VanDyke Software

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Below is a tip submitted by one of our customers who has some innovative ways to use the SecureCRT® chat window that might save you some time—or maybe even reduce your cell phone bill. This tip initially appeared in our July 2003 newsletter.

Note: As of version 7.2, the chat window is called the command window.

Innovative Uses of the SecureCRT Chat Window

Type in real time over a slow connection
"When I'm using a slow connection, such as the network service in most hotels or my cell phone network service, the chat window lets me type in real time. Without the chat window, I can be ten or fifteen characters ahead of myself before I spot a typo and have to count the number of cursor steps backwards to fix it."

Use the chat window as a Notepad window when assembling shell commands
"The chat buffer is useful for entering text on slow connects. But even on fast connections, I use the chat area as temporary storage when doing a lot of cutting and pasting when assembling complex shell commands, etc. It's more convenient than juggling an extra Notepad window, and I can just hit enter when I'm ready to run it." [He notes that the chat buffer is not useful for keyboard commands (i.e., "more" prompts, cursor movement, etc.)]

Save money on your cell phone bill
"If I’m using my cell phone's network service to connect to the internet for remote shell, I reduce the amount of data sent by using the chat window. With the chat window, I send a line or paragraph at a time instead of a character at a time. Since traffic is metered per megabyte block, this cuts the cost by about a factor of ten. SecureCRT paid for itself in two months of AT&T wireless bill savings."

Below is a screenshot showing a VShell® connection with the SecureCRT chat window being used to set up a port forward for email.

Accessing the chat window

The chat window can be toggled on/off on an "as needed" basis by opening the View menu and choosing the Chat Window menu item.

If the chat window is visible when SecureCRT is closed, by default it will be visible the next time SecureCRT is launched. The reverse is true as well; if the chat window is not visible when the last instance of SecureCRT is closed, it will not be visible the next time SecureCRT is launched.

To have the chat window always be visible without the need to enable it via the View menu:

  • Open the Global Options dialog.
  • Select the Appearance category.
  • Enable the Show chat window option.