finder, the Windows File Finder, the Graphics File Finder, the Games File Finder, the Adult File Finder, and the ZDNet File Finder.

Tracking down files with the PC File Finder

The PC File Finder (GO PCFF)—and its companion for Mac files, the Macintosh File Finder (GO MACFF) enable you to perform cross-forum searches for files. Actually, File Finder is just a big database with file descrip-tions pulled from various forum libraries. So when you search “across forums” with File Finder, you’re really just searching a list of files in a central database.


Because File Finder is a compilation, it might not always be complete or completely up to date. File Finder doesn’t include files from every forum, and it’s only updated approximately once a month. So it’s possible that the file you want won’t show up in a File Finder search. In that case, you’ll need to directly access the correct forum to find the file.

From File Finder’s main menu, select Access File Finder. You’ll see the Select Search Criteria screen shown in Fig. 9.4. This menu provides a list of criteria you can use to control the file search.

File Finders

You can search according to the following criteria:

  • Keyword looks in the file’s description for words you supply.
  • Submission Date lets you search for files submitted since a specified date.
  • Forum Name searches for files in only the forum you specify. (If you choose these criteria, you can only look in one forum at a time.)
  • File Type narrows the search to files in certain categories (ASCII, Binary, Image, Mac, and Graphics).
  • File Extension lets you specify a file extension to search for, such as .ZIP, .TXT, .DOC, and so on.
  • File Name enables you to search for the particular file by name. This is a great way to narrow your search if you know the name of the file for which you’re looking.
  • File Submitter lets you search by the user ID of the person who up­loaded the file.

After you specify your criteria, all you have to do is double-click Display Selected Titles. CompuServe then displays a list of files that match your criteria. Highlight a selection from the list and click the Select button to see a detailed description of the file. From this dialog box, you can Mark the file for later retrieval, or you can go ahead and Retrieve (download) or View now using the Open button.

If you choose to retrieve the file now, you’ll see the Save As dialog box, which prompts you to enter a name for the file and to select the directory on your hard disk where you want to download the file. Enter that information and click Save, and the download begins; CompuServe alerts you when the download is complete.


A better way to find software across different libraries is with the CompuServe CD File Finder. Unlike the PC File Finder, CompuServe CD File Finder enables you to search across forum libraries offline (without racking up CompuServe access charges), and then you can go online to download files. Refer to Chapter 11, “Other Ways to Automate Your Sessions,” for more information about file searching with CompuServe.