I have learned to love Windows Explorer from being able to map Skydrive on my desktop, but it can be slow at times, showing me that “Not Responding” message that I really dislike seeing. I’m almost positive that’s one of the reasons applications such as Explorer++ and other Windows Explorer replacement file managers exist. There’s even more dedicated file browsers for multimedia, as well as open-source alternatives, such as QMMander.
Here are two more file browsers that carry handy features that Windows Explorer lacks. The first one may even be hidden within your installed programs, while the second one is a new application with a twist.
7-Zip File Manager (Cross-Platform)
You probably already have downloaded one of the best file compression/decompression tools out there, 7-zip, which shines with its high compression rate (and fares well compared to other free file archivers), but did you know it also bundles a lightweight file manager? Me neither, up until it was mentioned on How-To Geek.
The 7-zip two-pane file manager just works and doesn’t get stuck like Windows Explorer might if you try to copy or move an enormous file around.
If you already have 7-zip installed, you can start using the file manager by simply typing ” 7″ in the Start Menu search box. If you want faster access, you can right-click on it > Send To > Desktop.
- No delays whatsoever: If you’re looking for a fast file manager, you’ve found it.
- You can browse ISO files as if they were folders. In this screenshot, I’m browsing the ISO file that contains the setup file for Microsoft Expression Studio Ultimate, which I got free for being a student.
- Quickly perform common tasks with keyboard shortcuts, including some that you usually need dedicated programs for.
- Quickly navigate to frequently-accessed folders with keyboard shortcuts (by adding that folder to your Favorites).
- Change folder and file views with hotkeys (default view is Details).
There’s also a way for you to omit the cascaded menu when you right-click on say a zip file and instead, have the 7-zip options when you right-click.
To fix that, you just need to head to Tools in the File Manager menu bar and adjust your Options.
Nemo Documents (Windows)
Nemo Documents is also a lightweight, unobtrusive file manager that displays your file structure Ã la Google Calendar (which is supported!) or Outlook, that is, in a calendar view and provides more intuitive ways to find files, period. I can see the calendar view being useful to anyone that is GTD-conscious and may want to review files that s/he is working on.
Nemo Documents can also double up as a search tool as it integrates with the built-in Desktop Search function in Vista and Windows 7 to help you search for keywords or phrases inside documents.
Thus, as the author’s website indicates, if you can’t remember the name of some file, you can combine these keywords along with “other clues that you can remember about the document, such as a specific month or the file type” to help you find a file.
Windows 7 can bundle search results by month, but now WinXP and Vista users can get this and additional views with the file manager in question.
Another cool thing is that you can tag or label files, regardless of the file type.
Usually, you can only add tags to Microsoft documents, JPEG images and nothing else in Windows Explorer, unless you are using third-party applications, such as TaggedFrog. Thus, if you’re into tagging or could use more efficient file searches with tags, Nemo Documents might be for you.
Nemo Documents is as small as downloads come (the download file size is about 672 KB) and occupies 1.77 MB once installed. It seems like this product is pretty young so it might implement additional features later on as more feedback becomes available to the authors.
Have you got any alternative file browsers you’re extremely fond of? Share it with us in the comments!
Image credit: Andrew Currie