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If you use Windows, you use File Explorer — it’s the primary method of navigating around the files and folders stored on your PC, and it’s more than fit for the task. However, you might not be using the application to its full potential.

There’s more to File Explorer than meets the eye 10 Little Known Features of Windows File Explorer 10 Little Known Features of Windows File Explorer Don’t let Windows File Explorer fool you with its plain looks. It’s capable of many more actions and tweaks than it lets on! Let us show you a bunch of them. Read More . It’s possible to install extensions that add extra functionality, and some of these utilities could save you time and effort on a daily basis. Here are the top ten extensions that you can download and install right now.

1. Clover

Tabbed browsing is a standard feature of any modern web browser, and it’s something that many users would find helpful as a part of File Explorer. Fortunately, several extensions 3 Tools to Add Tabbed Browsing to Windows Explorer 3 Tools to Add Tabbed Browsing to Windows Explorer Tabbed browsing is a feature that I first encountered 10 years ago in Firefox’s previous incarnation, Firebird. Since then, tabs have popped up in almost every realm related to user interfaces. They make it easy... Read More  offer this functionality, with the best of the bunch being Clover.

clover

Clover will be familiar to anyone that uses tabs in their browser; CTRL + T opens a new tab, CTRL + W closes the current tab and CTRL + TAB cycles through the tabs you have open. Covert also supports bookmarking individual paths for easy access at a later time.

This is a simple extension, but one that does its job very well. Anyone looking for tab support with a minimum of fuss will be well served by Clover.

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2. Link Shell Extension

Sometimes, it might be useful to have a single file present in multiple folders on your computer, as opposed to simply having separate copies of that same file in different locations. Windows actually has functionality allowing this that dates back to Windows 2000 — but unfortunately, taking advantage of it requires some knowledge of the command prompt 7 Quick Tips to Improve the Windows Command Prompt 7 Quick Tips to Improve the Windows Command Prompt You should learn more about the Command Prompt. It's a more valuable resource than most people realize. These tips will improve your command line experience, even if you're a seasoned user. Read More .

Thankfully, this File Explorer extension simplifies the process drastically: Link Shell Extension allows you to create the aforementioned hardlinks (as well as junctions, volume mountpoints, and symbolic links) with nothing more than a few clicks.

link shell extension

To create a hardlink using the extension, right-click the desired file and select Pick Link Source. Then, navigate to the folder you want to drop a link into, right-click and a select Drop As > Hardlink. You’ll see a small red arrow overlaid over the resulting file’s icon to denote that it’s a hardlink.

3. TeraCopy

Many extensions serve to add extra functionality not in the standard version of File Explorer. TeraCopy simply seeks to supercharge the copy process, while making a few tweaks to improve the user experience.

Once TeraCopy is installed, you’ll immediately feel the benefits of its improvements to copy speed working passively. The extension works by implementing dynamic buffer adjustments to ensure that seek times are kept as low as possible.

teracopy

However, that’s not the only trick that TeraCopy has up its sleeve. It also offers up the ability to pause the copy process to free up system resources, before continuing at a later time. It also boasts some protections in case of a copy error. This might not be the most glamorous extension out there, but if you spend lots of time copying files 4 Ways To Copy Files (Faster) In Windows 4 Ways To Copy Files (Faster) In Windows Windows 7's file copy dialog is okay. It isn't the fastest when copying a large number of files. However, there are faster ways to copy files. The traditional Windows file copy dialog's worst problem is... Read More , it’s well worth the download.

4. Folder Size

Here’s an extension that lets you take a peek into a folder without actually opening it up, as well as efficiently presenting sizes for folders as well as files. Folder Size is a handy utility that adds extra information without cluttering the user interface (UI).

The extension changes its functionality slightly, depending on whether you’re using Windows 2000, XP, or a newer version of the operating system How to Banish the Nagging Windows 10 Update Forever How to Banish the Nagging Windows 10 Update Forever Sick of hearing about the free Windows 10 upgrade? Here's how you can block it forever with one click. Read More . The prior category sees an extra column titled Folder Size added to the standard File Explorer interface. In more recent versions, it appears as a dockable pop-ups separate to the active window.

folder size

Folder Size has clearly been developed with an awareness of the user experience — it’s set up to avoid scanning for file sizes when it’s inconvenient. If other programs are reading or writing to the disk, it will allow them to complete that task before taking up resources to continue its research. This whole process is automatic, meaning no manual scans on your part.

5. InfoTag Magic

Like Folder Size, this extension is all about offering up extra information, but in this case the focus is on music files. InfoTag Magic allows you to access the song title, performing artist, year of release, and more just by hovering over the file in an Explorer window.

infotag magic

All you need to do is make sure your MP3, WMA, or OGG files have their tags properly filled out Here Is How Mp3tag Easily Cleans up Your MP3 Collection Here Is How Mp3tag Easily Cleans up Your MP3 Collection Mp3tag is one of the most powerful tools for editing your MP3 collection. In addition to batch editing file names and ID3 tags, custom Actions allow you to perform elaborate changes on your MP3 files. Read More , and once InfoTag Magic is installed, that information will appear as a tool tip whenever your cursor lingers over the file name.  The same functionality even offers up a useful preview of text files.

6. Clickie

File Explorer already offers up plenty of functionality in its right-click context menu — but there’s always room for improvement. Clickie adds a couple of practical features that power users will appreciate.

clickie

The first feature copies the file path of the currently selected file, which can be very useful if it’s tucked away under several layers of a folder hierarchy. The second opens a DOS window in the current directory, which can be good to have easy access to if you spend a lot of time working with command prompts 7 Common Tasks The Windows Command Prompt Makes Quick & Easy 7 Common Tasks The Windows Command Prompt Makes Quick & Easy Don't let the command prompt intimidate you. It's simpler and more useful than you expect. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish with just a few keystrokes. Read More .

7. StExBar

Billed as “what Microsoft forgot to implement in the Windows Explorer,” StExBar offers up a variety of different features in a handy toolbar. Whether you want to copy a file path, create a new folder, or open up a console window, you’ll be able to do so in seconds, thanks to a convenient selection of commands.

stexbar

The one drawback to this tool is that it’s a little unfocused. Most extensions choose one job and stick to it, but this one attempts to act as a jack-of-all-trades. That’s not to say that it doesn’t complete the tasks well, but  it does add some extra clutter that might be more bother than it’s worth, if you only want certain elements of the functionality on offer.

However, if these commands would save you time on a regular basis, there’s really no reason not to install StExBar.

8. Folder Colorizer

If you’ve moved to Windows from Mac OS X 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows 7 Tips for Switching from Mac to Windows You'll be surprised to see how much Windows has to offer. Transition smoothly from Mac to Windows with our advice. Read More , you might miss one small but convenient feature — the ability to apply specific colors to your folders. As well as being a quick and easy way to beautify your system, this can be a very useful method of making complex file hierarchies a little easier to navigate.

folder colorizer

Folder Colorizer by Softorino brings that same ability to Windows. Once it’s installed, just right-click the desired folder and select Colorize to pick out the best shade for the job.

9. Folderico

Anyone looking for even more control over the way their folders are presented should check out Folderico. This extension not only allows you to select a color, it offers up an easy way of swapping out the icon How to Individualize Folder Icons in Windows with Custom Images How to Individualize Folder Icons in Windows with Custom Images Have you ever thought about changing the icons for individual folders on Windows? Here's a simple way to do it. Read More that’s in place, and even a host of themes to keep things looking smart and uniform.

folderico

Of course, it’s easy to get carried away, turning a File Explorer window into something of a technicolor patchwork — but worry not, as it only takes one click to removes your customizations and take things back to how they looked before.

10. HashTab

HashTab is a great utility for anyone who’s particularly security conscious, or for someone who might have to use this sort of security measure as part of their job. MakeUseOf published a great guide to hashing What All This MD5 Hash Stuff Actually Means [Technology Explained] What All This MD5 Hash Stuff Actually Means [Technology Explained] Here's a full run-down of MD5, hashing and a small overview of computers and cryptography. Read More , if you’re unfamiliar with what the process is all about.

hashtest

In simple terms, an MD5 checker creates a small file known as a hash that can then be used to verify its legitimacy by checking it against a known constant. It’s a straightforward, but powerful security measure, and HashTab gives you easy access to it from a File Explorer window.

Do you know about a handy File Explorer extension that you’d like to share with others? Or are you looking for help finding an extension for a specific purpose? Whether you’re offering help or looking for it, your best bet is the comments section below.

  1. David Bobb
    November 4, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    I really like StExBar for the filter bar alone. Anyone who's ever stumbled on a folder with a billion files in it and knows at least part of the file name can feel my pain of using windows search. The filter bar solves that, it's like the search bar in newer versions of windows but totally instant.

    I *used* to like an explorer addon called QTTabBar, that adds tabbed file browsing similar to modern web browsers, but I *highly* suspect that it results in my system running at a crawl when starting up. So i'm glad to see there's an alternative to it.

    Clover and Folderico look awesome.

  2. Uyke
    November 4, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Running the Clover installer on a Windows 10 Pro (English) starts with a screen all written in Chinese characters. Desisted to install it.

  3. Eric Robinson
    November 4, 2016 at 2:19 am

    I've installed Clover a few months ago, I'm pretty please whith it, but it takes for ever to load sometimes. I've tried to uninstall it but I was unable, any tips? help?

  4. Guy
    August 30, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I have a major issue with Clover under Windows 10. It resizes all the text and icons on my screen to become extremely large and many icons are then lost beyond the bottom of the screen. Gonna have to uninstall and maybe try QTTab instead

  5. Anthony
    August 15, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    When will explorer develop side by side windows like Norton commander?

  6. Keith Collyer
    August 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I use QT Tab Bar, but be aware that there are two separate versions out there. From memory, the original developer stopped working on it a few years ago and someone else picked it up.Then the original developer restarted work. Why they don't get together I have no idea. I've not done a proper comparison of the two, as you might expect they are pretty similar and seem to support each other's plugins.

    Also, Classic Shell has Classic Explorer that adds a few nice tweaks.

  7. Riona
    June 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Riona: for windows 10 file path limit i used Long Path Tool software and it resolved this error

  8. ozOracle
    May 16, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Clover doesn't work properly with the multiple Desktop option in Windows 10. When I open File Explorere while I am in Desktop 2, it takes me to Desktop 1.
    StExBar didn't work with Windows 10. It works fine with Windows 7. (this is my own test and I don't know how it would work with others)

  9. Howard Blair
    May 13, 2016 at 11:58 am

    "Covert also supports..." **Clover** Darn autocorrect! :)

  10. Jim
    May 13, 2016 at 11:32 am

    QTTAB Bar is the best

  11. Timothy Vels
    May 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Instead of mentioning EXTENSIONS you could have just put it up as APPS (Kinda misleading).
    And some might need more info on Foldersize. You can try this app too. It runs separately but it is really good
    http://www.mindgems.com/products/Folder-Size/Folder-Size.html

  12. Ranuka Perera
    May 13, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Clover might be all right in Windows 7, but for Windows 10, it has major usability issues.

    For one, it hides the File menu. The shortcuts windows 10 put in the titlebar also disappears. The icon change causes even more problems when using other apps that uses the explorer.

    Because of those issues, QTTab bar is better than clover.

  13. jwessel
    May 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Regarding number six, you can hold Shift then right-click a folder or file to access a "Copy as path" option. Also, you can type "cmd" in the address bar to open a DOS window in the current directory.

  14. qlisic
    May 12, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    you forgot to mention the best one - QTTab bar

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