I’ve been looking for a decent Windows Explorer replacement and so far have been sorely disappointed.
All I want is a quick-access favorites panel (not in a menu) and a drop stack – and something that isn’t hideous to look at. Is that too much to ask for?
Here are some of the apps I’ve tried:
- PowerDesk Pro (I used PowerDesk 98 – sadly, this seems to be the best of the bunch)
All of them seem to be focused on showing 2 (or more) “explorer” windows (tree and content) at once and having viewers for every file type under the sun – how about some features that improve the (dreadful) Windows file navigation/management experience?
UPDATE: Here are some other features I want that I should have listed initially:
- Tortoise SVN support
- Built in command line window (nice to have)
- Access to favorites from open and save dialogs
Alex have you tried to make a toolbar on the taskbar that links to your favorite dirrectories on your computer? It’s a drop down, and it’s fast too! Actually it’s really fast, and there’s no need to go and get another app to rumage through windows.
If you have questions about how to do this let me know.
It’s still a menu (2 clicks), I want 1 click. ALso, that opens a new Explorer, not navigates in an existing one (fewer windows is better).
Yes, I know I can put the folders in the Links toolbar in Windows Explorer, but they aren’t available in the Open and Save dialog boxes where I generally need them.
Oh men, I’ve been using Total Commander for as long as I can remember (probably about 6 years or something) and I love every minute of it! 😀
It’s the first application I launch every single time I fire up my PC.
In the newest version, you can use tabs, and you can modify the tabs and have them point to certain folders/files on your system which you use a lot.
Is there a way to make it not look so… ugly?
Errr, well…. I don’t think so (you CAN change ths icons in the toolbar).
I always want my applications to look good, but with TotalCommander I am not put off by it’s looks, because I’m so pleased with it’s options/features.
Btw: the screenshot on their site is actually of an older version of TC. It does look (somewhat) better now.
have you looked at directory opus yet?
I blogged about this a little while back when I found A43. A43 is a pretty simple alternative to WE, but I actually haven’t continued to use it, so take that endorsement with whatever measure of salt you think is best. 😉 You can download it here.
You can read what I said about it here.
Well you can hack the folders in view in the “Open” & “Save” dialog boxes with TweakUI, and yea using the favorites links, which is what I do to link various places in my computer, would be much better in your instance than a taskbar – toolbar. But hey to each his own – you know what you want more than I do.
When you get this solved, make sure to blog about it incase it makes sense for me too.
I ~highly~ recommend Servant Salamander (see http://www.altap.cz/). It’s fantastic — a real productivity booster!
I guess this is a good example of exactly what I’m not looking for. I just went down the feature list and it seems to be implementing the same features as every other File Manager clone out there.
Here is a quick list of things that SS (and almost all others I’ve seen) tout as their main features that I don’t care about at all:
What I want is a better interaction paradigm!
total commander is the best explorer replacement out there. it has millions of users and thousands of plugins. as for me, i’ve been using it for about 5 years.
When you combine 2Xplorer with Dirkey, you get a lot of what you want.
It is a bit hidden, http://www.protonfx.[...]/plugins.php, but dirkey has a plugin for explorer and another for MS Office apps that make the file save / file open a lot quicker.
Or another approach, setting up groups on the context menu, can be achieved with File Targets from Moon Software.
I’ve used both happily for years.
P.S. I know what you mean about TC – so powerful, so ugly.
I’ve tried all of these file managers and more. I’ve yet to find a perfect replacement that acts like FMEdit and DF (directory freedom). I love my DF from the DOS days and I would love to find a Windows app that would act similar to it with FMEdit features.
You’ll never find one that supports the TortoiseSVN icons… I’ve been looking like you, but the icon overlay hooks seem to be quite obscure to program. I’ve not had a single positive reaction from the developers, it’s seems to be too much of a niche feature for them.
Someone mentioned Directory Opus, which is actually pretty cool, but it’s got this terrible habit of taking over my CPU (it’ll max out utilization and use up to 200MB of memory on my XPSP2 Opteron 2Ghz box). I’ve ended up using Frigate 3 just because it’s not as ugly as total commander. The drag is I like my panes horizontally tiled, not vertically tiled.
I’ve been on this search, too, and am still looking….
I used to be a die-hard Powerdesk fan but the version 5 upgrade put me off for life – it added nothing of value whatsoever. I’ve tried ExplorerPlus but it seems really just like Powerdesk with a few minor changes.
I’m currently using Directory Opus – http://www.gpsoft.com.au – it’s a totally different “take” on file managers. They have a long free trial period so I would say it’s definitely worth giving this one a go.
I installed Directory Opus but quickly (2 days or so) uninstalled it for a couple of reasons:
– It doesn’t do *any* of the things I wanted (listed above).
– It sticks itself into *everything* which really annoyed me.
Directory Opus seemed like every other file manager clone out there to me, so I’d be interested in hearing why you think it is so totally different. Perhaps I missed something.
Tweak UI has given me the control I wanted over the open and save dialog folders and I’m back to PowerDesk after using a43 for a little while.
I agree that the dos file managers were better than the ones available for windows. Currently, find the free, xplorer2 –
by the author of the old 2xplorer, properly configured, and
supplimented to be a passible improvement. It has a lot
of bells and whistles that do not help much but:
Currently I find xpplorer2 configured right and supplimented to be a tolerable improvement, but I do not like the closed minded attitude of the creater. It has a command line,
favorites that can be invoked with hotkeys, and a toolbar that where you can place selected menu options. By placing the single/double pane as a tool icon you can run it with one pane mostly and only use 2 when needed. You can toggle the previewer and tree display with hotkeys so they do not need to drive your eyes crazy. Most important for me I created a batch file that lets me use xplorer2’s command line to instantly change to any directory (ro pair of directories) I want by typing in just the partial name of any directory. It uses the 2 freeware dos programs, verset and acd here is
the batch file:
if “%1″==”” exit
acd.exe %1 /Win95
if errorlevel 1 exit
f:\winfiles\pv.exe -kf xplorer2*
call var set cdir=lfn of .
if not “%2″==”” goto two
e:\xplorer2\xplorer2.exe /1 /P %cdir%
acd.exe %2 /Win95
if errorlevel 1 exit
call var set cdir1=lfn of .
e:\xplorer2\xplorer2.exe /2 /P %cdir% %cdir1%
just type $c.bat soel
and you are taken to the directory(ies) that start
How about Universal explorer ?
I think this is what you need. It’s not free but I think a match made in heaven.
In AccelMan you are not restricted to an obsolete dual-pane file manager interface â€“ you can open as many managers as you wish and freely organize your environment on the AccelMan desktop.
I knew that AccelMan wasn’t the answer as soon as I went to their web site and saw “Graphics viewer” as the top listed feature.
Actually my approach is trying to enhace WE. MyExplorerBar adds some of the issues you are asking for – http://www.pitrinec.[...]eb_index.htm
I am a little late coming into the discussion but I have some things to add. First of all, I have tried many of these listed here, because I, like everyone else is lookking for a new file explorer. I plan on using this in a business sysops enviornment. There are several features that are extremely important. I am a path typing freak, so the ability to have an address bar to type my path directly in is a must. Which I did not find in Frigate3. I found where you could have a single path, but not a path bar for both split windows. I tried powerdesk in which this was possible, however it did not support UNC paths, ie \\logserver\c$. I have tried Opus, and I am very fond of it, but honestly not wanting to shell out the cost for multiple copies of the software. Anyone have any other ideas?
Yes – Ac Browser Plus:
Wow, that has some scarily bad features IMO.
First of all I am a computer goof-off and have no idea what Tortoise
SVN is. However how I am currently exploring meets some of your needs.
The quicklaunch built in to windows provides one click access from the taskbar. I have a 1280×768 display. I have 44 icons all in a single row for which a single click will invoke their function. This will double the height of the taskbar, but leave you with a full empty row for buttons for active windows.
Some people don’t know, but folders can be an icon in the task list, or the start menu.
One advantage (a big one, I think) that I have is that I bit the bullet and mastered XP icon creation and modification. This is not off topic because part of the problem with many solutions is that default icons are no good at task bar size (16×16 pixels).
I know no one here likes it, but i just started using xplorer2. I had much the same reaction as you did at first. However, placed on the taskbar quicklaunch it is handy for lots of things. If you did not do so, or the old version was not as good, right click the menu bar. You can place a dual pane icon that toggles the dual pane on and off. And it will stay off if thats what you like. The tree also has an icon that toggles on and off. Same with the preview window. What I like is that you can set default column widths, so that you can fit more columns if you need them. There is also an icon for the command line. (or you can just add it to the quicklaunch items)I do have a problem with their icons, but hopefully I can replace them as needed.
I don’t know what you mean by open and save dialogs. Could be what I’ve come to know as “the places bar”, which i can only describe as the left side of the unpredictable window that is invoked from within an application running in windows. I say unpredictable because it annoys me that sometimes you can resize it, sometimes not. You said you solved it with Tweak UI, and that’s great…But for just a bit more aggrevation you can toy with Nirsofts free places bar replacement! This allows for customizing the icons, names, and locations of stupid defaults like “My Documents”.
Anyway, that’s it from the low-tech corner of the globe.
Wait, I almost forgot something else about XPlorer2. You want better navigation, you say? It has something like what Internet Explorer has…a navigation window with a drop down list of you recently used folders (defaut set to most resent 30). This is very nice for quick window hopping IMHO.
Hope you don’t mind my saying so.
I’m actually on a similar, but not identical quest. I want to replace WE as the default app to open dirs. I want to replace it with a shareware app called V (http://fileviewer.com). While it started out life as a text file viewer, a file manager was added, and eventually a tree nav window (which I keep closed). Remember Buerg’s List from DOS? Like that, only on steroids, and for Windows.
So I came across this page on the first page of hits with Google, and found it interesting. Tested all the same apps, plus many others.
What I’m hung up on is your requirement for one-click for everything. Even considering a double-click as one-click (for purposes of discussion), I can’t get to less than two clicks. At some point, you have to open the app that will let you one-click. In my case, I have so much accumulated cr*p, some going back to 1988 but is still current, that I just can’t envision anything other than a hierarchical structure.
So what is it I’m not “getting”? I’d really like to understand what you’re looking for in this one respect. And like others above, I’d like to know what you eventually settle on.
Interesting reading, thanks.
I want one click access to favorite folders.
I have found what you are looking for its ExplorerXP
Um, no – that was in the first list of rejected options.
Have you guys tried fie manager called Tracker V3?? I went through a lot of file managers including several mentioned above and also tried to see which sucks memory. Tracker V3 takes only about 5MB memory and is a charm with its audio/video preview built in, multiple tabs, excellent search options…. blah blah blah and its FREE for home use. I’ll say no more. Just try it:
Dont forget to get excellent help at the forums.
That actually looks promising, I’ll give it a shot. 🙂
Stumbled upon this in my own search.. Thank you George and Ken for mentioning V and A43. Both of them look like they will fit my needs.. I just need to pick on, now. I think V is the better program but A43 is free.
Hi. Apparently you already made your choice but I wanted to clear something up anyway, since I found Directory Opus to be very useful and helpful.
You CAN have one-click access to your favorite folders, (as of v8.x) you just need to enter customize toolbars mode and drag a favorites placeholder onto a visible toolbar. Then the items are displayed just like the IE’s bookmark toolbar.
Of course, it would be better and more flexible if they implemented a fav panel. Well,
I like being able to see the name of the folder – having a dozen folder icons in a row isn’t very usable.
re: a dozen folder icons
Oh, no. The favs are definitely not displayed as generic icons but flat text (:full path) buttons by default.
That wasn’t the case when I tested it, perhaps they changed it.
Just drag and drop your hard drive icon directly onto the Apple icon in the top-left corner. Voila!
Yeah, I remember Windows…
1- shortcuts on desktop with small attractive icons = one click lol
2 -shortcuts in the quick launch bar with icons = one click
Designed primarily for opening individual files and programmes from a highly customizable and therefore nice looking interface – via a mouseover symbol which can placed either on the desktop or in the task bar.
I have come up with a workaround to enable it to also open folders which it won’t do ordinarily directly from the folders themselves or from shortcuts to the folders – unless they are on the desktop [which defeats the purpose]
It can be done if all shortcuts to desired folders are stored in one desktop folder – give this folder an icon to make it dicreet
Then create shortcuts within this folder
to the fav folders you want to access
and give them icons.
Finally assign these shortcuts from the desktop folder to manganese menu and it will then open folders with one click [via a quick mouseover]
Have you tried Explor2000 I have used it for several years and like it better than any I have tried.
Since 1 week TrackerV3 is called XYplorer, and since 1 day XYplorer (4.40.0015) supports TortoiseSVN icon overlays.
Does anybody know how to make the open and save dialog box for XP the same as windows explorer for all applications? Basically, I use Adobe products and other design programs all day long and I’d like to have the same open and save box for each application. A Mac already does this, why can’t my PC?
I’ve been searching for a good file manager for years.
2 years Total Commander:
*) Really the most UGLY file man
*) Bad windows shell integration (=> Tut CVS, …)
*) Bad handling
4 month Speed Commander:
*) Good handling, much features, BUT
2 days Xplorer2:
1 look at screenshot of EF Commander:
*) Fuc***’ user interface (TOOOO much buttons)
… and a few more.
And today I found this blog and I started to download XYplorer. I’ve tried it a little and I’m really imressed. It supports all I need:
Good SHELL integration
If I know more about xyplorer i will post it.
PS.: Is it possible to deactivate the XYplorer part in the file – context menu???
I’ve been looking for an alternative file explorer too, although my requirements are a little different.
I want to be able to view all metadata held in my image files, not just the selection given by m$.
I’ve tried dozens of tools but haven’t yet found one to do what I want.
Just found this discussion, am looking for something similar myself.
Alex, as for a quick-access favorites panel (not in a menu), what is wrong with standard Quick Launch in the Taskbar?
XYplorer: direct any support wishes to the XYplorer user forum, please.
I like your attitude. Let’s chat.
Good thread. Lot’s of choices. I too search endlessly for the right file tool. One criterion I have not seen is speed. Are any of these fast? Working with WE over a WAN is akin to slow death, just not as pleasant. And I just need a tool, not something else to learn. I have plenty of those things. And how about a compare file facility? I have one, but I have to browse to find the files–which means waiting for WE again.
That was a great discussion. I bet it will be continued. I read it like a story this morning (my time is different from yours) and ended up XYplorer installed on my PC.
Ive been looking for a good explorer replacement since my first days on the internet and I was looking ofr some specific feature INTERFACE. Why it is not important????!!!I cannot understand. I was looking for a balance between performance and good looking interface. I think everybody likes when there is something beautiful installed on their pc.
We can discuss endlessly about the features each of us would like to see, but it is a matter of compromise and I think I found it.
Have a nice day—-
I tried XYplorer yesterday. Might be a wonder in other ways, but my first click was onto a drive mapped on the WAN. It went to sleep as if it were WE. Sigh. Back to using NT File Manager when I can stand the forced breaks no longer. I’ll try some of the others.
Wow.. This is a really good discussion, I popped in late. I had just been playing with Xplorer2 1.4 and was looking for something else. Im trying out some of the new features all you great people have shared.
I also would suggest sticking your start menu at the top (or bottom) and turn auto-hide off, (I prefer that anyways) and list all your taskbar items in their like it was suggested earlier.
Hmm, I dont think anyone mentioned FileAnt (http://www.fileant.com/)
Im using this now. Make sure to use the update feature after you download.
I came back to inform you that there is great one out there Xplorer (it is tabbed). Forgive me but I do not remember whether somebody mentioned it or not.
this is the address, so far I like it.
it is very smal choose installer or zip package, plus many good function and it is free…
I, too, am grieving at the lack of ability in being able to traverse a shared driverover a WAN interface. I tried the XYplorer, as did John, and found it no better than WE. I need something that is configurable to retrieve the least amount of data possible when retrieving the directory listing, and when navigating. File size, creation date, modification date? Who cares! Click on a directory on a WAN, and the program goes out to lunch? That’s just poor programming. Ship that processing off into another thread to keep the UI active so that I can cancel my request without having to bring up task manager to kill the beast. Refresh the directory listing each time I click through? Why? Keep a recent cache so that I don’t have to wait for a bunch of data that I don’t care about. Maybe I want something more like a web browser, than a file manager. Either that, or something better than the dog slow Net-bios interface I’ve got to work with now.
so I may find myself an alternative program after all.
xyplorer seems to be nice, but I’m afraid it justs adds features around the WE low-level stuff, as most of the others do also.
I want to make sure, that when moving files and something goes wrong, I’m not left with half of my files and structure in one place, and the same structure but the other files in a different place.
Also it should be possible to really work with the program when copying.
acbXXX boasts about threads, but that’s not it. Just an WE ‘GUI’
For what it’s worth, I’ve only uninstalled Directory Opus because the trial period was over and it wouldn’t start anymore – and I’m not about to shell over 80 bucks, even though it might actually be worth it.
I’m pretty sure it’s among the best replacements out there. It’s extremely, and easily customizable. I also don’t like or need multi-pane views, and it’s trivially easy to convince DO to work without them. I also don’t need the built-in image viewer, so I don’t use it. The same goes for tabs. Other niceties include an extremely well done shell integration – for instance, WinRAR worked flawlessly, including right-click-drawing stuff to other folders. And it’s *fast*, probably among the top problems I have with WE: I’ve got some directories I use a whole lot with thousands of files. WE really breaks down working with them, and trying to access files by entering their name pretty much jumps randomly all over the place. None of that with DO. Oh, and the copy and move dialogue is brilliant, far better than the WE one – and finally on-par with FTP (resume support, who would have thought).
So, um, yeah. I liked DO. Too bad it’s so freaking expensive. I guess I’ll have to keep looking. I hope one of the alternatives mentioned above comes close or, who knows, beats it.
Hi Just in case not reported above XYplorer now supports TortoiseSVN Icon Overlays. I think Alex was interested in this if I remeber correctly!
OUT NOW: XYplorer 4.40 featuring Tabbed Browsing, Color Filter, Visual Filter, and a revolutionary New Items feature, and latest but not least TortoiseSVN Icon Overlays!
Check out Directory Opus, thats the best one I’ve ever used now 🙂
I’ve been browsing all replies and so far it seems as if the initial request for a one-click access to fav folders hasn’t been answered yet.
I use an AutoHotKey script for this.
It’s freely available and gives you a menu listing all the fav folders which it reads from a text-based config file (format is really easy, just ; ). The menu gets dsplayed where the current mouse pointer is by clicking with the middle mouse button in any WE window or any File Open/Save dialog. The MMB is natively mapped so you won’t suddenly see the menu in an application that hasn’t a WE interface under the mouse pointer (for example the Photoshop current view).
If I remember right you can get the script (FavoriteFolders.ahk or .exe) from the examples section in the autohotkey forum.
Down below is the comment from the script file and the autohotkey addy.
Oh, and if you know how to read a CHM file (help file, for ahk particularly) it’s easy to code some additions to make it work from MS Office File Open/Save dialogs (they appear the same to the standard WE File Open/Save but internally they have different controls)
; Easy Access to Favorite Folders — by Savage
; When you click the middle mouse button while certain types of
; windows are active, this script displays a menu of your favorite
; folders. Upon selecting a favorite, the script will instantly
; switch to that folder within the active window. The following
; window types are supported: 1) Standard file-open or file-save
; dialogs; 2) Explorer windows; 3) Console (command prompt) windows.
; The menu can also be optionally shown for unsupported window
; types, in which case the chosen favorite will be opened as a new
; Explorer window.
the “(format is really easy, just ; )” sentence swallowed some text due to placeholders enclosed in greater than and smaller than chars (like HTML tags) it should read “(format is really easy, just display_name; path)”
I came back to find a specific post with some link I wanted to check out when I noticed that I forgot to mention why I think that even with the original request being “not in a menu” with the above method using a menu is still a neat tip tp explore. It’s because the menu gets displayed right where your mouse pointer is, which means no travelling with the mouse to a menu label “Favorites” which you then have to accurately click on too… whereas right under the mouse pointer with a MMB click â€” happens instantly while you still are thinking about getting your favorites to display as opposed to a time consuming mouse travel up to the screen border… IMHO it cannot get more convenient than this.
You can drag files from the window to a folder in a pane, you can’t drag them to a contextual menu.
I’ve checked XYPlorer, and think that it eats up a lot of memory compared to Total Commander which I’ve been using for quite a long time.
I think that TC is ugly, and hard to configure, but faster than mostly all of the above mentioned, and reliable. (By the way, have someone experienced any serious problems with it? ’cause I haven’t.)
So I think I stay with it until I find a better one.
I found this blog quite useful, so thanks for your replies!
Alex, have you filtered anything good out of all of this? I am looking for basically the same thing that you are. I am tired of opening multiple WEs to browse multiple locations and move files around usually within 3 or 4 often used locations. MY D drive for my work porjects, my ftp, and a couple of network drives. So I just started using AccelMan and quickly realized that there are no svn icon overlays. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.
Unfortunately, at least compared to Path Finder, all of these options really suck.
Maybe I’ll give that a shot. One item on my wish list that I didn’t mention earlier is a built-in Beyond Compare quality comparison tool accessible from the tool’s shell. I see that accelman and TC’s file comparison is really basic. That may be asking too much.
I would like the ability to assign tags to each file, sort and search by tags, (files in different directories can have the same tag), ability to group files by tags, assign colors to each file name, group by color-code, file operations based on tag (copy/move as a unit), and customize the “displayed tabs” displayed on the right pane. For example, if you click on My computer it displays all details like name, total space, type, etc. why isnt there a “free space”? Also needed is total rewrite of the contents of the status bar – total size, free size displayed in bold,
This is a nice discussion, it gave me a chance to check out different managers (i could no longer bare with explorer’s lack of functionality).
i’ve tried these and here are my experienes:
* d. opus: i’m sticking with this one as it is pretty configurable, easy to switch between personalized views (example dual pane vs. thumbs only etc), stable at least in my experience. i like it a lot.
* accel man: gave fatal error after install, so wtf
* total comander: too hideous and tbh not so advanced as it’s cracked up to be at all
* xyplorer: not enough features
* xplorer2: too much little annoyances as far as functionality hampering is concerned
* frigate3: pretty good, but WTF is with color settings ultimate overkill and the multiple file selection approach selection SUCKS… also some weird errors when deleting folders with a lot of files that should have never happened
I agree, dopus is the best of all of the explorer replacements. Trouble is it has so many features that it takes a considerable investment to customize and also to learn to use. But once you use it for some time, you will not go back to explorer or any of the other replacements suggested elsewhere. I even found an excellent tutorial resource for dopus at http://www.pretentio[...]introduction
Again, taking some time to learn about this software has started saving me hours each week at work.
Also, wanted to suggest two utilities that complement open/save dialogues and round out explorer are:
These two utilities have revolutionized my usage of the network here at work by allowing my quick access to my favourite folders and files. Google them to find them.
Just a thought for Alex.
“All I want is a quick-access favorites panel (not in a menu) and a drop stack – and something that isnâ€™t hideous to look at. Is that too much to ask for?”
Not anymore: the coming up XYplorer 5.00 introduces a favorites panel called The Catalog that works as a drop target.
I tried using opus and I nearly had a heart attack when i saw the size of the footprint it had on my memory resources, so presonally Im not going to bother with XYplorer or anything bigger then 1 meg install. a explorer replacement doesnt need to be so cludgy just to interface to your files and run helpful scripts from the interface does it? i seriously wonder if they considered the common languages these replacements are made in when all you want is a functional, customisable, stable and fast interface im dissapointed with all the ‘feature rich’ explorer replacements listed here and so far nothing has caught my attention as being specatulor impressive or even viable as a replacement when you can achieve the same thing with standard explorer, a couple comparision file programs and a couple scripts. Im looking for the VLC Player of explorer replacements. simple but diverse and effecient. If i find a solution ill post back and thanks for all the attempts to help alex, and please keep this forum alive untill we find a winner! for the sake of our sanity/
Just have to add that TortoiseSVN works like a charm in TC.
I currently have a set of open source Delphi shell components that have been used for years with the hopes of making the “Ultimate” Explorer replacement. They are the fastest components around (faster then Explorer is a typical comment I get) and I agree 100% with this thread. I would like to get some specifics on what a power user wants in an Explorer replacement. I know what I don’t like and have a demo in my components that has been a workhorse for me for the last 4 years or so but I am now wanting to finally create the masterpiece that I started out to create with the components.
If there is enough interest I will set up a place on my website for discussion and developement/testing of what I am now calling “UltraExplorer”.
BTW my components have supported overlays and Tortoise for several years now.
I got so fed up on trying everything, i comprimised and settled on this: deskview.exe /set desktop as root. I also eliminated program files and set that as root as well; multipul drives if a bit yucky, but i use my quicklaunch to access bits on my storage drive. Mind you i run a pretty tight ship as far as programs go, so im not too cluttered.
I have been using Xplorer2 for sometime and it does support TortoiseSVN overlays (I dont know since when it has), it needs to be enabled from the advanced tab in the options dialog.
Hope this helps. Nick
Sounds to me like you need a Mac.
However, failing that … You seriously need desktop customization, not an explorer replacement. DesktopX is where you need to be. You can combine various applets and one-click customizable icons that can do all sorts of things to completely change the paradigm of how you interface with your computer. Also, part of the Object Desktop package (which includes DesktopX) is a utility that replaces the default open/save dialog to one that has a customisable places bar as well as many other options.
As far as a file-tree explorer that doesn’t operate on a drop-down tree dialog model – which appears to be what you want – I think you may be being a tad unrealistic.
Windows Vista Explorer looks very nice. Its that what im loking for. Unfortunatly it only runs with vista :/
I have to say check out ExplorerPlus again… As a big PowerDesk fan (and norton commander fan WAY before that) I too was dissapointed with the later PowerDesk versions (especially ver 6 which is buggy as hell). I recently ran across Explorerplus which I read was made by the person(s) who originally made powerdesk. It’s not perfect but the best up to date file manager I have tried yet…
Conc. a “drop stack”: XYplorer is currently developing a drop stack. It’s development in progress and you still can take part in it, the author is quite responsive to suggestions…
One Click Access to Favorite Folders?
Pstart – http://www.pegtop.de
Been using this for just a day or so – it is very very good. Not an Explorer substitute but a cool way to run Apps by hot-key or click. I loaded it on my USB drive to run portable apps and it is so good I’m thinking of using it for my main PC desktop….
for adding places (folders) to your WE file save dialogu you can use tweakXP powertoy from microsoft.
Just found this site – very interesting. I just upgraded (MS term) from W2K to XP Pro, and found to my horror that Windows Explorer no longer works like it used to. I use one function extensively – Search (for text strings inside files with common extensions, and usually in the same directory). W2K works pretty much 100 %. XP Pro works about 40%. Many times it cannot find the target file(s) at all, and some of the time it can’t find them on a single pass, but a second pass later it finds them, even though I did not change any Search settings. Bizarre. I also find that once I open the target file, the Search window often starts another Search, without me asking it to. After all, I already found the file(s) I wanted. This is an showstopper for my work. I also would like it if MS fixed the W2K version problem, where the Sort function would be reliable. If you have a bunch of files named A0000001.txt, A0000002.txt etc. ME loses track of them as though its internal sorting stops after the first 5 or 6 characters in the filename. I am happy enough with the GUI and other stuff in ME, I just HAVE to have a reliable Search. Any suggestions ?
XYplorer is your friend. Nothing you mentioned poses any problem for XY.
XYplorer features a high end search engine with tremendous power and amazing speed. It fully supports Boolean logic (256 levels nesting depth!), advanced pattern matching, Regular Expressions, whole word and fuzzy matching, content search (i.e. text strings inside files), multiple location search, and much more… Plus, you can save your current search settings to a template for later re-use. Very handy with complex search patterns or distributed search locations.
Donald, I believe you’ve made your pitch for XYplorer.
I tried it and was not very impressed – luckily, a better solution should be available soon.
I use x2 (xplorer squared) and have found it tremendous. It does lack some things but I have found some workarounds. The best thing is the free version that is genuinely useful.
> … quick-access favorites panel (not in a menu)
I agree with you. x2 has a Bookmarks menu but something you can always see and just click on is better so I worked out a workaround: since I rarely use the 2nd window in x2 I have configured it to open a folder of shortcuts. This is just a folder off my “My Documents” folder. (I have also connected it to the “Links” toolbar button.)
I leave the 2nd (right-hand) window pointing there. It is a simple matter to Alt-double-click any shortcut there to open it in the 1st (left-hand) window.
> … and a drop stack
I think you are referring to a drop-down history list. I think x2 has this in the pro (ie non-free) version. The free version of back and forward buttons which are sufficient for me.
> … isnâ€™t hideous to look at
I like the look of x2 once you turn off “Grid lines in detailed mode”. It looks similar to Windows Explorer.
> Tortoise SVN support
x2 has this too, but you have to turn it on (“Extract Custom Icon Overlays” in 3rd options page).
> Built in command line window
You can type DOS commands in the address bar by preceding them with $. (I normally use a Dos box.)
> Access to favorites from open and save dialogs
Using the “Links” folder (mentioned above) it is a simple matter of clicking “My Documents” in any File Open/Save dialog then double-clicking the Links folder to get access to all my folder shortcuts. Moreover this works for all programs that use the Windows File Open/Save dialog.
You could even make “My Documents” into the “Links” folder to save a double-click. (I should do that since I never use My Documents for anything else.)
If I haven’t tried it it doesn’t exist, but ImageWalker is a graphics viewer that integrates really well with Explorer – all context menus are preserved, it shows large thumbnails, and there are loads of navigation window options. I wish I knew how to install it as the default shell, if possible. It’s free, too.
Directory Opus is almost there but the dealbreaker is the atrocious context menu problem that hangs or crashes it.(Oh, and the terrible colour schemes and bad icons). Though double-clicking on the desktop to get ‘My Computer’ is cool.
Great Blog and Discussion – Thanks!
After trying all the WE clones – it seems that ExplorerPlus is the Very Best
(I am not associated with them in any way)
Anything outside of ExplorerPlus and PowerDesk was just miserable from the usability standpoint.
For me UI criteria is to able NOT to use mouse at all and be able to process very big quantities of files (like move across 100s of files, see them in a quick viewer and move/delete them as needed).
While ExplorerPlus seem not that “polished” comparing to PowerDesk and need some minor usability fixes, it is much faster and has bettter non-mouse UI then PowerDesk.
Thanks to all for the information here. Unfortunately, I’ve tried every suggestion and have not found any to be satisfactory. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’ve been testing an app that looks very promising.
Stay tuned for a Windows Explorer replacement that doesn’t suck.
And the winner is …
… still a touch too buggy for general release, but it should be out soon.
How about just an add-on to WE.
This is kind of like DirKey but integrated to WE.
Okay, this is still dragging on. I will go with Directory Opus. But I disagree that configuration is “simple” for all the features you are looking for. I don’t use TortoiseSVN but do use other overlay support tools, and they work fine in DOpus. The single click Favorite access?… I still don’t understand this, if you default Explorer with the Favorite pane open (classic view) you just click a favorite and it Explores there. My favorites folder is empty however so that’s just pointless. 😉 DOpus will display links dropped on to tool bars in a variety of ways, using small, large or no Icons, abbrieviated, full or no text and allows for tooltips and scripted execution.
Icons and backgrounds can be changed to beautify the thing and various “skins” (to use the term loosly) are available. Skins usually provide a button set and a scripted specific configuration however, so unless you can find a skin that is EXACTLY what you are looking for you are better off writing your own.
And that’s the nub of the problem. I have a command line in browser windows, completely customised toolbars and status bars, single pane view with no tree and optional preview pane. But many of the actions on the button bar and so on have had to be scripted by hand in DOpuses own script language and in some cases in combination with other external scripting languages. (I use AutoIt 3 but ASH VBS or so would usually do and DOpus will integrate will all perfectly well)
Additionally DOpus is capable of aquireing most Windows Exporer extensions in the form of extra Context Menu Items, viewer filters, Icon Overlays, but not most ActiveX COM toolbars. Meh… Who cares when you can script the toolbar to do “Anything”.
The problem for you with DOpus, I think, is probably not that is does not do what you want, but that it makes features you don’t want easily available and requires too much effort for you to make the features YOU want easily accessable.
That I can understand, I’m used to coding and such and learning new scripting languages and associating them with events is not a problem for me. Usually takes about a week to re-set up DOpus when I have to re-install tho, even though I keep backups of my preferances and such.
As to the people with WAN access trouble, I think DOpus is good here too. I don’t use WAN as such but some of our LAN connections are pretty slow, and FTP is integrated in to DOpus just like a local folder. It has options to NOT request icon information, and extended information for slow media, and specifically lists Network resources, Removable Media and FTP with standard profiles. Common folders which you know are on a slow connection can be configured even more harshly. However File Date, Size etc are standard properties of a file which come down the line regardless, unless that is prohibited at the server side. If it were, many operating systems could not use those shares IMS, as POSIX requires a minimum information on files I think.
The cost of DOpus? Well I used to use V3 on my Amiga so I know it’s been around a long long time. Windows 3.0 had just been released at that time. Old versions are offten given away free with PC magasines here. The come with a free access key, and usually a discount of 40-50% off the upgread price. They also run sales with various websites I have subscribed to, and offer lesser reductions to new users and upgreaders of a lesser magnetude via them. I usually hold out on upgreading till I see one of them, and I’d recomend a new user to do the same.
If you are determined to get exactly what you want, I think this is for you, but do not expect it to be a case of “Setup -> Use” you will need to spend at least a month tweaking and tinkering and coding to get it how you really need it. However, by that time you will know for sure that you don’t need anything else ever again, as you can adapt your system to suit your chainging needs in the future.
And yes… I too am looking forward to hearing about your descovery. BTW I note some Apple fans, anyone who misses finder browse windows I recommend BzFinder http://www.aqua-soft[...].php?t=13162
And to the person who said drop you “Hard Disk” off the desktop into the Apple in the Top left I can assure you that hasn’t worked on a Mac for years and years. We have a Dock now. And PC users can get a nice one of those here http://home.cogeco.ca/~rklauncher/
D_opus8 is genius.
It has custom buttons that can do just about anything. You want to go to your files, folders, apps, websites, etc with one click-then crete a button to do so. BTW, each button can have three one click functions (R\L\center mouse clicks). Further, you can have them undock and float on your desktop entirely separate from the so call lister (the WE replacement). Finally, you can create your own custom toolbar, with your own buttons and slap it anywhere you want.
This thing is a tightly coded and stable bargain at 80.
I have skimmed the comments…so apologies if this is redundant.
I’ve been looking through everything and nothing has been even close to what I’m looking for.
For me, I need both function and form, and while many may have function (and most times an over abundance of it) none, not a single one, looks good.
What I would like is a WE replacement that looks and feels like the Mac Finder. I really like the three views you can have in it, and the quick links on the left are sublime. I remember trying a clone of it a while ago and it was nice but severely lacking in functionality and tended to crash a lot.
Seriously, are there any WE replacements out there that look at the very least nicer than WE?? (if you suggest any of the above links then I’ll take that as a no).
I have tried practically every suggested alternative to WE that other people have suggested in this blog.
But in the end, I have always returned to dopus 8.
It is by far the most robust, thorough, most customizable and most extensively developed WE alternative available. Absolutely nothing else can “hold a candle” to it.
Alex, you can set up a toolbar with the “one-click” functionality you mention above. You can double click on the desktop and open up a fully customized folder.
Anyway, bottom line, dopus 8 is the WE alternative to beat, and that will not happen any time soon.
I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there. I’m testing a great new app right now.
I am also searching for a good WE replacement. I like your high standards and note that you seem to have found something nice. What is it? I would love to try it out. Even if it is early alpha.
>Iâ€™m testing a great new app right now.
Which is …
I promise I’ll tell you as soon as I can. 🙂
Hey, came accross your article, you serioulsy should rewrite this ! damn long read :O, Thought you might be interested in “object dock” it’s not an explorer as such more like an advanced quicklaunch. There are two version’s available one free which is always nice 🙂 And the the one you pay for is the mini app your looking for minus the open folders in the same window . and it look’s the part totaly skinable . Optionaly animated
Its available from stardoc Corp.
just google it
Hope it helps
hi guys, pretty rich blog you got there
my opinion: when using windows, stability must be the number one goal. DOpus is unbeatable in this sence. Apart from that it is incredibly feature rich. Having used it for a year now, I can not do without it (the look on my face when i’m using a computer without it says it all).
But the most important thing: you say you want one click access to your favs in open/save dialogs. Wouldn’t that be great?! however this is not a WE task I think. It is a registry thing if you want some specific folders in the quick “save in” bar and easy navigation through this bar is completely out of the question.
BUT: IF YOU FIND ANYTHING ON THIS SUBJECT I WANT TO KNOW!!!
i should read more carefully 🙁
TweakUI does that in the open/save dialogs
> Alex adds this Comment:
> I promise Iâ€™ll tell you as soon as I can.
Why not tell us now? Why the suspense? Are you afraid that someone here will find fault with it before you have a chance to give it your endorsement?
Looking at your list of desired features at the top of this thread, you’ve got more esoteric needs than one application can reasonably be expected to have. That happened to me a long time ago, as well, and I soon figured out that employing multiple applications was the only acceptable solution.
I use xplorerÂ² as a base, and StrokeIt for rapid (usually instant) access to xplorerÂ² functionality that’s normally accessible only via a menu (or hotkey, in case I want instant access to functionality without having to move my hand off my mouse). In fact, StrokeIt is an essential supplement for most any application that one uses regularly, but I’ve got xplorerÂ² customized to the point that I have fairly minimal (though still crucial) use for StrokeIt.
Regarding your need for a persistent pool of favorites, why not simply use tabs? If you want to go to a favorite, click its tab. I’ve been doing that in xplorerÂ² for years and it’s great. Also, with StrokeIt, I can instantly call up favorites with a mouse gesture.
I’m not suggesting that you use xplorerÂ² — even if I thought it did everything that you want, I can’t recommend it to the advanced user until the author fixes issues that it has with network directories — but it does seem to me that you are overlooking some fine software that could do what you want with a little creative use of one or more supplementary apps, kind of like dismissing a great text editor because it doesn’t do hotkey macros (why not simply run a dedicated hotkey macro app in the background?).
P.S. For rapid access to favorites in Open/Save dialogs, just use AccessFolders. I’ve been using it for years, works perfectly.
Multiple apps are a good thing. Trying to find one app that “does it all” is generally a fool’s errand.
Because the developer of the software asked me not to (until he’s ready).
Regarding Milo’s recent comments:
I think Milo you have brought up an excellent point with your comments around the idea that no one app can do it all. I have mentioned in this blog that I really like dopus but I also use other software that some of the users here will recognize:
1. Activewords….akin to Strokeit but using words to do very complex (or simple) repetive tasks/macros/word replacements…this software has revolutionized my use of the computer (any one else here familiar with this software?)
2. Quick Folders….sets up in the Open/Save dialog a near limitless menu of folders/recent files
3. ShellToysXP….great context menu access of a vast array of functions and utilities
4. FileEx….a really, really good replacement for the Open/Save dialog box
5. Directory Opus 8.2…already mentioned dopus…even this software which has so much in it, I still find myself using the other softwares
On my computers at home and at work, the utilities listed above all complement or replace Windows Explorer and the Open/Save dialog boxes for 99% of my softwares.
I use all of these 5 softwares all day long. I get frustrated if for some reason I do not have access to even one of them for a few minutes (eg. when closing these softwares for troubleshooting purposes).
And I find that I use many of the softwares in the same moment. For example, I can be pulling down a QuickFolders list of folders while in a FileEx Open/Save dialog box.
Or I can be using the Explore Rooted command from a ShellToysXP context menu in a dopus lister and then creating a new folder name with a keystroke macro using Activewords.
So I very much agree with Milo that there is no such thing as one software that can satisfy a poweruser’s needs.
I would even add that each of the user’s in this blog will not have the same combinations of softwares. Each of us has unique needs that no one combination of softwares will address for all of us.
At the same time that each of us will have our own solutions, I have to thank you Milo for bringing up StrokeIt. I did install StrokeIt a few hours ago and wow! what an amazing utility. I am always searching for useful utilities and to find a new one that is potentially so beneficial to my everyday work is amazing. Just shows that it pays not to stop looking to improve your computer work. Thanks for the lead Milo.
One last comment, I think this forum highlights one additional point, that each of us is looking for better software and utilities. This list of 5 softwares above that I listed is far different from what I was using 3 years ago for example. Just to stress this point, here are the lengths of time these softwares have been on my system:
1. Activewords….1.6 years
2. Quick Folders…2 years
3. ShellToysXP…..5 months
4. FileEx….3.5 years
5. Directory Opus…6 months
So you can see that these softwares have come into use by me over 3.5 years. I have tried other softwares that I paid for but they are now just saved executables in a software folder on the network server. It is fascinating how my computer usage has evolved from 4 years ago. I know for a fact that I am more productive today than 4 years ago. For example, Activewords tracks my macro usage and it shows that I have saved nearly $20,000 in less than 2 years since using Activewords.
If you look at all the softwares I have been using, I must surely be saving $20,000-$30,000 a year at work (I own my own business).
So our collective search for better replacements for WE are definitely something that can pay off large for us.
(sorry for my long reply..was on a roll).
Interested in hearing other user’s experience with the softwares I have listed or alternatives to them.
have you tried litestep?
It’s a clone of afterstep, based on nextstep.
I’ve been using winfile.exe combined with fmstepup since nt 3.51 days. I am a windows network administrator and need lots of windows, mapped drives and the share/security features right there.
BTW, I loved DF 4.5 and 4.6 in the DOS days.
Right now, I’m going to look at the free Explorer replacement. Non of the pay ones have so many more features than freecommander that they’re worth paying for, IMO.
I’m still waiting to find out what this amazing file manager you’ve found is. Personally I joined the Beta Club at XYplorer and found out why so many of the XY posts rave about the developer. If XY doesn’t have a feature you want ask the dev and you have a damn good chance of getting it, and quickly. It isn’t perfect, but with the kind of motivation and determination that is behind it, it may get there one day.
Of course I look forward to hearing about this amazing manager you have found that will convert us all, because hey, who doesn’t like finding better software? So any chance of putting your money where your mouth is? 😉
great disscussion, esp. the fact that it s lasted for over a year until now 😀
I m also looking for a WE replacement, and what I want from it re:
– STABILITY. A must-have, but unfortunately i cant check it out myself (as i must use the browser for months before aknowledge that). It shouldnt be a memory hog, as i only got 512 MB of RAM 🙁
– neat interface. the prettier, the better, but it shouldnt be like total commander. Some ppl recommended me of it, but no, it s waaaay too ugly.
– dont really mind the funtions, provided that every browsers bring me better features than WE 😛
Can any1 giv me some advices?
I used to use Powerdesk, in fact I still have the first version I bought archived on my computer, PD ’98, heh heh (I’m a software pack rat).
I’m currently using directory Opus 8, which of course doesn’t win your favour. Suits me just fine.
Either way, I say abolish Windows Explorer, it’s old, it’s clunky and featureless.
I’ve been using Powerdesk for years, and have been looking around for some time for a replacement. Since I started using TortoiseSVN a couple of months ago I’ve been looking for something that will work with its overlays and provide at least what Powerdesk provided. Just come across CubicExplorer (http://www.cubicreality.com) today. I’m going to give it a whirl, as I quite liked it on first view. It is missing a few things I would like, but as it’s in active development I think I might stick with it for a while with Powerdesk as a backup.
Thanks for this info
UltraExplorer has been officially released. Go check it out, finally a Windows Explorer replacement worth using.
Note: this comment appears to be from someone affiliated with XYplorer based on the URL they used in this comment (which I removed). – ak
Well this discussion has been very interresting, especially with its long term, and working with files & such hours every day, I do need to rely on a great, powerfull & stable Explorer replacement, as we can all agree WE just sucks.
I was very intrigued in that mysterious explorer replacement you had mentionned, so seing it was finally out I downloaded & tried it.
And honestly, I am quite disappointed. It is a very nicely done mix of components for sure. It does look nice & have some nice features (such as Favorites panel, or Drop Stack) but it is WAY far from being an explorer replacement that one could actually consider using: doesn’t have any additions to collect informations, move/copy files, find files, etc Has some bugs, doesn’t remember some settings (columns visibility/position/size (even when browsing!!), etc.
I can agree that it can look promising for sure, but still cannot be used seriously.
I’ve tried a lot of explorer replacements, and I am now a proud fan of XYplorer, which I beleive really is the best out there (and yet still getting better every day!), stable, small, fast, featuring lots of great, useful, powerful & easy to use features!
I’m even quite surprised you said yourself being “not very impressed” with it, cause it does pretty much everything you’re looking for (and more), and adheres to what I thought was you way of thinking (which basically means, have new, powerfull, usefull features and not be bloated with same old useless features, etc)
And once Drop Stack support will be added, it will be the definate explorer replacement of your dreams! That is, according to your saying at least… 😉
Just for the record, I am not “affiliated” with XYplorer. I am a long-time & registered user of the product, yes, but that’s it.
1) “collect informations, move/copy files”, Can you define what that means?
2) “find files” A Task Panel is on the horizon which on of the tasks will be Search.
3) “doesnâ€™t remember some settings (columns visibility/position/size (even when browsing!!),” Oops seems have gotten broken.
Bottom line is if no one tells me about the problem I can’t fix them!
No need to defend UltraExplorer against XYplorer Jim, UltraExplorer is a vasty superior product – it just needs some time to mature. 🙂
I meant a way to copy to the clipboard data about (selected) files/folders, etc And I beleive some other way than the copy/paste or drag&drop operations could be usefull. I beleive Explorer has that in its Edit menu.
Note that I didn’t mean to “attack” UltraExplorer or anything, and I also know since it’s a first version it will need time to grow, get bugs fixed, etx just like any other software.
I didn’t report anything to you directly just because I tried UE, but wasn’t more impressed and decided to stick with another software. I’m sure others will go for UE and help you there.
I’ll just say I am a bit disappointed by your attitude lately in this discussion. If at first it seems this was a place for all to discuss different Explorer replacements, truthfully, compare them & give honest impressions about them, it now seems we cannot discuss anymore, you said “UltraExplorer is a vasty superior product” so that’s it, and we can only agree… :-/
You can have your favorite one of course, but to refuse to speak?!??
I honestly beleive XY is actually a superior product than UE is, not just cause I say so but because it has a lot more features, has IMO a better UI integration, etc.
Each one is entitled to his own opinion, I’m just sorry you now refuse to speak about it and only go for a statement that one must accept or leave, basically.
“I meant a way to copy to the clipboard data about (selected) files/folders, etc And I beleive some other way than the copy/paste or drag&drop operations could be usefull. I beleive Explorer has that in its Edit menu.”
Good grief, since I never use those menus I completely forgot to include them. That is about 20 seconds worth of coding. I will add an edit menu.
“Note that I didnâ€™t mean to â€œattackâ€? UltraExplorer or anything, and I also know since itâ€™s a first version it will need time to grow, get bugs fixed, etx just like any other software.”
I did not feel that way. Each person has there own quirks on how they want a file manager to work. I did not create it to make everyone happy, I made it to make me happy (and throw in a few features to make it different and appealing to Mac users through Alex’s input).
I also just tried XY. I can see some of the appeal except on a large network (15,000+ computers) it takes over 3 minutes to start up.
I will agree that UltraExplorer looks like it has promise, but it comes up very short. I think it is a little generous to say that it is the only Explorer replacement worth using.
It is not a 1.0 release. I’ll keep an eye on it, but Explorer XP remains a better option to me at this point.
What exactly is a drop stack, anyway? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of one.
The type-in address bar, explorer has. Maybe someone could just write a tool that implements a drop stack by itself, and let that be the end of it?
I would say we have a great chance here to shape a product that would be doing exaclty what we need, since Alex seem to have direct input channel to developer – and if developer has a right attitude towards user feedback.
IMHO we should give it a chance.
Have you had a look at:
It’s probably quite low on features compared to some of the managers discussed here, but it does have a new UI paradigm: instead of having tabs it has ‘panes’: one pane per directory, so you can see many directories at once.
It also has quite comprehensive ‘bookmarks’.
Let me know what you think
Q: Does UltraExplorer have “Access to favorites from open and save dialogs” ? I don’t see it.
Two other programs that have some of the functionality of the category being discussed are:
(1) Fast Folder – http://www.eusing.co[...]stFolder.htm
(2) Quick Access Folders & Files –
I really like Fast Folder for the “right click access” to favorites from “Any windows explorer like entity” (start menu, open dialog, save dialog, windows explorer, etc.) I like to add folders on my LAN and be there instantaneously. 🙂
“Q: Does UltraExplorer have â€œAccess to favorites from open and save dialogsâ€? ? I donâ€™t see it.”
Not yet but I just figured out how to do it so it should be in the next release.
I *REALLY* like the CommanderBond UI!
I love having all the files I am working on available on one page, especially for MVC Framework development work which typically have files spread across dozens of folders.
and it is pretty fast for a JAVA app.
maybe some of the other Explorer replacements want to consider moving beyond dual-pane…
I’ve personally been a huge fan of A43 but I’m always open to looking at new programs so I’ll give this a try.
This thread is two years old, and is still alive.
Explorer.exe was my file manager since win95 came out. Recently I bought a new computer. 98lite installs but is unstable on it. Installed NT 5.0 without IE. Explorer.exe would not start without shdocvw.dll, and would not copy\paste without urlmon.dll; and none of the explorer replacements would copy/paste without urlmon.dll, if A43 did, that would be my choice.
(after installing NT I eliminated browserui.dll, shdocvw.dll, urlmon.dll, wininet.dll; they have no excuse or need for existence)
The only thing left is winfile.exe from NT 4, with StepUp. It works great, is faster than any of the others; shure is not pretty
Is there any way to make winfile.exe look better ?
Is there any way to hack explorer.exe not to look for shdocvw.dll and urlmon.dll ?
THANKS a lot for providing information about UltraExplorer, I’m sure you’re as happy as I am. Keep up the good work
after reading all the above articles .. i really do feel that ultra explorer is better than other explorer programs…..but this is what i have done,instead of replacing explorer i have just modified it uisng addons…. i have qttabbar installed which gives me tabbed browisng in explorer additonally i have folder pilot installed which gives makes folder navigation easy… apart from that i have file-ex installed and i have installed findexer which increases the productivity of my explorer and please even try myexplorerbar as its a freeware tool
the above mentioned softwares are all freewares except folderpilot. these tools enhance the productvity of explorer.
I am a compulsive software experimenter and my goal is to find out softwares/tools which improve the productivity. I am a compulsive keyboard short cut user. I avoid using the GUI as much as possible.
I use the context menu (right click) in windows file explorer heavily and my right click menu is very exhaustive. I had to download shellexview to reconfigure.
In the category of windows file explorer replacement I have tried almost all free ware versions listed in this discussion and many more. They are AC Browser, mtExplorer, a43, JExplorer, ExplorerXP, UltraExplorer
Out of all I like AC Browser plus for the following reasons. (http://www.konradp.com/)
– It brings in all my context menu into ACBrowser (including Tortise CVN). It also allows you to display its own right click or shell context menu by using a modifier key.
– Almost all the features of paid and free versions of explorer are available like ftp, zip/unzip, image viewer, tabs
– Has an excellent file copy/move mechanism which cannot be surpassed in any other file explorer. My favorite feature as I keep copying/moving files the whole day.
– Has an exceptional searching mechanism which is fast and clean
– A fairly good favorites mechanism.
– My favorite, a list creating mechanism which mimics soft links to files to be created as a list and stored in a folder.
– A good history mechanism
– Ability to modify the tool bar to add your own programs
– Can do proprietary scripting to add more functionality
– Did not crash even if my windows explorer crashed. A couple of other file managers crashed along with my MS Windows file explorer.
– BEST OF ALL IT IS FREE. WHAT MORE CAN I ASK
The only thing missing is ability to synchronize folders.
Free version limited to 3 tabs. Who cares, I am happy with it
Really helpful discussion.
I manage a fantastic number of files and subdirectories. It is not unusual to have thousands open on three or four networked computers simultaneously. WE will tolerate this for awhile, grow to over 100MB of RAM, then crash.
I need a file manager that can tolerate this abuse far more than I need bells and whistles. Any suggestions as to which WE replacement is the most robust.
You guys realize that most of these ‘Windows Explorer replacements’ use the Windows API, right? What that means is that they call the exact same functions that Windows Explorer calls. In other words, you’re getting a shiny new bow on the same old turd. I was hoping to see actual ‘replacements’ listed here. There are a couple of exceptions, of course, but for the most part, these ‘replacements’ virtually ARE Windows Explorer.
Granted, my needs are a lot more technical than most. I am a computer tech looking for a replacement that won’t simply quit when there is an error after copying thousands files and directories in no particular order and giving you only a truncated version of where it stopped, meaning that you have to start ALL OVER again, taking smaller chunks and perhaps hours more of your time. Most of them I checked call the exact same functions, have the exact same problems and are exactly as useless as WE, only prettier (in some cases, anyway).
I have, so far, checked out 4 that were not WE in disguise. They are Total Commander (outdated programming, ugly, no real benefit that I could see), Magellan (actually might have been a contender except for some glitches, long pauses with no indication what it was doing when you copy large directories and the fact that I hit ‘OK’ over a thousand times before finally swearing it off for life because, presumably, the trial version had the feature disabled to use the same response for every error), Power File Gold (crashed after about 2 minutes, outdated programming, ugly, snapped back down to the directory I was copying from in the left pane after each directory or file was copied, making me scroll back up each time, total garbage) and, per someone’s suggestion here, Directory Opus, which just finished copying a directory flawlessly that the other guys couldn’t stumble through. From a technical aspect, at least, we have a winner!
Some great suggestions, however this whole comment thread /almost/ reads as an advertisement or buildup for the ultraexplorer program… 🙂
I recommend reading the timeline here:
I’ve tried most of the products previously mentioned. I’ve finished up using Directory Opus for my main explorer, but Alex states he wants “access to favourites from open and save dialogues.” Here I use a simple, little-known context menu editor which satisfies this requirement very well. It’s called Folder Express, and can be found at
[…] in January of 2005 I asked for Windows Explorer replacement recommendations. A number of people stopped by and shared a long list of recommendations, however none of them came close to being acceptable to […]
Alex seems to be wanting KDE but he is stuck in the windows world. Oh well, perhaps he will be able to use kde4 when it finally is released for windows. better yet, switch now to kubuntu. Once you experience the power of a truly integrated powerful desktop, gnome/win/mac seems like a cheap malaysian knockoff
Try Gyula’s Navigator, free from http://www.wanari.com/
It’s a full-featured, Norton Commander style file manager that is a pleasure to use.
I was led here via google having decided I was fed up with Windows Exploer. I use Windows 2000. I tried UltraExplorer as recommended above, but my main issue is that it’s written in Delphi which is somewhat clunky at best – it uses 13MB of RAM at least. I’m looking for something which doesn’t use much RAM… I’ll try some of the other suggestions and see what I like in terms of resource consumption (or rather lack of).
“Delphi which is somewhat clunky at best”
Oh Really? Want to elaborate on that?
“it uses 13MB of RAM at least”
Well Explorer typically is using 16MB. The numbers in Task Manager are for the most part meaningless Most of that “memory” is consumed by loading and using the shell objects. The only way you are going to get what you want is to use something like TC that does not use the shell and reads the files using Kernel functions.
oh man.. still lookin for this…? it never ends! believe me,,,
however. i think what you are actually lookin for is XYPLORER. i stopped using cause it got bloated for my taste and,,, well no longer free.
best free alternative : free commander(commandline, no whistles, powerful)
best paid alternative : dopus (i know you rejected it BUT i can argue you just didnt take time to configure. its modular interface approach lets you work exactly the way u want it with a little time of UI re-arrangement, inlcuding fav menus, buttons, shorcuts and a lot of stuff)
take a look at mine
pd.. TC might be popular but hell its ugly .. and thousands of plugins.. for what??
oops system killed the link..
I appreciate all these comments. I tried just about everything here. Couldn’t really take a liking to stroke it or activewords. I am using something kind of like activewords perhaps called PowerPro. It’s great and it’s free. Quick folders gets used several times daily. I liked fileex but not enough to pay for it.
I was originally scared off of dopus because of some of the comments and the price. But at last I tried it and for me, maybe it’s expensive in terms of memory and money, but it’s worth it. Totally configurable and just feels right.
Thanks everyone for all the comments. You helped me find what’s best for me.
i am actually looking for an explorer with an integrated document management system. This means that the user should be able to add comments to files, tag them with certain notions (i.e. apply something like an ontology). I am not talking about a high-end dms but rather an extension to existing explorers…. any idea?
Thanks for your help!
There is one simple feature I have been looking for, for years, in an explorer replacement:
I want a tree which shows files AND folders, like the Mac Finder has done for years. You can select files from different folders simultaneously.
Has anyone seen this ANYwhere? Please?
PS: I’ve tried just about every app mentioned here over the past 2 years.
WOW! Amazing add-ons:
New version of ultra explorer is really nice. it is in beta1 at the moment . There are some improvements. Grab it from here. it is free
Until the new version of UltraExplorer come you shold try CubicExplorer. Don’t look at version number, just try it.
Just tried out ultra explorer and it is is simply awesome – beautiful, functional , completely customizable and for me very intuitive. It’s exactly what I felt a file manager should be.
I think this is it!
Personally, I prefer Directory Opus
or FreeCommander if you want it for free.
Nice thread, there are a lot of programs to try out listed but unfortunately most of them are not what I was looking for, except for one. I’ve been happy with Windows Explorer, until Vista. The version in that OS is the biggest mess I’ve ever seen and it’s even worse in Windows 7. They are unusable.
I’ve been using the old Windows File Manager (winfile.exe) from NT 3.51, a modified version that works in Vista. The only really complaint I had was the lack of the ability to right click and manage files. Someone mentioned FM Stepup NT in this thread so I found it and gave it a try. To my surprise it works perfectly. This is now the best file manager there is imo, amazing to think it was written over a decade ago! 🙂
Windows File Manager for Vista/Win7
FM Stepup NT
I have tried many of them. Except for the price, Directory Opus is the best explorer for me. It is configurable and got lots of amazing features
just try utraexplorer . it failed the first test. mass copying of files … when it cannot copy a file (ie a file that window has lock) .. instead of giving an option to skip the file .. it aborts mark: 0/100
Jake, are you “really” saying FM Stepup NT installs into the modified winfile.exe running Vista? I have not been able to get FM Stepup to add itself to winfile.exe and it’s driving me nuts not having any right context capability. I’m specifically looking for the right click Copy functionality that lets you put in both a new file name and a new directory location that the copy goes into. Haven’t seen that in any Explorer clones yet.
I made it half way through this list before trying XYplorer. I’m impressed with its features and feel at home using it. The dual pane reminds me of a lot of DOS file managers whose usability I have missed for years.
I have been using Directory Opus for the past 18 months at work and became so used to its great features I bought a copy for home use.
It really is the best file manager, bar none!
The one feature that I have always hated from any file manager I’ve tried for Window is that if you try to navigate with the keyboard by typing the first few letters of a directory structure, if the directory/file you want is the first one as soon as you type the first letter, instead of highlighting the first item it highlights the next matching item! This has drove me nuts for years. I downloaded UltraExplorer with the hope that it fixed that but I was dissapointed yet again by another file manager that just doesn’t get that right.
Try Explorer++ at http://www.explorerplusplus.com/ – it’s like the original Windows Explorer but with a few well chosen enhancements. It’s now open source so it has a better chance of thriving than single person projects. Runs really well on Windows 7.
I’m also a new Explorer++ user, and really like it. It seems to do just what I want and is fast/no fuss. I used AutoHotkey to override Win+E so that Explorer++ comes up here in XP.
Things I like the most:
Ability to move files from one tab to another w/ drag+hover on tab
I love how the F2 for renaming works with multiple F2 hits
Standardized keyboard shortcuts for tabs (Ctrl+T, Ctrl+W, Ctrl+PgUp/PgDn, etc) & Ctrl+N for new folder, etc.
A minor thing I don’t like:
Copying a folder to another that has a matching name creates a “copy of” the folder instead of trying to merge them.
BTW, MrK, its search by typing letters works perfect from my tests.