The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Extensions for File Management

Rahul Saigal Updated 01-02-2019

File Explorer is the default file management utility for Windows. It’s the first app you open to manage files and folders or any devices connected to your PC. However, you might not be using it to its full potential. File Explorer extensions can add extra features and help you do so much more.


These utilities could save you time and effort every day. Let’s look at some third-party apps for File Explorer that you can download and install right now.

1. Mountain Duck: Mount Remote Storage

browse and manage remote files with mountain duck

If you need to manage multiple cloud storage services at once, switching between different interfaces can hinder your workflow. Mountain Duck is a nifty app that lets you mount server and cloud storage as a local volume in the File Explorer.

Select New Bookmark > Connect to mount the server as a volume in File Explorer. The server will appear in This PC and the sidebar to let you browse contents and quickly move files. You can perform any operations on the remote files and folders just like you do with local files.

If you wish to reconnect a remote server after reboot, select Enable Login and Save Workspace in Preferences. Mountain Duck includes the built-in utility Cryptomator which can encrypt your data on any server.


The app supports SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, and more. The upcoming version 3 has a smart sync feature that works just like other cloud storage services.

Download: Mountain Duck (Free trial, $39)

2. TeraCopy: Copy Files Faster and Securely

teracopy makes file copying process fast

Copying large files from one folder to another on the same drive or to another drive has never been fast and flexible. Even before the copy starts, Windows spends ages discovering and calculating how much data it needs to move. If you encounter any errors, it’ll skip the entire process and put your data at risk.


TeraCopy is a utility app for moving and copying files. The app implements dynamic buffer adjustments to the copy process. It creates pending queues with multiple file operations and executes them at the same time. If any error arises, it just skips the corrupted file instead of terminating the entire transfer process.

The app comes with minimal panel and settings. You can extend the panel to reveal additional file properties: source file’s path size, status, source, and target CRC. Since TeraCopy natively integrates with the context menu, it can replace the default copy handler.

Download: TeraCopy (Free, Pro Version for $25)

3. Icaros: Enable Thumbnails for Any Video Type

enable video thumbnails with icaros


Icaros is a pack of shell extensions that enables and displays a thumbnail of any video type in File Explorer. When you install the app, Icaros will register the common file types that FFmpeg supports along with FLAC, APE, and MPC formats.

The app offers a comprehensive interface from where you can choose to activate or deactivate the thumbnails.

Once you enable Icaros, all the video media files reveal their thumbnails allowing you to have a quick peek of the content without opening them. Icaros supports popular video formats such as MKV, FLV, AVI, MP4, and more. If you’ve lots of video files, then this extension can prove handy.

Download: Icaros (Free)


4. Listary: Powerful Search Utility for Windows

listary integration with open and save dialog box

We end up wasting a lot of time browsing through folders to find the important files since the built-in search isn’t too smart. Listary is a search utility app that lets you quickly find files on your PC and perform actions with a press of a hotkey. On the first launch, a search bar will pop up with three icons built into them.

The Favorites icon shows a list of folders, Recent icon lists all the directories you browsed recently, and Intelligent Commands lists some helpful commands. You can add/remove folders, commands, and customize them so that they’re easily accessible. Listary also integrates with “Open and Save Dialog Box” to quickly open and save files.

It saves your time on repetitive clicks. With Listary fuzzy search, you can find files just by typing a few characters. Press the right arrows key on the keyboard to expand the Explorer context menu and Listary’s action menu.

You’ll find helpful commands to make day-to-day file operations simpler. Listary’s Free version is already feature rich. You can upgrade to the Pro version for more features.

Download: Listary (Free, Pro Version for $20)

5. File Converter: Convert Files Using Context Menu

convert files through context menu with file converter

File Converter is a simple app that lets you convert one or several files using the context menu. It supports a lot of different file formats. For example, you can convert Word documents, Excel sheets to PDF, PSD file to JPEG, and much more. You can customize the app to add/remove conversion presets in the context menus or even edit the present ones.

To create a simple preset, open the file converter settings and select a preset that you want to create. Click the Plus button to create a new preset in the left panel with their options in the right panel. For images, the right sidebar will include settings to scale, rotate, and rename image files.

Download: File Converter (Free)

6. FileMenu Tools: Customize Explorer Context Menu

customize context menu with filemenu tools

The right-click menu can make you productive. It can also derail it with a clutter of commands. FileMenu Tools is a feature-rich, intuitive app that helps you customize the context menu.

For instance, modify the “Send-To” menu, and clear up the clutter added by other apps How to Add & Remove Entries from the Windows Right-Click Menu Everyone loves shortcuts. Meanwhile, your context menu is cluttered with entries you never touch. We'll show you how to customize the right-click menu with shortcuts you'll actually want to use. Read More . FileMenu comes preloaded with a whole bunch of useful tools. Add customized commands according to the file types, use the advanced renamer to batch rename files, synchronize two folders from within the Explorer, and do more.

You can organize it with icons, separator, and a name through the properties dialog. The Pro version lets you add custom commands and an unlimited number of files and folders.

Download: FileMenu Tools (Free, Pro Version for $11)

7. Link Shell Extension: Hardlinks and Symbolic Links

create symbolic links with 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 has this feature, but it needs some skill with the Windows command prompt.

Link Shell Extension is a sort of graphical tool to simplify the process of creating hard links, junctions, or volume mount points, and symbolic links (symlinks) with nothing more than a few clicks. Locate the file or folder, right-click and select Pick Link Source from the menu.

Then browse to a different folder, right-click and choose Drop As. Choose Hardlink to create a hard link to a file, or Symbolic Link to create a soft link to a file or directory. If you often work with hard links and symlinks, this app can save you a lot of time.

Download: Link Shell Extension (Free)

8. Groupy: Organize Explorer Into Grouped Tabs

group tabs of file explorer with groupy

Groupy is a utility app for a better window management system. It creates tabs for Windows apps, both modern UWP, and classic Win32. Simply drag a window you want to group over the title bar of another window. You can use this app to organize multiple Explorer windows into groups.

On installation, Groupy will ask you to set the position of tabs. To make tabs revealing, enable Show the window icon on tabs. You can also combine certain types of apps automatically.

If you work with a similar set of windows every day, save the group and re-launch the app to load tabs. The app can be useful for those working on multiple tasks at the same time.

Download: Groupy (30-day free trial, $5)

9. File Meta: View and Edit Metadata for Any File Type

file meta associations manager

Each file stored on your computer has metadata associated with it. Metadata is the information about a file’s source, size, rating, last modified date, and more. This metadata makes searching and organizing files on Windows a lot faster.

Microsoft restricted metadata to certain file types like images, music, and Microsoft Office files. File Meta allows you to add and edit metadata for any file.

To add metadata, select the file extension and choose a profile of editable properties given by Windows. Then, click Add File Meta Handler. Restart the Explorer to take effect.

File Meta Association Manager controls the properties shown in “Preview Panel”, “Info tip”, and in the “Details” tab of the Properties dialog for a file. The metadata properties will also be visible in the main pane of the File Explorer.

Download: File Meta (Free)

10. DropIt: Organize Files and Folders Automatically

organize files and folders automatically with dropit

Want to eliminate the drudgery of manually opening folders, renaming files, or moving them to different locations? Use DropIt to automate all your file management.

Using DropIt is simple. Create some associations between rules and actions. Then drag-and-drop files or folders on the floating icon to start processing them. You can define how to filter your file by name, size, date, property, and associate one of the 21 available actions to perform. It supports actions like Upload, Rename, Encrypt, Compress, Change Properties, and much more.

DropIt also lets you monitor a folder at a definite interval and takes action on them automatically. The action happens in the background. You don’t have to fiddle with anything.

Download: DropIt (Free)

Little Known Features of Windows File Explorer

If you spend a lot of time in File Explorer, try out some of these apps and see if they make you more productive.

Although File Explorer looks simple, don’t get fooled by its plain looks. It’s open to many hidden actions and tweaks 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 that you may not be aware of, such as these quick ways to share files from File Explorer 4 Ways to Quickly Share a File From Windows Explorer There are lots of ways to share files and folders with other people. Have you considered Windows Explorer as a file sharing tool? Read More . Having trouble with the search function in Explorer? Here’s how you can fix Windows File Explorer search 7 Ways to Fix Windows File Explorer Search Windows File Explorer search can break for several reasons. Here are seven methods you can use to fix File Explorer search. Read More .

Related topics: File Explorer, File Management, Windows Apps, Windows Customization, Windows Explorer.

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  1. Stef
    October 23, 2019 at 7:08 am

    I use 'Tagging for Windows' which allows me to tag any file or folder within the explorer itself and view the tagged files as somekind of virtual folder. I tried other products for using tags as well, but this is the only one not forcing me to use another application. (It even presents itself in the open and save dialogs).

  2. RRD
    February 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    You forget to mention "Search Everything". It's a blazingly fast search program with lots of options.

    • Rahul Saigal
      February 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      The point of this piece was to suggest apps that integrates with file explorer. There is no doubt that this is an excellent app. Thanks for suggesting this app

  3. xaml
    November 20, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I would like to see the search in "Windows File Explorer" enhanced with a robust duplicate file search and a colour search feature. Having the option to enable a tabs function without security concerns also seems like a great idea.

  4. logan
    January 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Really an awesome article bro...learned a lot..

  5. Juan C Walls
    December 31, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    One thing that irritates me the most of Windows 8 and up is the Details Pane at the right side of the Explorer. It occupies a lot of valuable space and you can't open Preview Pane at the same time. In Windows 7 the Details Pane was located at the bottom of the Explorer window.
    There is a hack called OldNewExplorer that basically returns this behaviour (and a few others) to more useful behaviours of Windows7 and previous (Microsoft LOVES to downgrade the usability of Windows with every new version).

    The problem with OldNewExplorer is that it is a hack. It depends on the code of old libraries and it fails frequently and has problems with every Windows update.

    I was wondering if it would be possible to imitate (even improve) the functionality of Windows7 Details Pane using a Extension so you could just Open the Preview Pane and then, instead of opening the system Details Pane, you would open this extension Details Pane that would appear at the bottom of the explorer and would not hide the Preview Pane.

    Anyone knows of such extension? Anyone knows if it would be possible or not to create it?
    I would love to create it myself but I have absolutely no idea of how.

  6. Mike
    December 9, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Based on your review I wanted to install Clover, but the installer isn't entirely in English and there are two checkboxes that are checked that are in another language I can't read, they look important enough that they should have been translated to the system language, that seems like quite an oversight.
    Does Clover do that when it's installed, have mixed languages that make it impossible to use if I don't read the language (looks like Chinese but not sure)?

    • TGN
      May 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      DO NOT USE CLOVER! New versions contains spyware of some kind.. I've used it before and it was working fine, but i think the original developer sold it and new developer is exploiting the possibilities.

      • Mike S
        May 6, 2018 at 12:29 am

        As the next poster said so well, QTTabbar is great, I love it, have had zero problems with it. So thanks for the heads up. You might want to take QT out for a spin.

        • Breno Maia
          April 1, 2019 at 2:38 am


  7. RedBird
    August 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Nuh-uh. QTTabbar is vastly superior to Clover. It can do everything Clover can and much, MUCH more, in addition to being far more customizable.

  8. Hunk
    August 6, 2017 at 2:45 am

    Clover is no longer as good as before. It comes with great many of ads everywhere. I cannot delete the ad in the bookmark bar. I uninstall it.

  9. Matt
    April 25, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Huh! I can't see the article, it goes straight to comments

  10. Bill
    March 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Has any one found an app/extension that will do a better job of displaying metadata in Windows 10's Explorer? It only seems to be able to display (for instance) Authors for Microsoft documents. Not PDFs. Seems like an obvious target for someone to hit with an Explorer alternative.

  11. Flip
    February 25, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I use GodMode. Just save it to your desktop and it's there with everything. It's a Registry tweak and not an app

    • Christopher
      April 15, 2017 at 2:10 am

      Everything listed here, including custom folders and folder colors as well as tabs in file explorer can be added in 'God Mode'; how ?

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

    • jk
      December 29, 2016 at 5:46 am

      I had the same problem. I managed to uninstall it in Safe Mode. There is a small Registry edit necessary to make this work. Look up how to get into Safe Mode if you're using Windows 10 and don't know how to get there.

      How to uninstall programs in Safe Mode
      You can go to safe mode and try to uninstall the program normally. If it that don’t work, try this registry tweak.
      1. Press Windows Key + R for Run window, type regedit.msc. (just "regedit" in W10)This will open registry editor.
      2. On the left side, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> SafeBoot -> Minimal.
      3. Right click on Minimal, Click on New, Click Key
      4. A new key is generated on the left side, name it as MSIServer
      5. On the right side, double click on the default value. Under the Value date field, enter the value as Server.
      6. Now restart the computer in Safe Mode
      7. Press Windows Key + R for Run window, type services.msc. This open the services window displaying the list of services.
      8. Locate Windows installer service in the list. Right click on it and click Start.
      This step enable Windows installer service to run in Safe Mode.

      After this you can just uninstall Clover via the regular Change or Remove Program in the Control Panel.

  15. 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

    • Lalo
      August 1, 2017 at 5:02 am

      My thinking also. Clover spoiled windows explorer (Windows 10) and now all my windows open maximized and can't be restored, moved or minimized! It's a drag! I'll have to restore Windows (goodbye programs, settings, utilities...). Bad deal.

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

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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)

  20. Anonymous
    May 13, 2016 at 11:58 am

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

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

    QTTAB Bar is the best

  22. Anonymous
    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

  23. Anonymous
    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.

  24. 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.

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

    you forgot to mention the best one - QTTab bar