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Is it just me or do you hate Windows Explorer too?

I have used file managers in the past but have given them up for the ease and simplicity of integrating and using StExBar. Its functionality is ridiculously simple. StExBar gives my Windows Explorer a helping hand at getting things done quicker. It adds a tool bar to your Windows Explorer with common tasks.

This seems like such an obvious maneuver – even Microsoft should have picked it up and ran with it. Since the author just updated the application I decided to share it with you all at Make Use Of. If you use something similar or better, don’t be shy – let us know in the comments!

This is how Explorer looks on my Windows XP machine without this extension:

After installation (in Windows XP) you enable it by right clicking and enabling the StExBar like so:

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On Vista you need to enable the menu bar by hitting File > Edit > View > Tools and selecting StExBar.

And this is how it looks with StExBar installed:

You know I love new buttons! Lets check them out and show you what she can do.

First off there is a button to get to your options. That screen can be seen here. All the options are pretty self explanatory except for the bottom…

Yup you read that correctly. You can create custom commands to embed in your shiny new toolbar as well as using the ones already provided by default.

The next button labeled ‘Show System Files’ may be a little misleading! It allows you to not worry about selecting system files in your navigating or performing functions. Click once to enable and again to disable.

Next up is the ‘Command Prompt’ button… Yes it is pretty obvious but how come Micro$oft didn’t think it was necessary?

How about a button that can copy all the names of files in a directory? Or how about anything you select, you can paste as text? This is awesome to me and all my junior admins! ‘Copy paths’ allow you to copy the paths of folders or files again to text via the clipboard.

See that ‘rename’ field? Type something into it and the extension highlights all the files or directories that match your selection. As you can see in the example below I typed in *.png and all my files with the extension .PNG were highlighted for me. This is a great trick when looking at loads of log files like I do daily…

While I could not figure out how to get the rename function to work (but while trying to) I found some awesome hot keys that my Windows Explorer now has:

  • Create a new folder by hitting Ctrl-Shift-N,
  • Open a command prompt in the current folder by pressing Ctrl-M
  • Copy a full file path with Ctrl-Shift-C.

All in all, this 370KB download sure is a workhorse and I have not noticed ANY decrease in system resources while using it. It is available as a XP 32/64 bit application and only the 32 bit version works on Vista.

Also make sure to check out Shankar’s article on 7 Windows Explorer Addons for Power Users 7 Windows Explorer Addons for Power Users 7 Windows Explorer Addons for Power Users Read More .

Does anyone use something similar? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Aibek
    August 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the tip, in case anyone interested in dmexbar check out the link below

    http://dmexbar.en.softonic.com/

  2. ²is
    August 7, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    dmexbar is *very* good - and can be tailored thoroughly from a large number of features

  3. Robert
    August 7, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Not sure what applications you are reffering to (maybe vista related?)

    In any case i have tons & tons of applications on both my home (has tons of games too) & work pc (packet sniffers, VS2003/2008, SQL Server, .NET1/2/3/3.5, IE8, ..well, dev stuff) installed and no problem whatsoever with qttabbar 1.2.2.1 (this is on a XP pro 32bit pc). Then again this is the "only" tabbar i have on these pc's, tho i do have a few right click context sensitive helper stuff ..but thats just reg hacks. ..so i guess, milage may vary :)

  4. Stefan
    August 7, 2008 at 2:57 am

    small correction:
    the label 'rename' is not for the edit box on the right but for the button to its left. That button will open a rename dialog where you can use regular expressions to rename all selected files.

  5. Tony
    August 7, 2008 at 2:54 am

    QtTabBar is written in .NET.
    That means while it has a lot of features, it will break (and by break I really mean completely make unusable) a lot of applications.
    If you want to know why that is, please have a look here:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/junfeng/archive/2005/11/18/494572.aspx

  6. João Brito
    August 7, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I use Ninotech Path Copy (http://home.worldonline.dk/ninotech/freeutil.htm) for a long time, which not only allows me to copy file names and paths, but also customize a lot the way it's done. For example, I want an entire URL for my local files, and I can make Path Copy generate something like "file://blablabla". Very handy.

    • Aibek
      August 11, 2008 at 11:46 am

      Sounds great, thanks.

  7. Robert
    August 6, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I much prefer QtTabBar.

    Copy names, make new folder, console here ..already have that stuff in my right click context menu. Need something to make navigation easier, especially as a develloper always swithing from different project folder.

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