If you’re any sort of power user, you’ve bumped up against the limitations of your operating system’s default file manager on countless occasions. The fact is, for advanced file browsing and manipulation, sometimes the default applications—like Windows Explorer or Mac OS X Finder—just don’t cut it. Today we’re looking at your choice of the five best alternative file managers.
Xplorer2 (Windows, Freeware/Shareware)
FreeCommander (Windows, Freeware)
XYplorer (Windows, Shareware)
Total Commander (Windows, Shareware)
Total Commander features side-by-side file-browsing panes, enchanced file search, built-in FTP, archive management, and file comparing tools. Previously known as Windows Commander, this application stands out for its extensibility, boasting a sizable list of add-ons. Total Commander is available as a month-long demo and costs $US38 after that. If you've got a PocketPC, you can get the Total Commander goods for free with previously mentioned Total Commander Pocket.
Directory Opus (Windows, Shareware)
Directory Opus, aka DOpus, is a shareware file manager. Like the rest, DOpus boasts dual-pane browsing along with several other views, tabbed windows, integrated archive support, and built-in FTP. Its preview pane stood out in my trial, including full support for viewing photos and even editing your MP3 metadata. Directory Opus is shareware, costs $US85 for a single licence. You've got a 60-day trial to decide if it's worth the extra cash.
Our top five spots all went to Windows apps, but honorable mention goes to Path Finder, a Mac OS X-only replacement for Finder.
If we left out a favourite must-have feature of your file manager or you just want to sing its praises, let's hear about it in the comments.