Windows 7 Explorer Replacement

Do you need a Windows 7 Explorer replacement? Many people refuse to use the built-in explorer because it doesn’t provide the necessary features advanced users need.


Windows 7 Explorer Replacement

Microsoft knows that many people keep looking for an explorer replacement, that might be a reason why will probably see a completely new way to browse, copy and modify files on our system in Windows 8. Microsoft plans to come up with something new!

Anyway, there are are some great freeware and shareware solutions for Windows 7 that can replace the explorer. Some of them can even fully replace the explorer. Three of the solutions below are shareware solutions, Ultra Explorer is the freeware solution and probably one of the best explorer replacements for Windows 7.

Explorer Replacement 1: Speed Commander (Shareware)

Speed Commander
Secure Free Download Report broken: comment
Last Updated: 2010-02-07
Operating System: Windows 7/8
Filesize: 1.15 MB

Oliver Krautscheid rates Speed Commander Software 4 out of 5 stars - Some Pros and Cons:

SpeedCommander is a shareware solution that you might want to try.
Explorer Replacement: Speed Commander

Supported Operating Systems
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows Server 2003/2003 R2
Windows Server 2008/2008 R2

The Two Window Technology of the Speed Commander is working very well. What I missed shortly after launching Speed Commander was the tree view of the real explorer. Basically, a collapsible list of all drives. But of course that feature is just not activated by default, you can enable it via CTRL +B:

View – Folder Windows – Tree View (CTRL + B)

A great advantage of the Speed Commander are detailed file size Information for each folder directly after the name.

  • Download Speed Commander
  • Explorer Replacement 2: Directory Opus (Shareware)

    Another shareware solution is Directory Opus. For many, it’s the ultimate replacement for the Windows Explorer. Directory Opus is the most professional file browser. During the installation you can even FULLY replace the Windows Explorer and make Directory Opus your default application for opening files and folders.

    Explorer Replacement Directory Opus

    Directory Opus comes with many “preview” modes: Dual Horizontal, Dual Vertical, Explorer, Filmstrip, Images, Single and Commander.
    The different preview modes give you full flexibility to compare folders and get the job done.
    On top of all that, it comes with a ZIP-Manager, a FTP-Manager and many other features. The layout of Directory Opus just feels so
    much better than that of SpeedCommander and is much more intuitive.

    Download Directory Opus

    Explorer Replacement 3: Ultra Explorer (Freeware)

    Explorer Replacement: Ultra Explorer

    For a freeware solution, I did not expect too much. Ultra Explorer really surprised me, because it really worked well for me.
    Similar to Opus Directory it allows you to map a directory drive, but some of the best features is a “History” of recently visited folders and a built-in Command Prompt.

    Overall, Ultra Explorer is a pretty awesome solution, because it feels so organized with all those windows that help you to organize your PC.

    • Drop Stack Windows (Basically your clipboard)
    • History (list of last visited folders)
    • Favorites (similar to the Explorer Favorites)
    • Filters (allows you to filter for files, folder, etc.)

    Download Ultra Explorer

    Explorer Replacement 4: Total Commander (Shareware)

    One tool that I always use to search text within files (e.g. if you’re a programmer and you need to find a certain line of code) is Total Commander. Total Commander is probably the most popular solution amongst programmers, but as a Windows 7 Explorer Replacement, I would clearly prefer Directory Opus or Ultra Explorer.

    Total Commander Find Text Within Files

    For finding text within files or comparing files, Total Commander is a great solution.

    Download Total Commander

    5 of 5 0 (100%) 1 vote
    - Cheers!

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    Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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    14 Responses to Windows 7 Explorer Replacement

    1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Gregg Eshelman said:

      Going by the list of stuff removed from Windows 7, most of the things removed eliminates the way I do things, especially what’s been hacked away from Explorer and the Taskbar.

      I’ve set up a few Win 7 systems now and I *hate* using it. It didn’t take me long to get used to Vista, after enabling the Classic Start Menu and disabling Simple Folder View, which you’re not allowed to do in 7. (Always the first things I do with a fresh XP or Vista install!)

      Win 7 seems to be designed for all the people in their TV commercials, and designed to really irritate anyone who has been using computers since before anyone outside Xerox PARC even thought of a graphical user interface.

      Ultra Explorer, combined with a Start Menu replacement that truly replicates Vista’s classic menu (if there is such a thing) *might* get me to “upgrade” – but I’ll be keeping XP Pro on most of my PCs and Vista Ultimate on my laptop.

    2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Reid Patterson said:

      I totally agree Gregg Eshelman. I absolutely HATE Windows 7 Explorer. Microsoft made a HUGE mistake to go BACKWARD technology and capability-wise. How can Microsoft Take AWAY features that were in Windows XP Explorer??? It makes absolutely NO SENSE!!
      No wonder people are going to Linux and away from Microsoft.
      Microsoft can be Trusted to deliver The GOODS anymore. I don’t know WHO’s running the show there at Microsoft, now that Bill Gates cares more about his children, wife, and Malaria research than about producing Quality Software.

    3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      segaa said:

      Because of these “improvements” of Windows 7 Explorer I already managed to irreversibly delete two of my folders (lovely Shift+Del was hit automatically as a result of my 10-year dev experience on Windows platform) Who invented this idiotic approach – selecting in the right panel and deleting in the left??! Good that I had all backups ready…
      Thanks for this review of explorer replacements, I am definitely moving out of the standard Windows 7 Explorer.

    4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      TheDevian said:

      XP was the last OS Bill Gates worked on and it was the last one worth having. I know it tells me something. Please come back to the OS dept Bill! They took away all the functionality of Explorer, the start menu, can’t even preview animated gifs. It takes 3 or more times the # of clicks to get anywhere or get anything done, they all but killed the quick launch and replaced it with that crappy pinning thing. Shouldn’t have to edit the registry to turn the few of these things we can turn back on (sorta) that we can. It’s so offensive.

    5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Jason Edwards said:

      If you don’t like Windows 7 then don’t use it lol…

    6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      George said:

      It would be nice to remark in this list, which of these Exporer Replacements _really_ support Windows 7. Ultra Explorer is too old (the lase release is from 2009, long before the lauch of Windows 7) and on my Windows-7-64-bit-system, it hangs on every start of the program for several minutes.

      Also every 32-bit-compiled program does not show 64-bit-Context-Menu-Items, so it would be nice to see within this list, which of them support 64-bit natively. So long, none of the ones I tested was able to show my 64-bit-TortoiseGit-Context-Menu, except of Total Commander, which uses a Context-Sub-Menu which crashes in 4 of 5 usages :-(

    7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      sOliver said:

      George, if you are looking for an explorer replacement that supports all context-menu items, you’ll probably be looking for a long time. I haven’t found any that supports it, but I’ll look into it again. Thanks for the feedback.

    8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Ares Hermes said:

      It is boldly obvious that Bill Gates has no pride left on Microsoft, and with Steve Ballmer running the developments, it is to no surprise that Windows 7 is deplorable. Windows OS’s have evolved into cash-flow milking marketing products that consumers are coerced to install.
      I wished Windows Explorer was the only annoyance, but no hopes. Windows x64 is plain pathetic altogether.

    9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      George said:

      Hi again,

      DoubleCommander is the only tool I found, which is also available in a true 64-bit-Version. On the positive side, it’s Freeware (hosted on SourceForge). On the negative side, it has still a long way in front, until it is really usable, many features are still missing. BUT — there is hope – there seems to be activity at least in the Project Wiki… :-)

    10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      George said:

      And — in autumn, I will have been using Windows 7 for two years now. It really is not as bad as I must read on this page all time.
      I do have the direct comparison to XP all day as I do active developement in Windows XP Virtual Machines on a Windows 7 host. At home, I have Ubuntu running — with a XP VM for the Canon Scanner :-(
      Windows 7 really is OK!

      Yes, I know — in the older days, everything was better ;-)

    11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Finn said:

      I had to get used to Win7 since my employer’s systems are all Win 7 by now. Having worked in the IT business for more than 30 yrs, and always looking for ways to do things quicker and easier, I was one of the last ones to get my Win 7 upgrade.

      I fully agree with the above comments. Apart from its shiny looks, Win 7 stinks. Experienced users like us are treated like 7 year old imbesiles. Win Explorer is absolutely useless, so full of annoying “do you really want to..” warnings and errors that I really hate it every time I have to use it.

      On the home front, all of our lap tops have Win 7, but I only use Win 7 for Internet. My personal lap top is a dual boot. If I do anything besides Internet, I switch to XP. Same goes for my development desk top in my home office, officially declared a Win 7 free area.

      No, everything wasn’t neccessarily better in the old days. If it wasn’t for the Win Explorer, the hopeless IE 8, and the imbesile security system, Win 7 might have been a fine thing really. Every time I install Win 7, I spend two hours removing the most annoying things. RegEdit is a wonderful thing…

      So thank you very much for the above mentioned Explorer alternatives. I’ll sure give them a try!

    12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Steve Marshall said:

      Agree with all the comments guys. I hate Win7 Explorer, and use my XP machine by default. I have TRIED to get to grips with the Win7 Explorer, but am seriously angered by its messy interface, its over-elaborate Address Bar, which doesn’t display the fullpath name unless the window is enlarged, and especially, by the GREEN RIBBON OF DEATH stopping any further file management.

      I have tried all the solutions Google can find (“display icons, not thumbnails” “search files not files & contents” “disable windows search in services.msc )

      I hate the damn thing.

    13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      Sarah said:

      I’m just a slightly clued-up general user and have just got my first Windows 7 machine – UGH! Honestly, why do they do it? What on earth is all that stuff about “libraries” cluttering up the place? I just want to be able to find things where they exist, not via the pretty route. Don’t get me started on the task bar. I moved from an early version of Photoshop to the latest in one big leap, and all the commands in the early one are in the same place in the latest one so I could get going straight away. Thanks for the advice. I shall work my way through the alternatives starting with UltraExplorer which looks good. BTW is there a way of making UltraExplorer or whatever the one that gets opened when you do Control+E?

    14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
      mark said:

      Not only does the new Windows Explorer suck, so does the entire Office user paradigm. Is this crap is designed for people who can’t read and have nothing better to do than tweet, update facebook and linked-in?

      So why the heck did they evicerate the power user’s interface that evolved over 2 decades? They have actually slowed down the use of the tool, burying 80th percentile functionality one or even two levels down. My comments are not based on ignorance, rather an understanding of the wherefores and why nots of usability and workflow. And intimate familiarity with 2010 has only bread more contempt from me. None of my professional associates, who actually liked the new look of Office 2007, have anything good to say now about it after 3+ years later of intensive use trying to do real work. I can only conclude that Microsoft’s management teams and design and engineering teams have gone ucking sutter fupid and don’t_give_a_$*** about professionals or are (again) to stupid to understand how pathetic the fruit of their labor has been other than all of the $ that they wheel into Redmond. And if they need me to spell it out further, I might consider elaborating further as a consultant, but a real computer scientist/egineer with a significant understanding of the engineering principles behind what I am complaining about would not need anyone to spell it out. At the user level, much of this ‘face lift’ was about dollars and not sense; the two of which didn’t need to be mutally exclusive.

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