3 +1 Best Windows Explorer Add-ons For Windows 7

Tina Sieber 14-02-2012

explorer add onsIn two recent articles on Windows Explorer, I explained advanced settings 3 Easy Ways to Improve the Windows 7 Explorer Windows Explorer is the file manager application that handles the Windows desktop and taskbar and lets you access your files. Without its nice graphical interface, controlling your computer would be a lot more complicated. It's... Read More and shared tips and tricks 3 Advanced Tips & Tricks For Using Windows Explorer Windows Explorer is the default Windows file manager. Last week I introduced you to 3 easy ways to improve Windows 7 Explorer by tweaking features and using it to its full potential. In this article,... Read More to improve your experience with the Windows file manager. To conclude this article trilogy, I will show you how you can add missing features using Windows Explorer add-ons, for example tabs, an enhanced copy process, and a tool to restore desktop icons.


Add Tabs With QTTabBar

Most of us have got used to tabs ever since tabbed browsing became cool almost a decade ago. Although Microsoft eventually gave in to the competition and has been offering tabbed browsing since the release of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, they apparently never considered offering this feature for their file manager. Fortunately, a nifty software developer named Paul crafted an add-on to fill the gap.

QTTabBar adds an additional menu bar to the Windows Explorer interface, with buttons for advanced opening and closing of folders, a copy tool, an additional search field, and a list of recently closed folders. All options can be accessed separately using the [TAB] key. The folder tabs sit on top of that menu bar. Tabs can be re-arranged using drag & drop.

explorer add ons

QTTabBar is available for Windows XP through Windows 7.


Windows Explorer is notoriously unreliable for copying large amount of files. The transfer can be slow, the procedure buggy, and if only a single file acts up, the whole process auto-aborts. Alternatives, such as using the command line or a backup program, are intricate and counter intuitive.

TeraCopy was designed to dramatically improve this process. The tool integrates with the Windows Explorer right-click menu, can be used to copy files per default, copy and move large amounts of files at the best speed possible, and transfers can be paused and resumed. Also, bad files don’t cause the whole process to abort, rather they are skipped and listed when the rest of the transfer was completed.

windows explorer add ons

TeraCopy was previously reviewed on MakeUseOf here – Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy Read More

Also see the following articles for potential alternatives:

Desktop Restore

Doesn’t it drive you nuts when your neatly organized desktop icons are all dislocated when your desktop resolution is changed, for example after connecting to an external monitor or a projector? This used to drive me up the wall. Meanwhile, I no longer keep icons on my desktop. However, if you don’t fancy accessing file and folders via the QuickLaunch bar or other tools, Desktop Restore is a must have.

Desktop Restore records the exact positions of all your desktop icons and allows you to restore the layout, should your icons become scrambled. The tool integrates in the desktop right-click menu. You can easily save and restore current layouts. Via the Custom Layout Save/Restore menu option, you can switch between layouts at different desktop resolutions, as well as save or restore the layout data to or from a file.

windows explorer add ons

For an alternative, check out this program: Restore Your Desktop Icons’ Position With Desktop OK Restore Your Desktop Icons' Position With Desktop OK [Windows] Read More

You will find more desktop-related apps in this article: 5 Little Desktop Apps You Should Check If You Mutlitask 5 Little Desktop Apps You Should Check If You Multitask Read More


StExBar is my +1 add-on. It is potentially useful, however, it did not prove compatible with QTTabBar. It adds another toolbar with advanced features to the Windows Explorer toolbar.

Other Tools

Not strictly add-ons, but tools to improve the Windows Explorer open file dialogue are PlacesBar Editor and Places Utility. They enable you to change the default folders shown in the dialogue window.

explorer add ons

Both tools were reviewed previously:

Do you think it’s worth extending Windows Explorer with add-ons or would you rather replace it with an alternative file explorer? Which Windows file explorer are you using?

Explore more about: File Management, Windows 7, Windows Explorer.

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  1. Don Richardson
    August 4, 2012 at 8:20 am

    These tips may just temp me back to using Explorer! I have been using Google for some time due to dis-satisfaction with Explore's performance. Love these articles! I am learning a lot of very useful bits and pieces.

    • Tina
      August 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm


      I think there is a slight misunderstanding. If you are using Windows, you are using Explorer. This is about the file manager Windows Explorer, not the internet browser Internet Explorer. Common misconception! :)

  2. Igor Rizvi?
    August 1, 2012 at 11:53 am

    TerraCopy,just what i need

  3. xpclient
    May 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

    You missed the best Explorer addon, Classic Shell.

  4. el tio ska
    February 14, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Cool tools here. Thanks for your tips, love reading them.
    Regarding a file manager for Windows, I use Free Commander most of the time and occasionally 7-Zip's File Manager. They even have some similar keyboard shortcuts :)

    • Tina
      February 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed the article.

      Similar keyboard shortcuts make it easy to switch back and forth, that's cool!