Replace Windows Explorer With A More Powerful Alternative

Kyle Judkins 29-07-2008

Replace Windows Explorer With A More Powerful Alternative xplorer2 logo thumbWindows Explorer does do its job, but there is a lot left to be desired. Xplorer2 Lite gives you a more powerful alternative that makes browsing those folders quick and easy. Xplorer2 Lite is the free version of Xplorer2, but don’t let that worry you. The free version has a good feature set that still makes it a great option as your alternative to Windows Explorer.



Xplorer2 Lite isn’t a full replacement for Windows Explorer. What I mean by this is that if you click on a folder after Xplorer2 Lite is installed, it will still open with Windows Explorer. However, right clicking on a folder now gives you the option to open the folder in Xplorer2 Lite. This is a minor inconvenience, but it’s worth it. You’ll see.

Basic Functions

Upon opening Xplorer2 Lite, you will immediately see the difference and the uses you can get out of it. There are two window panes that allow you to easily drag and drop files from location to location. I love this feature when moving music from my laptop to my networked drive. I no longer have to have two windows open or copy and paste. I can do it easily within one window.


Bookmarks and FTP Client

If you use a folder consistently that is buried somewhere on your C drive, you can easily bookmark it, so it will come up with one click instead of going through the entire file tree. You can also bookmark your FTP server in order to easily drag and drop files from your computer to the server. This makes all of those tedious file transfers seem easily done because you can do them all in this one program.


If two window panes just aren’t enough, Xplorer2 Lite acts just like your favorite web browser by letting you open tabs in each window. This makes it extremely easy to manage lots of transfers at the one time.


xplorer tabs

File Manipulation

Xplorer2 Lite also allows you to do some basic file manipulations. Of course, you can create and delete files just like normal, but you can also merge, split and shred files within the program.

Preview Window

Keeping with the trend of not having to open other software to do basic tasks is the Preview Window. This window gives you a preview of the file you click on. This can be pictures, videos or audio. It is nice not to have to double click and get another program loaded to find whether that is the right picture or not.

xplorer file preview pane



Xplorer2 Lite was made for power users as well. Almost every feature that I’ve covered and the ones that I didn’t cover have shortcuts. Becoming a shortcut master of this program could greatly increase your file management productivity.


Xplorer2 Lite is a great overall program, but it is the free version of a paid software. Lots of times free versions are independent of their paid big brother, but Xplorer2 Lite seems to be Xplorer2 with several options turned off. This can be frustrating, because some of the options that are unavailable are not clearly labeled. Also, you must use Windows Explorer Search to search for any files. Even with these complaints, I have found Xplorer2 Lite to be extremely useful and I will definitely use it more than Windows Explorer.

You might also want to check out Shankar’s 7 Windows Explorer Addons for Power Users 7 Windows Explorer Addons for Power Users Read More . I discovered a couple of really good tools there.

I know there are a few other alternatives out there, and I am definitely interested in what everyone else uses, so let me know!



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  1. Anthony
    July 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Is there a way to point the shortcut Windows key + E to open xplorer2 instead of the regular file explorer? It seems to me useless if I have to click on a desktop shortcut when I made it a habit to bring up explorer with the keyboard shortcut. If there is a way then its definitely worth it.

  2. John
    February 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    so far, Nautilus(Gnome's default file browser) has more features than explorer and many other file browsers... it's free too. Switch to Ubuntu or at least try it.

    in any case, i find it more worrying to switch explorer with something else because of games and things that utilize explorer.exe. :<

  3. Un0btrusive
    December 14, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    UltraExplorer is also my preferred explorer replacement. It's much better than Xplorer2, with tons of features. Highly recommended.

  4. nucleo
    August 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I vote for NexusFile V, it takes some time to get used to it but it's worth it.

  5. zoraro
    August 3, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    If you want windows explorer with tabs use Quizo's QTTabBar and Breadcrumb Address Bar. It adds tabs to the normal explorer UI with a lots of other features and it's free. //

  6. jbhq
    August 2, 2008 at 4:51 am

    have tried the usual alternatives but now i'm using ultraexplorer
    i would be interested to see if a free alternative could match it for features - it's hard to review it at the moment as there are SO many features.
    The developers are using it as a testing platform and don't appear to have a commercial motive as regards the product - incredible offering

  7. Kyle Judkins
    July 30, 2008 at 6:33 am

    @vvvlad The full version of Xplorer2 does have a great search feature, but this is about the free version Xplorer2 Lite. Xplorer2 Lite is missing the great search feature and makes you search through windows.

  8. vvvlad
    July 30, 2008 at 2:07 am

    I use xplorer2 for more then a year. I think it is a great software.
    Just one remark about the search, I don't know what you meant when you said "must use Windows Explorer Search to search for any files" but the software has a great search much better and with more functionality then the regular windows search.
    Check your facts...


  9. joshua3
    July 30, 2008 at 1:14 am

    There are a plenty of really good (free) explorer replacements. I'm using FreeCommander, but also loved Ultra Explorer for a while.

    But if you like to integrate the replacements more in your desktop (opens per double clicking on a folder) you should read this: Total Commander Integration Explorer Replacement Integration

    Of course - you have to adjust the provided settings there to your local requirements...

  10. Chris @
    July 29, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    This sounds really great!

    Just downloaded it and am giving it a try.

    Just curious to know: Is there any way to make this program the default Windows Explorer? I'm running Vista and I've been having a lot of Windows Explorer issues recently, like the windows freezing up on me.


    • spp
      January 13, 2009 at 4:34 am

      we want ur sugg's abt what u exactly want bez we r doing tha same project....

  11. Nxqd3051990
    July 29, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I've used xplorer2 for 2 months and take back to TC :) TC is simple and super fast. If you're the one like beautiful interface, Xplorer2 is for you :)

  12. gary katsevman
    July 29, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    just wanted to add, (i am akumu from above) that windows Vista's explorer is actually pretty good, except for the up button, but alt-up replaces that... they should add tabs to it like in IE.

  13. akumu
    July 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I have used xplorer2 lite before, when I used blackbox instead of explorer.exe for my windows environment. It is a pretty nice program, and I agree with the drawbacks.

    Btw, why do you guys not have a feed that includes the blog, the directory and the geekyfun, I would much rather have one feed for all 3, rather than 1 for each to subsribe to, however, if it is too much trouble for you guys, I can live with the 3.

    Thanks for the great work you have been doing finding all these cool programs and websites.