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.
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:
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.
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.
3. InfoTag Magic
Makes the Windows Explorer File/Folder tooltips to display more information than you can imagine about the selected item.
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.
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 here.
There’s another similar tool called Piky Basket which enhances copy’n paste functionality, 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.
5. Clickie Path Name Copier
Clickie adds two options to the Windows Explorer Context Menu, which Windows Explorer doesn’t have.
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.
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.
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.
It doesn’t replace critical system files. Can be activated by right clicking on the Windows Explorer 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!