Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Alternative File Browser and Command Line For Windows


This evening I downloaded and started experimenting with Selenium-Grid when I looked down at my TaskBar and I got lost. I had too many File Explorer window open, and too many command line windows open. Something had to change. Step in UltraExplorer, and Console2.

Both UltraExplorer and Console2 gave me the immediate satisfaction of tabs.

UltraExplorer for tabbed folders.image and Console2 for tabbed command sessions image.

I primarily downloaded both applications for the use of Tabs.

UltraExplorer Bonuses

UltraExplorer has an enormous amount of very configurable features. Almost too many options and features. It will take me a while to learn the ins and outs of UltraExplorer to understand its nuances - but I like its out of the box 'basics'.

  • The built in console which can autosync with the current tab and supports copy and paste. Useful for any emergency command line work.
  • The Drop Stack allows you to 'park' file move/copy operations.
  • You can setup tools to 'launch' from the menu.
  • The "Tools->Shell Extensions-> Win-E Hook" option allows me to pop up UltraExplorer when I hit Windows-E (as I often do) instead of File Explorer.
  • A 'viewer' window that can file preview and edit selected items.


One tip though, to change the listview from icons to details use the 'Default View' option. It took me a while to find this option, although it seems painfully obvious in retrospect.


Console2 Bonuses

I read the help file for Console2 and it does not actually do the 'cmd' stuff itself, it acts as a host for other shells, so I can setup Console2 to use the normal command line or Bash.

Since I have CygWin installed I created a new 'tab' for CygWin:


So I can quickly create a new CygWin session in a tabbed environment.


Help file suggests that Console2 should host any command line application.

Other Tabbed Applications to replace default windows ones


  1. Quick a nice little app.

    Do you know how to associate a shortcut key to open it? i.e. Win + E for explorer.

    I wish my Excel 2003 was tabbed.....
    Always have several open, from test data, scripts, results, config etc etc..

    You want the option on Tools/Shell Extensions/Win-E Hook. Thanks for the Comment

  2. Alan Richardson20 March 2008 at 07:19

    There is an alternative review of UltraExplorer on

  3. You should have a look to TotalCommander (, it replaces Explorer with tabs.
    But it does really much more (command line, ftp, winzip, search, fast directory creations, edit files with same application, view images, ...), directory compare, multi-rename, ...

    Thanks for the pointer Dimitri. I use a few tools to give me some of the additional functionality that you point out TotalCommander has built in: WinMerge, IZArc, FileZilla and I have used Bulk Rename Utility in the past. I'm sure that one day I'll see how having it in one application works for me.