What You Said: Favorite Windows Explorer Alternatives

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Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite alternatives to Window’s native file explorer. Now we’re back to highlight your suggestions, tips, and tricks.

Reading the comments it becomes readily apparent that if you’ve taken the time to replace Windows Explorer with something else then you’ve really done your homework. Readers were quite passionate about their favorite Explorer alternatives. Shawn Murdock gives us a detailed run down on why he loves XYplorer:

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!

Shawn had us at the whole portable file associations bit—that sounds like a fantastic feature!

Directory Opus was another popular reader choice. Scott weighs in with his favorite features:

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, Cmd 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 customization and configuration. Love it to bits.

Although nobody wrote a lengthy review of it, xplorer² received a mountain of recommendations. Mark writes:

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.

For more reader tips, tricks, and favorite Explorer alternatives, hit up the full comment thread here.

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.