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Windows Explorer probably lacks a few features that some people desperately require. It might be quite OK to use for the usual purposes, but when it comes to power tasks, it fails.

Here are seven carefully hand-picked utilities that enhance the default Windows Explorer functions and will leave you thinking “Why doesn’t Explorer have these by default?”

1. Folder Size

Windows Explorer, by default, doesn’t show the size of the folder when you opt for the ‘Details’ view. This is one of the little things that users will find lacking in Windows Explorer.

folder_size1

Well, this is when Folder Size comes in as a handy tool that adds the ‘Folder Size’ column to Windows Explorer Details View. Here’s the details column after installing Folder Size:

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folder_size2

Download FolderSize

2. QT Tab Bar

QT Tab Bar brings tabbed navigation to Windows Explorer. If you frequently deal with a large number of scattered files, you should definitely consider using this application.

qttabbar

Once installed, re-login to Windows, open Windows explorer, right click on the toolbar and check QT Tab Bar and QT Standard Buttons to activate the tabbed interface.

Download QT Tab Bar

3. InfoTag Magic

Makes the Windows Explorer File/Folder tooltips to display more information than you can imagine about the selected item.

InfoTagMagic

It displays information on MP3, Ogg Vorbis, etc, when you hover over the items. For EXE and DLL files and the like, it displays version information. Furthermore, it goes ahead to display a preview of text files in the tooltip when you hover over them.

Download InfoTag Magic

If you’re an audiophile and have plenty of media files on your hard disk, try MediaInfo that is exclusively made for audio/video files and supports more media file formats than InfoTag Magic.

4. TeraCopy / Piky Basket

The default copy paste tool in XP is probably the most inefficient tool built into Windows. You can’t pause file copying and the process usually stops abruptly when a single file is uncopyable among a pile of files.

TeraCopy replaces the default file copy tool in Windows XP and makes copying big files faster. If a file is damaged, it tries a number of times to recover the file. Go for TeraCopy if you frequently deal with big files.

You can read previous TeraCopy review Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy Read More here.

teracopy

Download TeraCopy

There’s another similar tool called Piky Basket which enhances copy’n paste functionality Speed up file Copy'n Paste with Piky Basket Speed up file Copy'n Paste with Piky Basket Read More , perfect for everyday home use. But it also comes with very powerful options that need to be mentioned.

If you have files spread across a dozen folders that should be copied to a single folder, your job of copying those set of files from each location and then placing it in the desired location isn’t going to be easy. With Piky Basket, you can make Explorer remember the locations of the spread-out files and put them all in one folder in one go.

Download PikyBasket

5. Clickie Path Name Copier

Clickie adds two options to the Windows Explorer Context Menu, which Windows Explorer doesn’t have.

clickie

One is ‘Copy Path Name’ – copies the path name of the selected item to the clipboard as normal text. The other is ‘Open MS Dos Prompt’ which when selected, opens the DOS prompt with the selected directory as the working directory.

Download Clickie

6. Drive Icon

This is a little tool that is both funky, nice for a show-off and yet, useful. Changes the hard disk partition icons in Windows XP to look like the ones in Vista. What you see is a pleasing graphic near the icon that displays disk usage. Quite useful if you have plenty of data crammed into your tiny hard disk.

drive_icon

Download Drive Icon

7. Y’z Toolbar

Y’z Toolbar lets you customize the Windows Explorer Toolbar with skins and icon sets. It also hides the throbber in the extreme, top right of the Explorer window.

yztoolbar_screenshot

It doesn’t replace critical system files. Can be activated by right clicking on the Windows Explorer Toolbar.

Download Y’z Toolbar

Let us know about your experiences with the above software in the comments. If you know any better apps than the ones mentioned, do point us to it. Thanks!

  1. CC
    January 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    My god this site is a great example for reasons I have to disable Javascript. It took a good 3 minutes before my browser let go of the CPU enough to scroll freely. Disable some of this crap.

  2. darkan9el
    December 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    If I see one more reference to folder size working in windows 7 I will scream Please update this page to show correct information. If it works in windows 7 32bit then state so. Grrrrrr!

    The fact that Microsoft hasn't implemented this anyway is incompetent anyway but just so any other muppets have missed this when referencing folder size as a way of viewing such in windows 7

    From the folder size website under known issues:

    "Doesn't work in 64-bit Windows, XP or Vista." and because it idoesn't work in Vista it won't work in windows 7

  3. Rams
    December 9, 2009 at 5:17 am

    I MISS FOLDER SIZE sooo much in windows 7

  4. Rams
    December 9, 2009 at 5:16 am

    BRIO, if you are reading this.. WE NEEEEED YOUR PROGRAM!

    And by We i mean the Win7 64-bit users. Thanks, i miss iy :(

  5. dan
    October 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    folder size does not work in windows 7 32 or 64 dont waste your time. Dan

  6. Kevin
    August 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Does anyone know of a way to show image sequences as one line ? That would make thing soooo easy to copy, move and possibly rename a whole sequence.
    So basically, file.1.jpg, file.2.jpg, etc. would appear as:

    file.[1-500].jpg

    and hopefully I can drag and drop this one item into a new location to copy/paste instead of scrolling around and selecting files.

    • Gecko
      January 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      @Kevin

      I'm not sure this would meet your needs but have you tried using a program such as winzip or winace these programs are usually used for compressing files, but you can also use them to group numerous files together in a package similar to a folder. And Compression can be turned off in many of these programs.

  7. c-g
    July 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I use Xplorer 2 Lite (http://download.cnet.com/Xplorer2-Lite/3000-2248_4-10407731.html).

    It definitely improve browsing by using tabs & shortcuts:
    CTRL+Home to get new tab. CTRL+1... to go to your predefined folder.
    CTRL+Q to get a preview of the current file.
    CTRL+O to get an extra panel (independent tabs in each panel)

    I haven't tried and think may not need the other features listed here, but maybe the "paste pause/resume" feature could be useful.

    Tabs... why this feature have not been implemented in Windows Explorer??? that is my big question.

    Great post!

  8. Steve
    June 10, 2009 at 5:28 am

    FolderSize works great but if you've got A LOT of data it can slow your machine down as it goes through checking the size of each folder.

    QT's best feature I think is the thumbnail previews of images, something that is missing in XP that should be there.

    Teracopy works faster than windows copying for large files as it 'adds up' the file sizes faster than windows (the forever "preparing to copy" window is no more for me.

    I have launchy but haven't really gotten into it yet, might try keybreeze and see if it's any good.

    Odd that AVG would flag Drive icon as I have it and got no prompts or anything. I have an older version that I believe just does registry edits.

  9. Dhilip
    May 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I can see that you are tamil.. nice to see a tamil editor in make use of!!!

  10. tips photo
    February 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks for this great list of addons. This will be very useful and helped to make explorer a better experience.

  11. Gautam Jain
    August 25, 2008 at 4:01 am

    There is a new version of PikyBasket at conceptworld.com/piky/

    PikyBasket is now part of PikySuite.

    Thanks.

  12. Jock McGillicuddy
    August 1, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Hoped that your article would help me with my explorer problem but it didn't! I use explorer in details mode but although I have selected one of my columns as "Duration" none of my DivX video clips (nor FLV!) show any "duration" inthat column. I've tried downloading the latest codecs but nothing has worked so far. Any ideas would be very grateful. Thanks, Jock

  13. Carlo Mendoza
    June 28, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Folder Size is neat! I just might try that.

    This may not be an add-on, but you might also be interested in this tip I just discovered:

    • frank
      October 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Folder Size is neat! I just might try that.

      If you have not tried it, how do you know it is neat?
      Do you think the world is interested to know what you "intend" to do later?
      If so, please note that I plan on getting a haircut later this afternoon.

  14. white rabbit
    June 16, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    QT Tab Bar is the shit! Thank you for posting this, otherwise I may have never known about it. If this kinda functionality was added to Vista I'd be the first one to buy it. On the other hand I'm glad I can have that functionality with Vista. Tabs, and the extra file previews and folder previews, and more, I mean it's just amazing!

  15. Syahid A.
    May 1, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Great list Shankar. I've never know that Clickie even existed. Cool!

  16. Techbuzzard
    April 22, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Terracopy may be quite an useful tool for copying big files. But the Windows built in copying tool is much more faster. The only good thing about Terracopy is that it has a error recognition mechanism wherein it can locate errors while copying. Terracopy is no where faster when copying big files, the simple Windows copying tool just does it right and faster too..

  17. qhzq88
    April 22, 2008 at 5:33 am

    They are pretty good,isn't it?
    I like teracopy mostly.

  18. Brian
    April 22, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I installed driveicon but for some reason when I tried to run it AVG kept popping up and telling me that it detected a trojan generic 10.ldy or something along those lines.

    I figured it was just a false positive of some sort and tried to ignore but the program won't run because everytime it tries, AVG detects it as a virus.

    Too bad though, it looked rather useful.

  19. Geoserv
    April 21, 2008 at 7:22 am

    STUMBLED!

    Great list, don't use IE much though.

    VOTED for you at:
    http://www.newsdots.com/software/7-windows-explorer-addons-for-power-users-makeuseof-com/

  20. Shankar Ganesh
    April 21, 2008 at 1:46 am

    @Ed: I'm not sure, but this according to this online virus checker, the file is virus free when tested using some 10+ anti virus tool. Only NOD32 detects it as a potential threat. I *think* it's safe.

    Please check: http://www.virustotal.com/analisis/1d31f8bf63ed3d5a2b12b5164a62c60b

    • Gecko
      January 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

      Norton, and some other virus scanners. Will "Flag" anything that makes changes to the operating system as a potential threat. This is handy because it makes you aware of possibly undesired changes. While at the same time can deter people from using a useful add on such as this.

      My advice, if something gets flagged as a virus, "google" it. Usually by full file name works best, usually your first result will explain the files origin, what software uses it, and what potential risks if any are associated with it.

  21. Ed
    April 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    "In the mean time, if anyone wants to download Drive Icon, you can go to: http://drvicon.sourceforge.net/"

    I tried to download the installer from the site and nod32 v3 immediately detected it as a virus. I know the download link is from sourceforge (a very reputable site) but why does nod32 do this?

  22. Harsh Karn
    April 20, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Please look at 'Known Issues' for 'Folder Size' at http://foldersize.sourceforge.net/support.html. It need some important fixes before being usable. :)

    • Brio
      April 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm

      Actually, those Known Issues are a bit old - some have been fixed already. I should update the list. Folder Size is quite usable for me. :)

  23. muneeb
    April 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    yo its very useful thanx man

  24. _ck_
    April 20, 2008 at 5:40 am

    What is the download link for "drive icon"?
    Hopefully some of these still work on win2k but I know that's rare.

  25. Adheeeth
    April 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Hey Shankar, Excellent article and an awsome share!!! i loved it!

  26. Nxqd3051990
    April 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    You miss folder menu :)

  27. bnm
    April 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks a lot for the folder size, I've been thinking of it for so long.

    PS

    Not that I couldn't find it after, but you forgot to put the link fir Drive Icon....

    • Shankar Ganesh
      April 19, 2008 at 8:07 pm

      Oops the link was missed. I'll update the post soon.

      In the mean time, if anyone wants to download Drive Icon, you can go to: http://drvicon.sourceforge.net/

  28. Abhijeet from Jeet Blog
    April 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Very good addons. Especially the first one- Folder Size. I never gave a thought on Windows Explorer add-ons. The word add-on usually came to my mind when I was working on Firefox. But this is a useful list. Good Job !

  29. lo4
    April 19, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    FileMenu Tools, to really improve the context menu of the Windows Explorer :
    http://www.lopesoft.com/en/fmtools/info.html

    QTTabBar, to have a better Adress Bar (a clone of Windows Vista adress bar, but better) :
    http://qttabbar.wikidot.com/qtaddressbar

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