Windows Explorer explained: Choosing a replacement

Not happy with what Microsoft's file manager is bringing to the table? Here are some vastly superior alternatives.

For the past week-plus I've taught you a few basic things about Windows Explorer. It's a pretty important tool, and I hope you've found the lessons helpful.

That said, let's conclude by giving Explorer the heave-ho. Because, quite frankly, there are better file managers out there.

If you've got money to burn, look no further than Directory Opus (available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions). As PC World's Ian Harac wrote just a few months ago, it's the "Swiss army chainsaw of Windows Explorer replacements." It's also $83, which is more than I'd ever spend on a file manager (unless it came with, say, Jessica Alba).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there's Windows Double Explorer. As its name suggests, Double Explorer employs a dual-pane interface, which you can view stacked or side by side. Within each pane you can create multiple tabs representing different folders on your hard drive. And you can drag any folders to the Favorites toolbar for fast, easy access to them in the future.

The learning curve's a bit steep, however (as it is with many file managers). If you want to check out some other freebies, I recommend MakeUseOf's 5 Good Free Windows File Managers.

If you've already tried some Windows Explorer replacements, let me know which one(s) you like best!

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Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
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