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Author Topic: File Managers! Windows Explorer replacement! Come one, come all...  (Read 72031 times)
Darwin
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« on: August 30, 2007, 01:43:21 PM »

I've been following this thread about Xplorer2 with real interst but note that at times it has veered off significantly from the original topic, which was to discuss mitzevo's excellent mini-review. So, in the spirit of providing a forum for open discussion of the overall category of file management software, I thought I'd start this thread. I'll be directing people in the Xplorer2 thread here and we'll see what happens!

I almost started a poll, but there are so many applications in this class, I'd never be able to cover them all! Here's a very incomplete list of some of the alternatives: XYPlorer (reviewed by Zaine here), DOpus, V-The File Viewer, Total Commander, Servant Salamander, DiskJockey File Viewer, PowerDesk, AccelMan, ZTreeWin, etc. I know I've missed some favourites, but it's a start. Anyone want to post, singing the praises of their favourite? Did I miss anyone's favourite? Post and let us know!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 01:46:41 PM by Darwin » Logged

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sri
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 01:55:17 PM »

I just started using DO and have a couple of questions. Hope it's alright to ask here.

I have a dual pane vertical setup (like in xplorer2)

1. With an item selected in the right pane, pressing tab doesn't take me to the left pane (like it does in xplorer2). Any idea how to get DO to do that?

2. 'Extract', 'Add to zip' etc buttons are functioning in the opposite pane as opposed to the the pane containing the items on which the functions were performed. For ex.: if I select two files in the left pane and hit 'Add to zip' button, the newly created zip is in the right pane, not left. Any idea as to how to fix this?

With almost a year of xplorer2 usage behind me, I am liking DO so much more than XYPlorer. Good bye XY. I'll visit you after 20 years if and when you implement dual panes.
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Armando
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 02:02:02 PM »

I'd like to start with a simple question : which file managers can "completely" replace Explorer,s UI (run automatically instead of explorer)? I know that Directory Opus offers several options to do that. What about the others? Can they all be easily configured to replace explorer?

Edit : oups... sorry! I posted almost at the same time as you did, sri! You're first... so your question has priority....  Wink
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Darwin
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2007, 02:04:18 PM »

Thanks for posting and getting the ball rolling, Sri and Armando (you posted while I was writing this).

Sri, your best bet is to head over to the DOpus resource forums. Someone there will be able to sort you out in no time! DOpus is amazing but even with the "usability" updates in 9 has a steep learning curve. I'm being "summoned" to the lunch table so will have to defer looking into your DOpus questions until later.

Armando - Dopus can for a start. Powerdesk offers to the do the same (I took advantage of the still current $9.95 offer on version 6) but I haven't investigated whether it lives up to the claim!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 02:15:37 PM by Darwin » Logged

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Darwin
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2007, 02:15:11 PM »

I just started using DO and have a couple of questions. Hope it's alright to ask here.

I have a dual pane vertical setup (like in xplorer2)

1. With an item selected in the right pane, pressing tab doesn't take me to the left pane (like it does in xplorer2). Any idea how to get DO to do that?

Lunch is not on the table yet so I dashed back in here! Try this setting:



I'm not sure that it will work as you want it to, but it *looks* like this is the setting.

Quote
2. 'Extract', 'Add to zip' etc buttons are functioning in the opposite pane as opposed to the the pane containing the items on which the functions were performed. For ex.: if I select two files in the left pane and hit 'Add to zip' button, the newly created zip is in the right pane, not left. Any idea as to how to fix this?

Yes... this is a feature I generally LOVE (in different contexts mind you, such as "Create shortcut" operations as you can have the source and target folders open and the shortcut is automatically created in the target...). I'm not sure how to change this behaviour - a quick search of the settings folder didn't enlighten me - but I'll look into it more closely later on today/this evening.

Best,

Mike
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2007, 03:19:10 PM »

I am partial to the dual-pane "commander" design in file managers. Here is a list of the dual-pane commanders for Windows (only) that I have tried and that I think qualify as legitimate candidates for serious comparison:

ABCommander
xplorer2
Directory Opus
Total Commander
Altap Salamander
Enriva Magellan
RageWork
SpeedCommander
EFCommander
FreeCommander
WinNC.net

There are many more file commanders out there: quite a few "wanna be's" that I discarded immediately and several cross-platform tools (muCommander, for instance) that IMHO aren't quite focused enough on Windows to make my list.

Unless you have used all (or most) of these tools extensively and wrung them dry of their features in real world situations, any claim that one or another of them is the best rings hollow to me.

This could be a fun thread if we all show objectivity and moderation.
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2007, 03:43:39 PM »

For me a big factor is portability. I like using the same FM on my USB drive as I do on my home PC. I now own xplorer2Pro, TC, and DirOpus 9. All three have portability. With X2 and DirOpus you have to pay a bit more for the portable version. TC is portable right out of the box. I also know from the above list that FreeCommander is portable.

My all time favorite: DirOpus by a long shot!
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Armando
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 03:50:24 PM »

JohnFredC : you seem to know TC pretty well. Can it be easily configured to replace explorer (Directory Opus can)?
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 04:02:03 PM »

JohnFredC : you seem to know TC pretty well. Can it be easily configured to replace explorer (Directory Opus can)?


No, not easily but I'm quite sure you'd be able to it the same way as with Xyplorer: More details at the Xyplorer wiki.
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 04:08:05 PM »

Is UltraExplorer worthy of consideration (http://www.mustangpeak.ne...ltraexplorer/index.html)?
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Darwin
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2007, 04:13:37 PM »

Thanks for posting with the links, JohnFredC - I was in a rush and didn't include them. You've included some I'd forgotten about, too like ABCommander. Another is Frigate 3.

I was seriously tempted to buy licences for both V - The File Viewer (I like the built in text editing, for a start) and Total Commander. However, I have licences for DirOpus 9, Frigate 3 (from Giveawayoftheday), DJFV Deluxe, AccelMan (also courtesy of Giveawayoftheday), XYPlorer, ZTreeWin, PowerDesk Pro 6, not to mention I still have FMStepUp installed (using NT 4's winfile.exe)... I've forgotten one or more of them, but such is life... xplorer2 looks attractive as well... Ultimately, my problem is that I love this genre of application. However, I can't use the managers I've got (I have four installed with DOpus as my default and as the Windows Explorer replacement).

Great comments so far. I agree with JohnFredC that this will be an interesting thread if we can discuss the merits of different solutions with objectivity and moderation, which is how I envisioned it when I started it.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 04:25:17 PM by Darwin » Logged

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Darwin
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2007, 04:18:07 PM »

Is UltraExplorer worthy of consideration (http://www.mustangpeak.ne...ltraexplorer/index.html)?

Certainly! And another that I was aware of and had forgotten about (I'll stop making these claims now because we could probably populate several pages with post/responses in this vein!). I think ANY file manager is grist for the mill in here. I know that there are some Servant Salamander fans active here in these forums - this is another app I've been tempted by in the past and I'd love to hear from some active users as to theri likes and dislikes about it.
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Armando
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2007, 04:20:13 PM »

Is UltraExplorer worthy of consideration (http://www.mustangpeak.ne...ltraexplorer/index.html)?

There's a thread on UltraExplorer.

PS. Another thing which could be useful would be to link this thread to all threads discussing various Explorer replacements.

Edit : ahahah Darwin, once more posted at the same time
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2007, 04:23:02 PM »

NOTE: The following post is in response to the posts by JohnFredC in the Xplorer^2 thread.

Not to get in a pissing match, but since my post has been impugned, I'll respond with a couple of challenges to any other file manager (not just xplorer2).

The challenge:

Rename a set (ie. more than one) of image files  (*.jpg, for instance) to include the dimensions of the image file in the filename.

To wit:

Original filename:  MyFile.jpg
Output: MyFile.640x480.jpg

Stipulation: No spaces may be included in the resulting file name.

This is a prima facia example of the integration of metadata into TC.  The rename template for the filename portion in TC would be: [N].[=imgsize.x]x[=imgsize.y]

Where:

[N] ...denotes the original filename
[=imgsize. ...denotes a specific (free) TC content plugin implemented by a user
.x] ...denotes one of the plugins calculated metadata values (the x dimension of the image)
.y] ...denotes the other dimension.

Extra credit:

Sort the file display ascending by the Y dimension.



Ok, after reading your posts in the Xplorer^2 thread it's hard not to see it as anything but a pissing contest but ok, I'll take your challenge. After all, who am I to judge? Wink I give you the Directory Opus way:

Renaming the files to include the X & Y resolution:

(You don't need to use th regex method, but it's my prefered method so...)

Sorting ascending by Y dimension (height):

(I can also save this format for this folder, this and all subfolders, all folders in general and more. Notice how there is a ton+1 different fields available...and that's just in this category. Extra point to Dopus for not forcing me to install a single plugin to do this, something that TC does)


Second challenge:

For folders only (ie the column should be blank for files), show a column in the file display named "Folders/Files" that shows the number of subfolders and "subfiles" in each folder, separated by a slash.

To wit:

12/77

Extra credit:

In the file list, automatically highlight each folder that has > 300 subfiles in red.

Display subfolder and file count for folders, leaving the column empty for filenames:

No, it doesn't separate it with a slash, and doesn't colourize them but other than that I can do it. The slash thing is just nitpicking, while the colourize thing being the only thing I can see any use for. Anyway, to make a point in that I have many other options in Dopus, I added two different ways of displaying the subfolder count; one of them displays the subfolders 1 level deep, and the other displays the total number of subfolders, no matter how deep down they are.


Here's an example that matters if you work in thumbnails mode:

In xplorer2, display thumbnails.  Now sort them by date.  To do that, you must either select View>Arrange By>Date or press a 3-key short cut.  Either way, that's three clicks.  Further, there is no obvious way in xplorer2 to make a tool button to perform the sort.

In TC you click once on the column header for date.

I'm not singling xplorer2 out, here.  No other file manager I know of displays the column headers in thumbnail mode.  And this is a really big deal if you need to sort your thumbs by a custom column not accounted for by the menu.

For instance, in xplorer2, how would one sort image thumbs by image dimensions?  Or by age in days?  Or by an EXIF value?  One can do these things, of course (switch to detail mode, sort, switch back to thumbs), but extra steps are involved.

When one file manager takes three steps for another file manager's one step, and the activity represented by those steps is performed repetitively day after day, month after month, year after year, that "two step" Wink difference really begins to add up.

In Dopus you can just create a toolbar button for the sort methods you want available, no matter what display mode you're in or if it is something not displayed in the usual "sort by" menus. More importantly, with Directory Opus you can save display modes, including sort method, for individual folders and this will automatically get applied as soon as you enter said folder. This for me is a much more intuitive method. That, and the fact that I can use folder content auto detection so that I don't even have to bother clicking anything to get the display modes I want.



---

All that said, I still really like TC (and own a license for it and use it regularly) but it is not the "alpha & omega" of file management. It all depends on what you need and like.

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Darwin
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2007, 04:34:41 PM »

Nice Dirhael! I love DOpus and have been using it through versions 6,8 and now 9 (over four years and counting) and it blows me away how much there is to learn about it (rephrased: how much I don't bloody well know!).
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2007, 04:42:12 PM »

Nice Dirhael! I love DOpus and have been using it through versions 6,8 and now 9 (over four years and counting) and it blows me away how much there is to learn about it (rephrased: how much I don't bloody well know!).

Hehe, yeah... I'm discovering new things all the time as well smiley The Dopus Resource Centre and the (huge) manual just contains a wealth of information, and I love browsing through it from time to time.
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2007, 04:51:13 PM »

Powerdesk offers to the do the same (I took advantage of the still current $9.95 offer on version 6)

Darwin, can you please give details on that offer? Thanks!
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Darwin
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2007, 05:05:20 PM »

Sorry, twinkler - I'm getting sloppy! There's a thread about the offer here. Direct link for the offer is here. Have fun!
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2007, 05:11:43 PM »

2 Dirhael

Yeh that Dopus is a monster.  I have a license, too.  It is really the most powerful straight file manager but has so many "little" quirks and lacunae that I have never been able to abandon TC for it.

By the way, Challenge 1 was to place the recursive counts of folders and files in ONE column.  You display two columns in your DOpus screen dump.  So again, Challenge 1 is still not met.

The purpose of Challenge 1 was to show how TC handles custom columns, allowing you to combine various metadata into one file panel column.  Not only that, there is a TC plugin that lets you "overload" a single column with different column values based on file masks.   This is incredibly useful:  for instance, I have a column that shows subfolders/files for folders, dimensions for images, duration for MP3s etc etc.  All in a single column!
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2007, 05:28:14 PM »

2 Dirhael

Yeh that Dopus is a monster.  I have a license, too.  It is really the most powerful straight file manager but has so many "little" quirks and lacunae that I have never been able to abandon TC for it.

By the way, Challenge 1 was to place the recursive counts of folders and files in ONE column.  You display two columns in your DOpus screen dump.  So again, Challenge 1 is still not met.

The purpose of Challenge 1 was to show how TC handles custom columns, allowing you to combine various metadata into one file panel column.  Not only that, there is a TC plugin that lets you "overload" a single column with different column values based on file masks.   This is incredibly useful:  for instance, I have a column that shows subfolders/files for folders, dimensions for images, duration for MP3s etc etc.  All in a single column!

I understood what you said in challenge 1, but as I mentioned in my post, that's just nitpicking as it has nothing to do with functionality as such. It is merely a presentational matter, as I still get the same end result as you get in TC. If we were to consider slight differences in presentation on the same level as functionality, there would be almost no file managers that could do the same thing.
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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2007, 05:46:44 PM »

From my playing with powerdesk it almost replaces windows explorer, windows explorer still sometimes opens from within powerdesk, but i've turned that option off now anyway.  So now I have explorer2 and powerdesk waiting and willing in my quicklaunch bar. 

I did look at TC but i gave up, addons here plugins there, sheeesh, no wonder its website gets so many hits, you got to keep going back there to find new things to plug into it.  I've done it with firefox, which is still my browser of choice, and with foobar, which i gave up on, and for me, something that works well out of the box with options just a configuration dialog away is important.

Everyone is going to have different requirements, and to me those 'challenges' are somewhat arcane and verge on the 'yeah, well, who cares?' But each to their own and the xplorer2 developr who's name i've forgotten, sorry  embarassed, hit it when he said, its like your favourite football team lol.

Must say if i want to look at my mp3 i use my music player, has all those columns.
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Darwin
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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2007, 06:11:12 PM »

Quote
You got to accept that some days you're the pigeon and other days you're the statue

Yeah, but why do I get to be the statue more often than not?

One of my all-time favourite quotes, from Cheers circa 1985:

Norm walks into the bar and the regulars all yell out "Norm!" in unison.

Someone (probably Cliff Claven) asks: "How's life treating you?"

To which Norm replies: "Like a baby treats a diaper!*"



*diaper = nappy!
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Grorgy
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2007, 06:15:06 PM »

Norm was wise man  Thmbsup
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sri
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2007, 10:10:44 PM »

I just started using DO and have a couple of questions. Hope it's alright to ask here.

I have a dual pane vertical setup (like in xplorer2)

1. With an item selected in the right pane, pressing tab doesn't take me to the left pane (like it does in xplorer2). Any idea how to get DO to do that?

Lunch is not on the table yet so I dashed back in here! Try this setting:
 (see attachment in previous post)
I'm not sure that it will work as you want it to, but it *looks* like this is the setting.

Quote
2. 'Extract', 'Add to zip' etc buttons are functioning in the opposite pane as opposed to the the pane containing the items on which the functions were performed. For ex.: if I select two files in the left pane and hit 'Add to zip' button, the newly created zip is in the right pane, not left. Any idea as to how to fix this?

Yes... this is a feature I generally LOVE (in different contexts mind you, such as "Create shortcut" operations as you can have the source and target folders open and the shortcut is automatically created in the target...). I'm not sure how to change this behaviour - a quick search of the settings folder didn't enlighten me - but I'll look into it more closely later on today/this evening.

Best,

Mike

Thanks for pointing out the correct setting Darwin. Regarding my second question, I'll post in DO forums.
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Darwin
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2007, 11:03:21 PM »

Interesting - I just tried zipping two files with DOpus in dual pane mode (vertical) and the zip file was created in the folder of origin. I looked at the zip settings in the settings dialogue and can't see anything that covers this, so don't know how I have it set up to accomplish this! I can post screenshots of the two tabs covering zip options from my setup, if you like, but that's about it. It's worth noting that my wife is still running DOpus 8 and on her setup creating a shortcut from the context menu in dual pane mode results in the shortcut being created in the source folder! That's what prompted me to speculate that its a more general setting and not zip specific. I'll take a look at her settings and post back if anything illuminating pops up...
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