Clover (Version: 3.0.258.0) is a freeware Windows Explorer extension that adds tabs to the explorer window.
Those who use Windows’ own explorer to navigate through folders know that it is cumbersome and not exactly efficient. Some use alternatives to Windows Explorer itself, XYplorer for example, and others use dock menus and shortcuts managers.
Clover take a slightly different approach not as common as the aforementioned alternatives, docks and shortcuts. It adds a Google Chrome type layer to the top of the Explorer window. Much like Chrome there is the now familiar blank new tab button (one of Google’s more interesting ‘ideas’ outside of their annual Spring cleaning) and the bookmark bar.
The same Ctrl+T opens a new tab, Ctrl+Tab switches between open tabs, Ctrl+W closes a tab and Ctrl+D bookmarks a tab. It is also possible to drag a folder from Windows’ own Address bar to create a bookmark.
The program settings include themes (downloaded crx files), import/export bookmarks (html file), warn before closing a tab and a toggle to always show the bookmark bar. Clover runs on XP and newer.
Xyvos System Explorer is a simple process viewer that provides potentially useful information. The information provided is divided into three sections or tabs.
The first tab is the process explorer which is a simple version of the Windows’ task manager. It provides extra information about the processes. The path to the program, the process ID (PID), description, company name and whether or not it is digitally signed.
The TCP/UDP Connections is perhaps more useful in providing a glimpse at which applications are accessing the internet. This may prove useful when trying to make sure malware is not attempting to dial out of a system. The path to the process, the protocol used and the local and remote addresses are given as is the state of the port or connection (listening, etc.)
The AutoRun Entries tab is a look at startup processes and is a simple alternative to MSConfig or other startup viewers. The process path, again, is potentially useful information.
Xyvos System Explorer should run on all Windows versions and is a single small executable.
Note: You may notice 1e100.net addresses if you monitor your outgoing processes. It is “a Google-owned domain name used to identify the servers in our network.” that Google uses to monitor safe sites and warn you about potential attack sites. See http://support.google.com/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=174717
AutoVer is a simple backup and version control application. If desired backed up files can be saved in versions with time stamps appended to file names for each time they are edited and saved or the user may just schedule full backups and fore go any versioning.
When the program launches a new ‘watcher’ should be created by clicking the folder icon on the far left (the one with the plus sign). In the tabbed settings window that follows a folder is chosen to be watched and the out put or destination folder is chosen as well. It is also possible to set the destination to be a FTP (with the associated details set up in the FTP tab) server so the files are backed up online.
The Advanced tab has settings for including and excluding file types and additional options for things like ‘Settling Time’ which is the amount of time AutoVer waits after a file is saved to generate backups and ‘Run On Copy’ which allows a program to be launched to do any necessary processing (such as encoding a video) on the saved and to be backed up file.
The Versioning tab can be left unused if ‘None’ is chosen under the ‘Versioning Mode’. ‘Version all backup files’ adds the configurable and aforementioned timestamp and backs up the saved file. If hours, minutes and seconds are chosen the files are backed up by time period. ‘Version Previous backup files’ generates only one backup so that an initial or earliest version of a file is available. It is also possible to delete or archive old backups by using the ‘For versions older than’ setting.
The folder with gear icon to the right of the main program interface lets a user set up external applications that will be used in conjunction with the Backup Explorer (folder with magnifying glass icon) window. The programs associated for compare, text and images will be used from within AutoVer’s Backup Explorer. Here is also the place to restore and delete backups by right clicking previous versions in the far right of the Backup Explorer window.
AutoVer is freeware and should run on all Windows versions post 2000, including 64bit versions.
KeepNote is described by its author simply as
KeepNote is a note taking application that works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X
KeepNote is started by creating a new notebook and then new page(s) within it. Each page can contain text of course, but images can be inserted (Edit—>Insert Image…) as well as screenshots (Edit—>Insert Screenshot…) and files (Edit—>Attach File…). For screenshots KeepNote Minimizes itself and in dragging the mouse one can choose a rectangular area for capture. Note that the aforementioned insertions work when in a page or when a page is visible or highlighted in the tree structure.
The notebooks are saved in a tree structure or hierarchy with a notebook as the root and page and sub pages within it. Search and replace is available across all notes or for the open/visible page. The usual text formatting and aligning options are present as well.
The View menu’s ‘View Note In File Explorer’ opens the highlighted or open notebook’s folder in an instance of Windows Explorer (or other alternative). ‘View Note In Text Editor’ opens up a page in Wordpad. In both ‘View Note In Web Browser’ and ‘Open File’ options the page is shown in Internet Explorer (and not in system’s default browser).
The Go menu adds navigation options to move between tree nodes (notebooks), individual pages, to expand or collapse notes and more.
The Tools menu is where the python prompt (KeepNote is implemented or written using PyGTK) and optional Spell Check features reside but the required GtkSpell is not cross platform (it is Linux only).
The help menu includes a link to the program’s preferences file, here one can play around and change settings such as ‘new_notebook_path’, the aforementioned browser used to open notes (by changing ‘Web Browser’ from ‘C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe’ to the path for Firefox, Google Chrome or other browser) and even change Windows Explorer to an alternative such Ac Browser Plus, FreeCommander or other (by changing ‘File Launcher’ from ‘explorer.exe’ to the (full) path of the chosen executable).
Notebooks or pages can be exported in HTML format and can be backed up and tarred as well.
KeepNote deserves top marks for ease of use and the convenient and many editable options it provides.
DragTargets is a desktop tool that is similar to DropIt featured here on RGdot.com.
DragTargets makes the task of moving or copying files more efficient by providing an interface that acts as alternative of opening instances of Windows or alternative Explorers and then navigating to a particular folder.
When installed DragTargets presents a small window on the desktop, right clicking the window one can browse to a drive or folder and create a new dragtarget. After a new dragtarget is created any files dragged and dropped into the interface or target will copied to that destination or chosen folder. The default action here is to copy the files but checking the small square (see image) at the bottom of the program interface changes the action to move instead of copy.
Additionally, clicking on any of the saved targets opens the destination folder so targets are also alternative shortcuts to folders and drives on the computer.
CubicExplorer is described by its author as
CubicExplorer is a file manager which is aimed to replace Windows Explorer. It’s goal is to be easy and pleasant to use but still have enough power for more advanced usage.
CubicExplorer has an uncluttered interface with a relatively limited amount of features. It manages to give a clean look impression to the user and remains easy enough for simple use. It has the usual and needed features in the ability to set bookmarks and remember folders. Filters to show only certain files types within folders. A quick view for internal image previews and a built-in text editor. It is also possible to set transparency levels for the program and choose one of many themes included, both these settings and options are in the View menu. It is also possible to create one’s own theme and they can be featured on the app’s forum. CubicExplorer also supports many of the typical shortcut keys and command line variables in its address bar, however it also supports breadcrumb navigation.
The author has set up a roadmap detailing some of the features in the works. It is a registry free program and can be used without an installer in zip format. A number of screenshots are available on the program’s home page.
The not so clever article title aside SE-Explorer is a relatively new entry into the file manager/Windows Explorer alternative space. As of this date it is at version 0.0.30.600 and is not without its performance issues. The portable version tested on a XP computer is slow to start and the ever illusive zip or archive exploring or viewing seems to be a work in progress. I have tested and have looked for a file manager that handles archives well and have come up empty handed – with the possible exception of Ac Browser Plus featured here on RGdot – for the most part but SE-Explorer does come close in achieving it.
Feature-wise SE-Explorer is a good pick. Besides the aforementioned archive viewing it supports most image formats as well as viewing PDF, DOC, CHM help file and some other text based formats. Its built-in media player supports many audio and video formats which can be played as a whole folder or individually and also shuffled and repeated as a play list. A text comparer is also included as is syntax highlighting in its internal viewer, accessible by right clicking a document icon and choosing view. SE-Explorer also has a file search engine that can find files that satisfy a variety of criteria such as search ‘files by tags’ and others. The size scanner builds a drive summary and can classify or create reports based on largest files, folder sizes, file types and more. A task info tab keeps a record of file operations such as any moving and copying done and can be thought of as a log but it looks like it can include additional features in future versions of the program.
SE-Explorer runs on Windows 2000, 2003, XP, and Vista and is one to watch out for. Many more screenshots are also available at the developer’s site.
Hawkscope is described by its author as
Hawkscope is a productivity tool that allows you to access your hard drive contents quickly via system tray / menubar icon with dynamic pop-up menu
The main feature and usefulness of Hawkscope is that it provides a dynamic menu that pops up anywhere on the desktop by way of a configurable hot key. The same can be done by clicking on the program icon in the tray area. The Quick Access tab of the settings lets folders be chosen that will appear above the default local drive navigation built in. The Blacklist is somewhat an interesting and rare feature in that certain folders can be configured or added to the list to remain hidden and not show up when navigating using Hawkscope. The Network tab lets the user configure a proxy server to use when invoking the plugins that require internet access.
The available plugins are few as of this article and some are of limited value. For example the Googlescope plugin opens an ‘Input Dialog’ box that then in turns opens the system’s default browser to search google for the term(s) entered. As far as productivity and number of clicks little is gained but other plugins that exist now and in the future may prove more useful. The final tab in the settings is the Open With one and here programs can be chosen for opening directories (perhaps a windows explorer alternative) and unknown files (perhaps a text editor) by double clicking in the corresponding text box. Additionally file extensions can be associated with programs so that using Hawkscope one can override the default applications that open .txt, .html or any other file.
Hawkscope is cross platform and is certainly promising. With more plugins and slightly better memory usage – up to 60MB on a XP SP3 system – it has potential for efficiency and productivity users.
As a follow up to this post reviewing 6 tools to view and analyze disk usage and this post on TreeSize here is review of SpaceSniffer. It is described by its author as
SpaceSniffer is a freeWare (or, better, donationWare) and portable tool application that gives you an idea of how folders and files are structured on your disks
SpaceSniffer is certainly one of the more attractive and fun to watch applications around. Upon launch and when a drive is chosen SpaceSniffer goes to work. As it does its analysis colorful (colors are configurable) rectangles appear in relative sizes creating a percent by percent 2 dimensional picture of the drive being analyzed.
Files and folders are given different colors as are free and unknown spaces. The latter 2 are excluded in the default analysis but that can be changed of course. If the program is left open while other changes are made to the system the affected folders are highlighted briefly. Single and double clicking a rectangle gives more information as it zooms to show a more complete picture, that is its subfolder(s) and contents, of the folder being clicked on. It is also possible to filter the whole drive or any other view for a more specific mapping of the analysis. For example by typing “<3months” (without the quotes) in the filter box only files that are less 3 months old will be shown.
SpaceSniffer runs on Windows 2000, XP and Vista and is a very useful 871KB zipped download. The download also includes a Quick Start PDF.
Locate32 is described by its author as
Locate32 is a file finder which works by indexing all your files on your hard disk drive…
When launching and using Locate32 for the first time the user creates a database which indexes all files on any drive. The indexing is relatively quick and can even be over in seconds depending on the number of files and folder on the system. Much like Unix systems it stores databases of directory structures and file names making post-indexing searches instant.
Much like the native Windows’ search Locate32 supports searching by extension, size, creation and modification date. It also supports such search queries as matching whole names only and searching by file and folder name only.
Database Info can be accessed under the File menu and includes such info as the size of the database and number of directories and files indexed. File—>Update Database is the place to re-run the database indexing when a number of new files have been created and to therefore keep the index up to date. Automatic updating of the database is also schedulable via the program’s settings.
Additionally Locate32 has numerous settings that allows the user to tweak the program’s behaviour. It is possible to control such things as what happens when the program is closed (for example ‘minimized to tray’) and how the search results are sorted. The location of database(s) can be changed and database for separate searches, searching other drives for example, created. Keyboard shortcuts are also available for such things as activating controls (ie refining search or choosing a search criteria) and launching a database update. Finally the Advanced tab of Locate32’s Settings (see image) lets the user change such things as the Show As You Type behaviour, Logical Operations (inclusion of the + operator for example) and to things like setting another program to open folders. The latter is very useful when the native Windows Explorer is replaced by an alternative.
Locate32 is compatible with Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP and Vista, is available as both 32bit and 64bit versions and can be portable.