Windows software of the day [June 7, 2012]

Today’s Software

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About Windows Software of the Day

Windows has hundreds of thousands of programs. Because of this great volume and lack of a central store, software discovery (aka finding new and useful programs) is extremely difficult. With our Windows Software of the Day initiative, dotTech aims to change that. Everyday we post three programs, allowing our readers to discover new software, daily. Enjoy! [Subscribe to our Windows section to never miss an article: RSS Feed | E-mail]

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Software for June 7, 2012

Better Explorer

Windows 8, whether you like it or not, is the next step in the evolution of Microsoft’s Windows. With it comes an entirely new user interface paradigm, Metro, and an evolution of the desktop featuring even more of the ribbon interface. If you’ve looked at this evolution of the desktop and thought that it is the future, Better Explorer is for you.

Better Explorer is a ribbon-based Explorer replacement. It, by virtue of its design, it can do pretty much everything that Windows 7′s Explorer can do and do it with the ribbon UI. It appears to be built off of Windows Explorer in a way that allows for all of your everyday tasks in Explorer, such as managing files and libraries, to be completely natural and exactly the same with the added benefit of easy access to more settings with the ribbon UI.

If you like ribbon and are looking for a better way to browse your files, Better Explorer is the program for you.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: Beta 1

Supported OS: Windows 7 with .NET Framework 4.0

Download size: 14.1MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/41

Portability: Requires installation!

Better Explorer homepage

HotKeyMan

Every self-proclaimed geek needs to regularly use at least 15 different keyboard shortcuts of their own choice. However, these shortcuts are severely limited by default on Windows as there’s no good way to make universal shortcuts. HotKeyMan fills this gap by allowing you to create system-wide shortcuts for frequent actions.

HotKeyMan lets you do lots of things with just a mash of your keyboard. You can open a website, exit a program, change a program’s active window, capture a screenshot, open files (even as administrator), add things to the clipboard, and more. It’s a very nice hotkey manager, too. It allows you to easily enable and disable hotkeys as you need to.

HotKeyMan is a nice little tool for those who constantly use shortcuts and are looking to expand their portfolio of combinations.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.20

Supported OS: Windows 2000+

Download size: 1.5MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/41

Portability: Requires installation

HotKeyMan homepage

Drag’n’Drop Editor

Pop quiz! When you drag a file or group of files from one Explorer window to another, what will they do?

A) Copy.
B) Move.
C) Create Shortcut.

If you answered B, you’re correct. When you drag files from one folder to another, Windows will by default move them. If you’re dragging them to another drive, things get more complicated, but for now it’s simple enough to say they are moved.

However, if moving seems like a bad choice and you want to instead be able to copy or create shortcuts by dragging and dropping, you can use Drag’n’Drop Editor to change it. You can see in this video by the developer what each option does:

If you’re looking forward to changing the drag and drop operation on Windows, Drag’n’Drop Editor is the perfect tool for you, and is quite simple too.

Price:

Version discovered: 

Supported OS: Windows XP+ with .NET Framework 3.5

Download size: 98KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/42

Portability: Entirely portable!

Drag’n’Drop Editor homepage

dotTechies: We have tested all the software listed above. However, Windows Software of the Day articles are not intended as “reviews” but rather as “heads-up” to help you discover new programs. Always use your best judgement when downloading programs, such as trying trial/free versions before purchasing shareware programs, if applicable.

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22 comments

  1. Rob (Down Under)

    @JaykeBird: Good of you to respond.
    My will states – ‘No ribbons on my gravestone’

    Locutus did you one disservice in his review (overview). He did not mention that your program has Tabs.
    Once someone has used a file manager with Tabs, they would have to be brain dead to go back to a non tab file manager.
    There appears to be one exception, and they are the people that got addicted to panes, from back in the days when there were no Tabs. If I could go back in time, I would try to save those poor individuals, by introducing tabs 30 years earlier.

  2. JaykeBird

    @John:

    Greetings.

    First of all, let me say that I know that not everyone likes the Ribbon. I personally love it, but I understand why people do not. If you do not like it, you do not need BetterExplorer. Other file managers will add tabs as well, such as XYplorer that Rob mentioned.

    Secondly, BetterExplorer Beta 1 includes an option to make it the default. Open the File tab, click on Options, and then find the “Make BetterExplorer default” option. (You will need administrator approval.) Note that in some cases, Windows Explorer will still open. However, clicking on the Explorer icon in the taskbar, or pressing Win + E will open BetterExplorer.

    Thanks for your time, and thanks to this site for placing our product on here.

    Jayke R. Huempfner (JaykeBird)
    Co-Developer, BetterExplorer

    Also, to anyone who does try our program, if there are any issues, don’t be afraid to let me know via the discussions feature on the website, or via my e-mail, which I will post on the website.

  3. njwood60

    @Rob (Down Under): There seem to be few places where you can’t force XYPlorer to be the default (and I assume this would apply to any file manager). The first one is the Win Key + E which is the windows hotkey to bring up the WE window. I got around this one by using ‘Hotkeys’ to remap that key combination (I can supply the script if anyone would like it).

    The second one is the firefox windows download window – where you can right-click on the file you just downloaded and choose “open containing folder” For some reason this opens both xyplorer and WE

    The third one is any ‘open file’ or ‘save file’ dialog boxes from within programs. Although techincally these aren’t WE windows, they are exceptionally irritating to use and I would love them to be replaced by XYplorer or and other decent File Manager!

    Also Xyplorer can’t see my phone when it is plugged into the PC, and I have to use WE to navigate the files on my phone.

    I guess most file managers would have similar limitations

  4. Rob (Down Under)

    @John:
    I use WE about once a year
    I use XYPlorer all the time.
    I made no changes anywhere to make XYPlorer my default.
    Could you explain what making Better Explorer the default will do for you ?.
    (How would you notice that it is now the default ?)
    I am not picking on Better Explorer, as I would ask the same question of you, regardless of which File Manager you were using

  5. John

    Hello Peter,

    Thank you for the information, I have managed to download and install Better Explorer, I turned off Add Block Plus first. Does anyone know how to make Better Explorer the default file browser ? I have looked on BE web site and found nothing, any suggestion appreciated please.

  6. Peter

    @John: You’ll have to temporarily disable ad- and scriptblockers for that site (sth. like Adblock+, Ghostery, NoScript etc). I do not remember if it has been necessary to enable third party cookies …
    HTH

  7. Arby

    @JWS:
    The application file is portable which means it does not need an install in your windows OS. It doesn’t add any entries to the registry. If you want it in your ‘C:Program Files (x86)’ folder, you must create a folder there yourself and move the Drag’n’Drop .exe into that folder. You could name your new folder Drag n Drop. Then right click on the .exe file in your new Drag n Drop folder and select ‘create shortcut’. Move the newly created shortcut to your desktop or wherever you want it. Then you can start Drag’n’Drop from the shortcut.

  8. JWS

    Dear Mr. Tkachenko OR ANYONE WHO CAN HELP ME:

    Thankyou for Drag’n’Drop.

    I am using Win7 HP/64 SP1.

    I an intermediate user (beginning relative to you) and new to Win7.

    I installed it to my downloads data folder on my data hard drive, expecting to be able to run a setup file and install the program on my C:Program Files (x86) folder on my SSD.

    I was never given the opportunity: When I unzipped the file the application file appeared.

    How can I add it to my Programs folder, Start Menu, and Startup folder?

    If I delete it and start over will that confuse my registry? Does it add anything to my registry?

    Best regards,

    Jeff

  9. John

    I am unable to download bexplorer for some reason! Anyone have any answers why this should be ?
    Have tried Browser Fire Fox 13 and IE 9 and unable to download the program all I get is a page that says “Your Download Will Start In 3 Seconds” a minute later and still no download.

  10. Buckley

    @njwood60:
    Also got the paid version as a giveaway to test as a replacement for Powerdesk7. Unfortunately, I use dual pane viewing often and found that xyplorer doesn’t handle it as well as PD7. PD7′s UI is also still better (than xyplorer’s) maybe only due to familiarity. Too bad; would prefer not to use Avanquest’s products.

  11. Rob (Down Under)

    @njwood60: @njwood60:
    Thanks for the support.
    I believe remembering last Tabs should be a default (which it is in XYPlorer)
    I didn’t prattle on too much about the other benefits, because I have done so repeatedly on other DotTech web pages, and yet still people are not using it.
    Because it is portable, they have nothing to lose by trying it, and yet they haven’t.
    (“You can lead a horse to water, but . . . . . .”).

    The search is brilliant. The MS Analysts (and I am exaggerating there), should be put on trial for the Windows search abomination. (And no Indexing.)

  12. njwood60

    @Rob (Down Under): I am a total fan of xyplorer. I got the paid version as a giveaway but after using it I’d be completely happy to pay for it. It has features I didn’t even know I needed but once you use them you can’t believe you did without them before. The tabs are great and you can save the “open” tabs so that when you open xyplorer next time the same set of tabs is open. The image preview is great – if you click and hold on an image it will “popup” a larger version. The search facility is brilliant. If you hit F2 to rename a file only the file name is highlighted – not the extension as well (not very often you change an extension). Then if you down arrow to the next file it leaves it in “rename” mode so you can quickly arrow down and rename mulitple files. Right click and drag gives you an extensive menu of options including copy (or move) with last modified date or increment. That is worth the price alone for me!

  13. Kell

    Ribbon??!! That should read WORSE Explorer. Hahahaha

    Also: Very weary of the “whether you like it or not” phrase from so many bloggers. I DON’T like it. I like the days when MS tried to please its customers and when I could fix things up to be “anyway I liked it”.

  14. Rob (Down Under)

    On a related matter, I just read about the Drag Drop program.
    If you guys replace Windows Explorer with XYPlorerFree -
    a) You don’t have to have multiple instances of windows Explorer (give me a break)
    b) You open up your Target folder in another Tab
    c) You drag your selected files to the other Tab.

    In the latter -
    - If you Left click and drag, they move.
    - If you right click and drag, a context menu pops up with choices between Move or copy.
    In either of the above operations you do not have to ‘open’ the Tab. You can just drop onto the wee Tab at the top.
    If you hover over the Tab, for a couple of seconds, the Tab ‘opens’ for you, and you can drop as described before.

    So with one program-
    You avoid Windows Explorer
    You avoid multiple Windows Explorer windows (geeze)
    You don’t need Drag & Drop Editor

  15. Rob (Down Under)

    Shirley, you can’t be serious ?

    I already hate Windows Explorer (and cannot understand why people do not use one with Tabs).
    And now you can get it with the RIBBON
    I will be off line for a wee while, trying to locate where I hid the shotgun shells

    I wrote to MS saying if the ribbon is so great why don’t they build a big one into Windows.
    It would permanently take up the top 20 % of your screen.
    Other programs can use the remaining 80 % below.
    I got as far as the post office, and then ripped it up.
    With all the stupid things they have been doing in the last few years, they probably would have implemented it.

  16. Peter

    @Jyo: There was hope that ribbons had died, been buried and forgotten. But that is a matter of taste.
    A comment to drag/drop files with Windows Explorer: I use the right mouse button do d’n’d between explorer windows and get a selection (7zip with submenu, TeraMove, TeraCopy, copy here, move here (the latter 2 use Windows) and cancel). This works regardless where the folders are located and I’ve got full control.
    Cheers