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■ xplorer² and total commander WLX/WDX/WCX plugin bridge
(TC) is the oldest and still most popular windows GUI file manager, especially in the ex 2nd world countries. After renouncing communism <g> a large section of these guys turned their creative energies in writing TC plugins that extend its preview, attribute and search capabilities — which explains why there are tons of such plugins. xplorer² already is quite extensible through standard shell extensions
, but with the latest version 3.1 you can use many TC plugins in xplorer². Three kinds are supported:
- Lister WLX plugins. Extend the Native preview tab for many file types, similar to explorer preview handlers. Also expand thumbnail extraction capabilities
- Content WDX plugins. They are similar to shell column handlers, providing extra file attributes for detailed view mode. These attributes can be selected as any other column in xplorer² pressing <ALT+K> shortcut (listed near the end, marked with [X]). These extra attributes can be part of xplorer² rules used for searching, filtering, color coding etc. Moreover some WDX plugins double as text search (IFilter) extensions, allowing you to search for text in complex document types.
- Packer WCX plugins. NEW. Starting from version 3.4, packer plugins are supported in xplorer² ultimate, allowing you to browse into some exotic archive formats. You can preview and search archive contents without extracting the files.
With Total Commander plugins you can do all sorts of wild and wacky things e.g. preview SQL database
files anyone? Just explore the available plugins and I'm sure you'll find something useful that's not available otherwise as a shell extension.
How to install WLX/WDX/WCX plugins for xplorer²
You do not need to install TC
to use its plugins. You can download and install just the plugins you need. Here is a step by step guide:
- Browse the repository and download the desired plugin(s)
- Plugins are usually just ZIP archives. Open the ZIP, and extract all files in any folder you like e.g. C:\PLUGINS\some plugin.
- If you are on 64 bit windows and your xplorer² is 64 bit, you must make sure the plugin is x64 compatible. You can check that in its description — if so there will be a plugin (DLL) with WLX64 or WDX64 extension
- Note the full path of the plugin (e.g. using <Alt+C> in xplorer² after selecting the WDX or WLX file) and insert it in the plugin setup file called TCPLUGINS.INI. This is the most awkward part but read on for a user friendly alternative.
xplorer² reads TC plugins from a file called TCPLUGINS.INI located in shell:appdata\ZABKAT folder. This is an old school settings file (remember WIN.INI?) with 3 sections, one called [ListerPlugins] one [ContentPlugins] and one [PackerPlugins], for WLX, WDX and WCX plugins respectively. You put the path of each plugin under its appropriate section, indexing them by number. If you have a headache already fear not because our forum regular Kilmatead created a user friendly TC plugin manager (thanks sport!) so that you don't have to worry about editing this settings file. The tool also allows you to specify what kind of file types you want each plugin to work on, a kind of wildcard known as detect string.
Here is a demo video
explaining how to register a WCX plugin
or otherwise the types of files that each plugin works with, are optional for WLX and WDX plugins; without a detect string a plugin will operate on any type of file. Packer WCX plugins on the other hand must
be given a comma separated list of extensions to work with, e.g. 7z,rar,gzip
. The plugin manager will complain if you forget to specify the types of files for a WCX plugin. If you don't know exactly what to use here, you can consult the documentation of each plugin, or the description file PLUGINST.INF
. Here is an example tcplugins.ini
So there you have it, old school TC conveniences and functionality without suffering the tacky TC interface :)
ps. This plugin infrastructure also works for DeskRule extending its search (and preview) capabilities with TC extensions.
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