How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: What’s Your Favorite Windows Explorer Alternative?

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Windows Explorer has been with us since the early days of Windows and the GUI revolution but that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for the job. What Windows Explorer alternative do you use to more effectively navigate your files?

This week we’re interested in hearing how you’ve supplemented or outright replaced Windows Explorer with another GUI-based file explorer. Sound off in the comments with your Explorer alternative of choice—don’t forget to include a link so other readers can easily download it and your reasons for using it over the default Windows file manager. Check back on Friday for the What You Said Roundup to see which alternative app is the most popular and what handy tips your fellow readers shared.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/26/11

Comments (179)

  1. Scott

    Directory Opus, again and again and again. Its superb. I’m a sys admin and hate the single pane (pain) explorer view, source and destination is what I need, with multiple trees if required, and the ability to macro command anything I need. print the DIR, easy, change all the file names to caps and lower case, format the text remove the _ and . , easy one mouse click, Double click the desktp, a new lister appears, Comd line from this DIR, easy, I know its expensive for the initial outlay, but I will never dessert it. I’ve tried XYplorer and other alts over the years, I just keep going back to Opus for sheer customisation and configuration. Love it to bits.

  2. Steve

    I use the Everything search engine in lieu of the Explorer standard:

    Thanks for your great tips!

  3. Scott

    Oh, link, sorry – a 60 day eval copy is available

  4. Khai

    Freecommander for me. nice clean and easy.

  5. Amr

    CubicExplorer is a nice balance between beauty, feature completeness, and satisfying my inner geek. Also, free.

  6. Eric

    For me it is Total Commander. Two Panes, Tabs, built in viewer, use of external editors based on file type. FTP client and zip, rar, and other compression tools. The list goes on and on.

    I have tried others like Directory Opus and XYplorer but always come back to Total Commander.

  7. Plonk

    Nautilus, of course. =D

  8. Merlin

    Total Commander is very good. It’s an early clone of the mother of all dual pane filemanagers: Norton Commander.
    FreeCommander is a very good alternative eather. And like the name suggests, it’s free!
    Apart from some UI differences, the main difference between TC and FC is that FC uses the Windows copy API and interface, and TC uses his own copy module.
    And TC has the ablility of using plugins, such as a 7zip plugin, an iso-reader and so on.

  9. yalestar

    It’s gotta be Servant Salamander ( Learn you a handful of keyboard shortcuts and you’ll be navigating directories, comparing directories, encrypting files, batch renaming and all kinds of other stuff way faster than ever.

    Worth every bit of its $29.95 price tag.

  10. g..

    For me there’s only one: CubicExplorer


    It’s a highly customizable, easy to use explorer. Features include drag’n’drop bookmarks, quickview, undo tab close, undelete, sessions, customizable toolbars and buttons, skins, browsing history, and plenty of options like single click, hotkeys, …


  11. Zizzencs

    Total Commander… forever. I tried other file managers, but the ease of use and rich functionality always made me go back to TC. It simply does everything I’ve ever needed in file management.

  12. Friday

    xplorer2. The lite version has tons of functionality and the pay version has more if you’re willing to pay. Multiple panes + multiple tabs is very nice.

  13. aabv78

    Xplorer2 and there’s a lite version of it

  14. Shawn Rogers

    Dolphin (KDE for Windows)

  15. Dexter86

    Total Commander….I’ve been using it for 10 years and it’s still the best

  16. Mykl

    Directory Opus – beats all!

  17. akanealw

    qttabbar for me. All I want are tabs.

  18. Asian Angel

    CubicExplorer for me. ^_^

    I have been using this since Windows XP and love it. It comes with an extremely customisable UI that can be as minimal or full as you like. You can also add and/or remove singular toolbar buttons as desired to make it your own. ^_^ Throw in the tabs, easy selection of a one click universal view for all your folders and files, a portable version and you have an awesome way to browse your files. ^_^

    There is no way I could settle for using Windows Explorer…especially since the UI has gotten more bloated with every Windows release. Add in the fact that you are rather limited on your ability to customise Windows Explorer and there is simply no contest.

  19. wqweto

    Altap Salamander — much better UI than the ugly Total Commander.

    Has plugins for FTP, 7z/ZIP/RAR, ISO, SFTP/SCP, Visual Diff and more

  20. Al Pedralli
  21. Screwtape

    XYplorer for me. Used xplorer2 previously and liked it, but XYplorer is so much better.

  22. Roberta

    Xplorer2, Total Commander, & XYPlorer (each one for different purposes)….

    Btw, XYPlorer is improving the fastest, & is Portable.
    Total Commander can be installed as Portable.
    Xplorer2 is NOT Portable.

  23. FreewayGR

    The Best of all : Directory Opus

  24. Paul A.

    There is a free version too. The paid version is reasonably priced.

  25. Alex

    I second CubicExplorer. What does it for me is the tabs. In this day and age how can you not have tabs?

  26. Xsever


    It’s not an alternative, but an add-on to explorer.

    It simply allows tabbed browsing in explorer.

  27. Mark

    Total Commander via Norton File Manager. Q-Dir (free) is also good, I just think 4 panes is a bit much. Q-dir is also updated about every week which is kind of a PIA.

  28. SiliconGuru


  29. Kevin James

    I really enjoy 7zip file commander

  30. Will

    xplorer² – Since 2004…

  31. Peter

    Directory Opus

    Expensive, but it’s the best. FreeCommander would be my free choice.

  32. Fred

    For me, it is xplorer2: a.k.a. “x2”
    I tried a few others over the years, settling for a while 2xExplorer until it was superceded by x2.
    x2 just fits my needs like a glove and the developer is quite responsive to user suggestions.
    It can do everything I need … and then some. :)

  33. mcc

    V file viewer is fabulous and this inexpensive shareware comes with several years of upgrades when you make the purchasse. It’s dual pane, the search function is very fast and easily configured. I use it everyday.

  34. Ziggy

    One of the better freebies would have to be Explorer++

    There is also a free version (unsupported) of XYplorer, which is quite good.

    NexusFile manager is also worth a try and very configurable.

    Xenon portable is ok.

    BBox for something a little bit different,

  35. Bruno Casarini

    xplorer² lite for 5 or 6 years now: vertical or horizontal dual pane and multiple tabs is all I need. XYplorer is great, but it’s too expensive.

  36. Clownboat

    Opus on my laptop where I’ve got the license I bought so dearly. It’s a resource hog compared to some, but it’s rock solid and full of features.
    Q-dir at work and elsewhere. Quick, portable, low resource use, and for my frigging job as long as I’ve got the monitor space 4 panes is just right. I work better with panes than tabs.
    I couldn’t hack Total Commander, though I bought the license thinking I could.
    I’ll try those listed above I haven’t tried yet.

  37. IneeHelp


  38. Brian


  39. mark

    xplorer2 since I can’t remember when. I don’t understand why Microsoft has not incorporated a dual pane model into Explorer. When I’m explaining to friends and family how to move files from, say, a digital camera to their computer, it’s much easier with dual panes (triple pane if you count the file tree, I suppose). For me, xplorer2 is essential.

  40. Aarcain

    Google Chrome by far!

  41. anithinks

    xplorer² – best explorer replacement

  42. zzzsyk

    Qdir! I love it!

  43. Fastx
  44. Konc

    Been using xplorer² for quite some time and I love it.

  45. jussJamaican

    xplorer2 all the way, beats all the rest easily. keyboard shortcuts and speed, intuitiveness = a1!

  46. Mario

    Total Commander

  47. Dinesh.R

    Everything from VoidTools is the best. Need to know only the filename and forget the path; Everything will take care of the rest.

  48. motorhorst

    I’d use only FreeCommander if not every action like moving/copying files would freeze the whole program until the action was finished. Other functions like Tabs, Renaming, New Folder per shortcut, etc. are awesome.
    I will give xplorer² now a try.

  49. deviant2

    yeah i hate win6,win7 explorer -> it has no toolbar.

    right now im using xyplorer (shareware), acdsee pro (shareware)
    other -> ultraexplorer (freeware), XnView

  50. deviant2

    sorry douplicate post
    if your explorer.exe is missing/damaged/infected by virus = ultraexplorer is really powerful weapon, it doesnt need explorer.exe while another software still need explorer.exe

  51. crab

    Midnight Commander under Cygwin in a Console2 window. No, really. Not always but I do use it a fair bit, unless I’m moving picture files around and need a graphical preview.

  52. hellerdude

    Total Commander

  53. Christian

    Directory Opus – the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be ;-)

  54. mato


  55. Pablo

    xplorer2, no doubt!

    I’ve been using it for years, I’ve tried a lot of others explorers but nothing compares to xplorer2. Even the Lite (free) version is more powerful than some others.

  56. Mat

    For me it’s Total Commander, and Everything Search.

    Nothing beats the dual pane working technique.

  57. Arjen

    Altap Salamander

    It does everything you want and will ever need thanks to a boatload of handy plugins.

  58. Tom

    Total Commander (now also available for Android!)

  59. Marco

    Xplorer2 beats the pants off every other file manager I’ve tried. And that includes biggies like DOpus and overrated products like XYplorer.

  60. CGA

    DIrectory Opus, Scotts comment says it all, worth every penny!

  61. mad

    i hate windows explorer

    Xplorer2 and Xyplorer are the best for me

  62. the_r

    Definitely Total Commander. Best money spent on sotfware. EVER. Couldn’t live without it. As Tom said, there is also an Android version which is really good.

  63. mpffffhhhh

    totalcommander, what else.
    working with it since decades and always happy, ftp/sync/dualpanel, etc etc etc….
    best tool ever!

  64. Erik

    Total Commander, hands down.

  65. wil'

    xplorer2, dual panes, run command, dupliates & more, lite version available

  66. Kristian

    Q-Dir !!!!

    The BEST free one. Directory Opus is still the KING!

  67. Ashwin Nanjappa

    QTTabBar does the magic on Windows Explorer, adding much needed tabs.

  68. Nohaybanda

    Directory Opus

  69. ArgusVision

    In order:
    Gnome 2.8, Enlightenment, LXDE, XFCE, and Unity.

    Pretty much anything that runs on Linux, but I do have a preference.

  70. Adam

    Can somebody compile the results? It seems like somewhat of a tie between Total Commander, Directory Opus, and xplorer2.

  71. Retiredfinally

    Total Commander! Does it all with elegance and easy.

  72. Jani-B.

    Total Commander

  73. KB Prez

    I’m a big fan of Q-Dir.

  74. Zorg

    Altap Salamander
    Classic filemanager UI way bether then TC
    Altap Salamander 2.54 File Manager – Homepage

  75. Mark Kindred

    Altap Salamander – brilliant 2-pane file manager

  76. LH

    An old version of FreeCommander. Brilliant peice of kit.

  77. Paul Hays

    Q-Dir (4-pane)

  78. Derek Iannelli-Smith

    I agree, Directory Opus is GREAT… however the $85 and $10 for portable is significantly expensive… I got XYplorer with a lifetime license for $39.95.

  79. Muhammad Kamran Arain

    Until Windows XP, I used to use Norton Commander 95. It fulfilled all my requirements, but since I’ve shifted to Ubuntu & Window 7, have tried different softwares and still miss the feel of NC. So I for the time being use the defaults.

  80. Jerry Miller

    PowerDesk Pro
    Adaptable, handles zip , great search system.
    Sued it for more than 10 years.

  81. Jerry Miller

    Used not sued

  82. Demetrio

    ZTREEWIN forever

  83. Jim

    There’s an alternative??

  84. Willem-Jan


  85. Shawn Murdock

    XYplorer – just the best; and I have used pretty much everything listed here by everyone.
    XYplorer is constantly being developed – almost daily. It can be configured to look like windows explorer, a dual pane norton commander clone, or a tabbed explorer; or some hybrid.
    It also has a build in scripting language that allows you to do anything. You can, for example, write a script, and assign it to a button, that switches between various configs of the toolbar. You can write scripts to manage files, change the explorer itself, pretty much anything.

    Its also completely portable. You can also have portable file extensions (totally awesome). Example: define the extension PDF to open PDFXchange viewer off or your usb stick running XYplorer.

    The mini tree is really cool. This allows you to have a smaller, cleaner, directory tree made up of only directories you use, or are interested in at that moment; no more giant structures to scroll through looking for things.

    The user buttons can run apps, run scripts, open folders, almost anything and are portable aware.
    XYplorer has colored files by extension, custom color file tags, colored branches of the directory tree, an excellent search system, custom labels, favorite files / folders. Just so many features that make this the best explorer for anyone. It can be as complicated and techy as you want; or just as simple as you want.

    As for the price, just watch Bits Du Jur. It comes up for sale every couple of months. I have seen it twice since I bought it early this year. You can get a lifetime license for 50% off.
    I really did not want to spend money and I really liked Qdir and Cubic but I needed more. The scripting system allows me to automate my home config and my usb config and keep them in sync. This has saved me tons of time.
    I highly recommend!!!!.

  86. Garth

    The twin panel (commander style) Krusader

  87. Rob White

    QDir 4 pane is the best I have found, and I have tried many.

  88. Cody

    Never really took the time to look into others so I don’t have an over powering opinion but I have always used command prompt, freecommander, and a VPC of linux (I think im using mint on this pc) using the default file explorer in it which is what i mostly use

  89. Angel

    “Q-Dir” (

    Free, Portable …Simply Impressive !!!

  90. Gary Larivee

    I look at others but stay with Freeware Q-Dir 4.79

  91. Armando

    I’ve been using xplorer2 (free version) for years, and I can’t use the Windows Explorer anymore… I am now addicted to x2.

    I will give a try to freecommander.

  92. ncgqprophet

    On my trusty Commodore Amiga it was Directory Opus all the way (versions 3 and 4 only, 5.0 Magellan was a complete waste of time). When I switched to PC, it took a while to find something as good as DOpus, but like many others I found Windows Commander (now Total Commander). Have tried others in the years since, but I keep coming back to it.

    All that said, the best alternative is the one you feel most comfortable working with.

  93. Lantec


    I used to favor Powerdesk until they sold out to Avanquest. Now they have CRAP support and NO innovation.

    I also have a license for Total Commander. I stopped using it when I upgraded to Windows 7 x64 because it didn’t look like there would ever be a native 64 bit version. I checked recently it looks like ghisler’s written a x64 version……

  94. Mark Furmanek

    Definitely Servant Salamander.

  95. Sue Fulmer

    Xplorer is my personal favorite. I love all the options it has, mostly the ability to have many folders/files available in a tabbed arrangement.

  96. Sue Fulmer

    I meant XYplorer. Not sure if it’s the same as Xplorer or not. Sorry

  97. Chris

    xplorer2 lite
    Used for years. free, reliable, quick.

  98. Greg


  99. Ric

    Best alternative to windows explorer is… Not using Windows… Go free, go Linux XD

  100. Tangomilonga

    All those so called sexy explorers adorned with tits and red lipstick but not the most useful feature which is size of the sub-folders except for the Explorerxp which is unfortunately no longer developed.

  101. bumblefoot2004

    Without a doubt, Directory Opus is THE BEST Explorer replacement available. Its only drawback is that it’s expensive: $85 (Australian dollars).

  102. Bob Nicholson

    Directory Opus – Superb

  103. david

    the ONLY Windows Explorer substitute to use is TURBO NAVIGATOR
    it has two panes and every command you could wish for plus tons of built in services
    been using it for over 5 years now

  104. m0l0ch

    TCUp is the best replacement for explorer imo

  105. atitlan

    xplorer² Pro x64 is an outstanding file manager, ‘lighter’ than DOPUS, highly customizable. Its author and user forum are extremely responsive.

    The ‘lite’ version (32-bit) just might be the finest piece of freeware in the Windows universe and could well satisfy the needs of most non-IT professionals.

  106. Alain

    No one has mentioned QTTabBar because… it’s an Explorer extension, but that is my very definite preference. Other than that i like NexusFiles for esthetic reasons (customization) but mainly for its separate customizable tree-view and associate functions. It gets very quick and easy to move through the folders.This is were design is at once aesthetics and efficacy…
    I’m wondering why there is no dedicated treeview software. How about some kind of horizontal tree-view ?Or just 2 to 5 columns ? In some parallel life i’m a designer-programmer. !o! not in this one ! no sir. Microsoft shells could be “embettered” at every step.

  107. Don B.

    I bought XYplorer 5 years ago. I use it all day, every day, and I love it. (I also own x2plorer and Directory Opus, but no longer use them).

    The author continuously improves XYplorer — have a look at then click on the tabs to see the history of recent improvements (v 10.50, v10.40 etc.). In the 5 years that I’ve been using XYplorer, the author has never run out of good ideas — there is usually about one release per month, which invariably has useful new features. If you’re a “new features addict” (like me), you can look at the author’s daily change logs, which give you an idea what’s coming up next.

    The “XYplorer Lifetime License Pro” allows one person to use XYplorer on **any number of devices** for an unlimited time, with free upgrades forever. For me, this is the ideal license — I don’t want to worry about paying for upgrades, or loading the software on multiple PCs.

    Before you buy Directory Opus, check the cost to install it on 1 single PC, and the 40% upgrade cost that you’ll be paying every couple of years.

  108. jeeepers

    2nd that Dolphin and Kubuntu; but Classic Shell handles the start menu and win explorer.

  109. Stan Lambert

    I still use my all-tima favorite program ever – Norton Commander version 2.01.000 (circa 1999).

    This is NOT A MISPRINT.

    Norton Commander works great on all versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 7.

  110. Dwight Hoyes

    Directory Opus…best thing since the discovery of fire!

  111. Howard Verne

    I love xplorer². It i not only tabbed but shows two windows plus the file tree. It is, unfortunately not free.
    Another nice feature it shows folder sizes. It has an optional preview window and direct access to windows system folders. You can also have multiple sets of tabbed windows defined and switch back and forth.

  112. Abhishek S

    7z File Manager – It has a dual pane and since it is integrated with the 7z compression software you can open zip file/archives as if they were folders. The keyboard shortcuts to copy from one pane to other, ability to save 10 favorites, selection based on a part of the file name are some of the features that make it indispensable for me.

  113. Daniel Brigham

    I vote for XYPlorer as well! It’s not free but it is extremely powerful. You could spend a year learning all the power-user features. It is double-paned and has a powerful file and/or folder search function. Makes all other explorers look wimpy.

  114. dbear

    Xplorer2 lite (free) definitely. Between multiple tabs and Bookmarks, you can quickly switch between any configuration of directories and drives you might require. Batch file renaming, good file filtering options. The file Preview pane is very handy at times. Easy to change file attributes. Works with all right-click shell extensions. Have loved it for years.
    I keep thinking I’d like Q-Dir as well, but I haven’t yet been able to set up a configuration of it that works as well for me as what I can do with Xplorer2.

  115. Vibe

    Total Commander and sometimes Multicommander.

  116. Vicinca

    Xplorer2 is the one I use. The Lite version does everything I need it for.

  117. Paul

    Xplorer2 Pro version.

  118. A P Raman

    My choice for a much much better explorer than windows explorer: FREE COMMANDER XE. More details and download visit

    It has all features one would like to have to manage files and folders with high possibilities of beautiful customisation……
    Have always been wondering why Windows cannot ship with an explorer like this

  119. tommy2rs

    I like Q-dir. Four panes you can tweak, fast, easy, light and there’s a portable version so I can have it any where.

  120. pcmedic

    Q-dir x64bit is my fav. there are some here I haven’t tried. It is very unfortunate that other comments didn’t give links to their favorite file managers for others to check out. I see that Total Commander appears more frequently than any others. Thank you to everyone’s comments.

  121. obi

    XYplorer is best.

  122. swordgreen

    I’ve been using Total Commander for 3 years.

  123. Peter

    Have been using FAR Manager since it’s initial launch (when the lack of long file names in Norton Commander became really unbearable). Have tried all the “windowed” (x2, opus, qdir, etc.) clones and none come close in speed and ease of use of a console based file manager for me.

    The keyboard centric nature of FAR Manager makes it a perfect match for old-school keyboard jocks. It is also expandable via hundreds of plugins and can handle anything I have ever needed in a file manager.

    It may look like a VW beetle, but it drives like a Porsche ;) Oh and it’s open source.

  124. vhick

    XYplorer for me. Even the last free version works in Windows 7. The search function is fast. Control keys in navigation is line you used a internet browser. Renaming function is good. I like it very much.

    On the second thought, Q-Dir is the next, and free :)

  125. Dave Johnson

    TURBO NAVIGATOR! I’m surprised this has only one other vote! Free and very complete.

  126. Helmer Aslaksen

    Total Commander. I’ve used it since 1996. I’m still learning new tricks. It’s an incredible piece of software!

  127. Geoffrey Taylor

    Exlorer2 file managment but windows explorer works great

    Everything for searching. Nothing can touch it. Brilliant

  128. Dennis Carne

    It’s got to be ExplorerXP. The editing alone is worth it.

  129. avsfan

    XYPlorer does everything I need it to do, and a whole lot more. I’ve been using it daily for about 5 years now (purchased a lifetime license Pro — maybe the best return on my money I’ve ever seen!) and I absolutely love it. The author is constantly improving it based on both his own ideas and ideas from his users — if they want a feature that he doesn’t think is very useful, he asks for clarification, and if they make a compelling case, he adds that feature!

    XYPlorer is simply a fantastic product. In fact, I bought a second lifetime license Pro for my wife’s computer on one of the bits-du-jour specials. It’s that good! Check it out for yourself and see!

  130. Al Wallace

    I have used xPlorer 2 lite for several years now, the dual pane is useful and it is free. I recommend it

  131. Richard Lewis

    I Like SpeedComander It does so much

  132. Jim Judge

    XYPlorer! One of the great things about this product is that it has a “preview” section that allows one to preview the file. Also does Raw View. I’ve looked at many many other replacements, and none of them have the preview ability that this one has! Like the user above, been using it for years.

  133. Martijn Coppoolse

    ZTreeWin; been using it for about 10 years now, and I still haven’t found a replacement that offers all of its functionality… Most notably working in several folders at once, persistent selections (tagging), 100% keyboard support, and single/dual pane toggling.

  134. Jonathan

    Q-Dir. The rest suck. Dir-Opus hasn’t worked good since the demise of the Amiga.

  135. Perry

    xplorer². Does everything I need, and then some.

  136. Jory Earl

    I used PowerdeskPro for a long time and loved it. However, when I started getting files with non ascii names (unicode) Powerdesk did not support the naming. I emailed them about it and was told that feature would never be included. I went to XYPlorer and it supports everything. It, in my opinion, is the best explorer replacement.

  137. sfmarkh

    Explorer++ (32 & 64 bit)
    Fast and Free link:

    With the option to save to the registry or a configuration file, Explorer++ is completely portable.
    Tabbed browsing for easy management of multiple folders.
    Display window shows previews of files as they are selected.
    Easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts for quick navigation.
    Customizable user interface.
    Full drag-and-drop support with other applications, including Windows Explorer.
    Advanced file operations such as merging and splitting supported.

  138. Dabheid

    Wow, I’ll be honest and say I’ve never given it a thought (out of pure ignorance) to any other Win Ex alternatives before, but having read through the comments I’m interested to see the differences for myself so thanks HTG for bringing this subject to the table and cheers everyone for commenting (and for those links).

  139. m45trkllr

    Xplorer2, dual paned, multi-tabbed & more. I will never use Window$ Explorer ever again.

  140. Andrew Fletcher

    I love xplorer2. I have tried a number of dual-paned explorer alternatives over the years–to establish that scenario in explorer itself (two instances side-by-side) is extremely cumbersome, and you have to start afresh each time. Xplorer2 not only has the dual-page design but incorporates a huge number of additional sophisticated features (such as tabs). It also has a very active and friendly user community and a very responsive owner/programmer, providing amazingly fast solutions to any challenge that arises, with humor and grace. Its price is also very reasonable (and the lite version is free).

  141. Andrew Fletcher

    I forgot to give the link for Xplorer2:

  142. What About Me

    Here’s one to stir the pot – What about the good ‘ol Native Windows Explorer that comes with the O/S?

    C’mon folks, I feel really bad for Windows Native Explorer – It’s getting a good old shallacking in this post.

    Surely it has a place in the cosmos and must rest assured that all new comers are merely replicants of the original concept.

    Sob…Please shed a tear (or two), because this post will surely be the black hole that Native Windows Explorer gets eddied into. Sob…

  143. D Squared

    I started using Xtree in 1990, switched to the functionally identical ZTree for Windows when Xtree was not improved to support long file names when Win95 came out, and I still use ZTree many times a day.

  144. Paul deleeuw

    Way too complicated! For simple file finding, in one pane, and fast searches, use PowerDesk. It’s free, fast, and without the burdensome complications of Directory Opus. You don’t even have to know what a Lister is.

  145. Liviu

    ZTreeWin hands down for me. Single/dual panes, branch/global views (for working with files in multiple directories or drives at once), flexible tagging (filesets by wildcards, date, size, attributes etc), builtin text/hex viewers/editors, pluggable external viewers/editors/archivers, infinitely configurable. Fully Unicode, native 32b/64b builds, portable, actively developed, truly great support.

  146. Don

    Another vote for xplorer2 by Zabkat. Tried others but found the features of xplorer2 much easier to understand and use. I used XTree back in the DOS days and into Windows95 but sadly compatibility ended soon afterward. The lite version of xplorer2 does everything I need but my conscious bothered me enough after several years to purchase a license for the Pro version. I still install the free lite version on all the machines I work on. I like the dual pane views, bookmarks, easy way to switch directories and the quick view pane where I can preview images. There are many, many advanced features (too numerous to mention) I’ve never used but others may find useful – sort of like the features in Word when you only need to write a letter.

    I haven’t heard anything in the above replies that would cause me to try to switch.

    Pro – paid version

    Lite – free version

  147. Ashiq

    CubicExplorer . . . .
    Faster than Windows explorer – Free – Search is better

  148. Kalex

    I currently use Directory Opus. Before that I used Powerdesk. Though as expensive as DO is, I highly doubt I will be ungrading to the newest version. It’s just too damn expensive

  149. Mtech

    Total Commander Everytime. Looks so Windows 98 but feature wise can’t be beat. With a newer GUI it would be the Ultimate tool bar none.

  150. JoePerkins

    Directory Opus, OBVIOUSLY.

  151. jjb


  152. David Chen

    Q-dir, simple and convenient

  153. eil

    i use few:
    Total Commander =for it’s speed and simplicity which is main when working with large amounts of data.
    Q-Dir =4 work places are real astonishing idea, which is very helpful sometimes. besides it’s small, light, and free
    XYplorer(as a default system file manager) =much more advanced then many, evolves daily, swift on work and light on Ram/CPU, build-in scripting abilities, work-flow is much like with browser.

  154. Thane

    Total Commander!!!
    It’s the killer app for working with lots and lots of files.

  155. Dan

    +1 to Servant/Altap Salamander. It’s the best orthodox file manager in Windows, and I’ve been using it for ten years or so. I just wish its author would make it more compatible with UAC.

  156. Simon

    Has to be Directory Opus, especially if you do any amount of FTP connection as it make it beautifully seamless. Incredibly customisable and forst rate support too

  157. Bob1001

    I don’t get what the fuss is about. Being an ordinary old home user, what more do I need than Windows Explorer to get around in Windows 7 Professional? I have no need for anything else. I’ve used the native Microsoft Explorer in Windows 98SE, XP SP3 and now Windows 7 and have wanted for nothing else.

  158. Craig

    +1 on Atlap Servant Salamander (in case some folks missed that Atlap Salamander and Servant Salamander are the same thing). Been using it for years and everyone that I’ve shown it to has purchased it.

    Spacebar file tagging, Hotpaths, plugins for viewers etc. Lightweight, Dual-pane by default (can be configured several ways), Reasonable price. Too late to top the poll for the “what you said”, or maybe just not enough folks have tried it. Bummer. It’s a great product.

  159. Hadi

    Although i’ve tried Explorer++, Q-Dir,Cubic Explorer, Nexus File Total Commander, none of them are as easy to use as Nautilus.I really miss Nautilus when using Windows.

  160. Jirka

    Directory Opus :-)

  161. Bruce

    I find the different Explorer interface with every version of windows so frustrating so I use Xplorer2 and my old favorite Ztree. Ztree is so good at searching for text strings in my source code across multiple folders that I have not found anything to match it. Where as Xplorer2 is simply a great replacement for Windows Explorer, with its intelligent copy function with task queuing, dual pane support etc. I install it on all my clients machines so that I can have a consistent interface.

  162. tux.

    x² and XY for me. While x² is surely a powerful tool which even beats the sluggish, overpriced DOpus in some ways, XY is fast and cleaner while still providing a modern interface and mighty Windows functionality replacements like the “Custom Copy” tool. (Also, I’ve got two machines.)

    If I had to choose between them two, xplorer² would surely make it. Today, that is. Tomorrow I could change my mind again.

  163. Firefox

    Cubic Explorer
    Very clean interface. Bookmarks. Tabs. just works! And free, can’t beat that.

  164. Michael

    Been using the Windows Explorer (XP). I just installed NexusFile ( Haven’t started using it yet. But maybe it’s worth it. And …. it’s FREE.

  165. stavn

    Directory Opus

  166. sludgehound

    Staying with Q-Dir 4.82 in dual pane. The column setting for digital camera will keep the Date Picture Take if use File/Save Current State.. Date modified is retained on C: or D: but for camera’s folder it just disappears each use and have to add it on. Tad annoying if use camera a lot and always off loading jpeg files so saving a configuration is vital.
    The CD/DVD comes up ok preserving the Date modified w/o needing Save Current State.
    Many many other customizations. Have a highlight to indicate which of the dual panels is active.
    So fast and handy. A true must use! x64 version and ok Win 7.

  167. Devastator

    PCManFM for sure.

  168. IgImAx


    I forget to tell you why i like it(WinNC)!

    1) Its settings are independent from Windows Explorer! so If a virus make change at “Folder Options” and make itself and all files with System and Hidden attribute hide at Windows Explorer you can still see them at WinNC.

    2) It can check CRC of file after copy to be sure they are same as source.

    3) Have some internal compress file Extractor and can use out installed side application too.

    4) En/Decryption Files

    5) Compare Files base on their Hash Codes

    6) …

  169. Daniel Roop

    Total Commander…. all the way.

  170. Mindseye

    Total commander for me too.
    Hated Windows 3.1 because I lost Norton Commander functionality.
    Then came Windows Commander.
    Every new version is better than the previous one.
    You can try it for as long as you like so long as you can tolerate a single start up nag screen.
    The list of things it does more than Windows Explorer or better than WE is almost endless
    It can be made portable to run on USB memory sticks & SD Cards
    If I could install TC before windows I would.

  171. Nishan

    I have tried freeware but Total Commander has everything I require and more. Great interface and you can use external editors and customise the software for your preferences

  172. JupiterIsBig


  173. RogerCh

    XYplorer for me too! After trying almost all of the programs mentioned here, I tried XYplorer, which was mentioned in the last review by “Screwtape.” Wow! What a difference. Right away, I loved the file preview feature, the intuitive pane system, and the regular menu system. (Thank you for not implementing the “ribbon” interface, which I’ve found confusing in all the products that use it. It’s hard to believe that MS conducted any usability tests on this interface.) BTW, I tried Directory Opus, which was my second choice. But, I abandoned it after seeing its use of the “ribbon” as well as its price for one copy. (I purchased a lifetime license for XYplorer, which gives me unlimited upgrades at no additional cost.)

  174. oldtimer

    My favorite thing for any use on my PC is the good old C: prompt in an msdos window and wildcards in file names. You could do anything. I don’t really like GOOEY except for games.

  175. Isaa

    IE is just so cool, but it doesn’t work with Google+ :(

  176. Bob

    explorer2 puts them all to shame….

  177. Mike

    Power Desk pro. Been around a long time but still pretty good….

  178. stxh

    Q-dir +1

  179. FeatureCreep

    Total Commander, Free Commander, xplorer2, Directory Opus -tried them all. XYplorer beats them all hands down.

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