ExamDiff Pro Basic Tutorial #2 :: Tutorials :: ExamDiff Pro :: Home

How to compare directories

Tutorial Description: This tutorial describes how to compare directories, and discusses various directory comparison options.

Video tutorial View video demonstration

Steps:

  1. Open ExamDiff Pro and select the Directories option in the Compare dialog.

    The Directories pane of ExamDiff Pro main compare dialog

  2. You can select the directories you want to compare in any of the ways listed in Basic Tutorial #1, with the exception that the Browse button ExamDiff Pro Browse button operates a little differently: it lets you select directories rather than files.

    ExamDiff Pro Browse for Directories dialog, shown next to ExamDiff Pro main compare dialog, with the Browse button (the one next to the combo box) outlined

  3. Once you have selected the directories you wish to compare, click Compare.

    ExamDiff Pro main window, shown with two directories compared

  4. Now let's try out some advanced directory comparison options. Press Ctrl-J or click on the Options toolbar button ExamDiff Pro Options button to open the Options dialog, and navigate to the Dir Comparison page.

    The Dir Comparison page of ExamDiff Pro Options dialog

  5. The first option we will examine is the Recursive comparison option. By default, this is set to Do not compare subdirectories at all, which means that ExamDiff Pro will not attempt to compare subdirectories. Let's try setting this option to Compare subdirectories only to determine their status, and clicking OK at the bottom of the Options dialog. If a dialog pops up asking if you want to recompare, click Yes. The directories are now recompared.

    ExamDiff Pro main window, shown with two directories compared, with with Recursive Comparison set to Do Not Compare Subdirectories At All

  6. Note that subdirectories are now shown as being identical or different, based on their contents. Now let's go back to the Dir Comparison page of Options, and set Recursive comparison to Compare subdirectories recursively and recompare. Now all files in subdirectories are compared. Note: If you use the Recursive comparison option often, it may be helpful to add the Recursion button ExamDiff Pro Recursion button to your ExamDiff Pro toolbar. You can do this by first right-clicking on the toolbar and selecting Customize from the drop-down menu, then selecting the Recursion button from the list of available toolbar buttons and clicking Add and then OK on the Customize Toolbar dialog.

    ExamDiff Pro main window, shown with two directories compared, with with Recursive Comparison set to Compare Subdirectories Recursively

  7. The next options we want to look at are located in the Type of file comparison group. If Perform full file comparison is checked, ExamDiff Pro will compare files based on their contents. This type of file comparison is always slower but is ultimately accurate; also, it will use all file comparison options in the Compare page, as well as applicable comparison plug-ins. On the other hand, you rarely need this kind of precision -- you can also choose to compare files based on their metadata (such as size, timestamp, and CRC) to determine whether they are identical or different, which is faster but not as precise.

  8. Now let's try out some other directory comparison options. Press Ctrl-J or click on the Options toolbar button ExamDiff Pro Options button to go back to the Options dialog, and navigate to the Dir Comparison page if you are not already there.
    • The first option is filters, which is pretty straightforward - ExamDiff shows files matching the Include pattern, except for those matching the Exclude pattern.
    • The next options is the Recursive comparison option and the Type of file comparison options, which we have already examined.
    • The next options let you make comparison faster by disabling certain features.
    • The last options indicate how the files in the directories are sorted after comparison. Note that you can always re-sort the files by clicking on the column headings.
  9. Finally, let's look at the second page of directory comparison options. From the Options dialog, navigate to the Dir Comparison | More page.
    • The Misc options are in general fairly straightforward. Two options that deserve note are the Run new instance when comparing sub-directories and the Run new instance when comparing files options. These are useful because sometimes while comparing directories you want to drill down to a particular pair of files or sub-directories. If these options are checked, a new ExamDiff window will open every time you do this, which is convenient because your main directory comparison window remains unchanged, and you will quickly get back to it by closing the spawned instance.
    • The next options relate to making backups of files replaced through Copy operations. You can specify where the backups will be stored, and whether or not they will be ignored during comparisons.


    The Dir Comparison | More page of ExamDiff Pro Options dialog