Windows has a good file manager, doesn’t it? But, it seems File Explorer in Windows 11 isn’t what it used to be. There’s no more ribbon toolbar, the visible functions are limited, and some functions aren’t always there. It can be confusing and hard to read.

Compared to Windows 10 File Explorer and older versions of Windows, the Windows 11 File Explorer could be lacking for some people. If you’re one of those people, why not try one of these better file managers for Windows 11? 

Table of Contents

    We scanned all file managers below for viruses using VirusTotal. However, it’s still your responsibility to make sure your system is protected. Unless stated otherwise, all file manager software listed offers multi-language support. Installable file managers can be set as the default file manager for Windows, including launching with the Win + E keyboard shortcut. All screen captures were done in Windows 11.

    1. Total Commander

    Price: 30-day free demo, $40 lifetime license

    Compatibility: Windows 3.1, 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista ,7, 8, 8.1, 10 

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11.

    As the compatibility list shows, the Total Commander file manager has been around for a long time. Total Commander file manager is the most popular file manager on this list. It’s fast, full-featured, has powerful utilities, and excellent thumbnail and image preview support. The interface will be familiar to you, too. 

    ProsCons
    Time-provenDated look and feel
    Extensible with plugins and addonsCustomization is a bit difficult to apply
    Intuitive interface
    Customizable interface
    Set file transfer speed limits
    Plugins available
    File compare
    Excellent for large file transfers
    Dual and single pane
    Portable and installable versions

    2. Directory Opus 12

    Price: 60-day free demo, $50 Light license, $90 Pro license

    Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11.

    If you like Total Commander, you’ll like Directory Opus. The look and feel of this file manager software is slightly more modern. However, Directory Opus Pro and Total Commander’s capabilities are on par, yet Total Commander costs about $40 less. Directory Opus Light is almost a direct replacement for the pre-Windows 11 File explorer, so getting the Pro version might not be necessary.

    ProsCons
    Can completely replace File Explorer including launching with Win + E key comboCost
    Save complex Windows searches to run repeatedlyLimited user support
    Built-in duplicate file finder
    Highly configurable interface
    Folder tabs to keep multiple folders open
    Image preview is high resolution and crisp
    Supports all major archive formats like Zip, 7-zip, and RAR.
    Fast search
    FTP support
    Customizable keyboard shortcuts

    3. Xplorer2

    Price: 21-day free trial, $30 Pro license, $50 Ultimate License

    Compatibility: Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11.

    Xplorer2 file manager is another file manager with a Pro version that’s essentially a one-to-one replacement for File Manager and an Ultimate version with all the bells and whistles. The prices are reasonable when considering its flexibility. License is for use by a single person on multiple devices or multiple people on a single device. 

    Features are on par with all the other power file managers listed here. However, the interface doesn’t feel as intuitive. Xplorer2’s comprehensive library of video demos helps, though.

    ProsCons
    Multi-language supportNot as intuitive as others
    Fast searchCost
    Free lifetime upgrades
    Extensive documentation with videos
    Detachable panes
    Highly customizable
    Video demo library

    4. Q-Dir

    Price: Free

    Compatibility: Windows 7, 8.1, 10, 11, Windows Server 2012, 2019, 2022

    The first file manager software on our list to be declared Windows 11 compatible by the developer, Q-Dir is also the first free file manager on the list. The Q in Q-Dir stands for Quad Explorer, meaning that it shows four panes for file management by default. That is changeable, of course. 

    It also picks up the Windows 11 native icons for Desktop, Documents, and Downloads directories. It feels like this is the file manager for someone who spends a large part of each day moving files, more than something a home user might need.

    ProsCons
    FreeInstallation was a bit confusing
    Up to 4 panesDated look and feel
    Installed and portable versionsDocumentation is web-based and has ads
    Printable directory views
    Saveable layouts
    Small installed size

    5. Explorer++

    Price: Free

    Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11.

    For a one-to-one replacement for File Explorer in Windows 11, Explorer++ may be the best option. Its look and feel is almost indistinguishable from the pre-Windows 11 File Explorer. Explorer++ runs only as a portable app, yet it can still replace File Explorer as the default file manager. 

    Although Explorer++ doesn’t have all the advanced features of other file managers, it does what it does very well. This may be the best free file manager software for Windows.

    ProsCons
    FreeMay not have enough advanced features for some people
    Easy to usePossible right-click menu integration issue
    PortableDated look and feel
    A few more features than File Explorer
    Bookmark files or folders
    OneDrive integration
    Customizable

    6. One Commander

    Price: Free limited version for home use, Pro portable – $8,  Pro installable $19.99

    Compatibility: Windows 10, 11, but not 10S.

    With a completely different look and feel from the others, One Commander is a competent file manager. One Commander’s unique look is part of their challenge against, “…existing workflows that remained unchanged since the ’90s, and to improve your interaction with the filesystem ”. It may take some time to get used to it. 

    Although said to be Windows 11 compatible, One Commander doesn’t support the acrylic window effect. On installation, Windows blocked the install. Our tests showed it to be safe, but it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s safe for your system.

    ProsCons
    Innovative look and feelLook and feel may be too innovative
    File conversion utilities (Pro version)Windows 10S not supported
    Portable or installableAcrylic effect not supported in Windows 11
    Customizable themes
    Built-in file previewing
    Good help files and user manual
    Dual and single pane

    7. FreeCommander

    Price: Free

    Compatibility: Windows XP (32 bit only), Vista, 7, 8, 10

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11.

    A well-featured file manager for Windows, FreeCommander is an excellent choice among the free options. It has many of the features that the other file managers have and is strictly a portable program. The FreeCommander website does have ads, but there are no ads in the program. The interface is intuitive and familiar, so it’s easy to master.

    ProsCons
    FreeDated look and feel
    PortablePlugins come from another site
    TotalCMD.net
    Folder synchronizationNo support for cloud storage like OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox
    Supports FTP and network drives
    Good help files and user manual
    Plugins available to extend functionality
    Dual and single pane

    8. XYplorer

    Price: 30-day free trial, Standard Pro license $40, Lifetime Pro license – $80

    Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019

    Our testing suggests it works in Windows 11

    For many, XYplorer is their top paid file manager, partly because it supports so many Windows versions, including Windows Server. XYplorer is portable, runs fast, and has as many features as any other paid file manager on our list. Dark mode, folder size, and color filters for different folder and file types alone may make it worth the license for you. A lifetime license includes all future updates, so if you love XYplorer it may be worth it.

    ProsCons
    FreeNot as fast as other premium file managers
    PortableNo plugins
    Folder synchronizationNo FTP, sFTP, or SSH support
    Supports FTP and network drivesHow is XYplorer pronounced?
    Good help files and user manual
    Plugins available to extend functionality
    Dual and single pane
    Scriptable
    Cloud storage support
    Action logging

    What’s Your Favorite File Manager?

    Do you know of a file manager software we’ve missed? We’d like to hear about it as well as any tips or warnings about the file managers we’ve reviewed. We didn’t include some because they didn’t pass the VirusTotal check, or they just weren’t that good. Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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