File Explorer is a built-in file manager for Windows computers. Although it offers basic operations on files and folders, its limited features make you look out for better alternatives.
The after-market File managers come equipped with features like compression, encryption, large file transfer limit, and tabbed browsing that make them distinct from the built-in File Explorer. Besides, you can also enjoy a seamless experience of color filtering, batch renaming, and bookmarking with those third-party file managers.
They can be a substantial replacement for built-in File Explorer. Therefore, if you are in a dilemma about which file manager to install, this article will help you guide through it.
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Best File Managers in Windows
There are plenty of file manager applications available on the Internet. Those applications have free as well as paid versions. You can use the free version for a certain period, and it’s upon you if you wish to purchase a paid version.
Here, we have compiled a list of 7 best file managers in Windows. After going through all of them, you will have enough insights to choose from one among them.
The first application on our best file managers list is Directory Opus. The sleek and modern design of the application lets you easily navigate through the files and folders with its multi-window view. It also lets you open the folders in tab view like a web browser making it easy to jump between the folders.
The application uses multithreading, so you don’t need to wait long for files and folders to load. It uses a unique sorting mechanism to sort files according to your preference. You can even apply filters to files concerning their color and icons. Batch renaming (renaming multiple files at once) has also been made possible.
It has an integrated function that lets you quickly find and delete duplicate files. Other than that, it also allows the execution of scripts and supports File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Meanwhile, it also has a built-in file compression tool, so you don’t need to install an extra compression tool.
Talking about the advanced function of the application, you can use its built-in image converter to convert images to different formats. At the same time, you can edit the metadata of a file with Directory Opus. For instance, if you need to edit the metadata of an image file like contact information, GPS location, and many more, it has made it more accessible.
Available in both 32 and 64-bit architecture, you can use the application with no hassle whether you are a Windows 10 or Windows 11 user. It has free as well as paid versions. Paid version costs around $60 after a 30 days trial period. However, you can always use the free version without issues before purchasing the premium package.
- Tabbed browsing
- Faster processing
- Special sorting process
- Batch renaming
- Redundant file finder
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Built-in file compressor
The next one is the Total Commander. Like the Directory Opus, it also lets you surf the folders in tabbed and multi-pane views. The typical design has made it easy for files and folders navigation. Other than that, the application is available in multiple languages so that you can choose the language of your preference. It also integrates batch renaming and FTP support. However, unlike Directory Opus, you may have a hard time customizing its interface.
Meanwhile, it allows you to set a file transfer limit when copying or moving files within your computer. Nonetheless, pausing and resuming file transfer is also possible. It makes it easy to multi-tasking.
Furthermore, it also has a redundant file finder like Directory Opus. It supports most of the formats for file compression and decompression as well. The unique feature of the Total Commander is that it displays a preview of images or videos when you hover the mouse over those files.
Regarding the software’s availability and pricing, you can use it in any Windows version with either 32 or 64-bit architecture. And not to mention it is also available in free as well as paid versions. Depending upon whether you use the free or paid version, there might be slight changes in the available functions and features. The paid version of the application costs around $30 after a free trial period of 30 days.
- Uncluttered and typical UI
- Multi-pane view
- Limit file transfer speed
- Pause and resume file transfer
- File archiving and unarchiving
- Bulk files renaming
- Thumbnail preview
- Cloud storage
Q-Dir stands for Quad Explorer, meaning you can open Quad (four) windows at once using this software. Q-Dir can substantially replace File Explorer if you want a lightweight and free file manager for your computer. Since it is possible to open four windows at once in Q-Dir, you can directly drag and drop files rather than bothering to copy and paste.
If you find difficulty navigating the four windows at once, it also has an integrated magnifier glass to help you traverse easily. However, you can not remap keyboard shortcuts like in Directory Opus. Likewise, transferring a large size file can be a stumbling block with Q-dir.
Like the previously discussed file managers, it also provides you seamless experience of tabbed browsing. Not only that, you can even bookmark your favorite files and folders. It can also filter files and folders concerning color. Moreover, you can see a branching tree of folders in the side pane, making it easy to traverse.
Q-dir supports almost all versions of Windows and even works with old computers since it does not consume many resources. But you may have to sacrifice your ad-free explorer experience with Q-dir.
- Free of cost
- Four-pane view
- Drag and drop
- Bookmarking is possible
- Supports every Windows version
Integrated with a robust backup and restore feature, XYplorer is another lightweight file manager for Windows computers. It also has tabbed browsing functionality with a high-speed searching and sorting function to find your files quickly. Like in the browser, you can restore the previously opened window with this application.
The unique feature that differentiates it from other file managers is its portability. You don’t need to install it on every computer you use daily. You can store it in a flash drive and instantly use it on any computer. Meanwhile, it assigns different colors for different file types, which makes file classification a breeze.
The application also facilitates you to assign tags and leave comments on individual files and folders. Like in previously discussed applications, it also supports file archiving and unarchiving as well as thumbnail previews of images and videos. However, unlike previously discussed applications, it does not support FTP.
Now coming to the pricing and availability, the application can be used in a range of Windows versions. While the application has a free version, you can also opt for a paid version that costs around $40.
- Lightweight and portable
- Smoother navigation
- Restore window function
- Multiple location searching at the same time
- Cloud storage
- Color filtering for different file types
Explorer++ can be a good option if you seek a portable, open-source file manager. The application’s interface is more similar to the built-in File Explorer of Windows, making it easy to navigate. On top of that, OneDrive integrated into the application makes it unique from other file managers available on the Internet.
Like in the Q-Dir, it also lets you bookmark your favorite files and folders. Besides, the application is also helpful for altering the file attributes and splitting and merging them. Not to mention, it has all the functionalities like sorting and filtering, as discussed in earlier applications.
It may not have advanced features like other file managers, but still, it manages to be one of the best file managers available. You can easily download and install the application whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit Windows architecture.
- Integrated OneDrive
- File split and merge
- Easy navigation like built-in Windows File Explorer
- Small size and portable
Altap Salamander’s associated networking feature in the application makes it different from other file managers. It supports a wide range of protocols like FTP, SCP, FTPS, and SFTP. It has made file sharing over the Internet a breeze. Using this file manager, you don’t need to rely on other applications for file sharing.
Furthermore, the application supports a wider variety of archive files than other file managers. In addition, it has an integrated password manager that lets you secure sensitive files and folders using advanced encryption methods.
The application is available in all Windows versions and architecture and has free as well as paid versions. With the cost of around $27, the paid version of the application is not that costly either.
- File sharing over the Internet
- Encrypting files and folders
- Cheaper paid version
The other file manager in the list is Xplorer². The option to choose between ribbon-style UI and conventional UI offers a speedy file transfer. The application is available in multiple languages, like Total Commander. In addition, features like bulk renaming, duplicate file detectors, and color filtering are further possible in the application.
The package also has many demo videos to help you use the application. The search speed of the application is quite good too. On top of that, I personally found a feature very useful. It does not deselect the selected files when choosing multiple files and accidentally clicking elsewhere.
Talking about compatibility, the application is compatible with most of the latest Windows versions, including earlier versions like Windows XP and Vista. And when it comes to pricing, it is priced around $30 after the free trial period of 21 days ends. But, not to worry, the same license can be used on multiple computers.
- Overlapping windows
- Automate similar tasks with macro function