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File Managers - Windows / Total Commander
DSh Offline
#1 Posted : Saturday, April 30, 2011 2:15:30 PM(UTC)

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File Managers - Windows / Total Commander

I'd like to introduce a very powerful and convenient computer program called Total Commander. Originally when it was created a long time ago it was called Windows Commander, but later the author of this incredible application got a problem with Microsoft since he used the word Windows. Well, logically Microsoft didn't invent windows, this word existed long before Bill Gates was even born, but the fact is - there is a possibility that the definition of the word Windows can be changed and no one in the world will be able to use it except when telling about Microsoft product. Period.

But let's return back to Windows, Not talking sorry Total Think Commander.

This excellent application can be found on Total Commander author's web site existing for years. The name of the author is Christian Ghisler and, as I said, he started developing this application a long time ago.

It's not a complete replacement of your Windows Explorer or any other File Manager, but it's a perfect addition having a lot of convenient and nice to have features in one package. So you can keep using your Windows Explorer if you like it.

What can we do with Total Commander? For those of you who still remember Norton Commander for DOS (198x-199x) and later for Windows Commander will be a very familiar tool that you were expecting for a very long time but probably didn't know about this application. So for these people the transition will be very quick and simple. But many people, especially in the USA, have no idea what Total Commander is.

Let's describe pretty quickly what you can do with this application.

Screenshot 1/12: Total Commander's main window

Total Commander's main window with Folder tabs, alternate line-coloring enabled and individually colored file types. You can execute commands directly using the command line shown below the file lists. The function key buttons at the bottom can also serve as drop targets. GUI elements like button bar, command line etc. can easily be disabled in the options dialog, so you can configure Total Commander's appearance to suit your personal preferences. As you can see in the right file list, Total Commander also supports working with Unicode files.

Screenshot 2/12: Thumbnail mode and quick view

Thumbnail view and activated Quick view panel (CTRL+Q) to view the file under the cursor with TC's file viewer (Lister). In addition to the Quick view panel, you can view files in a separate Lister window by pressing F3. There are a numerous of free Plug-ins available to support a vast number of file formats in thumbnail view and Lister. You can also show custom fields below the thumbnails (e.g. image dimensions) by using content plug-ins.

Screenshot 3/12: Context menu, custom columns

By default, files are selected with the right mouse button. To open the context menu, hold down the button a bit longer. This behavior can be changed so that you can use the left mouse button to select files. Total Commander can also show additional file attributes using custom columns. There are many content plug-ins available to show attributes of different file formats, e.g. id3 tags of mp3 files, Exif information of images and many more.

Screenshot 4/12: FTP-client

Total Commander also features a built-in FTP client for up- and downloads or synchronization tasks. If you wish to store the passwords of your FTP connections in Total Commander, you can secure them globally with an AES encrypted master password.

Screenshot 5/12: Tree view modes

Total Commander provides 3 different tree modes. It can show one separate tree for both file lists, one per file list (see image), or show a tree in one of the file lists. The above screenshot also shows vertically arranged windows. You can choose this view mode to gain more horizontal space to show file information.

Screenshot 6/12: Multi-rename tool

Rename multiple files easily with Total Commanders powerful multi-rename-tool: Modify text case, search and replace (also with regEx support), add a counter or load/edit filenames using a text editor of your choice. You can also rename files using file attributes, e.g. date/time, Exif-information or id3-tag fields. The available attributes are extendable with many freely available content plug-ins.

Screenshot 7/12: Compare by contents editor

Total Commander can compare two files (text or binary). You can also enable an edit mode to edit the files or to copy text between them directly in the compare window.

Screenshot 8/12: Synchronize directories

You can compare and synchronize directories (also with FTP) using Total Commander's synchronize tool. After comparison you can synchronize complete directory trees or perform specific actions with certain files using the right-click menu as shown in the screenshot.

Screenshot 9/12: "Breadcrumb" navigation

The path bar above the file list can also be used for navigation purposes. A part of the path can be clicked to go to that folder. Additionally, the path bar provides an optional "Breadcrumb-Navigation": Any part of the shown path can be hovered with the mouse to open a pulldown-menu which can be used to navigate through directories. The breadcrumb menu can also be activated with the keyboard.

Also note the bold font shown in the file list. You can configure the font for the file list, menu and dialogs separately in the options dialog.

Screenshot 10/12: Quick search filter

To quickly locate certain files, you can use the quick search filter (CTRL+S) to show only the files containing specific characters. You can toggle the filtering by pressing CTRL+S again. The behavior can be configured in the options, e.g. you can specify if the filename must begin with the typed letters, or if they can appear anywhere in the name.

Screenshot 11/12: Configurable button bar

You can change Total Commander's button bar and add buttons for internal or user commands, applications or folders. Simply drag and drop a file or folder from the file list to the button bar, or right click the buttonbar to add a button. To choose an internal or user command, click on the magnifier button next to the 'command' field to open the command browser. You can also create buttons to open other button bars as drop-down menus, or to switch between different button bars.

Screenshot 12/12: Options dialog

Total Commander is highly configurable. You can adjust many aspects of appearance and functionality to suit your personal needs. Be sure to have a look at the options dialog if you would like Total Commander to look or behave different than it is configured by default. You can also change the hotkeys on the 'misc' page of the config dialog. A list of all default keyboard shortcuts can be found in the menu 'Help' > 'Keyboard'.

Many more special settings can be changed by editing the INI file directly. See help (section 4.b.) for a complete list of available settings in WINCMD.INI. Also note that you can press F1 in every dialog or tool in Total Commander to see the according help page.

In addition I can say that Total Commander has a very friendly community and there are many people developing add-ons for this excellent application. Also keep in mind that the most of these add-ons are free and can be easily found, downloaded and installed. The installation of these add-ons can be done in just one click.

You can download this application and start using it for free with just one annoying thing - it will keep reminding you on every start that you need to buy it, but the evaluation shareware version has no any restrictions and you can understand the whole power and usability of this application. The price of this application is more than affordable and once you start using it you will pretty quickly realize that you like it. Your computer experience and efficiency will be significantly increased. I simply cannot imagine what cannot be done with Total Commander. If you need to find something inside your files you can do that filtering the files by file extension or name mask. And the search can be done inside your archives as well! You can simply find file duplicates in some directory, disk or on entire computer, you can use attached network drives like they are located on your local machine, same for FTP connections - once you are connected you can upload and download files with no efforts at all. You can pack and unpack your files and entire directories in just coupe clicks using your favorite archive program. You can setup Total Commander to use external packers or you can use internal Zip packer to pack/unpack your files. You can work with your file archives simply opening them like they are dub-directories, and you will be able to copy files from/to these archives, delete extra files, etc. You can step inside your ISO disk images like into sub-directories and copy files from these images in just one click if you install a special free add-on, etc., etc. The list of features is endless and once you find something that this application cannot do simply write a message to Christian Ghisler and he will probably add this feature like he has already done that several times for me. He is a very nice guy and open for conversations and requests.

If you are an advanced user you can easily correct some default settings to copy your files without using the windows disk/file cache or using different buffer sizes for different drives. In some cases it can give you a significant speed increase but you will need to carefully test your settings to make sure that you're not decreasing the speed instead. I was able to get up to 350+ MBytes/sec copy speed using four 2TB 7200rpm IBM/Hitachi hard drives configured as RAID0 and having 8 TB RAM on a Windows 7 Professional 64 machine. It's rather unique that regular but I got what I got.

If you have any questions you can ask them here on the forum and I will try to answer them. Or you can connect the Total Commander community and read many pages with detailed documentation.
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