This 4-In-1 File Explorer Makes Moving And Copying Files Simple


The standard way to move or copy files and folders in Windows is to use Windows Explorer.  But there's a fundamental flaw in its design which Microsoft consistently seems to ignore. You open Explorer and select the files you want to move or copy and then, well, what exactly?  You either have to open another instance of Explorer, or move within the open one, in order to paste the stuff you just selected.  It works, but it's messy and complicated.  And Windows Explorer, like the rest of Windows, is often too big and complicated for performing small tasks.

All of which is why I rather like an Explorer-like program called Q-Dir, which you can get from  It's free, it's a tiny download of around 0.5 MB, it's portable, and it's malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web Of Trust.

Once you've downloaded the zip file and unpacked it, just click on the .EXE file to run it.  Instantly you'll see not 1 but 4 identical windows, each showing a view of your PC.  Each of the windows operates independently so you can, for example, point one of them at one folder, and another of them at a different folder, and then easily move or copy stuff between them.  It's simple, elegant, and it works really well.

Q-Dir works on Windows XP and above and, as I mentioned, it's free, so give it a try if you want a flexible way to manage your information.




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This article is misleading in that it implies that Q-Dir is portable. In fact, there are installer and portable versions of Q-Dir - it depends on which download you choose. See

Please amend this article to reflect this.

I've been trying Explorer alternatives for years and have settled on Multicommander. Free. Powerful. Stable. Can run as portable. Very configurable. Has Norton Commander style keyboard commands if you want. Active users forum. Regularly updated. The list of features for this program is extensive and too numerous to list here.

I found CubicExplorer, Explorer++, Xplorer2, Q-Dir, and NexusFuile by Googling them.

I have used Xplorer2 but it requires a PhD to use it. I'm too stupid.
Q-DIR is about my mental speed if i use 1 or 2 panels. More like 4, and I short circuit and cannot remember what it was that I was doing.

Your job, should you accept it, is to try these out and report (back)to us tomorrow of your findings. If you get caught, you should disavow of any knowledge of Gizmo's website. Arm over face, slipping out the door.

(music plays louder... scene fades out)

There was a post by someone who had a link to other Explorer replacements. What happened to the post?

If you are referring to a long list that was posted by someone, it was deleted. Reason being, there were several commercial software mentioned in that list. We edited those out, and published the comment again. But, the member who posted the comment, thought of being sneaky, and edited the comment again, and this time placed the commercial software under the freeware list. That's totally unacceptable. That's why the comment was deleted. People should respect that this is a freeware site, and respect the rules that we have in place here.

Thanks for the explanation. Phooey on the person.

Re FreeCommander if anyone's interested, although the final 2009c version is very good the program is still being developed and updated as a forked project under the name FreeCommanderXE.

It's still the basic FC but has some nice enhancements etc.

I have gone for the portable XE version.
F10 was great.
I have set it, to keep the Settings (INI) local, as I also detest the Documents and Settings mineshaft. (I even hated it in XP, and that was before MS decided to block access to it).

Thanks, you have been very helpful,

I have been using Q-Dir for many years and it is my absolute default file and folder manager. I did evaluate many other Explorer-type file managers at the time and all of them had something lacking. The big difference to me was the level of customisation that Q-Dir permitted me.

There's the obvious things like the actual view: 1, 2, 3 or 4 panes (I use 2 for 99% of my work). But, as a small example, one thing I didn't realise how useful it would be is colour-coding files according to their type or extension. At first I thought this would be a gimmick, but it's become part of how I manage data now. Many friends and colleagues have commented, positively, on this. In the same folder, I may have a bunch of Word files (coloured blue), PDFs (coloured red) and Excel files (coloured green). You can specify exactly what colour you want for every different file extension if you wish.

What about the built-in app launcher for other programs? I love this, especially for small tasks like Windows calc, CharMap, command line etc. There's nothing to stop you using it to launch a text editor (Notepad++ is a favourite), or browsers, or an office suite ...

Someone previously mentioned copying issues. I use TeraCopy for all my copying tasks and set it as the default for that. It gets launched automatically by either Windows Explorer or Q-Dir when required.

There's more to Q-Dir than just being an excellent file/folder manager. Have a look under the lid and see what else it can do.


I use Clover as an addon to windows explorer which allows browser like tabs in windows explorer which then makes things like copy and pasting fairly painless

I tried to copy 192 files 3.17 GB. It would NOT copy, would NOT refresh. Sorry FAIL !

I am sticking with Free Commander 2009 portable.

Century22 OR David,
I am trying FC in W8-1 (64 Bit)
Surely the Authors of Q-Dir and FC must appreciate that there are people (like me) that wish to use a File Manager, the way God intended (Single Pane, with Dir on the Left, and details on the right. And Tabs of course)
Yet neither of the programs make it easy to set it up that way.
Any tips would be appreciated.
Rob (Down Under)

PS Mention was made regarding colors for different File Types. I too have found that very handy in XYPlorerFree.
Those keen to try that (colors for files) should be heartened to know that FC has that ability (I haven't yet found the ability to set the colors, but hope springs eternal).

Of course they appreciate that but two or more panes is one of the things that sets these file managers apart from Windows Explorer so I guess that's why this is the default view.

I'm not sure what you mean by "details on the right" but it really is easy to get a single pane view with tabs plus directory tree on the left.

In FreeCommander just press F10 which toggles between single and dual panes, or use the option in the View menu. Directory tree is Alt-T or again, in the view menu. Also you can edit the toolbar (right-click it)and have buttons for those options if you wish.

To set colours for file types, click Settings in the Tools menu, then in the settings dialogue you want View - File/Folder List. This section has several tabs one of which is "Item Colour". Then you just add whatever filetypes you like and choose colours for them. YOu can also set colours for different directory types too.

In Q-Dir, the buttons are at top right for all the available pane layouts. To set which one is the default then you need the Extras menu and "Starting As". Directory tree is the button at the far left of the address bar and colour-by-filetype is found in Extras-More Options.

Neither of them are difficult programs to use, it's just a question of getting the feel of them and spending some time exploring the buttons, menus and options.

I tried FC after reading your remark and it's really quite nice. I never need more than two panes anyway. Move THIS to THERE is all I do.

I'll use it more tomorrow and get "used" to it better. Puzzled as to why the portable version requires installing. I want a single exe to store on my flashdrives. I'll revisit it tomorrow.

Again thanks for a good tip.

FC - making it Portable
As I mentioned, I installed it into W8-1 64 Bit
I believe that it is portable, even though it installs into the Program Files (x86)
I copied the folder across to my XP machine, and placed it under my C:\PGMS_NoInstall\ folder
It runs OK
It has forgotten my tweaks so far (God Intended Dir), but hopefully that is the only hiccup.

Conclusion, the 'Installed' folder can be used in another PC (or thumb drive) as a portable program.

I accept donations,
PS Even if you are tempted to leave FC in Program Files (x86) DON'T
I went to retrieve the INI file to inherit my Settings.
W8 told me to get lost, as we are not allowed to access the default location of the INI file.
If you try telling FC to store the INI file where God Intended (in the application folder), Windows won't allow the program to create/move the INI file into that folder.
The later versions of Windows are getting more and more irritating.
So my suggestion is - Let FC install, and then copy the folder to your own spot ( say C:\PGMS_NoInstall\ )
AND then tell FC to store the INI locally.

C:\PGMS_NoInstall\ is the best idea in a long time. Thanks. I cannot believe I didn't invent this folder before you, because all my DOS programs st in or began with C:\BAT\ where the first thing it did was to deliver me to the proper subdirectory (folder) for execution.

I'll Put a shrimp on the barbie for you tonight.


I think you must have missed the correct download link Rob. FreeCommander portable doesn't run an installer at all, unless you downloaded the PAF version which is unnecessary.

If you go the bottom of this page - - and use the "Freecommander 2009.02 ZIP" link then you will get a zip file that you just extract to wherever you want to run FC from. No installation whatsoever.

Actually I initially decided to get the Install version (which is very unlike me).
I thought that the Install version might be more appropriate for a File Manager, so that Windows knows where it is.
Also W8 being 64 bit, I thought that I might cop the 64 bit install.
Looks like I was wrong on both counts, as it only installs as 32 bit, and all the trouble I have had, did not compensate for Windows knowing where it is.
So your point is well taken.

You may very well get all the donations that were coming in my direction,
Rob (VERY Down Under)

The portable version doesn't need installing, are you sure you found the correct link? You don't want "" but one of the "More Downloads" which are just below that one the downloads page.

It isn't a single exe but it is fully portable - I think you might need to go into settings and tell it where to store its .ini file, I forget now but it's not difficult to find.

Q-Dir is superb except for one thing, Do this:
1. Create a folder anywhere in your drive
2. Show the tree view in any pane
3. Delete the folder you just created in the tree view
4. There you have it! the folder is still visible in the tree and the tree view won't refresh.... EVER! I've spent 3 years asking SOFTWAREOK to FIX THIS BUG! but they just keep claiming to have the best file explorer. PUAF!!!!!!

I don't use this App!, it's useless to me because of that NASTY BUG!!!!!


Reaver, I just tried what you said doesn't work and it worked on my WIn7 32 bit OS.

I made a new folder, went to a diff pane and there it was.
deleted it out of a still different pane and then went to a nother pane and it was gone.

It HAS to refresh. It's portable. It's kinda like making a change in the old AUTOEXEC.BAT file or CONFIG.SYS and nothing happens until you "refresh" the PC by rebooting so it gets a chance to read everything again.

Other than what I have given you here I cannot imagine why it doesn't work with your PC. I hate to ask but I must, are you using VISTA? If you are, know it's considered by 99% of DottEchies to be a POS and you should upgrade to Win 7 while you still can.

Don't get mad at me now, I'm just trying to say It works for me.


Thanks David for your comment, the trick to get the bug is TO DELETE THE FOLDER "IN THE TREE VIEW", the folder gets deleted but the tree doesn't refresh ( not even using the menu VIEW/REFRESH) then I click the folder and of course that's when I get the messagebox that says ACCESS DENIED, CAN'T FIND THE PATH ! , anyway, I have Windows XP SP3 and I would love to upgrade but I can't as for now so I guess it's pretty much my fault :)


Thank you for more info on your probbie. I am sounding like a Aussie but i live in the USA. Ii just like the way they talk.

Anyway, I just brought up double WIN 7 windows so I could read your reply at the same time I performed your steps.

Sad to say, but I think it's your XP doing the dirty deed, for Q-DIR works fine in WIN 7 32 bit Home edition. Refreshes automatically and poof it's gone.

You can always set Win 7 to XP mode to run your programs but Win 7 is great and if I had an extra $100 I would buy it for you now. You will not lose anything and you will be used to using it in one day.

All this coming from an old guy who grew up on an 8088 and DOS 2.0

Peace, my brother of a different mother,

I move between different directories. I like the way it gives you the four pane view, also the favorites which is missing from explorer. I've tried a lot of these utilities but this one looks like it might be a keeper. Good article.

Who says it's problematic to use Windows Explorer (any OS flavor)? All that's required is to select/highlight the file(s) and/or folder(s) you might wish to either copy or move, then click "Edit" in the command toolbar and select "Copy to folder" or "Move to folder" according to your need or intentions. Been using this method for many years since at least Windows XP, and maybe even Windows 95.

Glad you mentioned that. This Windows 8 is so alien to me that often I don't see what's right in front of me. Frankly, I can't understand why MS licensed OEM's to preinstall Windows 8 on PC's in the first place, unless it was just for the sake of money.

But I digress. I used to use the free Context Magic because I liked it's simplicity but it doesn't work with Windows 8 or at least it's 64-bit version.:-(

Thxs jh, never realized that option was there.

I can't understand how anybody capable of using a keyboard would not prefer a dual pane style file manager. The good old Norton Commander style F5 copy and F6 move are so much quicker and easier than futzing about with a mouse and NC file selection tools are often quicker and easier than ctl-a, ctl-shift-click, and ctl-click. I have yet to need more than 2 panes but if I did I would probably prefer Q-dir to any Explorer-style alternative even it did require drag-and-drop.

This was supposed to be a reply to Combierob below

Q-Dir can also be used as a single-pane with tabs. Just sayin...