Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Total Commander - the ultimate file manager for Windows (and recently for Android too)

Total Commander (aka Windows Commander) is the ultimate file manager for Windows (and recently for Android too).

Who can use it?
The regular Windows user that used all his life Windows Explorer will find Total Commander interface AT LEAST awkward. The interface concept and user experience is totally different in Total Commander. This doesn’t mean that Total Commander is bad or poorly design or difficult to learn. It is just different than Windows Explorer.
The regular user will require a day or two to accommodate with the concept ( experienced users will have no problem to gasp the new concept) but the efficiency improvement totally worth it. I am a Total Commander use since 1998 and I never ever (literally) used Windows Explorer again.

The concept
Total Commander solves an old design flaw of Windows Explorer. So old that regular computer user won’t even observe it anymore.
Many operations that you perform on files involve copying or moving files from one place (folder) to another. This is where Windows Explorer design fails: you work on two folders, the folder from where you copy the file (source) and the folder where you copy the file (destination), but Windows Explorer has one single panel. The Microsoft solution is to browse and open both folders and carefully drag and drop the files from source to destination. I say carefully because it is easy to ‘un-carefully’ drop the files in the wrong folder. Obviously there are also other methods but they are even more time consuming than this one. And when you close the Explorer all that work invested into locating your folders is gone. You have to start all over.
For a person that performs 1-2 file operations per day it is not a big deal, but for an intermediate user or a POWER user this is time consuming and error prone.
And, here is the time and place where you install Total Commander. Total Commander brings the concept of two parallel panels: it always shows on screen the source folder AND the destination folder. Now all you have to do is to drag and drop the files from one pane to the other (advanced users can user F5 and F6 keys for copy/paste).
Total Commander will remember the last used folders and ALSO the recent folders you navigated through. So, if you worked on a folder few hours ago and you want to return to that folder, you don’t have to browse the entire folder structure to locate it again. Using the History (Alt+DownArrow) you are back there with just one click.

The magic never stops
Total Commander has literary hundreds of features that are not present in Windows Explorer: FTP, compression support, fully customizable toolbar (that totally replaces the Start menu), CRC control, Mime encoding, advanced multi rename tool, advanced search tool, support for plugins (there are also thousands of plugins for Total Commander), thumbnail view, quick view, color coded file types, etc, etc, etc.
One of the useful functions we will investigate now is the File Queue. With this function you can Queue a long list of file operations for later execution and….

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Total Commander, except my affection for it :)