Although Windows Explorer is one of the core components of Windows, it hasn’t received many new features as Windows has been updated over time.
As a Windows user since Windows 98 days, I have seen many changes to Windows. From the smooth Windows 7 experience to Windows 8 Start Menu controversy, and the current Windows 10 where you have to disable features to get an optimized experience.
One component that hasn’t been updated much apart from some visual overhauls is the Windows File Explorer. The current File Explorer is functionally similar to Windows 7, it wasn’t updated even though it lacks some of the most basic features.
Honestly speaking, Windows Explorer does a pitiful job of actually managing the files. I mean, why do I have to click four times and press two keyboard shortcuts if I have to move multiple files individually between folders? And don’t get me started on batch file renaming and editing.
If you need to manage files and folders in Windows 10 often, then the default File Explorer will just be a hindrance. You should get a third-party file manager that offers better features to quickly get the job done and possibly use fewer resources too.
In this post, I am going to list some of the best file managers for Windows 10 that can replace or work alongside Windows File Explorer to offer better functionality.
Explorer++ offers a browser-like experience for your Windows files and folders. Similar to how a browser works, it opens up folders in tabs that you can manage individually. You can even use browser shortcuts like Ctrl+W or Ctrl+T to close or open a tab.
You can easily move files and folders between the tabs, and also duplicate tabs or bulk close them. The app also works seamlessly with other apps (including Windows File Explorer) to move data using drag-and-drop functionality.
Other than tab browsing, it also has side features like the ability to split/merge files, bookmark folders, advanced search, and a more functional preview panel. Best of all, it’s a portable app so you can take anywhere you like and use it without installing it.
If you are interested in using Explorer++, I’ll recommend you to read its documentation as it contains detailed information about how to use each of its features.
An advanced file manager for Windows 10. Total Commander may not have the most beautiful interface, but its advanced features and dual file windows make file management a snap. The main interface consists of two windows where you can open two folders and exchange and manage files between them seamlessly.
You can change the view of each window and even add side panels to each to quickly navigate between directories. There is also an interesting feature to list all the files inside a directory in a single window, which can be good when you want to manage a specific type of files.
Its other features include a batch rename tool, advanced search, file comparison tool, archive tool, built-in FTP client, favorites, duplicate file finder, and much more. You can test this file manager using its fully functional 1-month trial, after that, you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version.
If you want to fully replace Windows File Explorer, then Directory Opus is the perfect file manager. It fully integrates into Windows and whenever you will open File Explorer or a folder it will open Directory Opus instead. You can also open the program from the context menu.
This file manager also has a dual window interface where you can open two folders at the same time and easily move and manage data. Its interface is also much more intuitive with a bunch of handy buttons to make things easier. For example, you can hide/unhide files with a click, search right inside the window, archive files even if they are in different folders, and gain admin permission with a single click.
You can use it for free using a 60-days fully functional trial period. Afterward, you’ll have to upgrade to the Light or Pro version.
TagSpaces takes a bit different approach to productivity by letting you add tags and colors to files and folders to manage them easily. It may not make it easier to move and edit files, but you can group similar files/folders using tags and colors.
For example, if you are working on multiple files then you can create a “todo” and “done” tag to easily know which files are done and which are still in the queue. Other than tags management, it also has a built-in file viewer that opens most files in a side panel as soon as you click.
The lite version is completely free and offers this tagging functionality. You can get the Pro version with advanced features like adding a description, monitoring file changes, adding geotags, and advanced search, etc.
If you want both tabbed browsing and dual window view, then XYplorer got you covered. It lists folders in two vertical windows in which you can further open tabs to add more folders; just like a browser. There is also a directory panel on the right side to quickly access folders inside the windows and tabs.
There are big buttons on the top to perform basic functions quickly and the context menu also has a bunch of extra options like file compare, copy path, and powerful paste function. Like other tools, it also has a 30-day free trial after which you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version to continue using.
xplorer² is another great option that is simple yet functional. It shares the same dual windows interface but offers better customization than most and some interesting side features. A noticeable feature is the ability to open another panel right inside a window to move to subfolders without losing access to the main folder.
You can also easily change the window size and even change position to horizontal if you want. I think you might prefer it over others for its built-in macro function that lets you create custom macros to automate repetitive tasks. Just turn on the macro and complete a task and the tool will repeat it automatically.
The app comes with a 21-days free trial and you can upgrade to paid version for further use.
This is actually an extension for Windows File Explorer to add more functionality rather than a file manager with its own interface. Once you install Clover, it will enhance the File Explorer with a tab feature similar to a browser. You’ll be able to open the File Explorer in multiple tabs and manage folders.
This is the perfect tool if you like the Windows File Explorer but need the tabs functionality usually available in third-party file managers. With it, you’ll have the same File Explorer experience with the added functionality of tabs.
Other than tabs, it makes it easier to bookmark folders and also comes with extra keyboard shortcuts to manage tabs-related functions. The app is also completely free to use.
FileVoyager is another file manager that offers dual window functionality along with tabs to make managing and moving data easier. However, unlike others in this list, it’s actually completely free to use. Furthermore, its dual windows feature also comes with some extra functionality.
More prominent is the 3D panel at the top of the windows that shows icons and folders with 3D effects. It may not be very useful, but it shows the folders with content so it can make navigation easier. There is a preview tab right inside the windows to see the full preview of files inside FileVoyager.
The tabs are opened at the bottom of the windows and the new tab duplicates the last tab rather than opening a new This PC window.
Although it does have a comparison tool and an archive maker, it lacks most of the other side tools found in other apps in this list. However, if dual-window and tabs are the only features you are looking for, then it’s the perfect free app to get the job done.
More File Managers for Windows 10
I recommend the above-mentioned file manager and they should be able to handle all your file managing needs. However, if you still haven’t found a fitting file manager, you can check some more file managers I am listing below. Most of the below-mentioned file managers are similar to the ones above but have a different interface or basic features.
It may not have many extra tools, but it offers 4 windows to open folders and manage them. Q-Dir supports basic file moving commands and it’s completely free too. If you prefer quad-windows, then it’s worth checking out.
It offers a dual-window interface with a handy list of directories at the top of each window for quick access. FreeCommander XE also has dedicated buttons between the two windows to make managing files between the two windows easier. And as the name suggests, this file manager is free to use.
Altap Salamander is another dual-window file manager. Its standout feature is the support for plugins to further enhance functionality. You can get plugins to get features like archive maker, automating tasks, file comparison, FTP client, and more.
SpeedCommander offers both dual-window and tabs functions with the ability to change its theme and layout in multiple ways. Its more prominent feature is the support for popular cloud storage services right inside its interface. Although you have to get its paid version after the 60-days trial period.
Another file manager that supports both tabs and dual-window view. However, I noticed it was quite difficult to use it as it had different commands than usual to manage files. Although Unreal Commander is free and the interface is heavily customizable with attractive themes and icons.
A very simple dual-window view file manager. The only extra feature I saw was the search bar at the top that you can use to quickly access anything. However, it’s also really small in size and light on resources, so try fman if you have a slow PC.
In my opinion, XYplorer is the best all-round file manager that offers both tabbed browsing and dual-window view and comes with all the advanced features needed for day-to-day file managing. Although, if you prefer a completely free file manager for Windows 10, then nothing beats FileVoyager.