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Monday, 24 January 2011

ActiveFile fixes old bugs but comes with a new problem

ActiveFile Symbian file manager & SMS backup restore tool
X-plore is the best file manager for Symbian if you want to manage files. But file manager ActiveFile has a few extra features beyond file managing that make it a great program.

ActiveFile is also a task manager. And it can reboot your phone, make screenshots, back up your SMSs, and it can make fake messages too.

The file manager gets the job done. The two pane layout makes it easy to move files between folders. Unfortunately ActiveFile lacks the "tree view" option of X-plore. The # key selects and deselects files and folders, unlike previous versions of the program. Unfortunately the selection marker is very hard to see on white file icons.

The screenshot tool of ActiveFile usually needs to be triggered with the C (delete) key, unless you have a very old phone that still has a pencil key. The camera key can make screenshots in theory, but on my phones it keeps launching the camera instead of making screenshots.

The option "turn light on" is probably meant to light the led so you can use your phone as a flashlight, but this didn't work on any of my phones. If you want to use your phone as a torch, use BrightLight.

SMS backup and restore is the best feature of ActiveFile. You can back up and restore every message folder, including your custom message folders. Better yet, ActiveFile can restore your messages in a non-destructive way: if you restore a backup, new messages that arrived after you made the backup stay on your phone. If you send a backup from one phone to another, the two SMS folders are merged perfectly. Not even Nokia's own Ovi Suite will do that for you.

You can choose whether the SMS backup file should be stored on your phone's own memory or on your memory card, but you can't select the folder in which ActiveFile should store the backup. ActiveFile doesn't even tell you the location of the backup file, and the SMS backup screen has no options for copying backups to your computer, storing them online, or sending them to other Symbian phones to merge different messaging folders. Of course there's a workaround to do all that: just navigate to the backup files in any file browser to copy, send, move, or delete 'em. ActiveFile stores your backups in C:\Data\Others or E:\Others, depending on whether you choose internal memory or memory card as backup location.

ActiveFile may crash with an out of memory error when you restore backups with a lot (many hundreds) of messages, so don't rely on ActiveFile as your only SMS backup method.

ActiveFile can create fake SMSs. Unlike other fake SMS creators like Free-iSMS and Fake Messages (which can only fake incoming messages), ActiveFile can fill your inbox and sent folder with fake incoming and outgoing SMSs. Old versions of ActiveFile would get the date and time of your fake messages wrong, but the latest version gets it right.

The latest version (v1.44.5) fixes some other bugs (details here UPDATE: This link is dead. And so is Symbian.) too. It works well on my phones except for one: on my old Symbian S60v3 feature pack 2 phone the program shuts down whenever I try to open the options menu. On this phone I'll stick with version 1.44.0, which fortunately is still available on the ActiveFile website.

ActiveFile from Alie Tan UPDATE: This link is dead. And so is Symbian.

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