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Comparing archive type files as binary files

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  • Comparing archive type files as binary files

    Is there an option to not expand archive type files when comparing. For example, I would like my dmg files to be compared as a single binary file, not as a folder for its contents.

    I would expect a global/session option disabling the expansion of archive type files, plus an option to open the current session as hex comparison instead of folder comparison. The first is useful for comparing archive files within a folder and the latter is useful for directly comparing single archive files.

    As a workaround I have renamed the *.dmg Mask in Preferences->Archive Types, but obviously this is not very convenient.


  • #2
    You can disable archive handling on a per-session basis in the "Handling" tab of the Folder Compare Session Settings dialog. In the middle of it is an "Archive handling (e.g. zip files)" setting, and if you change the combobox to "As files always" it will treat them as plain binary files. If you have a comparison where you want archives to be expandable, you can open them in the Hex Compare using the Actions/context menu's "Open With" submenu.

    One thing to note is that BC's default behavior for the "Archive Handling" combobox ("As folders once opened") does already treat them as an opaque file. If you do a binary or rules-based comparison of a folder structure, the archives are just compared as binary data streams. It's only once you expand them that it will compare the decompressed contents. The same is true for filtering, copying, or deleting them.
    Zoë P Scooter Software


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I hand't noticed the "Archive handling: As files always" setting. This is useful.

      Even more interesting is the information that you gave about the default behaviour of the "Archive Handling" ("As folders once opened"), meaning that it does already treat them as opaque files. The problem with that is that often you need to press the "Expand All" toolbar button just to see all the differences in the session and that causes the archives to be expanded as well. Collapsing (either "All" or individual archive files in the tree) doesn't put them back in the initial state, where comparing or syncing is done as a single binary stream. Anyway, I think the "As files always" option is good enough for what I want.

      For the second part of my question, is there a way to compare single archive files as binary? I mean whenever I drag a dmg file on BC or choose "Compare File" from Finder's context menu, it automatically opens a "Folder comparison". Is there a quicker way to switch to Hex compare, other than "New Session->Hex Compare->Open File..., etc" ?

      Thanks again


      • #4

        Not in an adhoc manner. If you removed *.dmg as an archive extension, then that specific file wouldn't be an archive anymore, so it would be a binary file. However, it would globally always be a binary file, and you could not expand it until adding the extension back.

        The default expanding behavior is designed to speedily catch most changes without unpacking (and downloading as a temp file if a remote connection) the archive. In most cases, a timestamp or size difference will be present on the archive itself to show a difference between the two archive files. Once expanded, we run the comparison on all the child items, treating it like a folder. This extra detail is not thrown away when collapsing the archive/folder. The other two modes will treat the item the same whether it is expanded or collapsed: as file always will always scan the archive as a file, and as folder always will always scan the child items.
        Last edited by Aaron; 07-Jun-2017, 11:08 AM.
        Aaron P Scooter Software