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2014, shareware edition

Copyright (c) 1997-2014 Robert Galle
All Rights Reserved
Last updated: January 2012

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Registration and purchase
2. Installation
3. Using the program
4. Troubleshooting

1. Registration and purchase

Q: Why should I register?
A: WhereIsIt? is not a free software, a lot of time and effort has been
invested in making of this program. WhereIsIt? is released as shareware,
allowing you to test it for a limited period of time (14 days). If you
plan to continue using the program after that period, you are required to
register. Evaluation version also has some limitations that are removed
when the program is registered and unlocked.
Q: How can I register WhereIsIt?
A: The fastest way to register WhereIsIt is to use the online registration form
and pay with your credit card or using PayPal, however other options for
payment are available as well. Online orders are handled by 2Checkout Inc.
via secure SSL connection. Once order is placed, you can usually expect to
receive your license by e-mail within the next few hours if not minutes.
Physical CD-ROM delivery by regular mail is also available. More details and
link to online ordering form can be found on WhereIsIt's home page:, in the help file, or in the Order.txt file,
included in WhereIsIt package.
Q: Can I order WhereIsIt on my freemail address?
A: Yes, you can, however license delivery to free email addresses is not
allowed. A free email address is any address that can be obtained by anybody
through actions like registering online somewhere. If all you have available
is a freemail address, you can still place your order, however you are
required to have your license and program physically delivered by regular
mail on a CD-ROM.
Q: I don't have a credit card, or don't want to use it. Can I still register?
A: Yes, other ways of payment are available. Some of them include sending a
bank/wire transfer, a personal check (cheque, in some countries), or cash by
regular mail directly to the author's address. The online e-commerce vendor
accepting orders for WhereIsIt, 2Checkout Inc., can also accept e-checks and
FX Source bank transfers. You can find more details in the Order.txt file, or
on the Ordering Questions and Answers page on the web site.
Q: Do I need to re-register new versions of WhereIsIt?
A: No, you don't have to, your license is valid for all future versions of
WhereIsIt as well. If I am in any way forced to change this policy, it will
not be done without discussing it with currently registered users first.
Please note that you may need updated registration details such as key files
in order to be able to unlock a major new release of WhereIsIt (unlikely,
licenses were last changed in August 2000).
Q: I'm a registered user of previous major WhereIsIt release, how can I
unlock the current version.
A: Each major Where Is It? version (2.xx, 3.xx) uses its own registration system
and a different set of license keys. When a new major version is released,
all registered users are e-mailed a new registration package, which includes
the appropriate license for the new version as well. This does not happen
very often though, licenses were last changed in August 2000 for version
3.xx, the same are still valid for all current versions, and are not expected
to change any more. If you need to receive a copy of your current
registration details, there is a form available on program's web site where
you can place a request. If you need help with placing your license, you can
use the Registration Helper Program (available from the web site) and let it
place your license for you, or you can have your license placed by the setup
program while installing the software (just tick the appropriate option).
Q: I have lost my license, what can I do?
A: A form is available on the web site where you can apply for license to be
resent to you. Note that you are required to properly identify yourself as
a registered user, by stating a valid license serial number, or other non-
public information that proves your purchase and identity. Additionally,
freemail addresses are not allowed for resending licenses.
Q: I'm working for a company and we would all like to use WhereIsIt. Are
there site licenses available?
A: Yes, site licenses are available for WhereIsIt. When placing an order, just
include the appropriate number of licenses in your purchase. Discounts are
available for purchases of 5 or more licenses at once. You can find more
details about placing orders and pricing in the Order.txt file, or online
on program's web site.
Q: Can I be notified about new versions?
A: Notifications about new versions and current development news are posted
on program's web site. Additionally, PAD file is available and regularly
updated for other web sites that monitor available software and new
releases, and many of those sites offer personal notifications about
software you are interested in.

2. Installation
Q: Should I uninstall previous version of WhereIsIt? before installing a new
A: This is not necessary if you will install new version in the same folder.
Just run the setup program, and program will upgrade itself. If you would
like to install program to a different location, or troubleshoot by
reinstalling and resetting all settings, then uninstalling first is
recommended. Please note that your catalogs will not be deleted while
uninstalling, but you will have to configure the program again since old
settings will be removed.
Q: Can I install and use WhereIsIt? on 64-bit Windows?
A: Yes, the program normally installs and runs on any 64-bit version of
Windows, including Windows 7 x64, Windows Vista x64, and Windows XP x64.
You can download the installer, or use the portable version without
installation on any 64-bit system.
Q: How can I uninstall WhereIsIt?
A: Just open the Control Panel, select "Add/Remove programs" option, and
double-click WhereIsIt's entry on the list. If you have created program
group for WhereIsIt when installing, you can achieve the same by clicking
the "Uninstall WhereIsIt" icon in WhereIsIt's group.

3. Using the program

Q: What kind of drives and media can I catalog? Can I catalog my remote file
server, or external hard drive connected by wireless network?
A: WhereIsIt can access and catalog any drive or other media that is capable of
presenting itself in Explorer with a drive letter, or can be accessed as a
part Windows network with its UNC address.
While a vast majority of drives being cataloged will likely be accessed
locally on the system itself, using this open and generic approach rather
than implementing a number of protocols allows access to any number of
current and future devices without the need to add support for them in future
versions of WhereIsIt.
For example, you can catalog a number of non-Windows remote network drives,
like Unix/Linux servers, by using Samba ( You can catalog a
remote FTP or WebDAV server, or a remote external hard drive, connected to a
network router or a home theater device and accessed via FTP or SMB, by using
software driver like NetDrive ( And so on...
Typically, to access a non-native device you only need some sort of a driver
or software that will allow Windows to access the drive, and Windows itself
is likely to natively support additional devices and protocols in the future.
Q: Is there a size limit on catalogs, or how much data can WhereIsIt handle? Is
there a slow down when working with large catalogs?
A: The only limit are your system capabilities and some common sense practical
usage. While the program can read and write catalog files (.ctf) of basically
unlimited size, the recommended maximum limit per single catalog file is
2 GB, which is the equivalent of about 70 million files and folders with
moderate use of descriptions, or about 120 million, if using catalog
compression in version 3 (not recommended). Any single disk image stored
within catalog file must not exceed 2 GB in size when saved.
Practical limits are lower than that though, operations like searching or
saving on such large files are likely to take too long to be still
comfortable to use. The usual size of catalog files would be up to a couple
hundred MB or so, however that's your call. There are some users who have
their catalogs over 1.5 GB in size (i.e. disk image of corporate network
server), and are still satisfied with performance. That's a bit extreme
though, it's not recommended to be pushing it that far. In any case, no one
says that you must have just one catalog - in fact you don't usually work
with such large collections. WhereIsIt can have opened multiple catalogs at
once and use them as one, for example when searching for something. If a
single catalog becomes to large for comfortable usage, you can always break
it apart into more catalogs. This also gives you the ability to open only
those catalog files in your collection that you actually need at the time,
and allows you to better organize your collection from the grounds up. As far
as speed against quantity is concerned, it's a pretty much linear ratio -
twice as much data will take twice as long to search. Largest catalogs also
take longer to save changes to and require more free space on the hard disk
(at least as much as the size of catalog). Other operations are hardly
affected with large catalogs, the program only loads parts of catalogs
actually needed at the time and there isn't much difference if the catalog is
1 MB or 1 GB in size. The only thing you would have to look out for when
working with large catalogs is not forcing the program to load too much data
at once. In real life usage this only happens with too liberal search
expressions; for example, items that are listed on one of the lists have to
be loaded in memory, therefore doing a *.* search on 1 GB catalog may not be
a very good idea. If working with very large catalogs, it is recommended to
always have a limit set on allowed number of search hits to prevent too heavy
memory load, and eventual heavy slowdowns or even crashes.
Q: How can change the order of disks, displayed in left tree pane?
A: The same way as you would change order of files or folders - by sorting
them in the right pane. Select the parent catalog entry in the tree view,
so your disks are displayed on the right side, and sort them by clicking
the appropriate column header. Changes in disk order will be reflected on
tree view, too. You can also use drag&drop to manually reorder your disks
on the list, or your can use the Ctrl+Alt+<Up> or <Down> to move selected
disk(s) on the list.
Q: Can I delete specific files or folders from catalog if I don't need them?
A: You can, although this is generally not a good idea. Data available and
stored in catalog should resemble as much as possible the actual state of
your media. A possible exception are hidden files, special items like
Recycle Bin, that can be set to be skipped during the disk scan. The program
will allow you to freely remove any file or folder from catalog, although
overusing this feature is not recommended and should be used with care.
Q: How can one print an alphabetical list of all files in the catalog?
A: The easiest way to do that is to use searching in combination with report
generator. First, you have to get a list of all items that you would like
to print - searching for all files with "*.*" mask should do the trick in
this case. Sort resulting list by file names, and click on report
generator button. Be sure to selected the "Print data in list 'as is',
no sorting" option, in order to preserve items order as they are in search
results list (nicely alphabetically sorted). Just select the columns you
want in report, and that's it.
Searching in combination with report generator is a very powerful and
adjustable tool for making all kinds of reports. You can do a lot with it,
but you will need to get a bit creative. For some more examples you can
check out the "How to..." section in the help file.
Q: Can I export my database to be used in some other program?
A: Exporting cataloged data is a part of report generator, meaning you can
select yourself which data and in what details will get exported. Report
generator supports a few different export destinations, including text
files (regular ASCII files, tab-separated, or comma-separated), MS Excel
tables, RTF documents, HTML documents, SQL scripts, XML documents...
Q: How about importing catalogs from some other programs or databases?
A: Importing third-party catalogs is not supported or possible, for many
reasons. WhereIsIt's catalogs are not just a list of files and folders,
there are a lot more details gathered or calculated during scanning the
media that are later required for catalogs to function properly, including
media recognition, CDDB queries, file system details, using catalogs
independently on other systems etc. Third-party data simply doesn't contain
the necessary information to create a functional WhereIsIt catalog out of
Q: I have set the Description Assistant to import text files as descriptions,
but this doesn't work.
A: Auto-importing descriptions is not what Description Assistant (DA) does.
DA is an interactive tool, designed to help you when manually editing your
descriptions. For more details about DA, consult the help file and be sure
to read the next question, too.
A plugin to import user-defined text files as description as also available,
however due to some considerations with this functionality it is not
distributed as a part of WhereIsIt and is not officially supported. You can
download it as a separate package from program's home page.
Q: How can I remove descriptions or thumbnails from all items in the catalog?
A: There is no function that would say "delete all thumbnails in catalog",
just as there is no similar function saying "delete all thumbnails on this
disk", or "delete all thumbnails in first, fifth, and seventh folder".
There are no such shortcuts available in WhereIsIt if there is a more
generic way that can handle all that. The Remove Thumbnail command works
on all selected items at once - just get all the files you want to remove
thumbnails from on a single list, select the whole list, right-click one
of selected items, and select Remove Thumbnail. To get a catalog-wide list
of all files, the simplest way is to use the "find in this catalog" command
and search for *.* ... Similarly, this also allows you to selectively
remove thumbnails from certain items only, for example, from *.bmp files
located on certain disks only.
The same goes for descriptions as well; select all wanted files, right-
click, select Properties, and assigned all selected items a common
description (which may as well as be empty).
Q: How can I get the program to import my own descriptions during disk scan,
or add support for importing thumbnails from new types of files, or other
A: WhereIsIt provides Description API, a programming interface that allows
users to include or even write their own plugins, extending program's
ability to handle other, currently unsupported description and thumbnail
sources. For example, if you would like to import your *.txt files as
descriptions, you could write a simple description plugin for this task. It
will be plugin's responsibility, however, to provide the text to be used for
description in any way it can. As far as WhereIsIt is concerned, it will just
say to your plugin during the disk scan: "Hey, you said you can get me
description for parent folder from *.txt files, so here is a folder with some
.txt files in it, let me have up to 32 kB of description text then". A full
documentation and a sample about DescAPI and writing plugins is available in
the [WhereIsIt]\DescAPI folder.

4. Troubleshooting
Q: Does WhereIsIt run on Windows 3.1, or Windows NT 3.5x?
A: No, sorry, WhereIsIt? relies on technology not yet provided with these
operating systems. You will need at least Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0
to run WhereIsIt.
Q: I get a "Debugger detected - please close it down and restart!" message
when I start WhereIsIt.
A: To begin with, make sure you are not running a debugger like SoftIce on
your system, WhereIsIt will not run if a debugger as active.
There are two known problems causing this message, both resulting from
third-party software using debugger-like approaches. If you have an AMD
processor and use ULEAD graphics software products, remove or rename
amdfix.sys. If you have an Audigy 2 soundcard, turn off the welcome screen
in its drivers. This issue is not limited to WhereIsIt, the same two are
well known for causing similar error messages in many other programs and
games which look out for debuggers.
Q: WhereIsIt 3.xx reports an error message immediatelly after starting and
then exists.
A: Check for interference with third-party software running on your system,
like firewalls, anti-virus programs, and similar. An old version of Zone
Alarm (Pro) 3.0 was known to cause this problem. Temporarily shut down
any suspected programs and try running WhereIsIt again. You may also want
to check for virus/spyware infections on your system, some types of malware
are known to be interfering with other programs, often preventing them from
running correctly.
Q: When I click the CD-ROM drive button in the Add/Update dialog, my computer
locks up, or I have problems with scanning any CD-ROM or DVD media in
A: Check your ASPI drivers. While ASPI layer is not mandatory for WhereIsIt to
run, it is used when found, as it handles CD-ROM/DVD drive access and helps
with calculating peroperly CDDB query details. Note that certain third-party
ASPI drivers, commonly shipping with CDR software are not standard and can
cause problems in WhereIsIt and other applications using ASPI layer. If you
are experiencing problems accessing CD-ROM or removable drives in WhereIsIt,
re-installing the original Adaptec ASPI drivers may often help to resolve the
Alternatively, you can also use the "-noASPI" command-line parameter to
disable ASPI layer support in WhereIsIt. Avoid using this parameter if
adding audio CDs to catalog, as ASPI is required for proper CDDB handling.
To disable using ASPI in WhereIsIt, start the program with the following
parameter: "WhereIsIt.exe -noASPI", or modify the shortcut accordingly.
Q: Error is reported immediatelly when displaying Add/Update Disk Image dialog,
or when I click a CD/DVD drive button.
A: Fix ASPI drivers on your system, see above. Reinstall ASPI driver layer and
reboot. You can confirm this is an ASPI issue by using "-noASPI" or
"-noCDmediatype" command-line parameters.
Q: Scanning a DVD media (usually on write-capable device) is very slow.
A: Fix ASPI drivers on your system, see above. Reinstall standard Adaptec's ASPI

driver layer and reboot. You may also want to check for other, third-party
ASPI drivers installed on your system that may be interfering.
Q: I have problems with scanning a certain media, what can I do about it?
A: Such problems are usually a result of damaged media that can't be read
correctly (a scratched CD-ROM, for example), as well as of damaged,
corrupted or otherwise invalid files on the media. In case of damaged
media there is not much program can do about it, but with corrupted files
you can temporarily turn off some advanced scanning features like browsing
inside archive files and description plugins. You should be able to catalog
any readable media, in worse case by turning off all advanced features and
let the program do just a simple scan of media contents. See the Scanning
Troubleshooting section in the help file for more details.
Q: Searching doesn't work - error is reported, searching gets stuck, or the
program just quits unexpectedly while searching.
A: Those are all samples of a typical behavior of a corrupted catalog file,
searching is always the first one to stumble on problems with corrupted
catalog data. The first thing to do is to try to rebuild the affected catalog
file, using the "Application Menu / Rebuild Catalog File" command. What this
does is read the whole catalog file piece by piece, and puts it together agai
from the scratch, leaving out the damaged parts. This function also has modes
recovery capabilities, however it does require that catalog is still readable
as a whole. In case rebuilding catalog doesn't work, it should be enough to
locate the exact disk with the corrupted part, delete it from catalog, and
re-add it again by a doing new scan.
Q: Localized characters in filenames or in descriptions are not imported
correctly. Can you make WhereIsIt support my local language and characters?
A: WhereIsIt already supports all language variations and local characters. If
file or folder names are missing localized characters, which appear to be
replaced with similar ANSI characters (like missing diacritics), very likely
you don't have your Windows setup properly for the language you are using.
Make sure everything is set correctly in Control Panel / Regional Settings,
especially language and region related settings. If the problem is with
descriptions having their localized characters replaced with characters like
'+', '-' and similar, you are using the "DOS Graphics Characters Filter"
formatting plugin. Don't use this plugin with text that is not in pure ANSI
code, many languages use their own localized characters in places where
graphics characters are supposed to be, and they get converted as well. A
similar problem is needlesly using the "OEM-to-ANSI charset converter" plugin
which can also result in incorrect local characters if used on text already
in the correct code page.
Q: No descriptions are imported when scanning my media, what can I do?
A: Check if description modules are loaded and enabled, and make sure that
description plugins are enabled and in suitable priority order. Also,
check if you are not using any option that is reserved for special cases
only - for example, the "Import existing descriptions from other disks in
catalog" should be disabled by default as it requires a lot of resources
and can even cause problems or instability during scanning.
Q: The CDDB plugin doesn't seem to be working, only generic description are
A: There are two plugins that can handle Audio CD tracks, the CDDB plugin and
generic Audio CD plugin. Make sure that CDDB plugin has assigned more priorit
than Audio CD plugin, or CDDB will never get to be used in the first place.
Generic descriptions can also be assigned if CDDB plugin was not successful
in retrieving descriptions - because of there is no Internet connection,
your audio CD is being used by some other application and CDDB plugin can't
access it, or just because it is not listed in CDDB database or results
returned were not reliable. Please also note the fact that if you are
updating disk image in catalog, existing descriptions are always kept unless
specifically instructed otherwise.
Q: I can not save my catalog files, I get an error message saying that folder is
not writeable.
A: Make sure you are saving on a media that is writeable, and to a folder where
you have the appropriate write access. Note that Windows Vista does not allow
standard users write access to system folders like "C:\Program Files\...",
use the appropriate folder for your catalogs, for example one located in
"My Documents". See the help file for details.
Q: I can't get the program to accept my license key file.
A: Make sure that your key file is named "License.key" if you are using
WhereIsIt 3.xx, or "WhereIsIt.key", if using WhereIsIt 2.xx. Note that those
are two different key files, each for its respective version of WhereIsIt.
The key file must be located in the same folder as program's .exe file (NOT,
for example, in the same group on your desktop where you have a shortcut to
Q: I'm using WhereIsIt illegally with a fake license file, and I have a problem.
Can you help me?
A: (Question moved to Recycle Bin)
Q: I think I have found a bug. Where and how can I submit reports about found
A: You can e-mail description about any problem you find to the author
( Please be sure to check if you are using
the latest version of program, the problem may have already been addressed
in the current release. When describing your problem, follow the guidelines
in the help file and provide relevant data - try to include as much
information as possible for author to be able to repeat the problem -
reproducing the error is the first and most important step to solution.
Please also include a short description of your computer, including
WhereIsIt and OS version that you are using.