Windows Explorer alternatives

Windows Explorer alternatives

Our 3 best Windows Explorer alternatives

Windows Explorer is not the most user friendly file manager. Since eternity tabs are missing, there is no two-window view and practical shortcuts far from the standards one also looks in vain. These features can be found in our featured alternative Windows Explorer.

  1. FreeCommander XE (free)

The FreeCommander XE has a two-part window view and supports tabs (Shortcut: Ctrl + T).

Above the windows is a handy bar for accessing drives, the desktop, and network connections.

Many file types can be viewed or edited without additional programs like RAR files (shortcut: F3).

Files from both file windows can be compared (Shortcut: Alt + V).

Practical shortcuts via F-keys available (Shortcut: F6 for fast moving).

Several files can be renamed quickly.

Center bar for quick access to convenience features and trash bin view.

Integrated synchronization tool to synchronize folders.

Expandable with plug-ins.

  1. Q-Dir (free)

The file manager Q-Dir can display two to four windows at the same time. The top toolbar also allows you to select fewer windows and other views.

Tabs are supported per window (Shortcut: Ctrl + T).

Above the four windows are the classic navigation icons, including quick access to desktops and drives.

Below the four windows are handy icons for quick actions (delete, cut, copy, paste, …).

Practical functions such as printing, zoom, minimization in system tray.

Program starter (flash icon) for Registry, Notepad, Task Manager, Command Prompt and Calculator.

Folders can be added to favorites and quickly recalled.

  1. Total Commander (Shareware)

The Total Commander has all in all similar functions as the Free Commander XE.

Total Commander is more than a replacement for Windows Explorer. The file manager with two-window technology and command line makes many other Windows programs redundant and makes your work easier. Windows professionals love him and the others become professionals through him.

The Total Commander was also known under the name WinCommander or Windows Commander, but then had to be renamed due to legal name problems. This does not change the fact that the program has enjoyed steady popularity for over 20 years, although it is a paid shareware program. That’s amazing, but has good reasons…

Features of the Total Commander

The Total Commander is a file manager with two side-by-side windows. So you can see two directories on your computer at the same time and copy or move files or directories between them or delete them. But this is not only on your PC, but also in the network and in addition even between you and the Internet – the Total Commander is a full-fledged FTP program.

In addition, the tool has a file viewer and can unpack most of the archive formats and sometimes pack.

The command line, where you can type and execute Windows and FTP server commands, is more of a feature for power users, but they appreciate it. This also applies to a very extensive and comfortable file search that can even work with regular expressions.

With Total Commander, you can not only compare directories by many criteria, but even examine the contents of two files and display the differences in two windows side by side.

The so-called “multiple renaming tool” lets you rename an entire directory of files to definable keys or find and replace parts in the existing file name.

Extend the Total Commander with plugins

If you do not have enough features, you can add new capabilities to Total Commander by adding plugins.

For example, “Packer plug-ins” can ensure that the program can also open CD images or mail files from Outlook. You can use the appropriate plugin in the program to create ISO files or create disk catalogs.

With “File System Extensions” you can, for example, directly access different cloud services without having to install the client.

There are also a lot of so-called “Lister Extensions”. These are file viewer for special file formats. With them you can look directly at the Total Commander different database formats, look at PDF or Office files and numerous multimedia formats

Those who can program may use the built-in interface to build their own plugins.

Why pay when there is free competition?

This question is admittedly difficult to answer these days – where “stinginess is cool” and there are also free copies of pretty much every program – or perhaps easy: Because Total Commander is unrivaledly good!

Of course you can also use a program like the FreeCommander XE and save your money. In fact, many features are similar. However, you will quickly find that not everything is so free. For free, there is only the 32-bit version. For 64-bit you have to “make a donation” or as the saying goes: pay! And for a permanent download right this “freeware” costs almost the same – only without plugins and with fewer functions.

For the Total Commander, you pay only once in a lifetime. Then there is a license number and all subsequent versions are free. But you get versions for 32 and 64 bit, you can install the program portable on the USB stick and get a good German-speaking support. The one-time version costs 37 euros and the price is reduced to 27.75 euros for pupils and students.

Whether you can inspire you for the tool, you can test 30 days with full scope of performance.


  • Integrated packer and unpacker
  • Integrated FTP client
  • Integrated file viewer
  • Expandable with plugins
  • command line
  • Lifetime license


  • None

Total Commander also has two windows and supports tabs.

Most file formats can be unzipped and packaged (ZIP, RAR, TAR, …).

File viewer is integrated.

Convenient file search (works with regular expressions).

The content of two files can be compared and the differences displayed in two windows.

Fast command-line access.

FTP Manager is integrated.

Expandable with plug-ins.

Lifetime license after purchase (also for 64-bit).

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