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Author Topic: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared  (Read 13394 times)

jaden

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An interesting review of some good options (only freeware) that might be of interest.  I was disappointed with the treatment of FreeCommander, a program I enjoy using almost too much.

http://www.freewareg...omparative-analysis/

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There are several freeware file managers that address this gap in Windows’ file management functionality. We looked at 15 of these and found 7 had many of the advanced features we were looking for. This post will compare the following program across several criteria: FreeCommander, Master Commander, Nexus File, Q-Dir, SE-Explorer, UltraExplorer, and Xplorer2 Lite.

The primary criteria used for the comparison were user interface, file operations and additional features.  I will say Nexus File looks fantastic (sexy even), but I downloaded the latest version and spent a 1/2 hour playing around with it and I just don't see it coming close to replacing the firmly entrenched FreeCommander for my day-to-day needs.

Renegade

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2011, 03:36:43 AM »
Master Commander looked interesting.

As of yet, I've not tried a file manager that doesn't slow down in the same way that Windows Explorer does. That's what I want. Fast. Very fast. I get tired of waiting for Windows Explorer. Though it's a lot better now with an SSD drive.
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jaden

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2011, 12:34:45 PM »
In what way does it slow down?  File operations, the interface in general?  I haven't seen a slow down with FreeCommander.  Of course, with the SSD I don't notice slowness in much of anything these days, but even before the SSD upgrade it's been zippy.

superboyac

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2011, 01:16:14 PM »
Master Commander looked interesting.

As of yet, I've not tried a file manager that doesn't slow down in the same way that Windows Explorer does. That's what I want. Fast. Very fast. I get tired of waiting for Windows Explorer. Though it's a lot better now with an SSD drive.
I know it's not free, but XYplorer is the fastest file manager I've tried.  Actually, the real fastest would be total commander, but it's interface is not very "normal".  For the normal ones, xyplorer is the fastest for me.  Still, I'm using Dopus 90% of the time.  it's slower, but geez, is there anything it can't do?

urlwolf

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2011, 02:49:26 PM »
They forgot my favorite, cubic explorer:
http://www.cubicreality.com/

jaden

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2011, 02:51:35 PM »
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They forgot my favorite, cubic explorer

Actually, they looked at 15 and chose their top 7 to compare.  Cubic Explorer was one of the original 15.

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After evaluating 15 freeware programs seven of them were chosen for detailed consideration. In alphabetical order these programs are: FreeCommander, Master Commander, NexusFile, Q-Dir, SE-Explorer, UltraExplorer and xplorer2 lite. The following programs were also evaluated but got a lower score than the first seven: a43, AltCommander, CubicExplorer, ExplorerXP, FileAnt, JExplorer, Pablo Commander and Snowbird.

rjbull

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2011, 03:52:32 PM »
I know it's not free, but XYplorer is the fastest file manager I've tried.
Remember the fairly short-lived free version?  It's still available at Pricelessware's ftp list.  It's quite old now - 2006 - and XY is one of the most frequently updated programs I know of, so would be missing lots of things in the current version.

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Actually, the real fastest would be total commander, but it's interface is not very "normal".
(Cue pantomime chorus)  Oh yes it is!  It's Windows that's abnormal!  As I have said before, for this old-time DOS person, Total Commander was the first thing that made using Windows almost semi-tolerable.  It's true it's payware, but it's modestly priced and I've never had to pay for an upgrade in something like 11 years.

Much the same comments would, for me, apply to the excellent ZTreeWin, inasmuch as, for a while, XTree Pro was my interface for DOS.  ZTW is console-mode, though, which won't play well with people who started with the WinGUI.

MilesAhead

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2011, 05:08:42 PM »
I like the idea of Q-Dir with 4 panes.  But seems every time I try to copy a multi-GB file and try to do something else in the meantime, it gets flaky.

It's supposed to be multi-thread but I just get the feeling it's tested with small files. I haven't tried it in awhile though.  Maybe the threading is improved.


Ath

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2011, 05:18:35 PM »
Miles, you have looked in the History page to see if there's any mention of that? (I couldn't find anything about that). I stopped using it years ago in favor of Xplorer2, even though I maintained the local translation for some time.

MilesAhead

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2011, 05:59:09 PM »
I can't remember where it was. But I know there was a forum where I mentioned that problem and the author claimed he was working on improving the threading.  But that was probably 6 months ago or more when I first tried it. Sorry I can't remember anything more specific.

I know I did play around with starting like 4 GB file copies and then doing other tasks. It would start the other jobs, but it tended to lock up or give a Not Responding dialog.  Wasn't completely frozen though. I like the 4 panes. But so far I'm having pretty good luck with QTTabBar and just placing the Explorer windows evenly using launchers.  Now and then it forgets some tabs, usually on system start up.  Once they're working they seem to keep working. (I have all my drives set at a Group with Startup attribute.)

« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 06:01:52 PM by MilesAhead »

Jibz

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2011, 03:09:35 AM »
I know it's not free, but XYplorer is the fastest file manager I've tried.  Actually, the real fastest would be total commander, but it's interface is not very "normal".  For the normal ones, xyplorer is the fastest for me.  Still, I'm using Dopus 90% of the time.  it's slower, but geez, is there anything it can't do?

One of the things that gives slowdowns on my system is retrieving icons from files, especially getting the icon from executables that are signed gives a noticeable slowdown. XYplorer has the big problem here that it is single-threaded, so whenever I enter a folder with such files, like for instance downloaded installers, XYplorer more or less locks up and becomes unusable (I have reported this).

I know I could switch it to use generic icons to solve this, but I kind of like having the right icons on files, plus it works fine in Total Commander and Directory Opus.

zridling

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 04:15:39 PM »
Excellent find, Jaden. The reviewer picked his apps, delimited his criteria, and set about comparing them. With file managers being so different from one another, even a limited review like this one is a big task. Just ask mouser!!

jaden

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 05:30:55 PM »
Excellent find, Jaden. The reviewer picked his apps, delimited his criteria, and set about comparing them. With file managers being so different from one another, even a limited review like this one is a big task. Just ask mouser!!

I completely agree - reviewing all 15, then paring the list to 7 and choosing sensible ways to compare them is a time-consuming, thankless process.  Well, not completely thankless since we're thanking him here :)

delwoode

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 05:12:02 AM »
Still love Total commander and Xyplorer
I love the catalogue feature in Xyplorer see here for example
xyplorer catalog feature

widgewunner

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2011, 12:31:46 PM »
...
Much the same comments would, for me, apply to the excellent ZTreeWin,...

ZTreeWin (ZTW) is *very* powerful and fast-to-use once you burn the single keystroke commands into your brain. This is one of several programs I have open all the time. Not free, but certainly worth every penny many times over.

As an example of its power, is there any other file manager that can do what ZTW's CTRL+B command can do?

Ctrl-Batch     - Create a batch file that contains a command line to be
                  executed for each tagged file.  You may also use this
                  command to create a listing of tagged-file information, so
                  the resulting file can be used as a list, or as data input
                  to another program.  You will first be prompted for the
                  name of the file.  You may enter a directory path before
                  the filename to create the file in that directory.  (In a
                  Branch, Showall or Global File Window, the default
                  destination directory for the file will be the directory
                  that was current before entering that File Window).  Next
                  you will be prompted for a line mask which defines each
                  line of the file.  Enter constant data and variable
                  parameters.  (See section 3.4 'Batch Parameters and
                  Environment Variables' for more information on the
                  parameters and variables that may be used).  Use F4 to
                  toggle between OEM, ANSI and Unicode character sets for
                  text written to the file.

Once you get used to ZTree's file TAGGING methodology, and the way you can quickly select (tag) a list of files based on their paths, names, dates, attributes and contents, and then manipulate those selected (tagged) files in a variety of useful ways, (such as creating a batch file of commands to be applied to each of these file - i.e. CTRL+B), its hard to settle for anything less.

But then again, picking a file manager is kind of like picking a text editor; - product devotion can border on: religious.

rjbull

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2011, 10:24:44 AM »
ZTreeWin (ZTW) is *very* powerful and fast-to-use once you burn the single keystroke commands into your brain. This is one of several programs I have open all the time. Not free, but certainly worth every penny many times over.
I bought my license when they made a ridiculously cheap offer, $9.95 or something.  While XTree Pro was the first file manager I ever used, it's been so long that I've forgotten the hotkeys, which is probably why I use ZTW less than I might.

Maybe a reminder about the XTree Fan Page is in order here.

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But then again, picking a file manager is kind of like picking a text editor; - product devotion can border on: religious.
Oh, dear.  Then I'm a heretic in at least three religions... not including editors!

AbteriX

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2011, 02:44:07 PM »
As an example of its power, is there any other file manager that can do what ZTW's CTRL+B command can do?
Please note that you can do such things with XYplorer too. You can even do it your own way >>>> XYplorer Batch Maker

delwoode

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Re: 7 Freeware Windows Explorer Alternatives / File Managers compared
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2011, 06:07:05 AM »
I am just trying out Double Commander (free) the russian author is making it like totalcommander and it can use most of the plugins, What is of note is that it can be used on Lynx too.  It is very configurable and seems fast.