Try This Alternative File Manager And Explorer For Windows. It's Free.


If you use the standard Windows Explorer to navigate around your PC, you may find that you eventually become bored with its standard look and feel.  Perhaps you'd like some additional features, or simply a different way of looking at the files on your PC.

Because Windows Explorer is just a program like any other, you can use a different one if you prefer.  One such program is XYPlorer, which is currently in its 10th year of production.  In addition to the paid-for version, which costs around $30, a free edition is also available which still has loads of features.  Not least, it has dual panes, so you can easily move and copy files between locations without having to open 2 copies of the program.  And it also has a neat way of highlighting the file tree on the left hand side of the screen so that you can easily see precisely where you are (note the lime green lines and boxes in the screen shot below).

XYPlorer Free is a download of around 4 MB, and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.  It should work on all recent versions of Windows (I tried it on 8.1).  It's available both in portable and installable versions at

In my own tests I used the portable version (choose the No-Install Package (ZIP) option from the download page).


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On the topic of File Explorers, try Q-Dir and Nexus File Manager, each is pretty cool in it's own way.

For me Free Commander is the best. I use it for years. It has dual pane + tabs and A LOT of other features (bookmarks, folder comparison, etc. and a ton of customization settings). I didn't find anything to beat it. It has an installer and also a portable version, a 64 bit version for donors and is very active developed.

If one browses this site, you will find that I have been the biggest advocate of XYPlorer, for a long time.
I have been known to stop people in the street, and tell them that it is the best in the known universe.

I still believe that, however I recently retried Explorer++ and I am liking that as well.
If they were sending me to Mars, and I was only allowed one File Manager, it would be XYPlorer.
However if you get into the habit of using portable File Managers (different folders for different categories), then ++ is a nice addition. If you leave the grid on (horizontal Lines), then even when 'tired' you can distinguish them from each other (I'll drink to that).

PS Not a fan of dual panes, but my sensei tells me to be tolerant of those with strange (old) habits.

Multiple panes is a feature that, after you get to use it, you wonder how you got along without it. I used XYPlorer in my Windows days and it's great. (Now I use Nemo on Linux Mint, or Dolphin on openSuSE.)

I usually try out various file explorer software but I always come back to Xplorer2 Lite ( Its very fast, supports dual pane, and even the lite has many features. You will often see offers to get the pro version at very reduced cost if you wanted to upgrade. But even the free lite version really is more than sufficient for everyday use. Its rock solid, and fully documented.

Dear rob.schifreen,

Thank you for this wonderful tip and suggestion for an alternative for Explorer. I enjoy using it and it is light enough to be utilised without consuming too much resources on PC.

Warm Regards

As long as we're posting our file manager preferences, I opt for Xplorer², which also has paid and free versions available. Its highly configurable and the ability to change panel colors for high visibility is a big plus for me, as is the ability to preview live links. The site, including the freeware "lite" version, is located at: Full disclosure, I have a lifetime license.

I have tried Clover and BetterExplorer and while they are nice for basic stuff, XYplorer really is in a league of its own. Also, a file manager isn’t really a file manager unless it supports dual-pane mode. Tabs are cool , but not enough.

Re: Geert’s comment about XYplorer’s inability to browse zip/rar files as if they were just another directory: I don’t really mind as I just use WinRAR for that.

In the interest of full disclosure: I own a so-called ‘XYplorer Lifetime Licence’.

XYplorer is a good (two pane) file explorer with all the features you can imagine.
I don't understand at all why the author does NOT want to add the feature to browse zip/rar files as if they were just another directory.
Something that Speedcommander, MultiCommander, FreeCommander, Total Commander,... do so conveniently.
For me, this is the main reason why I decided not to use XYplorer.

I have used XYPlorer for years, but I decided to take a look at Better Explorer. It's no where near the class of XYPlorer. While running it, I also got an error making me think it is not properly debugged yet although that may be unfair. As far as the look and feel are concerned, if you download a copy of the latest version XYPlorer, you will see they have updated their look.

Thanks Rob!
Excellent Windows Explorer alternative. I will use portable version.
Thanks too for your warnings about Clover and Better Explorer.


XYPlorer has been out there for years and is hardly new, in fact it is old school interface design.

On Windows 8.1 use Clover and for Windows 7 try BetterExplorer for more up to date file managers.

A lot of us like the old-school design. I note that the author of Clover, on his web site, says that he will not be making the program open-source because the code is "hastily written" and has "a lot of problems". For this reason, I would not recommend it. As for Better Explorer, my antivirus program blocks its website because of suspected malware. Again, I therefore don't recommend using it.