Then someone would say that it’s unfair to allow Finder to be on the list because Mac users don’t even have a choice. Finder always starts automatically with Mac OS X, and there’s no way to close it.
I think that’s not a valid statement. Most users wouldn’t want to close Finder even if they can (And FYI, you can close Finder as long as you know the Secret). That’s because Finder is one of the most useful applications on the Mac. You do your daily copy, move, launch and other kinds of file management there.
So it’s a bit strange that if you compare it with other native Mac apps, Finder seems to get less attention. It gets small tweaks here and there over time, but in general it’s still the same old Finder that we know and love from back then. At least, that’s the way it appears to our non-techie eyes.
Not For The Faint Of Heart
The state of Finder as it is today might be fine for most users, but I know many power users who wish to be able to do more with Finder. That’s why there are Mac finder alternatives out there.
One of the alternatives is TotalFinder. This SIMBL plugin will bring your Finder to a new level. If you are truly a power user, I think you would want to try out this app.
However, there are a few things that should be noted up front about this Mac finder alternative:
- TotalFinder is Snow Leopard only. This is due to the fact that SIMBL plugins like Afloat and SizeWell only work for Cocoa applications and unlike its previous Carbon version, Snow Leopard’s Finder has been re-written in Cocoa.
- It is also still in the early Alpha stage. Trying it means preparing yourself for bugs and crashes. You should back up often (that’s why it’s not for the faint of heart).
- This app will stop being a free app after it goes out of Alpha.
So why bother trying? Why recommend this app despite the disadvantages? I’ll tell you why.
It’s For The Fun Of It
There are several cool things that make this so-called still-buggy app worth a look. But before we get to that point, let’s start from the very beginning, shall we?
The installer comes with many words of warnings: about the free Alpha period, about SIMBL, and about the need to finish all Finder activities before proceeding. Click continue only if you are ready. :)
Please also note that there’s an uninstaller inside the disk image, should you need it.
After the installation, Finder will be restarted and you’ll quickly notice two different changes: a new icon of Finder (wearing shades), and… the tabs! Yes Sir! Your Finder can do tabs now. Can you guess what the tabs appearance is similar to?
However, the slider which usually sits at the bottom right of the Finder window in icon view mode is missing. So you can’t adjust the icon size.
You will also notice the TotalFinder icon in the menubar. Clicking on it will bring out the information about the expiration date, and also the Preferences – the place where you can adjust the app’s behavior.
There are four tabs there:
Visor: Gives you the ability to assign shortcuts to summon (or hide) Finder from within any application, and whether to stick Finder to a specific Space or make it available to all Spaces.
.DS_Store: If you move your data around a lot between Mac and Windows, you must be familiar with .DS_Store files. These useful clutters are everywhere, but visible only if we view the storage under a Windows machine. This tab gives you the ability to control the behavior of .DS_Store files.
Tweaks: You can choose whether you want to show hidden files or not from here. There’s also the option to put Folders always on top.
- Purchase: This is where you can update TotalFinder to the next version (or make the purchase when it’s not free anymore).
The Conclusion Is….
TotalFinder might still be in Alpha, but I’ve survived the first few days of normal usage without crashes. Lucky me.
Personally, I think the coolest feature of TotalFinder is the Tab, and that feature alone should earn this little app a little bit of your time.
But is it worth whatever money that the developer will charge in the future? I honestly don’t know. All I know is that at this moment TotalFinder is still a free Mac finder alternative and I’m making use of that.
But I do hope that the developer would consider at least providing a free version (with less features, maybe?) of this app in the future so that more users could experience how great Finder could be.
How about you? Would you try TotalFinder? Do you know other alternatives to Finder? Please share using the comments below.