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Author Topic: 12 Windows Explorer Alternatives Compared  (Read 33573 times)
urlwolf
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« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2007, 01:51:15 PM »

What I want to know is:
Which of these managers can do: source code syntax highlighting (i.e., using scintilla or vim) within the editor (not in a different window) and updating it as soon as I change the file that is highlighted in the folder list?
I can do this with Dopus and source viewer plugin, but it's not portable, so looking for alternatives
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Lashiec
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« Reply #51 on: February 26, 2007, 05:51:59 AM »

I like working with many panes displayed, each showing a different folder. A nice free file explorer that opens four panes and has many functions (including an OLE preview of many file types) is called File Commander 5. Its author has recently improved it quite a bit, and he's open to suggestions too.

I tried File Commander some time ago, and although it had some good ideas, the implementation and execution was nearly terrible. Don't take it personal, but I think it's not up the level of quality showed by the major players.

What I want to know is:
Which of these managers can do: source code syntax highlighting (i.e., using scintilla or vim) within the editor (not in a different window) and updating it as soon as I change the file that is highlighted in the folder list?
I can do this with Dopus and source viewer plugin, but it's not portable, so looking for alternatives

Total Commander?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 05:55:35 AM by Lashiec » Logged
urlwolf
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« Reply #52 on: February 26, 2007, 04:55:10 PM »

Is Total Commander any faster copying files, displaying folders, etc?
Has anyone done a comparison with benchmarks?
Thanks
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superboyac
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« Reply #53 on: February 26, 2007, 10:42:10 PM »

Is Total Commander any faster copying files, displaying folders, etc?
Has anyone done a comparison with benchmarks?
Thanks
I'm familiar with quite a few file managers, and although this is somewhat subjective and unofficial, my experience is that Total Commander is generally going to be faster than most of the file managers you run into.  This goes for copying, moving, displaying, etc.  How much faster, I don't know, but I'd bet money that in most things it's faster.  Maybe other file managers may be faster in a couple of specific areas, but TC will be faster on the whole.  Total Commander was designed with speed being the primary or one of the primary goals.
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f0dder
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« Reply #54 on: February 27, 2007, 02:33:20 AM »

That does sound a bit silly since moving and copying is very I/O bound... it's hard to make your harddrive faster even if you do "omfg 100% assembly" programming smiley

That said, vanilla explorer.exe is ridiculously slow for some operations, like deleting a large tree. It spends a lot of time "doing something" before the actual delete... fetching info on all files/subfolders? Haven't looked at the specifics.
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urlwolf
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« Reply #55 on: February 27, 2007, 07:28:41 AM »

Well, this is a crappy test but...
TC seems to display the same msgBox and scrollbar as explorer. Might be using some kind of Windows native file-copying.

Dopus, on the other hand, does have its own msgbox and scrollbar, and to me (when I first bought it) seemed a lot faster than explorer. No idea how they do that, as fodder says this might be bound to I/O, so not much saving there.... maybe the have optimized the stuff that explorer does before moving, etc (counting files...).
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Nxqd3051990
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« Reply #56 on: July 02, 2007, 10:38:43 AM »

Pump topic :p
Very nice arguement.
I've used TC for nearly a year, and i realize that I don't use that much Plugins, and i like one pane browsing so i find new one. After take a look at recommendations, I choose XYplorer to test.
Why ?
1- Simple
2- Nice, cute
3- Portable
I just need them
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« Reply #57 on: July 02, 2007, 07:54:38 PM »

yes, XYplorer is a popular choice.. check out the mini-review for more tips..
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« Reply #58 on: July 02, 2007, 10:48:44 PM »

Thanks lanux128  Thmbsup
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« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2007, 12:27:55 PM »

This is an interesting thread, but needs more specifics.  We all use one or more of these tools.  Let's use our personal experience to be more specific.

Here are some random specifics.  I'll add more in the future.

If you want syntax highlighting in TC, install one of the several available syntax highlighting editor plugins available.  I use the hpg_ed plug-in, but SynPlus is also popular.

If you need virtual/temp folders/collections, try SpeedCommander.  Its tabbed interface supports both "real" folder tab groups and virtual folder tab groups.  IMHO SC's implementation is more intuitive to use than Dopus' or TC's, though it doesn't allow you to build subfolders in a virtual tab. Dopus does. TC supports virtual folders via file system plugins... there are at least 3 different implementations of TC plugins that support virtual folder hierarchies.

TC's Content plugins.  The word "Content" gets bandied about.  One of its meanings is "custom columns" in the detailed view of the file panel.  The number of custom column ("Content") plugins available is staggering.  You can have any media value extracted.  You can show NTFS stream values.  You can calculate various things.  There is a Content plug-in that lets you specify what goes in a column based on filetype (like showing #files/#subfolders" in a column for folders and image dimension for jpegs IN THE SAME COLUMN).  You can format dates, enter whatever text you want etc etc.  You can use any value from a Content plug-in as a line of info underneath a thumbnail, or as a value in the renamer tool, or as a filter value, or in the "change file attributes" dialog (including saving to NTFS streams).  This "Total" integration with custom metadata is unique to TC.  Many other tools support a large number of "custom" columns, but mostly those are limited to what is provided by Explorer.  Dopus, for instance.  But no tool in my experience has the metadata content integrated into the software at such a low level as does TC.

Dopus, TC, and SpeedCommander (SC) support custom menus.  TC via ini-like MNU files, Dopus and SpeedCommander via dedicated editors.

Salamander's toolbars are also customizable using a very cool editor.

TC has only 1 toolbar.  It wraps if the window isn't wide enough.  Antiquated.  On the other hand, TC supports building the toolbar (as well as executing functions on dragged files) by dragging and dropping from the file panel.  Brilliant!

Dopus and Salamander support central (vertical, between panes) tool bars.  FreeCommander has a context-specific version of the same which has functions that switch context based on which file panel is active (ie move, copy).

SC has the best (most complete, easy to use, customizable) implementation of layout management, followed by FreeCommander and Dopus.  Unfortunately Dopus does not allow "fixing" panel dividers (they squirm around a lot) which I dislike.  It also has no internal commands to set the divider position (like 50%).  Nor does TC (use the context menu on the splitter, instead), though TC WILL remember and restore positions.

TC 7 supports a single tree (a la Xplorer2... ) but also dual trees.  But there is no way in TC to show a tree only in the right panel.  Brain dead.  Furthermore, the TC trees do not fully support drag and drop, folder renaming, or deleting.  More brain dead.

SC and FreeCommander subordinate folder tree visibility to the active folder tab.  You can set up folder tabs that have trees and others than don't.  Wonderful.  Dopus subordinates folder trees to the panel, so switching into another folder tab can't change the tree visibility (unless you explicitly script it).  You can toggle each tree on and off, though.  TC subordinates its folder trees to the main window, so you get either one (on the left) or two (both sides) and that's it.

SC offers a dropdown menu in quickview mode to easily select another view plug-in.  In TC you have to highlight the panel and press "4" to cycle through viewers. 

Salamander does not support quickview (ie preview embedded in the opposite panel) but instead pops up a new window.  The window is very full featured, though, with menus, toolbar, etc.

Salamander supports individual "panel" toolbars which are customizable, a great feature.

Dopus is the only file manager I know of that attempts to emulate Vista's "breadcrumbs" bar.  IMHO they didn't do a very good job (it's a separate toolbar instead of being integrated into each panel's path box).  The SpeedCommander blog suggests breadcrumbs will be supported in SC v12.  The preview screen shot looks superior to Dopus' implementation.

In my experience, Salamander ties with TC for the most crash-proof.  It is also the fastest for accessing Network shares and in the responsiveness of the interface.  TC is about the worst when accessing Network shares. In my experience.  It tends to "hang" in situations where its competitors have already produced a dialog box.

IMHO Salamander is very good looking (nicely designed monochrome icons that show color when moused over, for instance) and has many "little" features lacking in the others.  No folder tabs, though.  No folder trees.  No hierarchical favorites in Salamander, either.  And only 10 "favorite" folders.  Whuzzup w'dat?  Salamander has great potential, though, and if you don't need tabs or trees or custom columns, really worth a look.

TC works great with AutoHotKey, but has no internal scripting support (only one command per button).  SpeedCommander has built in scripting for buttons and menus using VBScript and exposes an apparently complete object model of itself.  Dopus uses an internal scripting implementation which supports multiple lines of code per menu item or button, including prompts for parameters, but doesn't support conditional execution.  Salamander's implementation is more like TC's... one line per button.

TC has the best "Overwrite/Replace" dialog of any of them.  It shows these options: Overwrite, Overwrite all, Skip, Cancel, Overwrite all older, Skip all, Rename, Append, Compare, Rename existing target, Auto rename copied, Auto rename target, Overwrite all older and same age, Copy all larger/overwrite smaller, Copy all smaller/overwrite larger.  That about covers it, don't you think?  Also, besides the now ubiquitous thumbnails in the overwrite dialog, TC lets you specific as many meta-data values as you like (see above paragraph about TC's Content plugins).

I have bought/tried out/etc many file commanders (there are many not mentioned in the review at the beginning of this thread) but IMHO FreeCommander, TotalCommander, SpeedCommander, Salamander, and Dopus are the best of the breed, so they are the ones I know.

Who else has specifics?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 04:09:03 PM by JohnFredC » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2007, 03:42:24 PM »

 thumbs up thumbs up
for the above post by, JohnFredC.  That's what I call a thorough analysis.
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« Reply #61 on: July 27, 2007, 10:50:47 AM »

Nice dissection there..  Grin I'm going to settle for either XYplorer (always hated the name) or xplorer2 (not found of this name as well  ohmy), lol oh well.. never judge a program by its name..  Thmbsup
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« Reply #62 on: July 29, 2007, 05:57:42 AM »

As I'm on vacation at the moment, and stuck with a slow dial-up connection, I'm not able to download and install all the file managers listed above by JohnFredC (though I have some with me on a USB stick, like Dopus9, Xyplorer & TC). What I wanted to say though is that you did not mention one of the things that kills some of those applications for many users; Unicode support.

FreeCommander - Don't recall if it has it, been a while since I tested it (hated the interface, so it was a short test at that).
Total Commander - No full unicode support, but at least it lets you work with your files to some extent. It's just that some features does not work at all with these files.
Directory Opus - Full unicode support.
SpeedCommander - Full unicode support.
Servant Salamander - Absolutely no support for unicode. It won't even let you launch files with unicode names from it! Useless for me and many others. They have been promising unicode support for what seems like forever now, but nothing has happened yet.
Xyplorer - No unicode support, but for what it's worth it will at least it lets you launch the files. Be aware that it misbehaves if you ever try to rename a unicode filename, or at least it does it the build I have installed.
Xplorer2 - Don't really remember...been a while since I tried it, but I think it supported unicode.

There are a some other points I'd like to make, and a few of yours I'd like to challenge/don't agree with, but I'll wait until I'm back on my regular workstation. Nice list though smiley
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« Reply #63 on: July 29, 2007, 08:28:55 AM »

FreeCommander - Don't recall if it has it, been a while since I tested it (hated the interface, so it was a short test at that).

FreeCommander does not have it.
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« Reply #64 on: July 29, 2007, 08:54:34 AM »

Unicode support.

Excellent point.  Lack of unicode support is a deal killer for many.  (Not a problem for me, though.)

In some cases the core code of these file managers is probably legacy from the 90's (TC and Salamander, for instance).  In those cases, it appears to be rather difficult to support unicode.

For what it's worth, the Salamander team seems to have dropped everything else (development of tabs, quickview, more than 10 favorites, etc) to implement unicode.

Apparently TC is written in Delphi 2!  From what I gather, many if not all of the TC file list controls, trees, what have you, are custom coded from the basic Windows listbox control.  All would have to be re-written to some extent (IMHO).  For a single developer (in TC's case) that's a monumental task.  Maybe not worth it psychologically.  For many it is really difficult to get motivated to write the same application twice.

Though a large portion of these file managers' user bases do not require unicode, for global credibility it seems de rigeur.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2007, 10:29:23 AM by JohnFredC » Logged
Dirhael
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« Reply #65 on: July 29, 2007, 10:09:22 AM »

Unicode support.

Excellent point.  Lack of unicode support is a deal killer for many.  (Not a problem for me, though.)

In some cases the core code of these file managers is probably legacy from the 90's (TC and Salamander, for instance).  In those cases, it appears to be rather difficult to support unicode.

For what it's worth, the Salamander team seems to have dropped everything else (development of tabs, quickview, more than 10 favorites, etc) to implement unicode.

Apparently TC is written in Delphi 2!  From what I gather, many if not all of the TC file list controls, trees, what have you, are custom coded from the basic Windows listbox control.  All would have to be re-written to some extent (IMHO).  For a single developer (in TC's case) that's a monumental task.  Maybe not worth it psychologically.  For many it is really difficult to get motivated to write the same application twice.

Though a large portion of these file manager's user bases do not require unicode, for global credibility it seems de rigeur.

I think I read on the official TC forums, that Christian planned to implement unicode support in either v7.5 or 8. I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I'm hoping for the best. Still, TC does handle unicode files to a certain degree already even if some things doesn't work, so it's not a deal-breaker. Servant Salamander however really needs to be updated, as it can't handle such files at all.

I don't have all that many files with unicode names (it's mostly music and videos that are affected, so maybe somewhere between 500-1000 at any given time on my local drives), but I still need a file manager to be able to actually manage all of my files, not just a selected few. Thankfully, Dopus handles everything I could ever wish for and then some, but I still would like to see the final batch of the AAA file managers catch up.
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zridling
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« Reply #66 on: July 29, 2007, 03:30:36 PM »

Wow, let's re-view XYplorer. Dirhael correctly identifies XYplorer's current weakness — unicode renaming, which the dev has planned for the future. However:
  • It's had breadcrumbs through the last two versions; CTRL+H provides a Hotlist to your History interface;
  • XYplorer's layout management is virtually unlimited;
  • Selecting plugins and view>file types is one key away — F9;
  • XYplorer's visual filters (been there for a long, long time) easily subordinate folder tree visibility to the active folder tab;
  • I've never, ever had XYplorer crash on me (I must be doing something wrong).

Don't forget little things like customizable keyboard shortcuts (wait, that's a biggie with me), on-the-fly font sizing (CTRL+mousewheel), and XYplorer includes a large suite of useful commands added to the standard file context menu, including Copy To, Move To, Copy Filename with Path, Copy File Properties, Copy Large/Small Icon, Multi-file Rename (optionally using Regular Expressions). Not perfect, but being small, fast, powerful, and RAM-friendly goes a long way for me.
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« Reply #67 on: July 29, 2007, 04:48:13 PM »

Absolutely zridling, Xyplorer is a really nice tool, and when it gets updated with unicode support it'll be even better. I don't think it'll be my primary tool anytime soon, but as it comes with a fantastic life-time license it doesn't really matter.

I do know of a sure fool-proof way to make it crash though, and it has done it since I first tried Xyplorer in the 5.x versions. What you need is a lot of gifs (I have a folder with around 1000 small ones, mainly tiles I use in various projects). If you have that, just try to let it generate thumbnails for them all. It always crashes. Still, that's highly unlikely to be a problem for most people, if anyone at all, but just thought I'd let you know if you want to try crashing it Wink
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« Reply #68 on: July 29, 2007, 05:46:47 PM »

Yeah, since Zaine announced XYplorer version 6 on his blog, I started to think in setting up a divorce demand from xplorer², and engaging with XYplorer. A visit to its website didn't do any good, and this once happy relationship is in a turmoil right now. I might start up saving for a XYplorer license, instead of the xplorer² one I intended.

Grin
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« Reply #69 on: July 29, 2007, 09:39:36 PM »

I have abandoned dopus due to outrageous update fees and have happily moved to TC. TC has colors for filetypes and lots of other small features that make me think it's vastly superior to dopus _for me_.
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« Reply #70 on: July 30, 2007, 03:02:28 AM »

I do know of a sure fool-proof way to make it crash though...
Can't reproduce. I'm using thumbnails on huge folders with small image files since years without any crash. Maybe one of your tile files makes trouble? You can send them to me in a zip (if that's okay).

Donald (XY's author)
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« Reply #71 on: July 30, 2007, 03:39:51 AM »

xplorer¬≤ has unicode support..    Thmbsup
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« Reply #72 on: July 30, 2007, 04:45:18 AM »

I do know of a sure fool-proof way to make it crash though...
Can't reproduce. I'm using thumbnails on huge folders with small image files since years without any crash. Maybe one of your tile files makes trouble? You can send them to me in a zip (if that's okay).

Donald (XY's author)

Absolutely, I'll send them to you when I get back from my vacation. I should clarify though, this problem only happens if the images are GIF's. I have never encountered the problem with jpeg's and png's. Really appreciate you looking into such a insignificant problem, I don't think many other developers would have taken the time smiley
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« Reply #73 on: July 30, 2007, 09:25:43 AM »

... Really appreciate you looking into such a insignificant problem, I don't think many other developers would have taken the time smiley
A crash is not insignificant to me. Hey, I'm a developer with an attitude! Wink
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« Reply #74 on: July 30, 2007, 12:29:33 PM »

A crash is not insignificant to me. Hey, I'm a developer with an attitude! Wink

This reason alone is a good reason to support your work in my Opinion... Thmbsup
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