Need A More Powerful File Manager? Look No Further.


The file manager built into your PC (ie, Windows Explorer) does a pretty good job of helping you keep your computer neat and tidy. But sometimes it's nice to have an application with a bit more power and a few more features. If you feel the same, then take a look at Free Commander, which is a freeware file manager that offers just about everything you could ever want. It installs just like any other program, with a desktop icon to access it, so your existing Windows Explorer will still be available and won't be overwritten.

It has an easy-to-use tabbed interface, and a built-in viewer/handler for text, images, compressed files, and more. You can search, rename, move, copy and so on, across files and folders, and it's incredibly customisable. You can even program your own shortcut keys. So if you want more features, or you just want to try something different for managing your files, Free Commander is one of the best alternatives to Windows Explorer. And it's free.

To download the program, go to for the latest version. The program is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust, and runs to some 12 MB if you choose the version which includes the help file (which you should, unless you're on an incredibly slow internet connection).

The program is also our current Best Free File Manager choice elsewhere on Gizmo's site, so read for even more about this great program.

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Over the years I've used almost every file explorer I've been able to get my hands on. Q-Dir is what I have been using for a long awhile. For me, it is the perfect mix of features, simplicity, and portability. I even copy the executable onto every drive I have so I will always have a ready file explorer where ever I plug into.

I will try Clover now though. I have never used it.
It also seems like it is time to give Free Commander another look.

One thing not discussed here Rob is the security aspect. These files have access to our entire file structure. Who is going to watch network traffic all the time? Should we be concerned about any of these programs accessing ports and compromising our data?


The thing with clover is it uses the existing standard windows explorer and just 'adds' on a few basic things missing.
out of which the most notable ones are
1) Tabs!! - Just like chrome, and aren't we like so used to it.
2) Bookmarks - Again, like chrome - all with bookmark folder support.
3) As it's built onto the windows explorer it doesnt need to be run as a separate program. - win + e opens up the same explorer but just as another tab! - Neat.

it doesn't have any fancy features like multi pane windows and bunch of toolbars with crazy buttons, but gets the job done

So yea, if your need is to just quickly get to places(bookmarks) and also have access to them all at once(tabs) , all without compromising security of your files, and with the traditional look and feel of windows.
Clover is the best bet. So just Pin it to the taskbar instead of the explorer and voila.

amitthakkar22288: Appreciate the overview... sounds wonderful... however I have found the QUAD panes of Q-Dir have become INDISPENSABLE! Years ago I attempted to accomplish the same versatility with Win Explorer... but no such luck! Thank you, again! ~Alan

Installed the program and see that it has possibilities although when on the Desktop, drag and drop did not seem to work withing the desktop window but move did.

Found drag and drop worked in other ways but one thing which I use a lot is to drag urls from sites into folders particularly when doing downloads of files I like to have sites like Gizmo etc plus the location from where the download occurred in the same folder as is the setup.exe but have not been able to accomplish this as I can via Windows Explorer with Chrome although Edge does not work this way so it is not default.

If there is a method of doing this, perhaps another user could advise. There seems to be a lot of items that one can do and many which I am not sure exactly what they do but hope that after I read all the help files I will learn more. However if there is no method of doing d/d of urls, I may still continue to use WE instead as I can work quite quickly via d/d in multiple windows of WE simply using the Shift key to open multiple instances.


I tried dragging a url to a folder using XYPlorerFree and it worked great. No problems.

ty -- last night I could not get d/d to work but after your response, I tried again and had success. Now to spend time reading the help files to see what other goodies I might be able to use. I used to use something similar quite a few years ago but forget the name so it is good that Gizmo posted this program as I use a lot of stuff over the years that is posted in the Gizmo newsletter. I will also post the link to our PC Tech room in Paltalk so others may decide to try it out.

I am a looooong time lover of XYPlorerFree, so it would take a lot to sway me away.
I have installed the latest Free Comander, and "so far so good".
I reckon I tried it years ago, and found it difficult to set it up the way God intended (Tree on left, Folder/Files on right, with Tabs, and NO multiple panes)
The author of Free Commander must have heard my nightly prayers, as it opened just a smidgen away from being the way God intended. All I had to do was show the Tree.

I will continue exploring it.
Thanks for guiding us to it,

Rob: Looking forward to review details when you're ready. I am currently using Q-Dir and have learned to appreciate the unlimited TABS and (4) PANES. Thx.

Here is my interim review (see PS as to why I stopped half way, and did not try to replicate the problem, yet) -
I like to organize my Start Menu (I use classic mode), with categories. That means I can, with a couple of clicks find any program, and do not need to have windows maintaining a search index.
And in my obsessive fashion I have a folder C:\DOWNLOADS where all my program's downloads go to.
To cater for these two habits I like to have a Tab locked on to the DOWNLOADS folder, and it is sorted by Date (thus most recent downloads are at the top)
Ideally that locked folder should be the hard left one, but I have one exception - I have a tab on the left of the DOWNLOADS folder, and it is locked into the Start Menu folder, so I can maintain my categories. (Anyone wishing to do similar, the category folders are not a child of the Programs folder, they are siblings, so they appear in the left column of the Start Menu).
XYPlorerFree caters for that well, and even allows you to Iconise the folders, so they are a cm wide.
Thus having the same capability in Free Commander was a must for me.
In Free Commander, you can lock folders, and it (C:\DOWNLOADS) can be told to sort by Date.
You cannot Iconize, but you can type an alias (EG SM and DL), and get a small tab.
In addition I colored the DL Tab different from the others.
Thus Free Commander is even better than XYPlorerFree, for the above.
One of the few cripplings in XYPlorerFree is Search is switched off, whereas it is available in Free Commander. So that is another plus for Free Commander.
The default colors of the Tabs were hard to read, but there are settings aplenty to fix that
Whenever I am in a folder, and wish to create a sub folder, XYPLorer allows you to use CTRL N. Free Commander does not.
Whilst I was tackling that problem, it froze on me, and froze my Windows. Had to use the physical power button to restart windows.
PS The reason that I have not, continued with my research, is one of the daily software sights is giving away Hard Disk Sentinel Pro for FREE.
I normally don't like to have programs running all the time (especially disk monitoring), but the reviews have been very good, and I reckon I can install it, run it, and disable 'auto start', so that I just run it when I feel the need.
It is available for another 24 hours. If anyone is interested, I will post a link.

Ron: Thank you much for the details.

I'm another happy Free Commander user, I actually sent them some bucks, a few years ago.

abrandt - XYplorer has a free version too.
As for FreeCommander, I am actually a beta-tester for it.
I've never used clover.
But I use FreeCommander to administer my network. I absolutely love it.

BGM: Appreciate. 10-4. Thank you.

abrandt, no, FreeCommander doesn't do more than two panes. I used Q-Dir for a while too, but you couldn't manipulate the toolbars like you can in FreeCommander.

BGM: Thank you RE: Q-Dir. Any experience or thoughts about Clover?

+1 for XYPlorerFree also.

I've been using FreeCommander for years. I've also used the pro version of XYplorer, which is very nice, but I think FreeCommander is more versatile and has more features.
The toolbars are completely customizable - you can make buttons to do absolutely anything. You can even make buttons that contain dropdown menus. It's not in the screenshot, but there is another toolbar that can display in the splitter bar right between the two folder panes and this is the best place to show your copy and move buttons - and this toolbar is also customizeable.
If you haven't tried FreeCommander, you should at least give it a test run. I've watched this program develop and grow over the years and this is an A1 application and the developer remains interested and active (German).

Howdy. Years ago I used FreeCommander. Now I am using Q-Dir because the (4) window panes have proven extremely practical. Does FreeCommander have this (4) pane capability at this point, or just (2)?

I looked up Clover on Snapfiles... some good reviews. Would also be interested on your take of CLOVER vs. the above.

Thx. ~ Alan

Never looked back since started to use Clover.

Completely Agree!

What about XYplorerFree?
it's portable & free.