Free Commander The Windows explorer is not perfect. I frequently use TotalCommander myself but there are quite a few other alternatives to the built-in explorer

Anyone who uses his or her computer fervently and expertly has likely run into some issues with the limitations of Windows File Explorer. Thankfully, there are several companies out there who have developed software that better meets the needs and expectations of these users.

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1) FreeCommander


FreeCommander does not offer much more than any other file explorer featured in this list, but it is the only one mentioned here that is absolutely free to download and use. Users will enjoy fantastic features like dual-paned file browsing, endless ZIP support and seamless archiving. There is also a great built-in file viewer that is the perfect alternative to Windows Explorer though it will not suffice as a web browser. People who are fans of hotkeys will also be glad to know that there is plenty of support for these as well. Best of all, though the software is free, there is no such thing as a limited version—everything available comes to users at no cost.

2) XYPlorer


XYPlorer very closely mimics the aesthetic feel of Windows File Explorer, but it opens up new worlds to those who have hit the proverbial wall with the stock application’s capabilities. The primary difference between this application and others is that it does not offer a dual-pane interface; rather, it provides users with the ability to drag and drop files into new panes. Almost any file type imaginable can be previewed directly in the XYPlorer window, including those tricky FLV files from YouTube. Users can try it for free for a period of 30 days, but there is a one-time $30 licensing fee after the trial expires.

3) Xplorer2


Xplorer2 is one of the software options in this category that is available in both a free and a paid version. The free version is limited and ad-supported, but the paid shareware version includes all of the features, is ad-free, and costs $30 for a license. Some of the features supported by this product include a dual-paned interface, tabbed browsing, bookmarks, access to FTP and plenty of keyboard shortcuts. One of the coolest features about Xplorer2 is that users can download the portable version to a flash drive and take it with them.

4) Total Commander

Total Commander

Like many of the other options here, Total Commander offers side-by-side browsing panes; these are a bit different visually when compared to dual-pane browsing in other applications. Users will also enjoy advanced file search options, tools for comparing tools and even add-ons that can boost functionality even further. It is available for 30 days as a free trial and will cost $38 for a license afterward. However, individuals who own a PocketPC can get the pocket version of this product for free.

5) Directory Opus

Directory Opus

Last but certainly not least is Directory Opus, which provides many of the features that File Explorer replacement users have come to expect along with the ability to view photos and even edit mp3 data in the preview pane. The only huge difference with this product and the others is that a license costs $85 after the trial, but users are given a full 60 days to determine whether or not spending the extra money is worth it.

There are countless other Windows File Explorer alternatives out there, but these are the five that are most commonly downloaded to date. Like anything else, free versions of these programs are typically laden with ads and limitations, so users are encouraged to choose their products carefully.