Probably everybody – aside of some Microsoft developers – will agree that the Windows Explorer is a terrible tool. Ever has been and still is. The DOS Norton Commander of 1986 probably has been better than the MS Windows Explorer of 2014 😉
After the DOS Norton Commander, I have used Altap’s Servant Salamander 1.52 for probably a decade. I was obvioously very content with what it did, its size and its speed. Until one or two years ago, when I absolutely needed to be able to handle unicode characters. Servant Salamander 1.52 cannot handle unicode characters.
Altap’s followup of Servant Salamander 1.52, the Altap Salamander was not free anymore and so I went on to look for a free replacement of my much loved Salamander.
I have checked five or more of the then available and free two pane commanders. The last one I checked was Double Commander, then in version 0.5.4 beta. This version number below 1.0 made me a bit uneasy…. but I sticked to Double Commander since then.
My Must-Have Features of a Commander
- Easy possibility to change directories with shortcuts
- Ability to change the background color (I get headaches of full white backgrounds)
- Show the full detailed view of files (filename, size, date and time, attributes)
- Make F4 open a self defined text editor
- Use Ctrl-F3 to sort by file name, use it twice to sort by name but other direction
- Use Ctrl-F5 to sort by file date, use it twice to sort by date but other direction
- Show hidden and system files
- Show file names with extension
- Use insert key to select files
- Use F5 to copy, F6 to move files
- Full unicode support
- Search function which can search for files matching a certain glob pattern and which contain certain text
- On Windows, right-click on a file must open the windows context menu
I get all of these features from Double Commander, so I’m very happy with it.
And there are some more features which I fell in love with, though I didn’t look for them in the first place…. When I need a new commander next time, these will be must-haves, too:
- Copy filename to clipboard (Shift-Ctrl-X)
- Copy filename with full path to clipboard (Shift-Ctrl-C)
- Have alternating colors for the background lines (see above)
- Open command window in the current directory
- Do copying in background, with several possible queues
- Double Commander is multi platform, you can use it on Windows, Linux etc
- It’s got a built in file viewer which
* loads images maybe ten times faster than Windows image viewer
* and it has got a hex view mode
- zip files and the like are handled like directories
After having used Double Commander some weeks, I got annoyed by the fact that it didn’t handle 7z archives like zip archives. How to add 7-zip support to Double Commander will be explained in another post.