As my first post on my new site I'll start by talking about Total Commander. I have been using this wonderful tools since I think I got my first PC. Back then it was called Windows Commander. So what is it that makes this tool so wonderful?
Well, if you just install it and start it you maybe won't be that impressed. It has a quite old and perhaps boring look. But, if I can choose between good looking tool without any features (Windows Explorer) and a not so good looking tool with almost any features you can think of that is needed or could be nice to have when it comes to file handling on a computer. Then I choose the latter one. Which, in this case is Total Commander.
So, what do you normally do with your files on your computer? For a normal user you open files and maybe move files. That might be it for a big part of the population. But if you are a slightly more advanced user? Then you might need to duplicate files, pack/unpack files. You maybe want to filter the files so you only will see files matching a certain pattern. You maybe want to synchronize your files on a backup drive? Want to syntax hi-light files with certain name? Copy file names with or without full path to clipboard? All of this and much more you can do with Total Commander and as a good bonus there are quite easy keyboard shortcuts for doing that. So you don't have to move one of you hands between the keyboard and the mouse all the time.
Total Commander is composed as one main window with a split pane. First time I
saw this was back in time when Amiga 500 was a popular computer. I'm thinking of
the file manager Directory Opus.
Is this a good or a bad thing? Well, since it still exists and seems to be quite
popular among people that have some higher demand on file exploring tool than
the average user have, then I think we can say, yes it's a good thing. To be
honest it's actually very good. You have two panes open all the time within the
same program, so you can very easy move, copy files etc. Since quite some time
ago Total Commander also supports tabs. Hence you can have multiple tabs for
both panes. You jump between the panes by simply pressing TAB and you jump
between tabs in the panes by pressing
CTRL + TAB.
Renaming on steroids
There's something called Multi-Rename Tool in Total Commander which is quite handy. It can rename a lot of files for you in very few clicks. Imagine you have a folder with following files:
a_foo.zip b_foo.zip c_foo.zip
Now you want to rename those to:
01_a.zip 02_b.zip 03_c.zip
In Total Commander you simply mark the files and press
CTRL + M and the
Multi-Rename Tool will launch. In this particular example you prepend the
Rename mask: file name with
01_ and in the
Search & Replace you write
\_foo in the
Search For, like shown in the screenshot below.
You can just imagine how helpful this is when you are renaming a couple of hundred jpg files snapped with your digital camera where you often have quite cryptic naming as default.
Shortcuts and some more features
I could explain a bunch of features like the Multi-Rename Tool in detail. But some features are very simple to use, so I list a couple of my daily things I do using Total Commander.
Let's say you have
c:\a in the left pane and
c:\b in the right pane.
Mark files? Use
SHIFT + PgUp/PgDown or
CTRL + plus or simply
press plus and make a filter out the files.
Want to move files from folder
b? Mark the files you want to move and
Rename a file?
SHIFT + F6. This is a bit odd, since most other program have
F2 as rename button.
Pack files? Mark the files,
ALT + F5, then
ENTER. Files are now packed and
put into the folder on the other pane.
Unpack files? Mark the files,
ALT + F9 then
ENTER. Files are unpacked to
the other pane.
Browse packed files? Simply press
ENTER on a zip file for example and you will
see the content immediately without unpacking it. Very useful! Note that you can
copy single files when in this state. This is also very useful.
Alt + F7, then just search. Note the
Search subdirectories which
is very useful of you have a big project with a lot of subfolder but you know
that the file you are searching is not that deep down into the folder structure.
Then you use this to select how many subdirectories you want to traverse. Very
useful, especially in combination with the
Find text in the same window.
Go to folders that you have been in? Press
ALT + down and you get a neat list
for the last ~30 folders you have been in. Note that this is unique for the
pane. I.e. one for the left pane and one for the right pane.
Run a command? Just type it and press
ENTER. For example I want command
prompt. I simply type
cmd then press enter. Voila I get a command prompt
which have the path same to my current folder in my pane.
Mark a folder as favorite? Press
CTRL + d then
a. Type any name you like to
refer to this folder.
Go to a favorite folder? Press
CTRL + d and select your favorite folder.
Do a mouse right click? Press
SHIFT + F10.
View content of a file? Press
Edit a file? Press
Should you buy Total Commander?
Well, at least download it asap and start using it. If you just want to try it, you will only get one(!) nag screen when starting the program. Then you can leave it running for hours, days, weeks, years with full functionality and no more nag screens. But, when you notice that you cannot really live without this tool, then I think you should register the program. Christian Ghisler (the author) deserves money for this great tool and he has given free updates since I registered it, which was quite long time ago. As the headline says, I think Microsoft should buy this tool/company and replace Windows Explorer with Total Commander. Thanks!
Link to the official site: http://www.ghisler.com