Every time you transfer a file, browse your drive, or look for something you downloaded, you have to contend with Windows Explorer, the default file manager in Windows. While it is usable most of the time, nothing is more annoying than doing a file transfer in the order of several gigabytes only to have Windows Explorer stop responding and crash. At this point, you ask yourself, “Is there a more stable alternative?” In fact there is. The following are three stable alternatives to Windows Explorer.
CubicExplorer may seem complex at first, but you’ll get used to it in a jiffy. Its right-hand panel shows you the contents of the folder you’re currently browsing. The right-hand area is for navigation, and the top right-hand box is especially designed to let you add places you want to reach quickly without having to fuss around and browse for them.
CubicExplorer is a tabbed browser, meaning you can open new explorer tabs instead of having to open a new window. This is especially great if, like me, you need to keep a large number of folders open simultaneously during a work day. The developer has also announced the possibility of quickly previewing PDF, XPS, CHM, CBR, CRZ, and DjVu files without having to actually open them.
Besides having one of the coolest interfaces ever, Explorer++ really trumps everything else as a completely portable Explorer alternative. In other words, you can just carry the EXE file in a flash drive and run it from any computer. Explorer++ has a tabbed interface, much like CubicExplorer. It may not be as feature-rich as other alternatives to Windows Explorer, but it sure beats using clunky old Explorer on every computer you use.
Explorer++ comes with two different versions – 32-bit and 64-bit. Make sure you use the version that matches your computer’s architecture. In the likely event that you’ll be using a computer with a bit width other than what you have at home, put both versions into your flash drive.
Perhaps the most famous and most used Explorer alternative, MultiCommander is the application that does it all. Like Explorer++, it provides a portable version (created by the installable version). And, like both of the previously mentioned alternatives, MultiCommander gives you a tabbed interface (only the tabs appear on the bottom).
There are a lot of quick access buttons and gizmos here. The interface isn’t as elegant as the two previous alternatives, but there’s a lot more you can do with this mammoth application such as rename multiple files, access the registry, work with FTP servers, and navigate folders like a boss. It’s much easier to compile a list of what you can’t do with MultiCommander. If you don’t mind the crowded interface and work a lot with Explorer, this program will be the biggest relief for you.
Let’s hear what you have to say about these alternatives to Windows Explorer! If you know of any other utilities that can blow these out of the water, don’t hesitate to comment here! If you have a question about any of them, we’d like to hear that too.