QMMander – Cool Open Source Alternative to Windows Explorer

Karl L. Gechlik 06-11-2009

I downloaded this 4.9MB file from Google Code. QMMander is a free open source Windows Explorer alternative and it is pretty cool. It gives you a dual pane experience to relieve you from the pain of having to open two Explorer windows to drag and drop files between.


But that’s not all – no sir re bob! QMMAnder is not a one hit wonder! You can also have two separate listing types going on at the same time. Qmmander is written in C++ and uses Qt, a cross-platform application and GUI framework from Nokia. The Google Code page says that the application is buggy but I have not run into any issues yet.

You can have one window preview showing a detail listing so you can sort by file size, while in the right pane you have big icons so you can easily recognize the file icons you are looking for. The software is also portable and can (should) be run from a USB or thumb drive.

A person’s Explorer tells a lot about them. If you are using the built in Windows Explorer it shows that you do not like to tweak but if you are using something like this – it shows you think outside the box. That’s not just because I am a geek right?

Let’s see what QMMAnder can do! When you first launch the application you will be seeing double – the same thing on both sides, as you can see below:

windows explorer alternative


Let’s fix that and make them two different drives You can see this view below:

alternative to windows explorer

Yeah yeah, we all know you can sort by each column by simply clicking on the headers but let’s check out the program’s other options. As we said before, you can change each view. Here is an example:

qmmander - free explorer alternative


You change the view on each item by selecting a pane and then clicking on one of these buttons in your toolbar:


The buttons are as follows: details, list, little symbols, big symbols, directory tree or split horizontally instead of vertically (respectively). You can also change these from the options menu as you can see below:



You can also swap the left side with the right or vice versa as well as refresh or switch which side is active. Let’s check out how the horizontal split looks. This seems like it would be a better view for me:


And that is my view! Wow I love it – the detailed listing on top and the tree view on the bottom. This Windows explorer alternative is very versatile and uses very little memory.

What do you guys use for a file browser? I know that Make Use of readers aren’t using Explorer – are you? We would love to hear about what you are using in the comments – so leave us a comment!


Oh and if you do hit any bugs leave them in the comments as well so we can all bombard the author with them! :) Karl Gechlik over and out.

Related topics: Windows Explorer, Windows XP.

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  1. Ataide
    November 17, 2009 at 3:14 am

    I ise FreeCommander

  2. Altiris_Grunt
    November 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    My fav is "Servant Salamander" v1.52:

  3. lazyjones
    November 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    qttabbar (free extension for the built in explorer) and directory opus (nonfree). have used diropus since the old good amiga days. it is perfect in all ways you can imagine. too bad it is so damn expensive

  4. at
    November 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I have used quite a lot of file managers and one time I was in hunt for the free and best. FreeCommander is the best I have found so far. Very keyboard friendly and efficient. Low at memory footprint and no bloats at all. You can have it on USB sticks as well. If you haven't explored it then I would say get it and explore. Once you get used to its keyboard shortcuts then you will not use explorer any more :)

  5. travellinardie
    November 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    qdir hasn't been mentioned. a handy stand alone app that's easy to use.

  6. Monica Dickey
    November 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Kind of ugly but cool. I definitely wish Windows had the dual window pane for easier copying.

  7. andrei
    November 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Since Windows 7 i have actually switched back to Explorer (from Ulta-Explorer). It does not have panes but i can push a few buttons and have 2 windows side by side. I still use Tc but only in rare occasions.

    Explorer is free, has a low memory footprint (:))) and can give you some cool PDF and multimedia previews.

  8. Djordje
    November 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I use nexus5 file manager... it is great really.
    Has everything it should and is very customizable.
    I especially like when i make a new folder and it writes date in name by default. It is very useful for me because of my work. Off course it is dual paned and tabbed, supports archives, yadda yadda :) And the interface design is very pretty which is very important for me.

  9. Baxter Tocher
    November 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    @ffs Total Commander is very good too, but I arrived at Dopus via the Amiga, and won't change now :-) But they're pretty similar feature-wise, and certainly way beyond anything else I've tried.

  10. ffs
    November 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm


    I would claim DOpus and Total Commander/Speed Commander are on par feature wise (TC *with* plug-ins of course).

    DOpus is just more trimmed to be used by mouse and not so much by keyboard while the Commander clones are optimized to be used be keyboard and thus are always more efficient (you can't beat the keyboard in 99% of the cases)..

  11. Baxter Tocher
    November 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Directory Opus here - nothing else comes even *remotely* close.

  12. who.else
    November 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    xplorer2 is not a freeware and even the lite version can't be used in a 'commercial' environment.

    I've always been a big fan of ExplorerXP. But, as there's no development on it to give a more feature rich version, it is becoming obsolete (It does have some great functionality - folder size, extremely low memory usage, etc.)

    Just started using UltraExplorer (UE) and find it a great alternative. Only grouse is it uses a lot of memory.
    QMMander uses almost the same memory as UE, and doesn't have a lot of features. I'd vote for UE or ExplorerXP any day.

  13. lubo
    November 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    i cannot seem to download Qmmander to my desktop - what do i have to do that i am failing to do

  14. JD
    November 6, 2009 at 10:54 am

    QMMander is great. Just downloaded it and I'm impressed - the price of FREE is always nice.

    My only gripe is that I use UNC paths quite a bit, and QMMander doesn't allow me to type in a path.

  15. ballywho
    November 6, 2009 at 10:24 am

    How do you go about installing this on a usb stick?

  16. ffs
    November 6, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I think Total Commander (and for some others SpeedCommander) are still unbeat in functionality and efficiency. You may need to add some plug-ins to get all the features you need but Firefox is crap without any add-ons too....

  17. DarkMan72
    November 6, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I suggest you check out xplorer2 ( - it has a free version. Recently, I was on a hunt for an xplorer2 replacement, tried Qmmander and several other free alternatives (like FreeCommander), but nothing comes close to the functionalities offerred by this little gem... :-)