[xplorer˛] — Mickey Mouse vs Godzilla
home » blog » 7 June 2009

"Beauty is skin deep"

There are two kinds of people in the world, those that like change imposed from the outside and those that find it pointless at best and annoying at worst. Guess which camp I am in? Windows 7 isn't going to be officially released until October but already people are excited with the RC1 released the other day as a free (beta) download. With windows vista being as lousy as it is, people are relieved to see the back of it. There's a lot of buzz about the new windows 7.

Clearly the microsoft spin-meisters are doing a good job for their money, but is there any substance behind the hype? What happened to the annoying UAC and the numerous bugs in vista? The general view is that windows 7 is a step in the right direction (how could it be worse?) and there are in-depth reviews on the subject.

Today I will focus on windows 7 explorer, the desktop file manager. Is it any better than vista's lame explorer? It looks cute and friendly for the average computer novice or granny. In fact it looks almost the same as in vista (don't be fooled by the "7"; the internal windows version is 6.1 which shows how close internally they are). There is still no menu, dual panes or tabs, but there is a useful preview pane on the right and an oversized status bar with extended details on the selection below. The only big difference is the W7 libraries, a way you can reorganize your content regardless where it is stored on disk. That's useful but you could do that already using folder junctions. There are many interesting view modes like stack view and variable size thumbnails. Useful if you windows 7 explorer
are uploading pictures all day to facebook I suppose. File search is quite quick but like in XP you get partial results.

xplorer˛ works quite well on vista so it wasn't too hard to move it on to W7. There was just one silly bug with the drivebar, microsoft's fault really, which I have fixed for build 1726. Some people write to me to complain how dated xplorer˛ looks. Ok it is kind of spartan but it's a tool: "you don't put lace on a chainsaw" as one said. The latest build taps into most of the new W7 features including libraries. It remains to be seen if they have fixed the vista bugs that intermittently crashed xplorer˛ during drag-drop. If you are using windows 7 here's the updated xplorer˛ for you to try:
Get build 32 bit
Get build 64 bit
xplorer2 on windows 7

In the end of the day nothing much have changed in windows 7. If you want your software cute and fluffy, use windows explorer — or get a Mac <g>; if you need a tool for precision file management use xplorer˛. Below you'll find a table comparing windows explorer and xplorer˛ features in detail. Click on symbols for demo videos or further information.

Now will somebody tell me what's the point of renaming "Add or Remove Programs" in control panel so that I have to spend half an hour trying to figure out how to uninstall a program in windows 7? Not a happy camper with all these pointless changes!

FeatureWindows 7  
file attributes in detailed view (columns)
quick preview pane (audio/video/documents)
favorite folders (bookmarks)
virtual folders (document collections)demo: drop stack, drop zones
dual pane (side by side folders for easy transfers)
Folder tabsdemo: adding folder tabs
arrange in groups(adv.)
other view modes (tiles, stack)
breadcrumbs navigationdemo: browsing methods, bookmarks, breadcrumbs, drivebar
customized folder views(poor)
selection/visibility filter(basic)demo: automatic type-based filters and free-form text filtering
flat view (folder and subfolders)
filename color coding using hyperfiltersdemo: color coding files according to their type or attributes
Folder comparison and synchronizationdemo: compare two folder hierarchies using mirror browsing/scrolling and flat browsing mode
calculate subfolder size
customize keyboard, toolbars and commandsdemo: customize bookmarks and toolbar buttons
find duplicates and cleanup to save spacedemo: examine subfolder size and locate duplicate files
keyword search with preview of results
search parameters control (location, boolean attributes)demo: search for recently modified files that include some text, and preview the results
file copy control (overwrites, queues, pausing)demo: robust transfer for daily backup; pause and resume file copy
Advanced file management (mass rename, shred, links/junctions,
ADS, touch, split/merge, ...)
demo: use MP3 tags to rename music files
Enhanced usability and control

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