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date 13.Apr.2014

■ version 2.5: Operation Replace windows explorer to the maximum possible extent

xplorer² is being advertised as an "explorer replacement" program for managing files and folders everywhere on your PC and beyond. Up to now the idea was that you started xplorer² and did all your file management inside the program, ignoring windows explorer. You could also get it to automatically intervene when you clicked on normal filesystem folders on your desktop.

One big omission was trapping Open Containing Folder (or Open file location) commands issued from programs like Firefox or uTorrent. Such commands only half-worked with xplorer² because the folder was opened but the file in question wasn't selected. Well not any more, I spent quite a lot of time and effort battling with undocumented features and can proudly announce that now xplorer² can trap SHOpenFolderAndSelectItems calls and show the selection like windows explorer does it.

Once this summit was conquered I also added DDE support so that xplorer² can also open when you click on My Computer and for other similar folders (note: xplorer² was always able to read such folders but not to intercept their opening from the shell). So now xplorer² is able to replace windows explorer to the maximum technically possible extent.

It is still not possible to replace system open/save dialogs, but you can make your life easier copying paths from xplorer² to accelerate your browsing.

If you want xplorer² to take control of all your desktop folders, you must choose so during installation (see picture to the right). If you missed this option first time, just run the installer again (no prior un-installation required). There are two additional variations available:
  • Use a single pane window. Tick this box to open intercepted folders in a simple single pane window instead of your normal dual pane mode. This option confuses people so it's better left unticked. To reuse an existing xplorer² window consider the single window mode from Tools > Advanced options menu.
  • Replace explorer for all users. Only tick this if you are certain that everybody that accesses the computer would like to use xplorer². Be careful, your wife may not like the idea <g>
option to replace explorer during installation

If you don't want to get too radical, don't tick "open all folders with xplorer²" but make sure "Add to folders context menu" is ticked. Then whenever you need xplorer² on a folder, right click on it and choose Open with xplorer² command from the menu.

When you choose the full replacement mode, xplorer² starts running automatically whenever you boot up, but don't worry it just sits in the background doing nothing and consuming minimal resources until you actually open a folder. To make the most of this feature, don't use File > Exit menu command but instead use <Alt+F4> or the [X] titlebar button to close xplorer² windows. This will ensure xplorer² is always running and ready to handle your folders.

The new version 2.5 is not only about replacing windows explorer, there are a few more goodies.

If you change your mind about having xplorer² open all your folders, and you want to get windows explorer back, use Tools > Options menu and in Advanced page you will find a button Undo explorer replacement. Click on that and you will get windows explorer back. You can also right click on a folder and choose Open from the menu to have it opened in windows explorer.

Upgrade information

Version 2.5 is a free upgrade for users with a valid 2.x license. Use Help > Check for updates menu command and follow the instructions. You don't need to uninstall your old version first, just install the new over the old so that your settings and license file remain intact.

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