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Mijenix Wizamanager & PowerDesk [message #4776] Fri, 06 August 2021 22:03
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Yesterday I uploaded to Vetusware PowerDesk ExplorerPlus 1.0, which was a surprise find for me, and just wanted to talk briefly about Wizmanager and PowerDesk.

Mijenix was started by Mike Kronenberg and wife Jennifer, and that's how the Mijenix name came to be: MI+JEN+IX = MIJENIX.

When I switched from the Tandy Color Computer (CoCo) to a PC, my first machine ran DOS, and my main program was WordStar word processor. Somewhere along the way, I was handed a floppy with a Wordstar file to be edited, and it included an early, early version of Norton Commander(NC). That little util completely changed the way I used the PC. I stuck with DOS and NC until some time after Windows for Workgroups came out, but once I tried WFW, I was hooked. It wasn't long until I found a Window based file manager on the Oakland University ftp site called Wizmanager, and once I figured out how to eliminate the nagware screen, I mostly stopped using DOS, NC, and for that matter the command line.

Wizmanager worked by hooking into Windows 3.x file manager (called "Fileman.exe"). Mirosoft had made it possible for up to 4 addons to Fileman,published the specs, and there were lots of shareware attempts. Right from the outset, I could tell that Wizmanager was far more polished and intuitive to used than 99% of the shareare out there, and it wasn't long before a lot of people felt the same way. When Wizmanager 2.0 and Wizutilities came out, the programs had far more sophisticated licensing, and that was a real challenge for me. But my God, what suite of tools they provided!

When Windows 95 was released, a new, standalone file manager was developed by Mijenix, and it was named "PowerDesk ExplorerPlus". At that same time, Mijenix arranged for Microhelp to handle all marketing, sales, support. PowerDesk was just a whole higher league better than anything else out there.

Mijenix reclaimed marketing from Microhelp with the 2.x release, but that wasn't the end of PowerDesk and other, later Mijenix offerings changing hands.

It went something like this: Mijenix--->MicroHelp---->back to Mijenix---->Kroll Ontrack--->V-Com---->Avanquest. Also somewhere around PowerDesk 5.12 and before 6.0 in about 2002, it looks like Mike Kronenberg had a falling out with either Ontrack or V-Com and started a company called Novatix. During that company's existence, it produced what they called ExplorerPlus 6.0 which was somewhat buggy, and one later version 6.2. That 6.x ExplorerPlus had several nifty features and was a preview in my estimation of the PowerDesk 6.0 released by V-Com ( like "skinning" - which was all the rage). Novatix developed one other product I remember called "Redwall" a firewall for 9x Windows.

It looks like Novatix was Mike Kronenbergs last role in PowerDesk, and of any involvement with ownership. He went on to found and prosper a couple of high end computer security companies. Once PowerDesk landed in Avanquests portfolio it stayed there, and each iteration under their flag has been more and more bloated, buggy, and with extremely tough licensing verification.

Even today, I use PowerDesk 7.44 on my Windows 10 x64 machine. I'd be lost without it.

[Updated on: Wed, 06 October 2021 16:14] by Moderator

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