File Managers for Mac

Ulenspiegel

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Original poster
Nov 8, 2014
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Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Nowdays, Mac users have a lot of options to find an orthodox or even unorthodox file manager for their liking that enhances or replaces the Finder:

Path Finder - $39.95 (30-day trial provided).
TotalFinder - $9 (14-day trial provided).
XtraFinder - Free.
Commander One - Standard version is free, PRO Pack is $29.95.
DCommander - $20.99 (30-day trial provided).
Files - Files Lite is free, the Pro version costs $24.99.
XCommander - $4.99.
Total Manager - $14.99 (trial version provided).
Double Commander - Free.
etc.


When I started to use a Mac, I had a lot of trouble finding a Total Commander-like program. Tried a number of alternatives (some from the above list), but they were far from my liking for different reasons. I stayed with the Finder that caused me a lot of headaches because of its bugs and limited functuonality.
In August I'd been browsing the Mac App Store and found a software. Bought it. Started to like it. It was well designed in a Bauhaus simple style, clear, user-friendly, very flexible and last but not least powerful. When I faced problems, mainly because I had the MAS-version, I contacted the support team. Next day, received detailed answers to my questions with the chance provided to use the full-featured version. I was impressed.
The application is ForkLift2 ($29.95, trial version provided).

Will you please share what is the File Manager of your choice and why?
 
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mag01

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2011
148
41
First, I stopped using any file managers from Mac App Store due to them quarantining every single file they touch. That's the main reason why I ditched DCommander though I quite liked it otherwise. There exists an entitlement to avoid this, however Apple doesn't accept (in MAS) applications that require such entitlement.

Because I'm moving between OS X and Windows frequently and I use Total Commander at Windows, I prefer a file manager that would be very similar to it.
I've gone through
- Path Finder 6 & 7 (quite good - though pretty far from the TC experience, but still missing full FTP support, no SFTP support..)
- ForkLift 2.5 (also quite good though not with many features, but had some issues with some archives, especially 7z, the development seems to be progressing rather slowly)
- DCommander 2.7 (I did quite like this one in the beginning, but there's only MAS variant and that has those annoying quarantine issues...)
- Double Commander 0.5 (I tried this one some long time ago but it was feeling badly unfinished and didn't fit well into the OS X)
- Disk Order 3.2.5 (this one seemed to be very good TC alternative initially, but I had some issues with it - it's been a long time so don't remember details, and it also seems to be abandoned at the moment)

Now I'm with Crax Commander 1.10 (of course the non-MAS one) and though it has few issues here and there (especially performance related - when working in directories with large amount of entries, or queuing multiple tasks on many different files/directories where it starts to behave quite erratically), it has pretty much all the basic functionality I was looking for and is also similar enough to TC.

I'm also playing with the idea of trying the Commander One, but maybe I'll give it some more time to develop further as it's still in its early development stages.

There's also ForkLift 3 in the making with public beta promised by the end of this year so let's see how this one develops.

What I'm still missing in pretty much all of them is simple and quick file viewer that would very quickly handle large files (100MB+). Here the TC's builtin file viewer wins hands down. I think the Disk Order had some decent one, but i didn't chose it for another reasons.

So yes, there are tons of TC alternatives, but while TC is the easy choice at Windows, it's much harder to find the "right" one at OS X - they all seem to have their issues or limitations.
 

Ulenspiegel

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Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I followed almost the same path. Started with Norton Commander more than two decades ago. It saved me even in the late 90s when I had to alter/repair some Windows '98 system files in DOS. Then used Windows Commander that became Total Commander (legal pressure on Ghisler from Microsoft) without which I can't imagine managing files on my Windows machines.
When I bought my first Mac for home use, my first step was to look for a file manager. It was a disappointing experience after TC. Either the software was unstable, slow, packed with annoying "shiny" UI design elements or lacking fundamental features. Last time I tried Commander One. It looked promising, though the UI was not my cup of tea because of lack of personalization to my taste and needs.
ForkLift2 is simple and clean, without any unnecessary and useless UI design elements. At the same time it is powerful, making an emphasis on (S)FTP support. And as I have mentioned earlier I was very much impressed with their excellent support which seems to be rare nowdays.
What I would be happy to see in ForkLift2 or ForkLift3:
1. Option to change the icon of a file or folder like in Finder. (Not such an important feature, but I use it very often. Unfortunately it's not possible as I was informed).
2. Option to hide the extension of a file, also like in Finder.
3. A Toolbar icon "Show Package Content". It can come very handy, though there is such an option now with a right click.
4. A (detailed) Status Bar of current activity at the bottom of panes. At the moment, to see the progress in detail, you have to click on the "Activities" in Toolbar. (At least I have not found any other way to do it).

I have not tried how it handles archives, especially 7z files. Will do it in the coming days, like I will check non-MAS version of Crax Commander 1.10 what you have mentioned.

I have to admit that after so many disappointments in the file manager field for Mac, I am very impressed with ForkLift2. I am loving it more and more every day.
 
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chscag

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Feb 17, 2008
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Fort Worth, Texas
To be honest with you I have to admit that after so many disappointments in the file manager field for Mac, I am very impressed with ForkLift2. I am loving it more and more every day.[/QUOTE]

Try the open source "muCommander" which is a Norton Commander like app for the Mac. It's free so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. You will need a current version of Java installed in order for it to work. I use it in addition to "Pathfinder".
 
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Ulenspiegel

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 8, 2014
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Try the open source "muCommander" which is a Norton Commander like app for the Mac. It's free so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. You will need a current version of Java installed in order for it to work. I use it in addition to "Pathfinder".

Thank you for the tip. I'll check their site. May I ask, what is the reason in your case for using two file managers? Any special features you need in your workflow and not present in one or the other?
 

Yusay

macrumors newbie
Sep 28, 2015
11
1
Does any of these alternative file managers have the ability to display the time machine activity like the Finder does?
 

Sciuriware

macrumors 6502
Jan 4, 2014
364
38
Gelderland
Nowdays, Mac users have a lot of options to find an orthodox or even unorthodox file manager for their liking that enhances or replaces the Finder:

Path Finder - $39.95 (30-day trial provided).
TotalFinder - $9 (14-day trial provided).
XtraFinder - Free.
Commander One - Standard version is free, PRO Pack is $29.95.
DCommander - $20.99 (30-day trial provided).
Files - Files Lite is free, the Pro version costs $24.99.
XCommander - $4.99.
Total Manager - $14.99 (trial version provided).
Double Commander - Free.
etc.


When I started to use a Mac, I had a lot of trouble finding a Total Commander-like program. Tried a number of alternatives (some from the above list), but they were far from my liking for different reasons. I stayed with the Finder that caused me a lot of headaches because of its bugs and limited functuonality.
In August I'd been browsing the Mac App Store and found a software. Bought it. Started to like it. It was well designed in a Bauhaus simple style, clear, user-friendly, very flexible and last but not least powerful. When I faced problems, mainly because I had the MAS-version, I contacted the support team. Next day, received detailed answers to my questions with the chance provided to use the full-featured version. I was impressed.
The application is ForkLift2 ($29.95, trial version provided).

Will you please share what is the File Manager of your choice and why?
Ghisler, creator of TotalCommander advised me to try muCommander;
I became very disappointed because it died 3 years ago without many functions and with lots of bugs.
So today I run TotalCommander on CrossOver (Wine++) for special tasks like rar files and Japanese zip files.
And I wrote my own 'commander' in JAVA with all that I wished for and OSX awareness.
I think all programmers should do so.
;JOOP!
 
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Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
792
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Ghisler, creator of TotalCommander advised me to try muCommander;
I became very disappointed because it died 3 years ago without many functions and with lots of bugs.
So today I run TotalCommander on CrossOver (Wine++) for special tasks like rar files and Japanese zip files.
And I wrote my own 'commander' in JAVA with all that I wished for and OSX awareness.
I think all programmers should do so.
;JOOP!
Yes muCommander is long dead, but it has been forked and is actively developed as TrolCommander (http://trolsoft.ru/en/soft/trolcommander) and support latest Java versions.

To download click soft in the menu and then the version title, you get this page:
http://trolsoft.ru/en/soft/trolcommander-0.9.6
Downloads are at the button. Download the one called trolcommander-0_9_6.app.tar.gz, it is packaged as osx app (after being unzipped).
https://github.com/trol73/trol-comm...0.9.6/trolcommander-0_9_6.app.tar.gz?raw=true
 

DavoteK

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2012
295
42
Total Finder was my go to File Manager of choice. Any new Mac or clean install, first app that went on. But they've stopped supporting it after the release of El Capitan. Shame. Great if you're on previous versions though.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,664
1,255
Fort Worth, Texas
Total Finder was my go to File Manager of choice. Any new Mac or clean install, first app that went on. But they've stopped supporting it after the release of El Capitan. Shame. Great if you're on previous versions though.
Total Finder doesn't work because El Capitan uses SIP (System Integrity Protection). If you turn SIP off it will work again.
 

Erlang

macrumors member
Dec 23, 2009
78
12
SW, UK
Ever since moving to OSX 7+ years ago I've been looking for a Mac File Manager like Directory Opus (DOpus) on Windows, I never found one, and still hope one day DOpus might build one for Macs.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,521
33,234
Boston
This is the one thing that OS X never got right imo. I work on Windows daily and deal with files and directories. It can be a jarring experience when I need to shift over to OS X's Finder. I've tried various replacements but like others nothing really has fit the bill..

OP, thanks for the comprehensive list, I'll re-reivew what I tried against your list and maybe something will work for me :)
 
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Ulenspiegel

macrumors 68040
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Nov 8, 2014
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Mike, there are some really interesting projects in this field, but none of them can fully replace the Finder. I like Forklift2, but as I have mentioned I miss two functions which are essential for me: changing the icon of a file/folder and hiding the extension. I am not a developer and I don't know whether it is possible to solve these issues or not. In my view a File Manager should be like a Swiss Knife, being capable to solve all file/folder associated issues.
 
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DavoteK

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2012
295
42
Total Finder doesn't work because El Capitan uses SIP (System Integrity Protection). If you turn SIP off it will work again.
Yeah, looked in to it, but then realised that its a temporary fix for what is now unsupported software. I've gone back to basics. Only thing I miss is having folders on top in the non filtered column view. Arranged by type is near enough the same thing, but still a bit messy when you have multiple file types in there and you're trying to find a file based on an alphabetical file name.
 

Ulenspiegel

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Original poster
Nov 8, 2014
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Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Yeah, looked in to it, but then realised that its a temporary fix for what is now unsupported software. I've gone back to basics. Only thing I miss is having folders on top in the non filtered column view. Arranged by type is near enough the same thing, but still a bit messy when you have multiple file types in there and you're trying to find a file based on an alphabetical file name.
Try Forklift. It is capable of what you need.
 

Beachguy

macrumors 65816
Nov 23, 2011
1,008
407
Florida, USA
I have used Total Commander for a VERY long time. I now also use Double Commander because I use it on Linux and Windows (at times) as well, and I like having the same tool I can use on multiple platforms. There are a LOT of good ones out there. I used to use muCommander, but no longer do for reasons already given here by others. I also had Total Commander installed in Wineskin, but it seems to have stopped working with the latest beta for OS X 10.11.2...
 

grahamperrin

macrumors 601
Jun 8, 2007
4,942
642
First, a little history …

MCF and Apple HotSauce (Project X)

Spun off (with permission) from a Steve Jobs-oriented topic:

… Apple experimented with a depth-enhanced interface to replace the Finder back in the 90s. I still have it installed on an old machine, I think. It was very neat but very difficult to use. I doubt its the correct path but it offered one way of looking away from the desk and file cabinet metaphor.
… I used to know the name off the top of my head, but it has escaped me. For some reason I keeping remembering "V-Twin", which was Apple's original empirical search technology prior to Spotlight.

… I did find a thread here from 2008 where Apple had announced they were patenting some 3D Finder stuff, and 5 pages of discussion ensued with people saying Sun had done it already, or SGI 15 years previous, etc, and not one person mentioned the software I'm talking about. It was an old Larry Tesler project that was discontinued in 1998, I think, and it obviously ran on the PowerMacs of the day, probably under OS8.

If you want an idea of what it was like, this is close, but designed for OS X:

3D Filespace for OS X

… and I found the name.

It was variously known as "Project X" or "Hot Sauce". Apparently it was intended to help web navigation, though the install I had was designed as a 3D visual file system. It was probably extensible to accommodate different purposes. I hope I can still find my install disk somewhere.
In no particular order, a few HotSauce-related links:
3-dimensional

Who remembers MacWarriors 3DOSX? There's a screenshot of that, and Project Looking Glass, at https://forums.macrumors.com/posts/19690260

A few other things (found whilst seeking 3DOSX):
More recent

2014, under Apple Acquires 18 'Axis-Based User Interface' Patents from Maya-Systems: Graphical Multidimensional File Management System and Method – I wonder whether any software or service from Apple will make use of technologies from those patents.

2015: garyleecn asked, any browser based file management software?

2016, July: preview of a web interface to Upthere, beta of Upthere Home for Windows 10 and release of Upthere Home for Android, Mac and iOS.

@garyleecn

file:/// in Firefox allows you to browse things, but not manage them. For example, you can't use Firefox to rename a file.

Whether the web interface to Upthere will develop to allow management of files, I don't know.

File management within a console window

ranger

Generally

Finder nearly always met my requirements. Switching away from Apple, it's probably the app that I miss the most.
 
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