Best File Explorer for Windows is 100% Free!

We know Windows file explorer very well. It lacks many features that must have been there.

Even very first line of Directory opus, a famous file explorer is this:
Are you frustrated by the limitations of Windows Explorer?
An early and most crucial drawback of Windows explorer is that even with repeated requests, it did not come with dual pane. The second drawback of Windows file explorer is the absence of a quick search/filter. Suppose you intend to search within a folder, you can’t do so in Windows file manager. Another missing feature is no colour coding of files/folders. A list of drawbacks or lack of features is big enough to justify the need to go for a better alternative. I did the same.

After an extensive search, two file explorers drew my attention — Directory Opus and XYplorer. Both file explorers are feature-rich and contain all features from your wish list.

The similarity between these two fantastic file managers ends when we compare pricing. Directory opus is very costly. It is $89 for a single machine, whereas XYplorer costs $39.95 for all devices. A lifetime license of XYplorer is available in only $79.95.

The pricing of Directory Opus is too harsh. Though it also has a light edition with a price of $49, it is still pricy. Directory Opus does not give any free edition, only trial edition. Directory Opus should remove light edition from its kitty and instead bring a free edition. The guys must bring down the prices of the pro edition.

On the other side, XYplorer also gives a free edition, which is very much at par with its paid counterpart! Yes, this is true. I’m not joking. Download the free edition of XYplorer.

In my considered opinion, Directory Opus has a slight edge over XYplorer, but its high pricing model nullifies this advantage.

Let us now discuss salient standard features of Directory Opus and XYplorer, which are absent in windows explorer.

Let’s first glance at the following figures, which preview the main features of these two file managers.

Directory Opus


Features of XYplorer (Free Edition)

  • Dual Pane and Tabbed Interface. The dual-pane and tabbed interface is the backbone of any sound file manager. This feature is absent in Windows explorer. Only God knows why! XYplorer is equipped with dual pane features (vertical or horizontal) and multiple tabbed interfaces so that file operations become a piece of cake. The interface of XYplorer is slicker than that of Directory Opus.
  • Quick Search. Now, we can search within a folder by typing the search term in the quick search box. Search is swift — compare it to an eye blink! Its quick search filter is better than that of Directory Opus!
  • Colour Coding. Suppose we intend to know updated/downloaded files/folders within the last 24 hours. We can make a filter for that which will show updated files in the prescribed colour (say green). So now on green colour would mean updated files/folders in the last 24 hours. We can form many such filters of our choice.
  • Favourite folder/file. We can put favourite folders and even files in the “favourite” menu item so we can access these folders/files quickly.
  • A plethora of features. Other essential elements are Audio Properties, Batch Rename with Preview, Breadcrumb Bar, Checkbox Selection, Copy Path, Dark Mode, Paper Folders, and Zip/Extract Support. There are so many features in XYplorer (free edition) that we cannot discuss all of them here. So why not click here to see all the features?

The cons of free version of XYplorer

  • MTP. The free version does not have an MTP compatibility (that is, it would not show a mobile or a camera when we connect it to our computer. But we can solve this issue quickly. When we connect a portable device to our PC, we can use Windows explorer instead of XYplorer! Alternatively, we can use a paid version of XYplorer, which is not very costly.
  • FTP. Unlike Directory Opus, it does not have an option to transfer files to your website (called FTP). But this is a petty issue, as most users do not own a website. Even if they have a website, I can bet they would like to use a popular FTP client FileZilla which is 100% free.
  • Compare features of free version with that of paid version
I'm using XYplorer for the last many years without a single issue. My advice — try it. You would love it.

(The author is associated with AMIE Study Circle, Roorkee)