At a Glance
- Incredibly powerful; Customizable
Replace Windows Explorer and File Manager with this systems utility.
I have been using Total Commander since the days it was still
called Windows Commander (before Microsoft’s legal team made the
developer rename it). This Windows Explorer replacement is the one
window that is constantly open on my desktop. Whenever I need a
file, I instantly reach for it.
In fact, Total Commander’s streamlined interface makes
traversing directories so fast that when I save a file in some
application I often switch to Total Commander, quickly navigate to
wherever I want to save it, copy the path and paste it into the
application’s File Save dialog. It’s that much faster than Windows’
Much of Total Commander’s power lies in its utter flexibility. I
changed the default color scheme to use darker shades; I also
changed several of its default shortcut keys, so that copying the
current path takes a single keystroke now. You can decide how
complex the interface is going to be: Use the default menus, or
change them to your liking by adding or removing options. And while
Total Commander offers a comprehensive interface for editing the
different settings, it also lets you edit the settings file
manually if you really want to geek out.
To select all ZIP files in a given folder you need only hit the
+ key on your number pad and type “*.zip” into the dialog that
appears. All ZIP archives are instantly selected, and you can then
copy them, delete them, or just see how much space they take in
Speaking of ZIP files, Total Commander has built-in support for
creating and extracting ZIP archives, as well as TAR, GZ and TGZ
archives which are common on Linux and UNIX systems. Using plug-ins
and external utilities, Total Commander can work with any number of
additional archive formats, such as the excellent 7-Zip format.
Total Commander’s old-school dual-pane interface hides
tremendous power: Each pane can house multiple tabs, and Total
Commander can use background processes for time-consuming
operations so that copying large files never makes the application
unresponsive. It even has a setting for making a “ding” sound when
a lengthy background operation completes, so you’d know it’s done.
If you’re viewing a folder that has very long filenames, a single
keystrokes switches to horizontal mode, where the panes are placed
on top of each other (rather than side-by-side), affording twice as
much space for each filename.
You can use Total Commander for accessing remote file systems,
as well: It can access shares across your local network, and also
features a built-in FTP client. The FTP client is seamlessly
integrated within the interface, so that working with remote
servers feels just like you’re working on your own computer, with
the same familiar interface and keyboard shortcuts.
Finally, Total Commander can save its settings and preferences
in an INI file. This means that you can take your carefully
constructed configuration with you wherever you go.
To me, Total Commander is absolutely indispensible. It is one of
the defining applications for my Windows experience. If you’ve ever
felt the need for a powerful file manager, this is it.
Total Commander has a long history; the 16-bit
version for Windows 3.1 is still available as well.