A while ago, I had the need for a file comparison utility to compare the difference between files on my Web server and those on my computer. After a bit of searching, I came across a utility called Beyond Compare.
From the beginning, I was impressed at just how easy it is to use Beyond Compare. All you do is open one file, then “compare” it to another file. Beyond Compare scans the files and identifies all of the differences. Then, you can click on the up and down arrows in the menu at the top of the utility, and it will automatically transport you to the highlighted differences in the files.
One of the biggest pros I’ve found in this software, besides its ease of use and its power, is the fact that the trial operates the way a trial really should. You can download a 30-day trial from the Web site, and, unlike other trial software packages, Beyond Compare actually lets you use the software for 30 days. Rather than expiring after 30 calendar days have passed, Beyond Compare (at least, the 2.5.2 version I have installed at work) doesn’t expire until you’ve actually used it over 30 days. Each time you use the utility, if it is a different day than the last time you used it, one day is subtracted from the trial period. Therefore, even if you keep the utility installed for six months, if you only use it twice, you still have 28 days left in your trial period.
Once you want to buy the software, though, it’s very reasonable. The price right now is $30 for a license.