XYplorer File Manager

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zridling:
App Name:XYplorer File ManagerApp URL:http://www.xyplorer.com/index.htmDirect download URL:http://www.xyplorer.com/download/xyplorer_full.zipApp Version:5.0xTest System Specs:WinXP-SP2Supported OSes:Win98/NT/ME/2000/XP/VistaSupport MethodsForum, EmailUpgrade Policy:Lifetime licenseTrial Version:21-day trial period. Initial nag screen.Pricing:€29.95 ($USD 37.95; £19.95)Additional Screenshots:http://www.anova.org/target/xyplorer/

XYplorer: Preview pane open (F12 key, or CTRL+Q)    [Koeln Hohenzollernbruecke pictured]

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INTRODUCTION
So you think you're happy with your current file manager? Wanting to move up with more power, but not wanting a program that invades every part of your system? Donald Lessau of Köln, Deutschland (or Cologne, Germany for we "englisch"-speakers) wants to showcase his XYplorer File Manager, a powerful tool for managing files. The more you dig into XYplorer, the sooner you discover its power to save you time and manage your files in ways no other file manager allows. Like some of you, I'm a huge Directory Opus fan. But the greatest strengths of Directory Opus — its complexity and multitude features — are in turn its weakness for some (note, I said "for some"). In other words, Directory Opus can be a bit much for the average user. What sets XYplorer apart is its ability to simplify complex layouts. Still XYplorer shares many of the same features of Directory Opus, even though they are implemented in different ways. Both sit at the top of power user file managers.

The official description is that "XYplorer is a multi-tabbed file manager featuring a powerful file search, versatile preview facilities, a highly customizable interface, and an array of unique ways to efficiently automate frequently recurring tasks." Yeah yeah, XYplorer targets power users and computer professionals who are looking for an Explorer replacement that deserves its name. And the more you dig into XYplorer, the more you soon discover its power to save you time and manage your files in ways no other file manager allows. In Directory Opus you can create shortcuts to folders and files on the toolbar and assign them keyboard shortcuts, too. XYplorer, on the other hand, has a feature that catalogs both files and folders according to your needs — most often opened, recently opened, categorized in projects — and you get to name the catalog categories, even color them for distinction. And this catalog window conveniently is toggled by a keyboard shortcut (F8), just like the Preview Pane/info panel (F12 or CTRL+Q).

XYplorer is marketed as a "Business Class File Manager" which signifies its target: the power user, the admin, the field tech, or anyone who spends their day accessing a wide variety of files rather than futzing around, wasting time. More importantly, XYplorer allows you to discard a full subset of utilities from file renamers to image viewers to file search apps. XYplorer was known as TrackerV3 from 2000-2005 and was freeware during that time. When it evolved to XYplorer it became shareware. Installing and running the program does not change your system or registry. XYplorer keeps all its configuration parameters in an .ini file. In other words: XYplorer is 100% portable. Ideal for your USB memory stick. The installation of XYplorer totals less than a megabyte. No further files are added anywhere to your system, and nothing will be put into the registry but uninstall information. Also, running the program does not change your system or registry. XYplorer can be completely removed by running the included uninstaller, or by simply deleting the install directory. XYplorer goes the extra mile with attention to details you won't live without ever again: by providing direct access to Windows' system folders such as the Control Panel, Recycle Bin, Network drives (mapping, disconnecting, etc.); the Temp folder; a full history; several types of self-defined favorites; selection options, including a keyboard shortcut for inverted file selection. With one-tenth the size and half the cost of Directory Opus, XYplorer will make you say Wow or Hot Damn or Holy Moly or Crapzilla or Whaaaa?!

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WHO IS THIS APP DESIGNED FOR
Power users, and users who spend their day in and out of Windows Explorer, or any file manager, managing files. Anyone could use it to great advantage, as long as they take a little time to set it up to how they work so that they get the full benefit of XYplorer's power and flexibility.

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THE GOOD
XYplorer has an extremely high level of customizability combined with power. Some users of Directory Opus tend to find this quality maddening, but XYplorer provides a clearer approach to its options. As noted above, all changes can saved on Exit if you want, and are written to an .ini file in the install folder. XYplorer has an intelligent and active forum of users who have made many suggestions. It helps to have a responsive and flexible developer. And when he wants to change or delete an old feature, he announces it in advance and puts many of the changes up for a vote. Also, almost every time I thought, "If only XYplorer could do this," it was already part of the program. XYplorer was built around its file search abilities, which support Regular Expressions, Boolean logic, pattern matching, binary string search, and searching multiple locations. Support-wise, XYplorer benefits from a broad and intelligent user base that participates in the XYplorer forums. The developer is active, but far more often, a fellow user jumps in and solves others problems and answers questions (which is the goal of any forum).


XYplorer: Find Files pane and tabs

Every coding decision must meet a speed criterion, i.e., any new feature must not slow the program down, and if it does, it becomes an option to toggle on/off. XYplorer's file operation speed is noticeably faster than most other file managers.

In the end, it's the little things that make XYplorer stand out. For example, CTRL+-D allows you to "Copy Here With Suffix Number" (duplicate) to a file; CTRL+S allows you to Copy Here As (i.e., "Save As..."); Tabs can be locked. Tabs (for folders, much like a text editor or browser) can be locked or unlocked. A wide variety file information can copied to the clipboard, not just the filename. The "Go" and "Favorites" menus provides access to a history of files and locations, system folders, the application folder, color-coded files or folders, allowing you to work exclusively with either certain type of files or an entirely self-defined project of files and folders. All configuration, layout, and customizations can be saved with two files: xyplorer.ini and catalog.dat, making XYplorer easily portable.

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NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
Two things could use more attention. (1) Customizable keyboard shortcuts is about the only missing feature, but perhaps that will be scheduled for a future version, and if keyboard shortcuts could be assigned to catalogued folders and files, then this would be something indeed. (2) The Help file is mostly context-driven. Pressing F1 gives you an introduction to the Help file, but gaining access to more detailed topics is done contextually.

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WHY I THINK YOU SHOULD USE THIS PRODUCT
As mentioned above, XYplorer is a major time saver; its UI is well-designed for efficient navigation and control at every point. Try the latest XYplorer beta yourself over its entire trial period and see if it doesn't make an impression on you. It takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to another file manager, but the transition is not difficult, and you'll love all the keyboard shortcuts built into the program. XYplorer is shareware, but like WinRAR, comes with a Lifetime license.  If nothing else, it's well worth a try.

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HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO SIMILAR APPS
I won't hide the fact that I'm a big Directory Opus fan, but compared to Directory Opus, XYplorer has the advantage of a smaller installation size; a cheaper registration price; speed throughout the program — especially all file operations; complete portability to any computer or device; broad configuration and layout options; setup ease and speed; responsive support; active development; and a Lifetime license. I believe XYplorer shares Directory Opus's power, though not its full customizability range in this latest 5.x version. XYplorer is merely customizable in slightly different, and some very unique ways.

In Directory Opus you can create shortcuts to folders and files on the toolbar and assign them keyboard shortcuts, too. XYplorer, on the other hand, has a feature that catalogs both files and folders according to your needs — most often opened, recently opened, categorized in projects — and you get to name the catalog categories, even color them for distinction. And this catalog window is conveniently toggled by a keyboard shortcut (F8), just like the file viewer/info panel (F12). More importantly, XYplorer allows you to discard a full subset of utilities from file renamers to image viewers to file search apps.

As for apps like ExplorerPlus and Total Commander, I have not made a direct comparison, but XYplorer goes beyond either in usability.

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CONCLUSIONS
More than anything else, XYplorer is a time saving tool, built for speed with ample power and to give you the shortest, quickest access to your files and folders. What it doesn't provide a specific keyboard shortcut to, you can easily configure in a tab (a general keyboard shortcut, CTRL+SHIFT+T), or a catalog list (1-click away). With its small footprint and wealth of unique features, XYplorer sets itself apart with its first use. It won't knock Directory Opus off your list of favorites, but it will make a big impression, even if you decide not to use it.

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LINKS TO OTHER REVIEWS OF THIS APPLICATION
http://www.xyplorer.com/reviews.htm (Full list of reviews on the XYplorer website)
http://www.xyplorer.com/xyfc/viewforum.php?f=6 (XYplorer Reviews from users around the globe, and listed around the web)
http://www.thegsblog.com/?p=109 (The Great Software blog)

KenR:
Great review Zaine. Thanks very much for doing this AND putting so much effort and thought into it!!! It sounds like a wonderful program.

Like you though, Directory Opus is still "King of the Mountain" in my eyes and I can't imagine anything displacing it.

Ken

zridling:
I can't disagree with you there. When XYplorer gets customizable keyboard shortcuts, however, I'll have to revisit this review vis-a-vis Directory Opus more directly. On the surface, I think you have three areas where XYplorer has the advantage over Directory Opus:
(1) Licensing — XYplorer's Lifetime license versus Directory Opus's version license;
(2) Cost — XYplorer is almost half the price of Directory Opus; and
(3) Configuration and portability — XYplorer's ability to save and carry its configuration anywhere is extremely handy.

Even though I can handle it, Directory Opus's Preferences/Options dialog is just a mess.

KenR:
Zaine,

I went through your review quickly, but didn't notice anything about programming. From my perspective, the programmability (I'm not sure that's a word) is DO's greatest strength. I commonly update files after exiting a program as well as doing other things before starting a program and/or after exiting one. The raw and common commands are both powerful and useful. There are extremely few things I have not been able to do to customize the interface when need arose, such as placing printer buttons on file listers to readily change the default printer or creating layouts and placing buttons on file listers to instantly change the interface. I do all these things with the script language. Does XYPlorer have these features as well?

Thanks, Ken

mouser:
fantastic review, going to give this one a try.

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