Best Alternative File Managers for Windows 10

As a Windows user, you must be familiar with the built-in File Explorer. You probably also know the limits of File Explorer. You might even be aware that there are alternatives out there that can help you move your files with higher efficiency. You just haven’t bothered to download and try one …

Until today, that is. In the 90s, the most popular third-party file manager for Windows was Total Commander. It’s still available, by the way, but there are also a lot more choices today. And here are some of the best you can get your hands on.


Don’t be alarmed when you first check out this app. This file manager may not look like Windows, but it’s very intuitive none the less. With its compatibility with macOS and Linux also, it’ll probably work with all of your computers, desktop or laptop.

fman is a highly effective alternative to File Explorer especially for those who are more tech-savvy. But if you’re even exploring what’s available other than File Explorer, you probably know what you’re doing.

The app constantly displays the contents of two directories (original and destination). This is the feature that makes moving, copying, and cutting and pasting files real easy with this file manager. It also has keyboard shortcut support, which makes file transfer even more seamless and quicker.

And if you’re looking for additional functionalities, this app actually has a plugin system. You can’t say the same about most apps that come with Windows 10. With plugins, this app has the potential for limitless functions, and the list of plugins available now is already extensive.


Behind the clever name lies a very functional file manager for Windows 10. It even looks similar to File Explorer.

Of course, the differences are there. Firstly, XYplorer is portable. As long as you have it on a USB stick, you’ll be able to use XYplorer on any computer that can read that flash drive.

It also has a much-cherished feature among casual and advanced users in tabbed browsing.

Based on the tabs that come with web browsers, this means that you can open multiple tabs on the same app window. It also means you can move and rearrange those tabs as you please.

For more advanced users, XYplorer has custom script support, and for everyone, the customizable colors and fonts may be enough to convince a download.

One Commander

One Commander

With One Commander, the general consensus is that the learning curve is rather steep in the beginning, but this file manager is so good you may never go back to File Explorer, assuming you get the hang of it.

First, the layout in One Commander is just too simple. That’s why you need to dig a little further to understand what’s so great about it.

The most confusing, at least in the beginning, are the dual-pane and column modes. The top part of this file manager only displays folders and drives and the bottom adds files in addition to folders and drives. The part on the left is akin to the one on File Explorer, save that it’s significantly simplified (that’s the theme with this app). Yet, it gives you instant access to favorites, drives, network connections, and other useful options.

As mentioned, once you picked up how it all works, which hopefully won’t be too long, you’re going to find that moving files and folders are now faster than ever.

The app is also very customizable. For instance, you can use the processor feature to run scripts, rename files/folders in bulk, and even to make JPG conversions.

One Commander is a brilliant alternative file manager that can change the way you use your computer. Just try to be patient at first.

Directory Opus

At first glance, Directory Opus also looks like File Explorer. However, the number of options at your disposal makes this a very advanced third party file manager. It’s like the creators of this app decided to take a completely different approach to the designers at Microsoft.

And it’ll be worth your while to learn how to use Directory Opus. That’s not to say that it’s not going to take a little time and effort for those who have never used anything other than File Explorer.

But, soon as you become familiar, you’ll be slinging around files and folders in and out and all over the place in a matter of seconds.

Advanced PC users will particularly enjoy this app owing to the ability to script, flag and check-mark files, and customize the hell out of the status bar.

Unfortunately, after a 60-day trial, you’re going to have to pay for the app. Neither the lite or the full version is free.

Free Commander

Free Commander is essentially the spiritual heir to the classic Total Commander. As mentioned, Total Commander is really showing its age and not likely to show up too many people’s best lists.

But Free Commander is here to pick up the slack and it’s completely free.

With Free Commander, you get the tabs feature (amazing), dual panes, simple drag-and-drop functions, built-in ZIP support, shortcuts, and even a DOS command.

Don’t expect it to be a lot more feature-packed than that, though. The creators knew what they were going for here – simplicity and functionality. So, nothing too confusing or difficult to learn, just an easy switch from File Explorer.

Explorer ++

Yep, this one is free too. But that’s not its only bragging right but also the fact that it is open-source. If you’re an expert PC user who knows your way around open-source apps, you’re going to love  Explorer++.

Open-source means the source code is public information, which means the community can constantly work on improving the app. As opposed to Windows 10 users have to rely on Microsoft, for example.

Other than that, the UI basic and easy to learn. You get a tabbed view and a variety of features not seen in File Explorer. For a start, you get to merge/split files and the file preview feature is great.


Another open-source file manager, this one doesn’t resemble File Explorer or even the Windows environment. TagSpaces allows you to add tags to your files, an innovative way of file browsing.

For instance, let’s say that you tag both a photo and a playlist as “Palm Springs 2019.” Typing in that tag in “Palm Springs 2019” in TagSpaces is going to bring up all the associated files. Not bad, right? Obviously, it’s inspired by social media.

File Explorer Alternatives for Windows 10

Each of the above has its own appeal. Those who venture out of File Explorer usually have a favorite alternative file manager that they swear by. You don’t have to try out every one of the above but rather just one at a time until you find one that you like.

Of course, try all of them if you so prefer. Or, you can even look for more as there are a ton of them out there.

Hopefully, you will enjoy your new way of exploring and managing files on Windows 10, whatever it turns out to be.


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