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■ Frequently Asked Questions

This section is organized thematically in major topics accessible from the menu on the left. Please use your browser's search command (e.g. Edit | Find on page <Ctrl+F>) to locate a keyword relevant to your question.

A. Download and installation problems

A1. The primary download link doesn't respond

Please try the one of the alternative download locations →

A2. What are the minimum system requirements to run xplorer² ?

xplorer² will run in a basic trim on all win32 platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/ 2003/Vista/Win7/8/10), however a subset of its features depend on windows services that may or may not be available on all PCs. In many cases you can get full functionality by installing a recent version of Internet Explorer.

ToolbarsWindows 95 with Internet Explorer v.3 or better
ThumbnailsWindows 98 or NT4 with Active Desktop update
File commentsWindows NT4 (NTFS formatted partitions)
FTPInternet Explorer v.3
Zip foldersWindows ME or XP (for 2000 see FAQ B4)
Audio/VideoWindows Media Player v.6
Column handlers  Windows 2000 for extended file information
Text filtersWindows 2000 or later. For PDF see FAQ D3
Show in groupsWindows XP
Ribbon toolbarWindows Vista
Early Windows 95 users can install the common control update to get basic toolbars without installing internet explorer.

A3. I've just received my registration key, where do I type it?

If you are running xplorer² use the menu command Help | Activate with key. The program will restart in administrator mode so you can paste your registration key in the opening screen. If you can't see this screen check FAQ A11

A4. My key is not accepted all I get is an error message

Please copy/paste the key as you have received it via email. If you continue having problems please contact support quoting the exact error message reported by the license manager. For more help click here.

A4a. I get the error "This is not an unlock key for your xplorer² version" or similar

Please make sure you are using the correct key for your installed xplorer² version. Old v1.x keys won't unlock any later versions, and likewise 2.x keys won't work for v3.x (see the upgrade guide). If you bought a professional license make sure you are running xplorer² professional (and vice versa if you bought an ultimate license). You can check which version you are running using Help | About menu command.

A5. Do I need administrator privileges to install xplorer²?

To get the full range of install options you must run the installer and the license manager (Help | Activate with key menu command) in full administrator mode. If you do not have user rights to install programs on your computer please contact your system administrator. Also see FAQ A18

A6. I want to try xplorer² but it asks for a registration key when I start it

This is by design. To continue on a trial basis, click on continue button. You have 21 days of free evaluation and a further 10 days with a few extra nags. Once you buy a key you won't see any more nag messages.

A7. xplorer² stopped working before the 21st day of the trial

Have you installed xplorer² on your machine before? If so the trial has most probably expired, since it counts from the original installation date. If it is a fresh installation there could be some problem with your system clock; please submit a problem report for further information.

A8. Do I get any free upgrades at all?

Your single user license entitles you to customer support and free upgrades for one year. From then on you may incur surcharges for future xplorer² upgrades. For peace of mind please consider the lifetime upgrade assurance.

A10. I ordered xplorer² hours ago but have received no key yet

Normally when you order by credit card you get your key immediately. Sometimes due to essential credit card checks, orders can be delayed 1-2 days. You can avoid most such delays if you use a "good" contact email address — as opposed to a hotmail/yahoo account. A valid email will also ensure you will stay informed on future developments, bugfixes etc.
If you have a strict spam filter the registration email may blocked — please check your spam mail folder.

A11. I got my key but xplorer² doesn't ask for it when I start

The most likely cause is that you are running the lite version of xplorer² (check Help | About dialog). The professional version is a completely different program, and is the only one that accepts registration keys. Please download the "pro" version and install it separately.

A12. How can I become an affiliate partner?

If you are a webmaster or other person skilled in sales you can earn up to 40% commission by promoting xplorer² sales. To register as an affiliate please follow this link.

A13. I'm an existing customer; how do I upgrade?

In general you can just download the latest trial version from the website and install it on top of your existing xplorer² (no uninstall required). This will ensure your old settings and registration information is preserved. Note that if you have an older registration key you cannot use it a later version, please refer to this upgrade guide.

A14. How can I stay informed on xplorer² developments?

To keep up to date with new releases, upgrades, tips and tricks and other useful information just send us your email address. Nearly every page in the website contains a yellow box where you can enter your details for this purpose. Alternatively you can subscribe to the RSS feed. You can also follow us on twitter follow @zabkat or via our facebook page.

A15. Does xplorer² require online activation?

No. xplorer² never "calls home", neither during registration nor during normal use, unless you explicitly check for product updates (Help menu). But please observe the fair usage terms in the license agreement.

A16. I can't buy a license

We accept payment through several secure outlets. If you can't access a certain order server, try our alternative ones→

A18. I need a portable version of xplorer²

xplorer² standard version can be a handful to use in many computers due to its registration tests. For a small fee you can get your own truly portable edition that can be run anywhere without special user privileges and without leaving traces in the registry or anywhere else. For more details see this page→

A19. Does xplorer² work on 64 bit windows?

For 64 bit windows please get the special 64 bit xplorer² build from this page →
If you have some old 32 bit shell extensions you'll need the 32 bit xplorer² version too, which also works on vista/W7/W8/W10 64 and windows XP 64.

A21. Do I need a separate license for xplorer² 64 bit?

No. The key you buy for xplorer² unlocks both the 32 and 64 bit version. One key is also good enough for all installations you make both in real and virtual machines, as long as you observe the one key, one user rule.

A22. How do I setup my ultimate edition on a portable USB stick?

For easy step by step instructions please refer to the documentation →.

B. File management

B1. How can I map a network drive or format disks?

There is no dedicated menu command in xplorer² to perform such operations since they are available through clicking with the right mouse button on certain filesystem items and invoking the command from the standard shell context menu that appears. The items in question are located either on the desktop or in your "My Computer" folder. So for instance:

B2. Why can't I format a floppy disk?

Windows will refuse to format a disk that some program have a lock on. A certain recipe for disaster therefore would be to be browsing the root "A:\", and then hit <Bksp> to access "My Computer" where the floppy disk icon resides (bearing the Format context menu command), since xplorer² current directory would still be on the floppy ("My Computer" is not a filesystem folder). There are many workarounds that one can imagine, but the easiest would be to go upwards to "My Computer" from another root drive as e.g. "C:\". Naturally you should also make sure that no other program is accessing the floppy drive too.

B4. How can I have zipfolders on Windows 2000?

All you need is a copy of zipfldr.dll as it appears on a windows ME system, and its dependencies dunzip32.dll and dzip32.dll. These DLLs aren't redistributable so you'll need to find them from somebody that has ME installed. Copy everything into your system32 folder and register the main object using:
regsvr32 zipfldr.dll
But beware: this DLL is a bit quirky and does not behave 100% — which may explain why microsoft did not include it in the original release of win2000...

B5. I can't create (paste) hard links

Hard links are only supported for NTFS partitions. Hence windows 9x or NT with FAT32 partitions, floppy discs etc are not covered. Even for NTFS partitions there are limitations; the files thus linked must reside in the same partition. It is not possible to place a hard link in e.g. "C:\" for a file located on a mapped network drive.

B6. I can't set file comments

This is another advanced feature that can be used only on NTFS formatted partitions. You can't set comments e.g. for files on floppy disks and other FAT32 media. On the other hand you can set comments for all folders and microsoft office documents, even for FAT-formatted media.

B7. I get a warning about stream loss when I copy files with comments

Since file comments most of the time rely on NTFS, when you copy files to non-NTFS media comments will be lost. Windows is warning you in advance for this potential loss of information. If you want to transfer files on e.g. a floppy without losing the comments please use Actions | ADS | Bundle to go command. After the transfer to the target NTFS folder, use Actions | ADS | Unpack bundle to restore the files.

B8. How can I tell if my hard disk is NTFS?

If you are running windows ME or earlier 9x, then your disks are definitely not NTFS. If you are running on NT4/2000/XP/Vista/W7/W8/W10 you'll need to check your drive properties: browse "My computer", right-click on the drive letter in question and select properties. The formatting (file system) will be shown near the top of the page.

B9. How can I disable default ZIP folder handling?

To turn off this feature you need to unregister the DLL that "simulates" zip files as folders. Just run this command: regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll from within your system directory where this DLL is kept (%WINDIR%\SYSTEM32). Then just allow your archive program to take over the ZIP file associations. However keep in mind that by disabling the default behaviour you miss out on features xplorer² offers within zipfolders, like content preview, thumbnails, comparisons etc. For windows vista there's a registry workaround. For windows 7 you must change access permissions to a registry key too.

B10. Why does xplorer² stay in memory after I quit?

If you have associated xplorer² with your filesystem folders during installation (see FAQ C1) then by design the process xplorer2_UC.exe remains in memory so that next time you click on a folder it will respond quickly. If you want to permanently exit xplorer² then use File | Exit menu command.

B11. Can I browse and search within other compressed archives?

Sure, you just need to install a shell extension and then you can browse into 7Z, RAR, ISO and many other archive types, in the same fashion as with ZIP "folders". This requires windows XP or later.

B12. I cannot access my network drives

Assuming that your network is up, but it is very slow, try increasing your ping timeout to something bigger than the default 5 seconds, using Tools | Advanced Options menu.

B13. Does xplorer² work in very deep folders?

Since version 3.4 xplorer² is fully long path aware, working in folder paths above 256 (MAX_PATH) characters long. However using big folder names in windows is still not recommended, because most programs cannot open documents from such deep folders. See here for more information.

B14. Some filenames show with question marks

If you run xplorer² lite (free version) on non-english Windows (Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew etc), it may not be able to read filenames with native characters; instead of the filename you see question marks ??????.TXT. The solution for the lite version is to adjust your system's language to match your locale. Or just download the professional version which is Unicode and will show all filenames properly.

B15. Deleting is very slow

If you select a few items and xplorer² takes ages to delete them, it could be that your recycle bin has too many items. Right click on the recycle bin icon and use Empty recycle bin menu command — once you make sure you don't need any of the previously deleted items. Thereafter new deletions should be much faster.

C. User interface

C1. How can I make xplorer² the default application for all my folders?

During installation you can tick a checkbox to have xplorer² open all filesystem folders when you click on them (replace windows explorer). There are a few folders that are "virtual" and cannot be associated with xplorer² in this fashion (e.g. My Computer); you access these from within xplorer² instead.

C2. I can't see previews for some image files

There are a couple of possible explanations. If this only happens to large image files (above 1MB) you may need to increase the thumbnail size limit found in Tools | Options | General. If the problem isn't size-related and started after you installed a program, your registry may be corrupted. Please see KB article 192573 for more details.

C3. When in zipfolders I can't see previews of some files

Given that extracting files from archives, FTP and other slow folders is rather expensive, xplorer² has a default limit of 512KB; files above this size won't be extracted and hence won't be previewed. To increase this limit use Tools | Options | General.

C4. Doesn't xplorer² support path autocompletion?

xplorer² does support autocompletion but not like windows explorer. You start typing part of the path and then press <F1> key a few times till you get the name you are after. Insert a backslash \ to start a new subpath etc. If you prefer explorer-style autocompletion please check the relevant box in Tools | Options | Advanced.

C6. xplorer² eats up a lot of RAM when previewing photos

xplorer² caches the bitmaps of items you preview either in the quick viewer or as thumbnails. This may lead to high memory consumption when you are browsing folders with a lot of pictures. To reclaim memory you can refresh the folder contents using <Ctrl+R>. The memory will be released when you browse another folder anyway.

C7. I love the extended file information; are there any more columns?

xplorer² will automatically integrate with any shell column handlers you install for your windows explorer, even for windows vista and 7/8/10. As a sampler you can try the following free shell extensions.
You can even use the new metadata in file searches! Please note that we are not affiliated with these programs and make no claims for their stability etc.

C9. How can I print folder contents?

You can't print directly from xplorer² but you can extract the information you see as text using Edit | Copy Columns menu. This puts the selected items in the clipboard which you can then paste into any program e.g. Excel and print from there. You can also use Export CSV menu command directly.

C10. xplorer² looks bad on my high DPI monitor

Please download a large toolbar skin and make sure all your toolbars are not set to small icons (right click on a toolbar for its options menu). For more information click here

C11. Can I put any menu command on a toolbar?

Normally only menu commands with little icons can be placed on a toolbar through customization. But using simple command macros you can put any command on a toolbar using this little menu hack

C12. I just hate the ribbon toolbar interface

There are 2 kinds of people in the world, those who love and those who hate ribbons. If you are in the latter demographic, you can easily drop the ribbon and get back the traditional windows menu bar using Show normal menu command in the ribbon's leftmost FILE tab. Or use the command finder to find those missing advanced commands

C13. How do I manage the Quick Access List?

xplorer² QAL is separate and independent to the one in windows explorer; folder menu commands like Pin to Quick access won't work for xplorer². Instead use drag-drop to add folders in xplorer² QAL (it is part of the folder tree). For more information there is this demo video.

C14. I have troubles using xplorer² on multiple monitors

xplorer² automaticall adjusts its fonts and window size whenever you move it to a monitor with substantially different DPI resolution. Problems will occur if you leave xplorer² on an external monitor which you then disconnect while xplorer² is not running. To avoid such problems please move xplorer² to the main monitor each time you close it. Alternatively disable the multimonitor manifest tickbox by running xplorer² installer again.

C15. I remove folders from QAL but they always come back

Tree's quick access list by default adds a few of your most frequently used folders. If you remove such folders, they will re-appear when you restart xplorer². If you don't want this to happen, use Tools | Advanced options menu and zero out this setting

D. File search

D1. I can't find files within some folders

Some folders like "Temporary internet files" are automatically blacklisted from searches, since most of the time you don't need them. If you want to add more folders in this no-go list or regain access to previously blacklisted ones, please edit the registry key:
HKCU\Software\ZabaraKatranemia Plc\xplorer2.global\Find Blacklist
after you quit xplorer².

D2. I hate the default Windows Find command in the lite version

The "lite" version lacks the powerful find files command of the "pro" xplorer² and by default <Ctrl+F> will launch Windows Find dialog. If you don't like — or even don't have — this system service you can associate your favorite external find program, setting the registry value szExtFindFiles. See registry.txt for more details.

D3. How can I search for text inside PDF documents?

xplorer² can search and preview plain text within Office documents and Adobe PDF. You only need to check "Search all files" box in Find Files dialog. If you can't extract text from PDFs, you must download and install a component from Adobe

D4. How can I search faster?

When you search for text and keywords inside documents, xplorer² professional can take a long time to fetch your matching files. For much better results try upgrading to xplorer² ultimate edition, which uses the system search index for fast search results

D5. How can I add a folder to the system search index?

Folders like My Documents are automatically search-indexed. If you keep your documents in other places e.g. a different hard disk partition, add those extra folders in the search index using the indexing options control panel applet.

E. Known problems and "features"

E1. My namespace extension X doesn't work with xplorer²

It is unfortunate that many 3rd party NSEs are designed only with windows explorer in mind. Such extensions will run into trouble when accessed from xplorer². The symptoms vary according to the level of compliance of NSEs to the shell model, so you may read some folders but the details are wrong, or you can't manage items, or you can't read from a virtual folder at all. We consider these products to be at fault for such problems, not xplorer². Properly designed NSEs — like most of the microsoft ones — will work without a glitch.

E2. FTP folders show incorrect details

The FTP namespace extension provided by Internet Explorer — which xplorer² taps into — is arguably not the best NSE designed by microsoft. There are a number of small glitches, including file dates being doubly-adjusted for timezone, autorefresh playing up, etc.

E3. I can't access my remote FTP folder

When you type a ftp:// address in internet explorer, you are prompted for your account login details. As far as we know this exchange is not documented and cannot be used from xplorer². The workaround is to include your login information in the "path" as such:
The obvious downside is that you expose your passwords in plaintext.

E4. FTP doesn't seem to work at all

xplorer² uses Internet Explorer for FTP folders. If you type a FTP URL (ftp://...) in IE and doesn't work or it returns a webpage-like listing, xplorer² can't read it either. Some times you can improve FTP through IE's Tools | Internet Options | Advanced: "Enable folder view for FTP" and "Use passive FTP". Please contact your administrator for further details.

E5. Zip files inside zipfolders open in windows explorer

Although xplorer² will properly read subfolders within zipfolders, it can't open embedded zip files. There is no known workaround.

E6. Recycle bin won't autorefresh

Recycle bin is one of the few virtual folders that doesn't play by the rules, so autorefresh will only work when you permanently delete files from it. For all other cases (e.g. after restoring files) you will have to do a manual refresh with <Ctrl+R>.

E7. I cannot see all context menu items on 64 bit windows

Welcome to 64 bit hell. Shell extensions like context menu handlers are DLLs that need to match the 32/64 bit format of xplorer². You can install the dedicated 64 bit xplorer² (see FAQ A19) but unless all your extensions are 64 bit you may miss a few. For more information see this blog article.

E8. I cannot eject my USB drive

When you are browsing a removable drive or USB stick with xplorer², it locks the active folder (current directory) so the drive cannot be ejected. The simple solution is to browse away to a different folder e.g. C:\ and then the drive will be released. Another possibility is to right click on the USB drive letter in the drivebar and choose Eject from the context menu. If you still have problems fully quit xplorer² using <ALT+X> then eject the drive.

E11. xplorer² doesn't remember my view settings

If you find xplorer² changing your panes randomly in thumbnails or switching to different file details columns most likely you've used custom folder settings a bit too much and you need to undo them, reserving Actions | Folder settings menu command for those few folders that you browse differently. For more information click here

E12. xplorer² is slow to start or/and to run

xplorer² was built to be quick but the more you ask of the program the slower things get "naturally". For a few ideas that my explain the slowdown experienced please click here

E13. Can I replace system Open/Save dialogs?

xplorer² can replace windows explorer but only for folders, e.g. when you click to open folders on your desktop or browse downloaded files from your internet browser. xplorer² cannot replace dialogs that open or save files, e.g. in Notepad. Still you can copy path names with <Alt+C> and use them to quickly find files in system dialogs as explained here

E14. I cannot change the case of filenames

Files residing on FAT32 partitions (e.g. USB sticks) will not allow mere changes in case e.g. renaming test.txt to TEST.TXT. The workaround is to introduce a dummy name change (e.g. add an extra letter), change the case, then remove the additional dummy letter.


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