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

See also: Ordering Questions and Answers


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 freely 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 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 the Ordering page, in the help file, or in the Order.txt file, included in WhereIsIt software package.
Q: Can I order WhereIsIt on my freemail address?
A: Yes, you can, however license delivery to 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.
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 a 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 help with placing your license, you can use the Registration Helper Program (27kB) 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'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 on the Ordering page, or in the Order.txt file.
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.

See also: Ordering Questions and Answers


Q: Should I uninstall previous version of WhereIsIt? before installing a new one?
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.


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 nework 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+ or 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 it.
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 sources?
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.


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 98 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 immediately 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 general.
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 properly calculating 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 issue.
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 "File / Rebuild Catalog File" command. What this one does is read the whole catalog file piece by piece, and puts it together again from the scratch, leaving out the damaged parts. This function also has modest 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 needlessly 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 imported.
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 priority 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 WhereIsIt...)
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 problems?
A: You can send a description about any problem you find to the author ( Please be sure to check if you are using the latest version of the program, the problem may have already been addressed in the current release. When describing your problem, follow the guidelines 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.