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Microsoft has been on the right track with the Windows Explorer updates in Vista and Windows 7, and I really like the breadcrumb functionality that they added. I never really understood why they didn’t add tab capabilities, which makes sense with how many Explorer windows some users have open at any given time. Heck, at work I probably average having a dozen Explorer windows open at any moment.

We have covered some Windows Explorer replacements in the past, but the problem is that a lot of them aren’t free. Explorer++ is one of the few freeware alternatives, and has many of the features you’re probably looking for:

  • With the option to save to the registry or a configuration file, Explorer++ is completely portable.
  • Tabbed browsing for easy management of multiple folders.
  • Display window shows previews of files as they are selected.
  • Easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts for quick navigation.
  • Customizable user interface.
  • Full drag-and-drop support with other applications, including Windows Explorer.
  • Advanced file operations such as merging and splitting supported.

I do wish that they managed to get breadcrumbs in the navigation bar, but aside from that this is a pretty solid app. One thing I want to note is that this app does let you replace Windows Explorer as the default tool for opening folders (such as the ones on your desktop). That makes it even easier to put the native Windows Explorer behind you if you so choose.

Explorer++ Homepage (Windows only; Freeware/Portable)
[via TinyHacker]