5 Windows File Explorer Alternatives You Should Try


Posts: 525   +601
I took a look at Files. It's an UWP only app, and at nearly 90 MB before install, insanely bloated for an Explorer replacement. So in the end I didn't even actually try it.

Explorer++, Altap Salamander, Nexusfile, Freecommander. These are my recommendations.


Posts: 76   +77
So where's Double Commander. Free & Open Source Total Commander clone.
TBH still using a Total Commander bought for "wait for it" Windows 2000. Works fine on Win10, probably in Win11 too, but didn't know there's a clone. I'll give that a go


Posts: 928   +2,204
"the design is consistent with Windows 11's more polished UI..."
And by "more polish" you mean "irritating wall of whitespace"? I prefer the ones not listed here, particularly QDir where you can actually get stuff done faster with 2 panes without the 'polish' of having half the context menu features hidden...


Posts: 525   +546
I have seriously no idea who can stomach Windows File Explorer. This tool is so dumb. It requires so much more micromanagement.

Since DOS I'm firmly in first Norton Commander and then Windows/Total Commander camp. I have it always on Windows install media.

Windows Explorer looks like tool from 1990s, because it is. It never evolved, if anything it devolved after M$ dumped the XP shell panes and after that steadily got worse and more bloated.

Average users they don't know of anything else because they have no knowledge about broader IT stuff and M$ shoves them that horrendous thing known as FE dumbing down the experience totally.


Posts: 22   +32
Folder Size Explorer (best thing to see size of individual folders to do some clean up)
Thank me later.


Posts: 1,018   +167
Can imagine the grief explaining why something went wrong when I was using a third party file explorer for work. Nope


Posts: 1,388   +1,030
This is my main criticism with Windows - how poor and stupid FE is .
No easy multiple tagging and highlighting, no real database and analysis built in, no macros for repetitive stuff like renaming , extracting , processing.
No AI to understand what you are doing and remove steps .
No sync facilities .
No empty directories
No duplicate finder .
Doesn't keep preference in certain directories how you what to view eg download folder . So have to click to get fields along top - back to search go back in - need to set fields again and again .

Maybe I need to learn it better - but at the moment is just
JBOF ( just a bunch of files ) + search +properties +right click for some options

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,548   +1,450
Directory Opus is your friend if you want IT ALL.

I installed it once, and it destroyed my OS. Caused no end of problems after instal and uninstallation then bjorked the entire OS, couldn't even boot into Windows after uninstalling it. Will never go near this again. How this could have caused such issues is beyond belief. Format was and reinstall Windows was only solution.

XYplorer is nice never given me any troubles.


Posts: 445   +767
I long ago switched to XYplorer. With all due respect, those of you saying Windows Explorer is fine don't know what you're really missing. And the other apps you list are just better toys than Explorer.

I'm sure there's nothing even remotely comparable to XY except DOpus. The list of features and capabilities is enormous, and the very approachable scripting language hugely extends those. XY is completely portable and AFAIK makes no system changes.

Compared to what I briefly saw in DOPus, XY scripting is simpler if (maybe) not as theoretically powerful. BUT !! - XY has an unbelievably active dev who updates the program several times a week - for about 15 years now! New features are constantly being added, sensibly and with full regard for usability, and avoiding complications or overload. Every rough edge is smoothed off immediately. DOpus development is glacial by comparison.

The XY user forum is very active and valuable, monitored constantly by the dev, helpful users, and a few really knowledgeable mods*. I continue to find many great scripts from the mods and users, some of which are amazingly sophisticated and well maintained.

My advice to anyone handling large file collections - and certainly to any power user - is simple: IF you don't own DOpus THEN buy XYplorer Pro lifetime. You will never regret it, for the long-term value received.

And I suspect that any time you spend trying to "compare" the two apps will be wasted since it takes so long to really learn each one and see how it holds up over time. XY excels in this. Don't deprive yourself of a file manager at this level, supported at this level.

* One of whom can be so arrogant and belittling that I quit participating years ago, now just lurk, and privately refer to the app as FileFührer. But that's just my reaction and doesn't reflect on the app, the dev, or the value of the forum.
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Posts: 28   +16
Just install QtTabBar, it will add many beside just provide tabbed explorer , I personallu have been using it since early Windows 7 and thankfully even when it isn't that updated, it still maintain great compatibiility with Windows 10.