What File Manager apps do you all use?

I prefer PowerDesk Pro 5 (6 is too buggy, though 5 is kinda too, just not as much)

But have been looking around at other alternatives including Free Commander (http://www.freecommander.com/), Total Commander (http://www.ghisler.com/), MU Commander (http://www.mucommander.com/), Directory Opus (http://www.gpsoft.com.au/), Servant Salamander (http://www.altap.cz/), and maybe a few others I can’t remember. So far, I’m not finding the complete combination that makes me want to switch, but I’m still looking.

Anyway, it got me wondering - what file managers do you all use to get around Windows? Do you stick with the standard Explorer setup? Or do you prefer a third party solution?

Must admit I’ve always got on fine with the standard Explorer. It may be just me but I’ve never found it lacking in anything that needed doing with files.

Except for one thing. Why does it lock up for several seconds when you put a CD or DVD in? With all this talk these days about multi-tasking OSs, it seems incredible that we still have to wait to use anything while it tediously reads the disc info. I bet it’s no faster with Dual Core.

If someone could name a file manager app that gets round this I might be interested :).

I think it is related to that Auto-Run thing, that I can’t seem to figure out how to turn off / disable completely in XP. Drives me NUTS!

As for file managers, I have always preferred the dual-pane look, but I was raised on Norton Commander, so that may explain it.

There are some other great functions in some of the apps, like quick viewing, archive management/viewing, stuff like that. It would just seem strange without a dual-pane file mananger. Even Windows 3.1 could be configured to have two panes in an MDI.

Explorer for me too.

Although back in the day (Win95/98), I used to like Windows Commander. That rocked :iagree:

I used a really old version of Powerdesk, good software from what I recall. :wink:

I really do like PowerDesk. They had the free version of 5 and the pro version of 5, and now they have 6 Pro.

I have been testing Total Commander (used to be Windows Commander) and like a lot of what it does, but it seems to have a bug with file selection via the keyboard, and the viewer setup is not as good or capable.

What I like about Total Commander and some others is that when you navigate down to a folder, then navigate back up a level, it stays on the entry you just came out of. PowerDesk defaults the cursor position back to the top of the directory, which is annoying if you want to step back and forth a string of directories without using the tree, which many of us old Norton Commander folks do.

PowerDesk handles archives very well and viewing very well, but version 6 has a bug related to sorted file lists and how they are out of order when dragged and dropped to another program, or fed via the right-click menu (like to dbPowerAMP).

PowerDesk 5 does not have that bug, but it doesn’t handle newer RAR archive formats, which is kind of annoying. Plus, version 6 has the ability to save the configuration to an external file, so you don’t have to re-create all the config stuff every time you do a fresh install.

I guess it’s one of the things I’m really nit-picky about. I need to have one of those dual-pane file managers or my XP life would not be complete. :slight_smile:

Hehe yeah, dual-pane file managers are the cat’s meow :wink:

Thanks for the heads-up about Total Commander :wink:

Another vote for standard Explorer included in Windows.

But I admit that I never tried to search for an alternative :wink:

Here are a couple of screen shots of my file manager thing in action:

PowerDesk 5 Pro

Context Menu Archive Control:

Graphic and Document Viewer Built In:

Ok, so Salma Hayek makes ANY file manager look good… :smiley:

That top one looks just like good ol’ Windows Commander :slight_smile:

It’s easy to configure PowerDesk to look like that. Classic Norton Commander look to it.

PowerDesk 5 regular is free, the Pro version is what cost.

The Free version is 1.6 meg:


Maybe worth a try.

TweakUI will do that for you (among LOTS of other handy things) -> http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Downloading now, thanks :slight_smile:


Not sure it’s workin’ - Nero InfoTool still says AutoRun is on. :frowning:

Hope it works out. I just set it to DETAILS, turn off the SHOW FOLDER LIST thing, do the Dual Pane Vertical, turn off the TYPE column and a few other adjustments and I’m good to go.

It doesn’t have FTP or the 200 file viewers of the 15 meg PRO version, but hey, it’s free. :slight_smile:

Installed. Thanks again :flower:

You bet. :slight_smile:

Here are instructions to turn off “CD Autorun” for Home or Pro. At least in the case of Pro, it’s a change to group policy. You can disable autorun for all media including external hard drives. Until you’ve plugged in an externa hard drive with multiple partitions containing various kinds of files with autorun enabled, you don’t know the meaning of insanity.


Thanks. I’ll give it a go.

Well, Nero InfoTool still says it is on, but nothing is auto-starting.

It still takes seconds to recognize the disk, and the whole system sits there waiting for it, as mentioned above, but hey, life goes on.

Thanks to both of you for the tips. They are appreciated.

I usually have two Windows Explorers running so I can drag and drop from one to the other.

One problem with Windows Explorer is that it will stop when copying files if it encounters a file it can’t copy.

I’ve been using Western Digital’s Data Lifeguard for Windows lately for making backup copies of huge folders. It seems to be able to copy almost all files and it doesn’t stop if it encounters one it can’t copy. When done, it gives a list of files it didn’t copy.

I also occasionally use ExploreXP. The nice feature of this is it shows the size of all folders. It’s useful when you want to find out where all the hard drive space went.

Now THAT sounds useful. When I try to copy the entire Documents and Settings folder, I get error messages that it can’t copy certain files, and it just stops.

Even if a file is locked, I thought that programs could access it for READ ONLY, but I guess not.

I may have to look into that Data Lifeguard thing.

What I have been doing is booting to a Bart’s PE disk and copying from there, so no files on the hard drive are locked.

And of course, when I do Norton Ghost 2003 from DOS after booting via a floppy, it can archive everything on the Windows drive, since no files are locked.

Thanks for the tip on the Lifeguard.

That ExplorerXP app is kinda cool. Very small download, installs really clean, and does some pretty cool things.