Mounting volumes
Tracker preferences
Working with files
Transaction status


The Tracker is the graphical interface to all your files. It lets you create new files and folders or find, launch or rename as well as copy or delete existing ones.

Being an application like any other (the Desktop with its icons is really just a fullscreen window in the background), Tracker appears with its windows in the Deskbar and can be quit and restarted. The easiest way to quit and restart a crashed or frozen Tracker (or a wayward Deskbar) is to call the Team Monitor.

index Mounting Volumes

In order to access a harddisk, CD, USB stick etc., you first have to mount the volume, that is, let the system know it's there. This is done with a right-click on the Desktop or an already mounted volume (like the boot disk) and choosing the volume from the Mount submenu. You find the same Mount menu in the Deskbar.


There are also Settings so you don't have to mount everything manually after every bootup.
The above settings will automatically mount any storage device you connect/insert and also mount all disks on bootup that were mounted previously.

Before you disconnect e.g. a harddrive or USB stick, make sure you have successfully unmounted the volume and its icon has disappeared. This guarantees that all data transfer has finished. Otherwise you may lose data or corrupt the disk!
Haiku is able to mount non-BFS formatted volumes. Be warned, however, that these non-BFS filesystems haven't been rigorously tested. Writing to those volumes may cause corruption in some cases. If you want to be on the safe side, always choose Mount read-only when mounting!

index Navigating

By default, when you double-click a folder, Tracker opens a new window while leaving the parent window open. This can quickly lead to an overcrowded desktop.
You can prevent that by holding down the OPT key, which automatically closes the parent window.
This is also true for keyboard navigation. For more on that, see topic Shortcuts and key combinations.

Moving through your folders is one of Tracker's main purposes, just like the file managers on other platforms. Haiku's Tracker has some unique features that will help you doing that efficiently.

indexDrilling down the submenus

Instead of double-clicking your way down folder after folder, there's a better way to drill down:


Right-click onto a folder, and at the top of the usual context menu you'll find a submenu of the current folder that let's you navigate down a level. Just move down the hierarchy until you find the file or folder you're looking for and click on it to open it. The above shows the contents of the folder /boot/home/config/.
If you do the above while dragging a file with you, it will be moved to where you eventually drop it.

A similar method can be used from any Tracker window:


Click on the area in the lower left, where the number of items is listed, and you'll get submenus for every level above your current location. From there you can drill down through the folders as usual.

Note, that the Desktop is always the topmost level as that is where Tracker shows mounted volumes. So, if you want to go to another disk, you first have to navigate to the top (Desktop) and cross over to your other disk from there.

You'll get the same submenu-navigating when you drag a file over a folder. After a short while of hovering, a submenu pops up and you can drill down to your destination. If you initiated the drag with the right mousebutton, you can choose between copying, moving or linking the file when you release the mouse.

index Jumping to files with type-ahead

You may be familiar with the concept from file managers of other operating systems: typing the first few letters of a filename will jump to the first file matching these starting characters. Haiku took the idea a step further. If there isn't a file starting with those letters it will jump to the first file including the string anywhere in its name. And if there's nothing with the string in its filename, the attributes are searched next.


In the above example, there are many files starting with "Haiku logo", rendering simpler approaches to typing ahead quite useless. In Haiku however, typing "web" jumps right to its first occurence in "Haiku logo - website". The characters you enter appear in the bottom left corner where you normally find the item count of all files in the folder. A second after entering a character, the display jumps back to normal and you're ready for a new type ahead search.

index Type-ahead filtering

Instead of jumping to a file while typing, there's also the option to filter out all files not matching your type-ahead string. This can improve clarity dramatically, especially when dealing with crowded folders. By using SHIFT SPACE as delimiter, you can even filter on multiple strings.
Contrary to type-ahead jumping, the filtering will stick until you press ESC or close the window (or leave the folder if you're using Single Window Navigation).
This type-ahead filtering is set in the Tracker preferences.

index Appearance


Tracker windows offer three different viewing modes from the Window menu:

The Window menu offers a number of other functions:

Sometimes you just want to rearrange a few icons without doing a complete Clean up (ALT K). In that case, you select these icons and start to drag them to their new location. Before you drop them there, keep ALT pressed. This will align the icons to the invisible grid.

The first column in List view mode determines the icon labels in Mini and Icon view mode. Normally, that's the file name, but you can just as well switch to List view, drag the Size column to the left and have the icons labeled with their size when switching back to Icon view mode. Neato!

The rest of the functions are pretty self-explanatory, leaving the Tracker preferences.

index Tracker preferences

Window | Preferences… opens a panel that offers a number of settings that, where not obvious, should become clear once tried out. Since all settings are applied live, you'll immediately see the changes.
So, in short, the not so obvious settings:

This panel, by the way, is also available as Tracker from Deskbar's Preferences.

index Working with files

When invoked on a selected file, most of the File menu commands are also offered in the context menu by right-clicking that file.

As usual the commands are pretty clear.

index Transaction status

When you copy, move or delete files, Tracker shows its progress with a status window. If you initiate more than one transaction, each job gets its own status display.


To the right are two buttons to pause or stop a transaction entirely. Sometimes it can be useful to temporarily pause a large transaction. For example, you may need to quickly launch a large application. Copying large amounts of data chokes your harddisk's IO bandwidth and thus delays your workflow.