Thursday, January 28, 2021

XYplorer Review

XYplorer is a tabbed file manager for Windows. It features a powerful file search with duplicate file finder and filters, a versatile preview, a highly customizable interface, optical dual pane, and a large array of unique ways to efficiently automate recurring tasks. A personal license covers all computers owned by the licensee.

Does it do what it promises?

Reviewer 1: Yes! The Web site describes XYplorer as a tabbed file manager for Windows. It features a powerful file search, a versatile preview, a highly customizable interface, optional dual pane, and a large array of unique ways to efficiently automate frequently recurring tasks. It’s fast and light, it’s innovative, and it’s portable. I didn’t test XYplorer’s portability, but I found everything else to be true.

Reviewer 2: Yes, I found that nearly all the functions and features of XYplorer that I used did perform as the developer claims. XYplorer offers so many features and functions to cover many different kinds of set ups and users that most users will find no need to utilize all the features and functions.

Reviewer 3: XYPlorer is basically a very flexible and customizable file manager designed to replace Windows Explorer that comes standard with a Windows computer. There are a number of options such as split screen, either horizontal or vertical and/or a tabbed interface which makes comparing Windows files and folders very easy. It absolutely does what it promises and more.

Reviewer 4:Yes. XYplorer has been around since the early days of Windows, and can run on all versions of Windows from Windows 98 through to Windows 8.1. It is still in active development, many of the improvements having been suggested by users. XYplorer is an excellent program, which I recommend highly.

Reviewer 5: Absolutely. The Web site’s only claim is that XYplorer “. . . makes you faster.” It does indeed make one’s day-to-day computing faster. The Web site further states that XYplorer is a tabbed file manager for Windows. It features a powerful file search, a versatile preview, a highly customizable interface, optional dual pane, and a large array of unique ways to efficiently automate frequently recurring tasks. It’s fast and light, it’s innovative, and it’s portable.” That still vastly understates its capabilities.

Was it easy to install?

Reviewer 1: Yes. The installation file was only 3.26 MB, and the entire program needs only 7.8 MB of space. It claims to make almost no Registry changes. The EULA (End User License Agreement) says that the license is non-transferable and gives the owner “the right to use XYplorer on any number and kind of devices,” a welcome change from the restrictiveness of some other programs. The program may be downloaded for a 30-day free trial that is “fully functional with minor limitations.”

Reviewer 2: Yes. I extracted the 3.3 MB exe install file from a downloaded 3.2 MB zip file and installed without any problems or conflicts. I felt it strange to download a zip file when the zip file is almost as large as the install file. This causes an extra step in extraction with almost no benefit from reduced file size that zip format provides. Activation/Registration was a simple copy-and-paste of the provided key. The license for XYplorer is exactly what the license for such a program should be: by user and not by an individual PC or two. The licensed user can use XYplorer on as many different PCs that he/she uses. In today’s market and trends of software makers, this is quite unusual and fair. Licenses activate all features and functions of XYplorer with the standard license providing free updates for one year and the lifetime license providing free updates for life (I’m not sure if this is the lifetime of the software, lifetime of the developer, or lifetime of the user). XYplorer’s developer claims that it has no “phone home” function to verify that only a licensed user is using it. After the install, my network monitoring software did not report any attempts by XYplorer to connect to the Internet. This avoids many complications and glitches seen with other software that employ such DRM verification routines. It is a pleasure to use a program that I don’t first have to prove I’m not a thief.

Reviewer 3: XYPlorer installs as a “x86” (32-bit) program, even on a 64-bit system. Available as an electronic download, it comes in a zip package that can be extracted to run the .exe to accomplish the installation. There are no sneaky, unwanted programs included. It installs as a 30-day evaluation. In order to unlock the program with the provided key, one has to look under the “Help” drop-down menu and select the “Unlock trial version” option. Then, simply pasting in the software key converts it to the full version.

Reviewer 4: Yes. There are several interesting features about the installation of XYplorer. One of the indications of the attention to little details which are the hallmark of quality programming is that one can get “File Hashes” of the download packages of the program and thus check that the file that is received is exactly the same as the original. The EXE file is digitally signed by the author, which is another way to verify that it is a true copy of the XYplorer installer.

The 3.2 MB download file took less than one minute on my cable connection. The downloaded file is in zip format, and contains a read-me and the installer. In the read-me there are links to the Web site, support, download and registration. There are instructions for the installation, either as a portable app (it can be installed on a USB key for use on any other computer) or on one’s home computer. Either way involves no changes to the system or Registry.

The installation was very simple. An opening screen reminded me that I can try out the program for 30 days. The EULA gives the terms of the licence (for one person on an unlimited number of devices), and the usual disclaimers. The installation itself took about two seconds and copied its files into a directory of my choice. Registration is a simple copy-and-paste.

Although the default language is English, users can select any one of 17 other languages for the interface, including some unexpected ones (Bahasa Indonesia, Tiéng Vièt) .

Reviewer 5: Yes. It was an amazingly small 3.35 MB download with even the full installed version occupying a scant 7.8 MB on my hard drive. As per a dialogue box that opens and as confirmed by this reviewer, the program makes no changes to one’s system and left only a very few entries in the Windows Registry, all having to do with uninstallation. It installed quickly and easily through the use of a standard installation wizard and offered no bundled software nor made attempts to foist additional crapware. The EULA was clean, clear, and concise; and while it does make the now standard denials of any liability, it offers a free 30-day trial and a license generously allowing installation on multiple devices owned by the license holder and (with the Pro version) lifetime updates! It did not try to install itself into my auto startup nor create unnecessary shortcuts or icons. The program uninstalled cleanly with no empty folders or files and only those empty keys in the Windows Registry created by Windows.

Good points

Reviewer 1: The hardest part of writing this review was limiting the number of features to mention under “Good Points.” There are so many! One point that readers accustomed to Windows Explorer may find reassuring is that at the start, XYplorer resembles the Windows file manager. It has a tree structure of folders on the left and the contents of a selected folder shown in a pane on the right. Users of Windows Explorer should thus find it very easy to get started with XYplorer. The beauty of XYplorer, however, is how much more it can do: how much easier it makes tasks like copying, moving, and finding files and folders; how much more information it can make readily available; how easy it is for the user to customize it to meet his or her needs and preferences.

One feature that I want in any file manager is the option to have a Dual Pane structure. Having two panes means I can see the contents of two folders at once. This makes it immensely easy to copy or move files or folders from one pane to the other. In XYplorer, I can move or copy files from one pane to the other by using the menu, the keyboard, or drag and drop. I can also set any folder to show small, medium, or large thumbnails, and so with the Dual Pane structure it is very easy to compare photographs or other graphics in one folder with those in another. Moreover, I can have multiple tabs on each pane, just as I do on my browser, making it very easy to move from one location to another. Like so many features in XYplorer, the Dual Pane option can be toggled on or off by hitting a key (F10) or by clicking on the Dual Pane icon on the toolbar.

I often search for files on my computer. Sometimes, I know the filename but don’t know where the file is. Other times, I remember a bit of the file’s contents but not its name, or I know almost nothing except when I made the file. I have two excellent programs on my computer to help me perform these searches. XYplorer’s searching capabilities are so good that I might rarely if ever need these specialized search programs. Of course, XYplorer can search for a given filename, but it can also search for partial filenames, or just bits of the file’s contents, and the user can narrow the search by specifying one or more file extensions, size limits, and/or dates. XYplorer can even handle Boolean searches, so that I can search for a document containing (Brown OR Braun) AND (*.doc OR *.txt) AND NOT Green.

As hard drives have become more spacious, many of us have found ourselves with huge numbers of files, folders, and programs scattered all over the computer, at times located at the end of long, complicated paths. Navigating to C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\ProgramFiles(x86)\Opera\ui\standard_menu.ini is no fun. One of the many things that have impressed me about XYplorer is the attention given to making it easy to access files, folders, and programs, no matter where on the computer they’re located. The option that I find most useful is the Catalog, which is like a Favorites folder on steroids. Located on the left below or above the tree, it’s where I’ve put the files, folders, and programs I use most often. I can move or copy an item by simply dropping it onto a folder in the Catalog; if I drop a file onto an application in the Catalog, the file will open immediately in that application, no matter what the default application is for opening the filetype. I’ve also included some of my favorite Web sites. Clicking on the name will launch the site in my default browser.

One other very important strength of XYplorer is its excellent tech support. The Support section of the Web site offers not just a selection of Frequently Asked Questions but also a number of helpful tips for new users, a tour of some of XYplorer’s highlights, a list of the program’s most important features with links to documentation, a link to the active discussion forum, and an address for email contact. There is also a 567-page User’s Manual that I’ve usually turned to first when I’ve had questions. Several times, I’ve sent questions to the forum and always received very prompt and helpful replies from a variety of other XYplorer users, including the developer, who participates actively. The one time I sent an email message to the support address, I received a response from the developer within minutes.

Reviewer 2: XYplorer is mainly a file management program that offers many functions not found in the default file manager of Windows Explorer. Of the functions that Windows Explorer performs, XYplorer performs these similar functions faster. Learning how to use the vast number of functions and features that XYplorer provides can appear to be a daunting task. The developers of XYplorer provide several resources to help learn how to use it. The built-in Help file is an excellent go to source for instructions for use of a specific feature, but provides little insight into why a user would want to use that feature. As a new user of XYplorer, I found “The Tour” on the Support Web page an excellent way for me to determine what features I would want to use. I found the “Usage Tips” to be helpful for those not experienced in using any file management program such as Windows Explorer.

XYplorer has many good points, but its layout is its best feature. The tree branch showing dual panes with tabbed drives presents all drives and files much better than having several Windows Explorer windows opened at the same time. This interface enhances the main basic function of a file management program…Copy, Paste, and Move. Copying, pasting, and moving of files on the same interface page is much faster and better than moving through Windows Explorer’s one area display. To this single dual page interface, add the speed at which XYplorer operates, and the result is a much easier and faster way to perform these functions. In my testing of this vital file management function, XYplorer was 5-10 times faster than Windows Explorer. As I tested XYplorer against Windows Explorer’s copy-and paste-function, I found that as the size of the total files copied and pasted increased the speed difference between XYplorer and Windows Explorer increased.

I have numerous utility type programs to perform various file management tasks such as batch renaming, file searching, etc. XYplorer performed these functions as well as, if not better than, those dedicated utilities, thus giving me a single program to replace several other programs.

One function I found extremely useful in handling photo files is the Floating Preview function. I find thumbnails too small to be of much use, but the preview function of XYplorer is large enough for adequate viewing without opening another program to view each photo. With the Preview functions, I can quickly look at each photo to find the one I want.

The Info Panel is a big advancement over the Properties window of a file by displaying all that information without a separate window having to be opened and closed.

Reviewer 3: There is a nice feature called a “Many Tree”. The Many Tree function displays only the actual path followed when drilling down through a directory tree in Windows. We’ve all had the problem of trying to dig down through a series of directories and subdirectories by clicking on the plus symbol next to each section and expanding it. This ultimately creates a very long and wide list, requiring one to scroll up and down, back and forth to see where they are. The Many Tree function is accessible from an icon on the toolbar and offers several options. One can convert an existing drill down into a “many tree, load up the last “many tree” used, or generate a “many tree” from the history of a previous drill-down session.

The Many Tree information is retained across sessions. Even if XYPlorer is closed, it will still be there when the program is opened again.

Tagging: XYPlorer allows one to assign individual labels, tags, and comments (almost any size) to any file or folder.

Breadcrumb trail: This Hot Key (Ctrl+ backspace) pops up a hot list of a history of where one has been. This makes navigating back and forth between files and folders quite easy.

The enhancements to the “right-click” menu can save a lot of time when manipulating and moving files about within the file and folder structure.

I particularly liked the enhancements to the right-click menu. Being able to quickly move the file or copy a file to another location without having to drill down to that location is a nice timesaver. Commands such as Backup Here, Move Here to New Subfolder, Copy Here to New Subfolder, Copy Here As…, Create Folder(s) Here, Create Branch(es) Here (also known as “Copy Folder Structure”), Create Shortcut(s) Here, Extract Here, Zip Here, and Go to Dragged Item can be real time savers.

This program is really quite amazing. One actually needs to spend a fair amount of time experimenting with a myriad of features and enhancements it offers. There are a total of 123 features and configurations that can be changed within XYPlorer.

Reviewer 4: Over time, the way that Windows handles file management has improved, but it is peppered with pitfalls and it is often not too easy to do what one wants. Many third-party developers have come up with ways to plug some of the holes and to improve certain functions that are weak or missing in Windows Explorer. XYplorer has overcome many of these limitations all in one program. I can now discard several programs that I usually include in my startup process, and replace them with XYplorer. Not only does this free up system resources used by those other programs, XYplorer adds many features that I did not have available previously.

I have been using another Explorer replacement program for several years, so I am used to such features as dual panes. That program though does not have another very useful feature of XYplorer which is the multiple tabs, similar to those in browsers. This makes it possible to have multiple folders open at the same time, but all within the XYplorer interface, and not scattered all over the desktop. Moving around among them or closing them can all be done by clicking on the tabs.

The Find feature built into XYplorer is very useful. Currently, I have three different search programs to help me find things or to move around quickly on the computer to folders that I need to work with. Two of them are loaded at startup, and I load the third one when needed. Find (or Quick Find) can be called up with a hot key. Once the file or files appear in the Search Results pane, they can be previewed, without having to open the associated program. The Find can be narrowed by applying a number of filters and/or search methods. Or, if I’m not sure, it can be a “fuzzy search”, which will allow for some spelling mistakes or other small errors.

When I first started using XYplorer, I found the GUI (Graphical User Interface)) to be busy, and even confusing. To save time, I opened the help file for a detailed description of the many features of the program, where to find the functions, and all the subfeatures of each of the topics in the list. This is all textual, so sometimes is not too helpful, as I was not sure exactly where to look on the screen to find what the help file was describing; however, on the Web site there are two sections: Highlights, and Shots, which provide the visual information that I was missing in the help file. There are also some more videos and “How-to” tutorials in the comparative feature list.

There is an active Users Forum, where one can ask questions or point out difficulties. It is actively monitored by the developer, and there are many users who are active in answering questions or posting comments. The forum includes threads for Bug Reports, Wishes and Tips & Tricks. It is similar in format to the Neat Net Tricks Forum, so NNTricksters will find it easy to use.

Reviewer 5: Say goodbye to the antiquated and universal file management system offered by Microsoft in its Windows Explorer for these many years and hello to a very powerful file manager, XYplorer. XYplorer is the best manager to manage the files I’ve ever used. It has allowed me to automate and simplify work on my computer like never before. Clear and easy used interface, easily accessible functions and many other features that make a program that is in my opinion the best manager of files on the market that seamlessly integrates with the system and can perfectly replace Windows Explorer.

With XYplorer comes multiple tabs to jump quickly between folders, a powerful search function, a preview feature that should have been part of Windows from the start, and a highly customizable and intuitive interface. Even better, XYplorer offers this in a very fast and light application that doesn’t require any installation and uses very little memory or computer resources generally.

Explorer replacements tend to fall into one of two categories – those that offer dual pane views for working with two or more folders simultaneously and those that have tabbed interfaces to make it easier to switch between multiple locations. XYplorer offers the best of both worlds, providing both tabs and dual pane options. Click between folders, rename them, reposition them, and drag and drop files onto them — a whole lot easier than using Windows Explorer. One can even create a tab dedicated to a search filter. The Dual Pane makes it easy to move and copy items between folders, plus there’s Manual Sorting to view files exactly as desired. And when XYplorer is closed and reopened later, one’s tab configurations are there waiting.

Combine this extraordinary functionality with intuitive Tree, List, and Mini-Tree views, and what more can one ask for? The Mini-Tree contains a history of files and folders that have been used. Custom Toolbar buttons allow creating buttons to launch amps, for example. Color code files, tag files, highlight and bold favorite folders, or use the Catalog function to combine folders and items from all over one’s hard drive, LAN, and the Internet under a single heading. There’s even support for file names longer than 260 characters, an impossibility in Windows!

The endless features don’t stop here. There is one-click preview of any media files, plus multiple (up to 100) level undo/redo for file operations that persist from session to session. An advanced Recycle Bin leaves your default Windows Bin useless. There are tons of search options that allow quick search and a duplicate file finder.

And, for photographers, XYplorer includes a powerful Floating Preview feature. Essentially a new preview pane separate from the main window, Floating Preview supports Mouse Down Blow Up and the transparency grid for transparent images.

The program shines even more when one explores all under the hood options that it offers. Its configuration menu holds hundreds of configuration options that change the application’s functionality. From editing color filters and tags over fonts and templates to thumbnail dimensions and startup and exit behavior, it is all editable with just a click. It is what Windows Explorer should be but never will be.

The Graphic User Interface follows a keep-it-simple philosophy: its interface has been kept as simple and intuitive as possible, and does not confront the user with an overload of buttons, toolbars, or menus. While being extremely efficient, it is still attractive. Also, since it closely adheres to the look and feel of Windows Explorer, one can start working immediately. With time, I discovered more and more innovative features and experience how useful and indispensable XYplorer can be.

Support was as predictably excellent as was the program. It includes a Tips section, FAQ, superb users manual, excellent and active Users Forum and a “License Lounge” for registered users to share tips, hacks, etc. Direct email support answered my request in less than 24 hours.

Weak points

Reviewer 1: The only weak point I see in XYplorer is one it shares with most other feature-rich programs: a substantial learning curve. Though it can be used “out of the box,” to take advantage of its many superb features requires some time. Fortunately, the many support resources (see the last paragraph under “Good Points,” above) should reduce the user’s time and angst.

Reviewer 2: The only flaw I found in using XYplorer was in the default shortcut to display the Info Panel (F12), which does not display the Info Panel. I was still able to use the Info Panel by selecting it from the toggle button. I never found in the Keyboard shortcuts where this could be changed or reset, but the keyboard shortcuts options for XYplorer are enormous.

While not technically a weak point, I found the interface of XYplorer to be inhibiting by the sheer number of buttons and options. This made me feel that, with all these buttons and menu options, it would take forever to learn how to use XYplorer completely. I found that I would very rarely use many of these functions. It would be nice if XYplorer had standard and advanced interface selections so one who uses only the main functions would have buttons to choose from.

Reviewer 3: Does not display previews for Windows Office files. No previews of PDF files or Libre Office / Open Office file types; however, a file association can be established with each type of file so that double left clicking on the file icon will open it in the associated program. This is a standard Windows convention but I would at least like to see a preview. Sometimes files have a cryptic name and without a preview, and digging through and identifying various file types is more time consuming and difficult. After all, these are not some obscure file types but standard ones such as .doc(x), .xls, .ods, .pdf etc.

Although videos show in the preview pane (Floating pane) they don’t actually play. It only displays the opening frame. I thought I saw a playing video or at least a .gif of the video in one of the online demos.

XYplorer responded: The videos do play when previewed, but only if the necessary CODECs are installed in the system.

Reviewer 4 – Peter Royle: This is one of the most well-designed programs I have used. I did not stumble on to any significant weaknesses. That said, XYplorer will take some time to learn. Most of the basics of file management will be mastered after some experimentation and experience. I tend to focus most of my time using the computer to do work, but from time-to-time, I go back to the program itself, and try to learn a few more of its tricks.

Reviewer 5: Not only was I unable to find any weaknesses in this rock-solid program, I couldn’t even find something that I might suggest on a “wish list.”

Other comments

Reviewer 1: The Standard Pro license costs $29.95 and entitles the user to a year’s worth of updates. A Lifetime Pro license costs $79.95 and entitles the user to all future updates. In both cases, the user may put XYplorer on all his or her computers. A free version with fewer features is also available. For a comparison of the free and pro features, see http://xyplorer.com/features.php.

Reviewer 2: The decision to spend $30 for XYplorer will depend upon one’s usage of file management software. If one copies, pastes, and moves large files such as photo or video files, then XYplorer is well worth the investment.

Reviewer 3: While the default Windows file management and directory structure (Windows Explorer) is functional, it can be a bit cumbersome to use. When drilling down through this directory structure, the resulting display can get extremely long (and wide if there are many nested subfolders) and be difficult to navigate without endlessly scrolling up and down. On almost any computer, this view of the directory tree can very soon expand far beyond the limits of the computer screens ability to display.

Using XYPlorer and some of its available options, one can keep the entire breadcrumb trail on the screen for easy navigation with hot keys or mouse actions. Additional enhancements to the right-click menu can be great time savers. The preview pane when looking at individual files is very handy. To say that this is simply another Windows file manager is a huge understatement. It is capable of so much more that one can begin to wonder how they managed to get along without it.

There are a number of support options found on the XYPlorer Web site: usage tips, FAQ section, multiple animated tours, a User Forum and via email to support@XYPlorer.com . Also offered is a section called “License Lounge” that can be accessed via the Web site or a bookmark using one’s registered name and the software key received when the program is purchased. Several “cheat sheets” in PDF can be downloaded and these include keyboard shortcuts and “mouse tricks”.

Reviewer 4: XYplorer comes in two versions: Free and Pro. A comparative feature list can be found at http://www.xyplorer.com/features.php. The free version will give a good feel of many of the ways that XYplorer can make the usually dreary task of managing files and folders a lot more interesting and even fun. There are two versions of the Pro program: Standard Pro and Lifetime Pro. XYplorer can be used on any number of devices for an unlimited time. The Standard licence includes free upgrades for one year; the Lifetime provides free upgrades lifetime.

Reviewer 5: I was happy to see a program from a company that is not trying to hide from its customers. This is obviously a company that is proud of its product and dedicated to its customers as seen also by its quick attention to support requests and overall customer service. Additionally, the developer, Donald Lessau, who first began this program in 1997, is not only in constant contact with his customers and their wishes but is in continual development of this program to continually find ways to improve on it. The Pro version tested here is $79.95 and well worth it for the lifetime of updates if nothing else. There is , however, a Standard Edition at $29.95 as well as a Free version.

Will you continue to use it?

Reviewer 1: Yes. I have been using another, much more expensive file manager for almost a decade. I’ve been delighted with it, and I never thought I’d find another that equaled its features and performance, but I was wrong. If I were starting now, I might well choose XYplorer. It’s a superb program, and much less expensive. However, my familiarity with the other program and my having customized it to meet my needs have made me decide to stay with it on my desktop computer, at least for now. I will, however, continue to use XYplorer on my laptop.

Reviewer 2: Yes, I have set XYplorer as the default file manager.

Reviewer 3: Yes, I have made this my default file management system.

Reviewer 4: Yes. It has already replaced Windows Explorer as the default file manager on one of my regularly-used computers, and threatens to take over the others as well.

Reviewer 5: Yes. It will finally replace the highly problematic Windows Explorer I have lived with for far too long.

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