File Explorer isn’t the only way to manage your files. Best free Windows 10 file manager apps.
1. Metro Commander
What we liked:
Metro Commander stands out from the crowd by offering a very useful dual-pane interface, even in its free version.
It’s a Universal Windows Platform app (UWP), so it works on Xbox One and Windows Mobile, too. The dual-pane view takes a bit of getting used to at first, but it’s essentially just two columns of files, each representing their own directory.
To choose which directories are shown, click the heading at the top of a column to highlight it, then click one of the icons on the left – Navigation, Recent or Browse – to select the location you want to display.
‘Recent’ lists recently visited locations and ‘Browse’ opens a standard File Explorer window for you to find the directory you want. ‘Navigation’, which lets you choose one of your favourite directories, initially only displays a handful of default locations – including your Music, Pictures and Videos folders – but it’s easy to add more by clicking the ‘+’ button and choosing a folder.
You can drag and drop between panes, and a strip of icons along the top of the window lets you access further tools for copying, pasting, renaming and so on.
Metro Commander also supports OneDrive (without you having to pay extra), offers a wide range of keyboard shortcuts (click the ‘?’ icon for a handy list) and has its own built-in file viewer that supports useful features, such as Rotate, and Slideshow and ‘Cast to Device’ for photo files.
How it can be improved:
Some of the adverts displayed in the bottom-right corner of the window can be intrusive. Getting rid of them permanently costs £3.09, while various other similarly priced in-app purchases unlock other features,
such as alternate themes, MKV support and built-in file compression tools. Sadly, Dropbox support is one of the paid-for extras. Alternatively, you could consider opting for the Pro version (£6.19 from within the free version), which unlocks all the app’s advanced features.
Unwanted advertising intrusions aside, Metro Commander is a smart-looking file-management tool that offers a good, workable range of features in its free incarnation, including a very useful dual-pane view.
2. File Browser
What we liked:
Unlike some of the other free Explorer replacements in the Windows Store, File Browser doesn’t hassle you relentlessly with adverts.
By default, it provides shortcuts to your Windows Libraries and Homegroup locations, and you can also add a shortcut to any folder or drive by clicking Favorites, then Add and selecting the location required.
Single-clicking a file reveals a wealth of options along the bottom of the window, including sharing, copying, pasting, renaming and pinning items to Start.
Further options – including the ‘Copy to’ and ‘Move to’ commands – can be found by right-clicking an item.
A modest yet useful selection of customisation options is provided in the Preferences menu: you can choose to show or hide file extensions; recycle or delete files permanently; and opt to have a confirmation message appear before you can delete anything. A handful of colour themes is also available.
How it can be improved:
Frustratingly, the app’s support for tabbed browsing is locked to an in-app purchase.
Tabs appear at the top, but clicking the ‘+’ sign to open a new one prompts you to cough up £1.19 for the Pro version of File Browser. Admittedly, this is a relatively small price to pay, but the Pro version doesn’t unlock any other notable extras beyond a Dark theme option in Preferences.
File Browser isn’t exactly overburdened with features, but it looks good and does its job well. The lack of adverts in the free version is refreshing, too.
3. Files & Folders Lite
What we liked:
Files&Folders Lite is made by Finebits, the same developer as our Gold Award winner, and shares a number of Metro Commander’s useful tools, including a built-in file viewer and OneDrive support.
The key difference is that Files&Folders Lite dsticks to a traditional single-pane view. dClick Navigation (your favourite ddirectories), Recent (recently visited ddirectories) or Browse (which opens da standard File Explorer window) on the dleft, then select the location you want dto display in the main area of the app dwindow.
Back, forward and up arrows dlet you navigate, while right-clicking dfiles and folders provides access to dcommands – Copy, Cut, Rename, Delete, dand so on – as well as a handy ‘Share to’ doption.
Further tools, including a ‘Pin to dStart’ option, are in the top toolbar. dFiles&Folders Lite also lets you dcustomise its appearance.
Click dPersonalization, then scroll to select one dof the predefined backgrounds or click the ‘+’ sign to browse for an image of your own choosing.
How it can be improved:
Files&Folders Lite also shares some of Metro Commander’s flaws, including its distracting ads and expensive advanced features (the Pro version costs £6.19). And, without its stablemate’s dual-pane view, navigation is more awkward.
It’s not as intuitive as other filemanager apps and some of its features are hidden behind a paywall, but Files&Folders Lite’s customisability and built-in file viewer is a useful bonus.
BEST OF THE REST:
My Explorer feels like an old-school Windows 8 app and could do with a bit of a refresh, but it does a basic job reasonably well.
You can add your own favourite locations (up to 999 of them) and rightclicking files reveals management options along the bottom of the screen.
Customisation options are limited to choosing Light or Dark themes and the type of folder icon used, but at least there are no annoying adverts to contend with.
Hamstrung by an unattractive interface and navigation that’s clearly been designed for touch controls (single-clicking opens files by default), Aerize Explorer does have a few benefits, including badges showing the number of items contained in each folder.
Sadly, many tools and options, such as file compression, require £1.89 for the Pro version. Also, you need to pay a further £3.89 to permanently disable the ads.
Windows 10’s secret File Explorer app
Since the Creators Update, Windows 10 has included a hidden app version of File Explorer.
You can unlock it by right-clicking your Desktop and selecting New, then Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut window, type:
cw5n1h2txyewy!App and press Enter.
Name your shortcut, click Finish, then double-click it to open the File Explorer app. It’s a bit bare but is ad-free and will match Windows 10’s dark or light theme.
We Hope You Likes This Article on Best free Windows 10 file manager apps.
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