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BeOS Basics

This chapter shows you the basics of working with the BeOS: starting it up and shutting it down, working with the mouse and keyboard, and mastering the fundamentals of the user interface. Chapter 3, "Learning Be Application Basics," picks up where this one leaves off, showing you the basic techniques you use with Be applications. Subsequent chapters show you how to use the applications that come with the BeOS. This chapter discusses the following topics:

Section Page
Starting the BeOS page 24
Getting to Know the BeOS Workspace page 27
Using the Mouse page 29
Using the Keyboard page 30
Working With Menus page 39
Working With the Tracker page 43
Taking a Screen Shot page 54

Starting the BeOS

Once you've set up your computer and installed the BeOS, you can start using it.

  1. Make sure that no floppy disk or CD-ROM that contains Be system software is inserted in a drive connected to your computer. When you start up the BeOS, it tries to find system software on removable disks before it looking on a hard disk.

  2. Turn on any peripheral devices, such as the monitor or external disk drives.

  3. Turn on the computer. The BeBox On/Off toggle switch is on the top of the back panel. Pushing the toggle up turns on the BeBox; pushing it down turns it off. If you're running the BeOS on a Power Macintosh, see your owner's guide if you're not sure how to turn it on.

  4. If you're running the BeOS on a Power Macintosh, double-click the BeOS Launcher application or choose BeOS when the dialog appears during startup. This is in the BeOS Mac Tools folder on the Macintosh hard disk, which you copied from the BeOS CD-ROM as described in "Installing the BeOS Preview Release."

When you start the BeOS, the Be logo appears momentarily, and then the computer loads the BeOS system software from the startup disk (this is often called "booting"). As the BeOS boots, it performs some housekeeping tasks, which it may inform you about. Then the BeOS starts the Tracker application. The Tracker is where you manage the work you do in the BeOS: arranging and opening files, starting applications, and so on.

When a BeBox is on, two columns of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) become active on its front. The green LEDs at the bottoms of the columns act as power indicators: They glow whenever the BeBox is turned on. The upper LEDs show the relative load on the BeBox's two PowerPC processors; the more LEDs are lit, the harder the PowerPCs are working. The Pulse application provides a similar display. The amber LED at the bottom of the right column is a disk activity light; whenever the BeOS uses an IDE or SCSI disk, the amber LED glows.

Selecting a Boot Disk

When you boot the BeOS, it looks in a fixed order for a boot disk from which to start. First, it looks for system software on a floppy disk. If it doesn't find a floppy with system software, it looks for any other kind of removable disk, such as a CD-ROM. If it doesn't find one, it checks the "boot preference" to determine the disk you prefer to boot from. It then tries to boot from that disk. If for some reason that disk isn't available or doesn't contain system software, the BeOS tries to boot from any other available disk with system software on it.

When you install the BeOS on a disk, the Installer asks if you want to change the boot preference to that disk.

Regardless of the boot preference and what disks are inserted or attached, you can select a boot disk in the boot selection screen. You can boot from DR8.x disks in addition to Preview Release disks. Open the boot selection screen by pressing and holding down the left shift key after you start the BeOS -- as soon as you see the Be logo start to appear. On a Power Macintosh, open the boot selection screen by holding down the left Shift key immediately after you double-click BeOS Launcher.

Each bootable disk is listed by its device name and by the name it has in the Tracker (formerly called the Browser). Disks formatted using the Preview Release appear as type "bfs"; disks formatted using DR8.x appear as type "ofs." Disks with no Be system software on them aren't included in the list.

In the below example, the BeOS CD in an IDE CD-ROM drive is selected, with the option to boot off of a Preview Release-formatted IDE disk named "Melbourne" and a DR8-formatted SCSI disk named "Burning Van."

For more information about SCSI IDs and IDE disks, see your computer's owner's guide.

Shutting Down the BeOS

Before you turn off the computer, you must first shut down the BeOS. Shutting down ensures that open files -- including system files -- are saved to disk correctly. If you turn off the computer without first shutting down, you risk losing information.

  1. Save your open files and quit any running applications. (Saving files and quitting applications are described in Chapter 3, "Learning Be Application Basics.")

  2. Choose Shut Down from the Be menu by clicking on the Be logo in the Deskbar.

    If you want to restart the BeOS instead of shutting it down, choose Restart from the Be Menu instead.

    If you are copying or moving files or emptying the trash when you choose Shut Down or Restart, a dialog asks you to confirm that you want to shut down or restart the BeOS when these tasks are complete.

  3. When a dialog tells you it's safe to turn off the computer, turn it off. You can also click the Restart button in the dialog (or press the Enter key) to restart the BeOS right away, without turning it off.

  4. After you've shut down the BeOS and turned off the computer, turn off peripheral devices that have their own power switches, such as the monitor or external disk drives.

Resetting the BeOS

If the BeOS crashes, or if the Shut Down and Restart commands don't work, you can restart the BeOS (without turning the computer off and on) by resetting the BeOS.

There are two ways to reset the BeOS. The nostalgic way is to press "Control-Alt-Delete." In other words, press the following three keys at the same time:

The other way to reset the BeOS is to press the Reset switch:

Interrupting the BeOS

WARNING: Do not use the Interrupt button in the Preview Release of the BeOS, because the interaction between the Interrupt button and the Debugger is broken.

Getting to Know the BeOS Workspace

When you start the BeOS, the Tracker (formerly called the Browser) starts up and the Deskbar appears in the upper-right corner of the screen. The background of the workspace is called the desktop -- initially a solid blue area where windows open and you do your work.

Take a moment to identify the following features of the Be workspace:

Though most of this guide concentrates on showing you how to work in this initial workspace, you can create up to nine workspaces and switch among them using the Workspaces application (see "Customizing the BeOS").

Using the Mouse

The mouse controls items on the screen. When you move the mouse, a small icon called the cursor moves across the screen. The cursor changes shape depending on what you're doing. It appears as a hand for selecting items and choosing from menus, an I-beam for selecting text, and so on.

You use the mouse buttons to manipulate on-screen items that are beneath the cursor. The BeOS can take advantage of one-, two-, and three-button mice. On a three-button mouse, the left button is initially the primary button, the one you click to perform the most common tasks; the right button is the secondary mouse button; and the middle button is the tertiary mouse button.

If you have a single-button mouse, you can emulate a three-button mouse by pressing Control-Command while you click the mouse button to emulate the secondary mouse button, and by pressing Control-Option while clicking to emulate the tertiary mouse button. (On a PC keyboard, the Command key is usually labeled "Alt"; the Option key is the one labeled "Ctrl" to the right of the spacebar.) There are a few basic techniques (and terms that describe them) for using the mouse that you should learn before continuing with this guide:

This Means To Do This
Move Move the mouse without pressing a mouse button.
Click Press and quickly release a mouse button without moving the mouse.
Press Press and hold down a mouse button without moving the mouse.
Drag Press and hold down a mouse button while you move the mouse.
Double-click Press and release a mouse button twice in quick succession.
Triple-click Like double-clicking, but thrice.
Double-click and drag Like double-clicking, but hold down a mouse button instead of releasing it the second time, then move the mouse.

You can adjust how the BeOS interprets multiple clicks and how rapidly the cursor moves across the screen when you move the mouse.

Using the Keyboard

Most of the keyboard keys should be familiar to you from typing class. However, the BeOS uses some of the keys on a PC keyboard in ways you might not guess:

PC Key Label Mac Key Label BeOS Key Name BeOS Function
Alt Command Command Used with other keys as a shortcut to choosing menu items.
Ctrl (on left) Control Control Used to type special characters, particularly when you're working in the Terminal application.
Ctrl (on right) Option Option Used to type special characters, such as symbols and accented characters.
Enter (or arrow) Return Enter Used to end a paragraph when you're typing. Also used as a shortcut for clicking on-screen buttons, opening files, and other common tasks.
Esc Esc Escape Used as a shortcut to clicking Cancel in many panels and to close open menus.
Tab Tab Tab Used to tab. Also used to select objects in windows and panels so you can manipulate them from the keyboard.
(arrows) (arrows) arrow keys Used to move the cursor in text, to select items, and so on.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Many keyboard shortcuts in the BeOS are common in other operating systems. The table below lists frequently used keyboard shortcuts that you'll find helpful while working with the BeOS.

PC Key Label Mac Key Label Function in the BeOS
ALT C Command-C Copy
ALT N Command-N New
ALT O Command-O Open
ALT Q Command-Q Quit
ALT S Command-S Save
ALT V Command-V Paste
ALT W Command-W Close a window
ALT X Command-X Cut

Working With Windows

The BeOS displays information in windows, areas on the screen with some of the following features:

Most windows have a tab at the top, with the title of the window and one or more buttons. In the Tracker, the title usually tells you the name of the folder whose contents are shown in the window.

You can have one or many windows open at a time, but only the active window responds to your actions. For example, pressing keys on the keyboard only affects the active window by its tab; the active window has a yellow tab.

You can make a window the active window by clicking its border or (for most windows) anywhere in it. When you start up a new application or switch applications, the frontmost window in the new application becomes the active window.

Moving a Window

To move a window drag it by its tab or border. The border includes the tab and the gray area on extreme edges of the windows where there is no scroll bar. For most Tracker windows, this means you can drag the window by its borders including the tab.

When you drag a window by its tab, take care not to click the close or zoom button accidentally.

Resizing a Window

You can change the size and dimensions of a window by dragging its resize knob. The resize knob is located on the bottom right of the window and is identified by the triangular dotted area.

You can also click a window's zoom button (the two squares icon in the window's title bar) to make it as big as it needs to be to show all that it contains -- or at least as big as the screen. Clicking the zoom button again restores the window to its previous size. Choosing the Resize to Fit command from a window's Window menu has the same effect as clicking the zoom button.

Scrolling the Items in a Window

Sometimes a window contains more icons, more text, or a bigger picture than can fit. You can move the contents of the window within the window to see the items or parts of the document that aren't visible by scrolling. When a window contains more than you can see in it, its scroll bars become active to show that you can scroll to see more. Initially, windows in the BeOS have proportional scroll bars, so called because their scroll knobs change size to give you a rough idea of what proportion of the contents of a window is visible. When you can see almost everything the window contains, the scroll knob is almost as long as the scroll bar; when you can only see a tiny part of what the window contains, the scroll knob becomes small in relation to the whole scroll bar.

The simplest way to scroll is to click or press a scroll arrow. But there are lots of other ways to scroll:

Do This To
Click a scroll arrow. Move the contents of the window a little.
Press a scroll arrow. Keep moving the contents of a window slowly.
Drag a scroll knob. Scroll the contents of the window quickly.
Click in a scroll bar. Scroll by a windowful.

You can also:

Do This To
Press Page Up. Scroll up a windowful.
Press Page Down. Scroll down a windowful.
Press Home. Scroll all the way to the top.
Press End. Scroll all the way to the bottom.

The content of a window also scrolls when you select an item that's not in view; for example, when you use the arrow keys to select items in a window.

Zooming a Window

You can quickly increase the size of a window by clicking its zoom button. This has the same effect as choosing the Resize to Fit command from a window's Window menu. The window becomes as large as necessary to display everything in it. Click the zoom button again to return the window to its previous size and location. Some applications use the zoom button slightly differently. For example, when you click the zoom button in the Workspaces application's window, it moves the window to the lower-right corner of the screen.

Hiding a Window

If you begin to have more windows open than is convenient, you can hide one or more windows. To hide a window, double-click its tab (but be careful not to double-click the close or zoom button).

To restore a hidden window to its original location, go to the Tracker, where the pop-up menu shows which windows are hidden. Select the hidden window and it reappears on the desktop. You can do the same to hide applications in the BeOS.

Selecting Items

To work with an item in a window, you first select it. Selected items usually change color to show that they're selected. For example, when you click an icon in a Tracker window, it becomes darker (or highlighted).

Besides clicking, there are other techniques and shortcuts for selecting items. The following table summarizes ways you can select items in Tracker windows, query windows, and some panels, such as the Open and Save panels.

Do This To
Click an item. Select it.
Drag from an empty place in a window across one or more items. Select the items you drag across.
Type one or more letters. Select the item that starts with that letter or letters.
Press an arrow key. Select the next item in the direction of the arrow.
Press the Tab key. Select the next item in alphabetical order.
Hold down the Shift key while pressing the Tab key. Select the next item in reverse alphabetical order.
Hold down the Shift key while you click, drag, or type. Select or deselect additional items.
Choose Select All from the File menu. Select all the items in the window.

Changing Views

Initially, the items in windows are displayed as large icons with their names beneath them. If you prefer, you can view the items in the window as small icons with their names to the right. Or, you can view the items in an ordered list view, which shows you additional information about the items. List views are also used in query windows, as well as some panels, such as the Open and Save panels.

You change views by choosing Icon view, Mini Icon view, or List view from a window's Window menu.

When you're working in Icon view or Mini Icon view, you can move one or more items in a window to a new location in that window -- perhaps to group related items in the same part of the window. Simply drag an item to the location you want. If more than one item is selected, they all move when you drag one of them. If you hold down the Command key on Mac keyboards ("Alt" on most PC keyboards) while you drag icons, they snap to an invisible grid when you release the mouse button.

In Icon view and Mini Icon view, you can use commands in the Window menu to straighten up the arrangement of all the icons in the window. Choose Clean Up to align each icon in the window to the nearest location on the invisible grid. If you hold down the Shift key, the Clean Up command changes to Clean Up All. Choosing this command sorts the icons in the window in alphabetical order on the grid.

Working in List View

When you're working in List view, you can change how the items are ordered in the list. Initially, items are sorted alphabetically by name, and the Name field title is underlined at the top of the list. If you click on another field title, the items in the list are sorted in a way that's appropriate for that field, and the field title you clicked becomes underlined. If you click a second time on a field title (or hold down the Shift key while you click on a field title the first time), the items are sorted in reverse order.

You can choose the fields you want to see in list view from the Fields menu. Fields shown in the window are checked in the menu.

Additionally, you can change the order in which the field title appears in the window. Simply drag the field title to the field title of the desired location and it will be placed accordingly.

Closing a Window

When you finish working with the contents of a window, you can close it to make more room for other windows on the desktop. To close a window, click its close button on the left side of the window tab. In many applications you can also choose the Close command, which is usually in a window's Window or File menu.

If you're working in an application where you need to save your changes, a dialog asks if you want to save any unsaved changes when you close a window.

In many Be applications -- such as the preferences applications -- when you close an application's last (or only) window, the application quits.

Working With Menus

Be menus contain commands, lists of applications, settings, and other items.

You work with menus in three main places:

You can navigate menus and choose items from them in a number of ways, using the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination of the two.

Note: This section describes how menus behave when you first install the BeOS, but you can change the appearance of fonts and how they work with the Menu preferences application, described in
"Setting Menu Preferences" on page 163.

Navigating Menus by Dragging

You can press a menu title, drag to the menu item you want, and release the mouse button to choose that menu item. If you release the mouse button without choosing a menu item, the menu closes.

When you drag through menus, you also see the keyboard shortcuts for the items in the menu. These are key combinations you can press rather than choosing the menu items with the mouse. The icon represents the Command key (either of the keys labeled "Alt" on either side of the spacebar on most PC keyboards). The icon represents the Shift key. Choosing menu items from the keyboard is described in "Navigating Menus From the Keyboard" on page 42.

Navigating Context-Sensitive Menus

In some applications, such as the Tracker, you can open a menu by selecting an item or positioning the cursor over it and then pressing a mouse button. Context-sensitive menus are also available in the Open and Save panels. You can drag to a menu item you want and release the mouse button to choose it. If you don't want to choose one of the items in the menu, drag the cursor out of the menu before you release the mouse button.

Initially, the secondary mouse button is the right mouse button on a three-button mouse, but you can rearrange the buttons and their roles with the Mouse preferences application. See "Setting Mouse Preferences" on page 165 for more information.

You can also open context-sensitive menus by pressing (holding down the mouse button) when the cursor is on an object -- such as an icon or selection of icons in the Tracker -- and waiting for a moment. The delay before the context-sensitive menu opens is related to the double-click speed you set in the Mouse preferences, which is described in "Setting Mouse Preferences" on page 165.

Navigating Menus by Clicking

You can click a menu's title to open it and view its contents. Then you can click a menu item to choose it.

When you click a menu title, the menu stays open until you choose a menu item, click another menu title, or click elsewhere on the screen. When you move the cursor (without pressing a mouse button) over items in an open menu, menu items highlight beneath the cursor and submenus open. You can press the Enter key on the keyboard to choose a highlighted menu item.

When you click a menu title, you see the menu's triggers. Triggers are characters you can type when a menu is open to choose an item by typing instead of clicking. Triggers are indicated by underlined letters in menu titles and menu items. For more information, see "Navigating Menus From the Keyboard" on page 42.

An arrow next to a menu item indicates that has a submenu. Move the cursor over a submenu title to open it. Then click the menu item you want to choose in the submenu.

Navigating Menus From the Keyboard

You can press and release a key to display the triggers for the menu titles in the active window.

You can also use triggers to navigate. Type the trigger letter for the menu you want to open, then type the menu item's trigger letter to choose it.

If triggers are showing and you decide not to choose a menu item, press Escape to hide the triggers.

Most menu items have a trigger. To choose an item that doesn't have a trigger, you can use the arrow keys to select it and then press Enter.

When you open a menu, you can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate menus. Use the left and right arrow keys to open different menus and submenus. Use the up and down arrow keys to highlight menu items. When the menu item you want to choose is highlighted, press Enter.

To open an application's main menu, press Command-spacebar (that is, press the Command key and the spacebar at the same time). To open the application list (so you can switch applications), press Command-Tab.

Choosing Menu Items by Shortcut

Many menu items have shortcuts, key combinations you can press to choose a menu item rather than by dragging, clicking, or by navigating from the keyboard. If a menu item has a shortcut, it's displayed to the right of the item in the menu. The icon represents the Command key (either of the keys labeled "Alt" on either side of the spacebar on most PC keyboards; the key labeled on Mac keyboards). The icon represents the Shift key. Shortcuts are always displayed in menus as uppercase letters, though you need to press the Shift key along with the Command and letter keys only if the shortcut includes the icon. For more information about shortcuts see "Keyboard Shortcuts" on page 31.

Working With the Tracker

You use the Tracker to organize you work: files, applications, queries, and so on. The Tracker is also the main tool you use to start applications.

Understanding the Hierarchical File System

Applications, documents, and other files in the Be file system are stored on disks. Because the number of files can become quite large, it's convenient to sort them into related groups. To do this, the BeOS -- like many other operating systems -- uses the metaphor of folders (also called "directories"), where you can keep related files together, and even related folders. The following illustration shows the fonts folder, which is in the system folder, which is in the BeOS folder, which is on the disk named Boot Disk.

There's another way of expressing the location of items in this hierarchy. For example, when you're working in the Terminal application, you use an item's path name. A path name is a series of folder names separated by slashes. For example, the path name of the fonts folder in the illustration is /beos/system/fonts. The leading slash indicates that the system folder is in the root of the boot disk; that is, on the disk you booted from but not in a folder.

This system gets more complicated when you're working with more than one disk. There are also shortcuts to represent items in the same folder and items in folders closer to the root of the hierarchy.

Getting Information About an Item

You can get information about an item in a window by selecting it and choosing Get Info from the File menu.

The information you receive depends on the item. For disks, you get information about their capacity and free space. For files, you get information about their size, their creation and modification dates, and location in the file system. For applications, you get this same information, plus a version number.

Opening Folders

Double-click a folder to open a window that shows the folder's contents. The title of the folder window is the name of the folder. A folder that contains another folder is often called the parent of the folder it contains. When you're viewing the contents of a folder in a window, you can open its parent folder by choosing Open Parent from the Window menu.

You can also open a folder's parents from the pop-up menu that appears when you press the lower-left edge of a folder window, the area that normally lists the number of items in the window below:

If you press the secondary mouse button when the cursor is over a folder or disk icon, or an empty area in a folder window, a context-sensitive menu opens under the cursor. You can also do this with a single-button mouse in Icon or Mini Icon view. The top item in the menu is a submenu with the same name as the folder the cursor is over. All folders, applications, and other files in the folder the cursor is over are arranged hierarchically in the submenu. You can navigate the submenu to choose any folder or file to open it. (See "Navigating Context-Sensitive Menus" on page 41 for more information.)

If you hold down the Control key when you double-click a folder, the folder's parent closes when the folder you double-clicked opens. This is a handy way to reduce the number of folders open in a workspace.

Renaming Items

You can rename any file, folder, disk, or other item in a window. To change an item's name, select the name by clicking it and type a new one. You can also select an item in a window and choose Edit Name from the window's File menu to select the name. You type and edit an item's name in the same way as you would any other text in Be applications. You can name an item anything you want, as long as there's no other item in the same folder with that name already. You can use up to 255 letters, numbers, and symbols -- anything you can type, except slash ( / ).

Warning: Do not rename the beos folder located on the boot disk or the beos will no longer work.

Tip: If you change your mind about renaming a file or folder while editing its name, press the Escape key to restore the original name.

Creating a Folder

You can create a new folder to store related files and other folders.

  1. Open the folder where you want to create the new folder, so the folder's window is the active window.

  2. Choose New Folder from the folder window's File menu. (Or press Command-N on the Mac keyboard, Alt-N on the PC.)

A folder named New Folder is created. The folder's name is selected; to name the folder type a name and press Enter.

Moving and Copying Items

You can move items (such as a file or folder) from one folder to another, by dragging the item into the window or onto the icon of the folder where you want to move it. You may have to arrange the windows on your desktop so both the item you want to move and the window or folder where you want to move it are visible.

If the folder you drag an item onto is on a different disk, the item is copied instead of moved. That is, a new copy of the item you drag is created where you dragged it, but the original copy remains in the folder from which you dragged it. If you want to have copies of the item you're moving in both the source and destination folders on the same disk, hold down the Control key (the key labeled "Ctrl" on the left side of most PC keyboards) while you drag the item. This forces a copy whether the destination is on the same disk or not.

Another way to copy or move files or folders is to use the context-sensitive menus. Position the cursor over the item you want to move or copy and press the secondary mouse button. In the menu that opens under the cursor, drag to the Move To or Copy To submenu and then through the hierarchy of submenus to select the folder where you want to copy or move the item under the cursor.

If you're copying or moving a lot of files, a status window opens with updates on the progress of that task. If you're moving or copying more than one set of files or emptying the trash, each such task is listed in the status window. You can click a status bar in the Status window and click Cancel to stop a task in midstream, but whatever has been moved, copied, or deleted so far stays moved, copied, or deleted -- it's not undone.

Replicating Items

Replicating items in the BeOS means you can take a component of an application and replicate it so it resides inside another application. To replicate an item, click on the Be logo in the Deskbar and choose Show Replicants. This creates draggers on the item you are replicating. By clicking on the dragger and holding the mouse button down, you can place the replicant anywhere, including the desktop.

To delete a replicant, hold the secondary mouse or press Control-Command while you click the mouse button (if you have a single-button mouse) on the dragger and a pop-up menu appears and gives you the option to delete.

Duplicating Items

You can create a copy of any item by selecting it and choosing Duplicate from its window's File menu. The duplicate is created in the same folder as the original, and has the same name, with "copy" appended. If you create more than one duplicate of the same item, the duplicates have "copy 2," "copy 3," and so on, appended to the original name.

Deleting Items

You can delete files, folders, and most other items you see in the Tracker by dragging them to the Trash can icon. You can also put items in the trash by selecting them in a Tracker window and choosing the Move to Trash command from the window's File menu. When there are items in the trash, the Trash can icon appears to have trash in it:

Items you put in the trash aren't deleted permanently. You can double-click the Trash icon to see what's in the trash and drag items back into a Tracker folder window if you decide not to delete them after all.

When you're sure you want to remove items permanently, choose the Empty Trash command from the Tracker's main menu, or click and hold the mouse on the Trash can icon to see the Trash pop-up menu, then choose Empty Trash.

If you make a habit of putting items in the trash and never emptying it, the trash eventually takes up a lot of disk space, so it's a good idea to empty the trash periodically.

Working With the Deskbar

When you initially boot into the BeOS, the Deskbar appears in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Click once on the Be Logo to view the Be Menu items. The Be Menu contains Find, the system commands (such as Restart, Shut Down, and Show Replicants), and any items that reside in the Be folder located on the startup disk.

The area between the Be logo and the clock is the application list, which shows the Tracker and all currently running applications:

Moving the Deskbar

You move the Deskbar by dragging it by the dotted area in its lower-right corner to the desired location. The Deskbar can be moved to any of the four corners as well as the top and bottom of the screen.

Finding Items

You can use the Find command in the Be Menu on the Deskbar to search for files, folders, and other items in the Be file system (that is, items stored as files on a disk). You can also search for entities such as e-mail or the names of audio CD tracks you enter in the CDPlayer application. When you choose Find, the Find window opens; there you specify in greater or lesser detail the attributes of what you're looking for. These specifications, called queries, are saved in the Be database, so you can reuse them later.

To find an item follow these steps:

  1. Choose Find from the Tracker's main menu.

  2. Choose what kind of items you want to find, and how you want to search (by name, attribute, or formula).

  3. Specify the attributes of the item or items you want to find.

  4. Specify the disk on which you want to search.

  5. Click Find. A query window opens, listing all the items that match the attributes you set in the Find window.

Query windows are similar to other Tracker windows, except they have a gray background and work only in List view. You can double-click items to open them, drag items to the desktop and to other folders, add and remove fields using the Fields menu, and so on. (Think twice before dragging items from a query window to a location in the file system, because they usually contain items from many parts of the file system, and once you move them, you can't move them back as a set.)

Caution: Though you can see and edit a text version of the query in the upper part of a query window, resist the temptation to experiment. The query language is incomplete in the Preview Release version of the software, and you can easily create an unresolvable query.

Opening a Query

The Be database saves every query you create -- until you decide to delete it. You can peruse your queries in the home/queries directory on your boot disk. Double-click a query in the window to open another query window, which shows the current result of the saved query.

You can drag queries you don't want any more from the Query window to the trash.

Taking a Screen Shot

There are two ways to take a screen shot in the BeOS. Press the Print Screen key or command -shift-3 (alt-shift-3 on a PC keyboard). The screen shot appears in the folder called home on your boot disk. All screen shots are in targa format. You can open the screen shot be dragging it onto the application called Rraster. Rraster is located at file://boot/beos/apps/rraster/.

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