Black: Minimalist File Manager

Black (Version: 1.40) is a no install, lightweight and less than 100KB unzipped freeware file manager. It is two pane and only supports a subset of features common to most file managers but at its size it’s a reasonable option.

Black, File Manager

Its basic features are copy, move, rename and delete. The rename operation can be applied to a group of files. This requires choosing the files by selecting them all (the red icon) or by right clicking a set – which turns the file names red. Rename rules include increment, counter, extension, size, time, date and case.

The program’s search tool is not the fastest and seems to only find exact matches, including extensions, by default. See images below for search results when I searched for ‘homer’.

Black, File Manager

It includes shortcuts to few systems folders and the command prompt.

Black, File Manager

Black should run on all Windows versions.

Aml Pages: Feature Rich Notes Manager

Aml Pages is described as a tree-structured notes manager. It supports plain and rich text as well as webpages, images and attachments. As a fan of such software, whether freeware or shareware as in the case of Aml Pages, here on RGdot I have reviewed and written about many notes managers or organizers.

Aml Pages

To start with Aml Pages begins by creating what it calls a document or perhaps re-using the sample that comes with Aml Pages. I believe the interface, especially when looking at the sample or demo is rather busy but if notes structure are convenient for the user this becomes easy to manage soon. Aml Pages probably meets many requirements if one is comfortable with a two pane tree system for keeping notes.

Aml Pages can create nodes with different colors, fonts and icons to make each stand out if necessary. Each node can be tagged which often eases future retrieval. One interesting extra is the ability to not only sort (right click anywhere on the tree and choose sort) the notes tree by date, category, type, size, title and others but also filter (may need to expand the tree area to see the filter drowdown (see image above)) them to show those created/modified in the last 6 hours, today, yesterday, last week or those largest, smallest or created within the current Windows session.

Styles and formats can be used and created (Format—>Styles) to give text different colors and fonts. Existing styles can be applied by using the drop down on the far top right of the text area. There is also Format—>Text Templates that can save highlighted text for future re-use. Aml Pages also supports syntax highlighting for the usual like C++, Visual Basic, Java, HTML and other languages. Some of the additional efficiency features include inserting dates (F5 or Insert—>Date and Time) and capturing screenshots (Insert—>Screenshot).

Aml Pages opens with two processes, the second is the Aml Assist whose icon sits semi-transparent on the corner of the desktop. It’s main use is to be the drop for text and other media dragged from browsers or other programs such as Microsoft Word. Right clicking the Aml Assist icon provides settings for its use and a configurable hotkey for automatic text grabbing.

The bookmarks feature adds more usefulness. Any part of a document can be bookmarked via a right click. The same right click gives additional ways to find, view, manage and a count of the bookmarks. For even easier later retrieval Aml Pages has tabs on the left hand side of interface to show all bookmarks in one view. The same area offers the different views available.

Aml Pages

There is also sticky notes support, most easily created via right clicking the Aml Assist icon. These will ofcourse stay on the desktop even if the program itself is minimized.

The program’s search has a good number of options as well. The search can be restricted to selected nodes or folders, categories or tags, or creation or modification dates.

Aml Pages has autosave options (Tool—>Settings—>Autosave) and keeps backups which are then visible in Backup Explorer (Tools—>Backup Explorer). From the same Tools menu one can setup encryption for opening the program or password for opening documents.

On the program’s site there are many videos and a tips and tricks page highlighting more of Aml Pages can do. On that note I found two potentially useful features. File—>New has two extra options, one is creating a blank document with nodes named from A-Z (or other first and last letters) with optional prefixes or suffixes. The other is creating a diary sort of document with any start and end date as node titles. There are also plugin which include everything from Auto Completion to Spellchecker to Aml2Dropbox (for synchronization of documents) and to Aml Export to save a document in XML format.

Aml Pages should work on Windows versions going back Windows 98 and it currently costs $19.50.

Drag And Drop Notes: Freeware Notes Repository

Drag And Drop Notes (Version: 1.1 as of this post) is a simple if somewhat unpolished note taker. Select any text in any application and drag and drop it in the program window to create a note.

Drag And Drop Notes

Drag And Drop Notes is basically a repository. There is no real organization in the way notes are saved, they are just added to a cell below others. It has a recycle bin (or is it history?) feature, one especially handy since a simple right click on a note deletes it. Clicking on the recycle bin icon brings up a window with deleted items ready to be restored. Double clicking a note brings up an edit window and notes can also be created manually using the + icon. Additionally images – local and web – are supported and so are local files. For images their ‘original’ location or path is saved as a note and a copy stored in the program’s Files folder (by default AgataSoft\AgataSoft Drag and Drop Notes\Data\Files) making Drag And Drop Notes a defacto document, but only image, manager.

Notes are always saved automatically. Drag And Drop Notes works on Windows XP and newer.

Ethervane Echo: Multi-Featured Clipboard Manager

Ethervane Echo is a full featured ‘keyboard centric’ clipboard extender or manager for Windows. It divides captured clipboard items into different categories based primarily on time captured and type, for example last hour and URLs and it can be tweaked for more advanced use. It does and should work when copying from most any source but it does not support images.

The Win+Insert (can be changed in the Preferences (Tool—>Preferences—>Keyboard)) keys are the default way of bringing up the program and Esc the default way to minimize it back to the tray.

Ethervane Echo
Ethervane Echo’s interface is divided into views, these views can be hidden or others added (View —> Manage Quick Views). The intended features and strengths are to find the items after they have been captured using the keyboard and search (with wild card support). A good example of Ethervane Echo’s ease of use is that when the program is brought up just typing starts a search, there is no need to click in the search box, and if required pressing Esc clears the search box. The search box has basic and advanced modes, the former is search as you type and the latter requires pressing enter to start the search.

The interface tries to give as much information as it can by showing the source, time of capture, size and type of a highlighted item and information on the total number of items in its database. Ethervane Echo has a status indicator – the little green check mark on the bottom of the interface – and it can be paused to not capture clipboard items by double clicking on that same icon.

The basic usage uses the usual Ctrl+C keys for copying and then maximizing the program, choosing a clip using the arrow keys and then pressing Enter to paste the chosen – or even multiple clips – into the active window. Right clicking on each clip presents copy, pasting and editing options as well.

An item can be made sticky to remain in the database forever, this can done via the right click menu, Ctrl+S or the Edit menu.

Ethervane Echo
The Database Maintenance section of the Preferences is important because here one can edit the program’s purging or automatic deleting schedule.

Among other features Ethervane Echo is also capable of holding items in memory instead of on disk for privacy reasons (Preferences—>Database). It supports ignoring clips like those captured within an interval (Preferences—>Capturing Clips) of the last capture, from certain programs  (Preferences—>Application Filter), duplicates and passwords.  Setting minimum and maximum item lengths are also set in the Capturing Clips section.

See the Keyboard Reference section of the help (or Shift+F1) for all available shortcuts. Ethervane Echo can import items from a text file or a Ditto clipboard database (Tools —> Import Clips). Ethervane Echo has been released as part of DonationCoder’s 2012 N.A.N.Y. (New Apps For The New Year) challenge, requires XP and newer and is available in both portable and installer versions.

Freeware Shorts: System Explorer (Everything About Your Computer)

System Explorer (Version: 3.6.2 as of this post) bills itself as a system management tool and an explorer of system internals. It is more than just a system profile builder. System Explorer provides lots of, almost too much, information about many aspects of the system or computer in a tabbed interface. Some tabs are open and visible when starting the program, others can be opened in the Firefox new tab style by clicking the + button to the top right and choosing from the available sections. Most sections or tabs have additional capabilities via a right click. Examples include terminating processes, copying file paths to the clipboard, virus checking a file online on and many more.

System Explorer

System Explorer also has a status bar at the bottom with CPU, RAM, swap file and other usage information. A similar graphical overview is also available via the color of its tray icon or hovering over the icon itself.

Tasks is like the windows task manager’s Applications tab, it provides a list of open programs. Processes list all running processes with process id (PID), CPU time, memory usage, ‘sub’ processes, parameters the process may be running with, online security check (click the security check icon and any details available in the system explorer database will be shown online) and more. Also like many other sections, System Explorer has a search feature near the top right.

Modules lists the dll files the running programs are using, like some other sections this can be filtered to not show Windows’ own. Performance (see image) shows graphs for overall processor or CPU, page fault, swap, network connection, kernel and physical memory usage and lots more. Services list all services running with their driver type, name and startup type or mode (automatic, manual or disabled). Drivers lists all drivers running on the system including name, startup type and location/path. Windows is much like Tasks but has a list of all open windows, so if several instances of one program are open you see them here. Autoruns has a list of all processes or programs that run automatically on startup. Uninstaller has the shortcuts to uninstall programs. History is like an event viewer of sorts in that it contains a list of all recent actions, for example “New TCP/IP PID=3292 “Palemoon.exe””. Snapshot takes snapshots of the file system and registry and saves it for future comparison.

System Explorer

There are additional sections that list Users, Security Info with basic information on anti virus and Windows firewall states and Additional Info with lots of information on the system like Windows serial number, computer name, system folders, system date, audio and video codecs, fonts, file types and lots more.

It is really necessary to explore the program or have a look at the online help to really discover all its features. System Explorer is free for personal use and runs on Windows XP and newer versions.

Freeware Font Manager: dp4 Font Viewer

dp4 Font Viewer

dp4 Font Viewer is a small no-install utility that provides lots of information about the fonts (TrueType (TTF) and others) installed on a Windows system. When running the program provides a count of fonts installed on a drive, either in the default (for example C:\WINDOWS\Fonts) or other locations. It is possible to print a font list or a complete preview of a chosen font. In the latter either a full list of characters or one’s own text can be printed. The Font menu includes options to install or delete fonts from within dp4 Font Viewer, to view any fonts’ properties or even to generate a bitmap image of the font preview. The aforementioned install option also a includes ‘make available’ which lets the user work with fonts temporarily.

Additionally dp4 Font Viewer has many filtering options to narrow down installed fonts by class (serif, sans serif, symbolic and others), weight class (bold, thin, light and others), width class (various condensed types) and monospaced fonts. Fonts can be previewed in different sizes from 7 to 144 pixels.

dp4 Font Viewer is also available in a native 64bit version.

CubicExplorer Is The Simple File Manager

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.

SE-Explorer Is A Sexy File Manager

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 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.

SysPad Is A Simple Folder And Notepad Utility

SysPad is a utility from CodePlex, it is described simply as

A Notepad-like program and folder management program

Syspad is only 570KB but sometimes consumes a bit more than expected memory, approaching 40MB, but nevertheless provides easy access to two useful functions for the efficient user. Installation adds an icon to the tray bar. Thereafter a right click launches a tabbed notepad and a left click launches a favorites folder manager.


The notepad (called TrayPad) is simple, allows for the typical background and font control. Notes can be saved in .txt format. There is an option to export and open the note using the famous and highly rated Notepad ++ – with syntax highlighting preset from within SysPad –  but in my test I was unable to launch Notepad++ after doing the required to set the path to the program within Syspad’s settings (Edit—>Settings).

The file manager (called FolderPad) has preset icons to common folders and locations including My Computer, My Documents, Desktop, Control Panel, Program Files, Add/Remove Programs, Network Properties, plus the Printers and Font folders. Right clicking in the white area presents a dialog to add one’s own favorite folders either via browsing or manually typing a location. A tag or title can be added to server as a description as well.

SysPad while certainly not unique or feature rich is useful and is another download that works well to add some level of efficiency for any computer user. Interestingly since both right and left clicks are used to launch the note and folder utilities there is no way to shut down and completely exit the program via the computer’s tray area. The only way seems to be to have the notes or TrayPad portion open and use File—>Exit Syspad.

FontViewOK Displays And Previews Fonts

FontViewOK is a simple no-installation 35KB program that displays fonts installed on any system. It is written by the same person who has brought us the “Quadro-View” file manager or windows explorer alternative Q-Dir.


FontViewOK is an often useful visual preview of fonts that acts as a tool to compare fonts and to see how they look like with any user entered text. Enter any text in the box near the top, choose the font size, color and style from the right of the box and scroll down to view the resulting previews. Alternatively use the drop down menu to navigate through all fonts.

Given the size and nature of the program that is all there is to it but one more sometimes useful feature that may be missed is that of printing and previewing the print. This can prove practical when one wants to see how the printed version of the fonts really look like. Download FontViewOK and many more small and sometimes useful programs that do everything from saving desktop icon positions to changing a file’s time stamp at the link above.