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■ File managers: is yours a Lamborghini, a Lada or the "ox-and-cart" type?
It's hard to be objective about complex tools like file managers. Like cars, they have many systems and features: one is stronger in safety whereas another is geared towards performance. But what if your car was missing a wheel or two, or it lacked a hand brake?
When it comes to top-end file management, the assumption is that all the programs offer more or less the same capabilities to the user. Small details decide which one is best for your needs — and people become quite fanatical about their file manager of choice. But do you realize that most explorer replacement tools are only for filesystem folders (your hard disk and USB stick) and have no clue about the rich shell and namespace extensions available on Windows?
File managers shopping list
A driving principle in xplorer² is shell integration
. If you try to replace windows explorer, you should at least provide all the shell extension
features, then add all the standard tabs and dual panes and what have you. If you think your file manager is "the best" then check if it can do such things for you:
- Browse everywhere. Files are everywhere, not just on your hard disk. They could be on your phone, your camera, in a remote FTP site or cloud storage (dropbox and the like). Can your file manager access all these locations and provide a seamless browsing experience?
- Rich file attributes. How many columns do you see in detailed view mode? Do you see all the 350+ attributes available in windows explorer like Author, Owner, Date picture taken, Bitrate, Keywords and so on? Can you use all these attributes to search for matching files and other operations like selecting, filtering, grouping and color coding?
- Fast desktop search. How fast can your file manager locate documents that contain certain keywords, e.g. in MS Office or PDF files? Does it integrate with windows search or you have to search long and hard to find the document you need?
- Fast and nimble. xplorer² was written in C++ for maximum speed and minimum resource consumption. Perhaps your file manager was written in an antique programming language that doesn't allow for 64 bit versions and you lose out on all 64 bit context menu and other shell extensions?
- Value for money. Did you pay an arm and a leg for your file manager? Did it come with installation constraints and restrictions you'd rather do without? xplorer² beats the crisis selling from just $30 and unlimited installations per user. You can even insure yourself against future upgrade costs buying the lifetime cover.
I could go on listing advantages (not to mention improved performance), but I would like everybody to focus on the big picture. The decision on the best file manager is not just about small fetishes, you may be missing out on vital features. Why don't you take the xplorer² tour and then try the free evaluation, and you may have a change of faith <g>
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