File Manager Commanders
The Norton Commander is the most useful DOS program ever
written. Symantec (The makers of NC) dropped the ball when Windows
95 arrived. They now have Norton Navigator, which is not really any
different than Windows Explorer. There is a Norton Commander for
Windows 95 that was written overseas (Ireland, I believe), but many
of these Shareware "Commanders" are better implementations. There
does seem to be a Commander program for every OS: Unix, Linux,
OS/2, Windows, and DOS. I haven't found one for the MacOS, but I
don't have a Mac, so I haven't looked very hard.
I am going to try to include a link to every "Commander"
available. However, I primarily use Windows 95/98 and only somewhat
beyond the "novice" stage in Linux, so the selection listed here
may be somewhat biased. A Commander program has to have the two
panel interface and the standard F key assignments: F3 - View, F4 -
Edit, F5 - Copy, F6 - Rename/Move, F7 - Make Directory, and F8 -
Delete. Also, support for whatever compressed archive is standard
for the OS, ZIP for DOS/Windows, tar.gz for Unix, etc. The ever
present command line is also a super handy feature.
Windows Explorer and File manager are not very good at
Exploring or managing. The Norton Commander interface is much more
intuitive. Virtually all of these programs have built in ZIP/UNZIP
capabilities, eliminating the need for third party compression
programs. Since ZIP archives are handled the same as files and
directories, there is no need to learn another interface.
Read a Paper on the "Commander" Phenomenon - The Orthodox
File Manager Web Site
There is now an Official Total Commander discussion board. It can be found at:
I plan on organizing this page a little better in the next
suggestions are always welcome!
Listed by Operating system supported, note that some are
available on more than one platform!
Windows DOS Mode with Long Filename
Windows 95/98/NT GUI
Total Commander - Windows 3.1, Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP;
Shareware - $35; Internal Zip/Unzip; Internal
Even better than the
original NC. Parallel port link for file transfer that includes a server
that runs in DOS that allows you to transfer files between Total
Commander and a DOS computer! Also has multi file rename tool.
Too many features to mention here. Try it!
Very customizable, and the best viewer implementation. Has built in FTP and file splitter.
Directory Sychronization, File Compare, FTP or http download from
list, and more.
Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP; US $29.95 / Euro €29.95; Internal Zip.
This one is shaping up nicely. The options for making
self extracting zip files makes this one worth the price. New in this
version (.Net) is a CD/DVD burn feature, great for backup! See the website
for a complete list of what's new.
WinNc.Net is a file
manager for Windows XP and 2000/ME/98/95 that replaces the use of the existing
Windows Explorer. Developed by a small Dutch multimedia company called Dunes
MultiMedia, WinNc uses the same key shortcuts and the same mouse functionality
as a well-known DOS file manager. Lots of tool buttons and menu items provide
access to standard file-management methods. You can e.g. easily format, copy,
move, delete, view, and edit files.
WinNavigator - Shareware
This seems to a pretty good one. Some unique features: Internet
Dialer, MP3 -> .WAV converter, Resource Explorer for EXE files,
font viewer, and more. Also includes built in viewer/editor. I
couldn't figure out how to make a .zip file with it.
Description from Help file:
Powerful but easy-to use file manager -- a good replacement of
Windows Explorer or Norton Commander. Besides usual file management
(copy/move/delete etc), it contains built-in viewer for 9
most-popular graphic formats, and 11 sound/music format, as well as
video clips (Microsoft AVI). In addition, it supports all
compressed files like zip, arj, rar etc (showing them as regular
folders), has the SysInfo panel, internet dialer, clipboard viewer,
calculator, audio CD player, and resource explorer. As a bonus, the
program contains two simple games (tetris-like one, and Life).
Multi-language support is also there (now available: English,
Italian, Polish, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Spanish, Lithuanian,
- Seems to be a fairly nice commander. I haven't tried it yet, but
am downloading it now (3-25-01). The price is right, it's free!
2XExplorer - Not
as "feature rich" as some of the others, but has it's own cool
features, like the "separable" tree view and built in editor. The
price is right. Freeware.
Built in viewers, editor, Zip and other compression. Nice viewer
and several useful tools, including a built in web browser (that I
couldn't get to work) Shareware $39
Salamander - Windows 95; Version 1.xx free;
Version 2 and later Shareware $20. Version 2 relaeased 2-28-01, not
yet evaluated. Uses internal viewer and external
The Author's description:
Free file manager for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95;
small, fast, stable, and user-friendly; supports drag&drop,
right-click context menus; supports clipboard operations with
files; two independent panels with directory listings; directory
listings always up to date; hotkeys for all functions; command line
for executing commands through the system shell; support for long
filenames, compression on NTFS volumes; can send files to Recycle
Bin and show system icons in listings; internal viewer for up to 2
GB files with text and hex modes; executable file about 300 KB
(very fast execution); easy handling even with files over 4 GB;
changing case of filenames; very fast files finding; user
Commander - Windows 95; Shareware - $20;
Internal Zip; Internal Viewer/editor.
Description straight from Nico himself!
"Nico's Commander is a Windows 95/98/NT file manager that
resembles the old Norton Commander. It offers a dual
directory/folder display and a host of useful options. In addition
to performing all the various file-management tasks, it offers
optional functions that can be accessed using your mouse or the
function keys. A series of application buttons across the top of
the main windows provides immediate access to your favorite
programs. Other features include a built-in text editor, a text
search facility, a file and directory compare function, a command
prompt with command history, FTP support, built-in zip/unzip with
long filename support, a tryout facility for Zip files, a desktop
menu icon in the system tray for easy access to desktop icons,
right-click mouse functionality (Explorer-like context menu for
files or directories or click empty space in the program window to
minimize the main screen), instant access to your screen saver by
tapping the Esc key, and more."
TurboNavigator - Free!
I haven't tried this one out yet.
Navigator - Free! I haven't tried this one out yet.
Norton Commander for Windows 95- Windows 95/NT; Commercial;
Internal Zip; No Internal viewer, internal editor.
No mention of this on the Symantec web site. It was written
overseas. The Link Feature and NC Scheduler make this one worth it.
One BIG problem with it is that it has NO BUILT IN VIEWER, can only
use Quick View Plus. Available directly from Symantec, the only way
it is available now is for download. You have to go to the UK
section of their web site to find it. It is 34 pounds (about US
$55). Also, Version 2 now does FTP and is "Y2K
Commander - Windows 95, Shareware, around $20
A GUI NC lookalike. Built in graphics viewer and a few other
goodies. Demo version limited to C: drive and first level of
WinSCP - Windows 95, freeware
WinSCP is freeware SCP (Secure CoPy) client for Windows 95/98/2000/NT using SSH
(Secure SHell). Its main purpose is safe copying files between local and remote computer.
Beyond this basic function, WinSCP manages some other actions with files.
Windows 95; Shareware - $45; Built in viewer and editor.
- Windows 95; Freeware; Beta.
Note: this link is broken, please email me if you find
another place to link to for this Commander.
Norbert Commander - This is a 16 bit Windows 3.1 program that
supports long filenames, very basic file manager. I could not
locate a home page for this program, so the link is to an Altavista
Text Mode/DOS Based with Win95/98 Long
UFO - DOS/Windows
95; Freeware as of 8-13-98!; Uses external Zip/Unzip; Built in
viewer and editor
A DOS based NC clone that handles Windows 95 long filenames.
Definitely worth the price! Will fit on a floppy.
Can be downloaded at: http://www.demcom.com/english/ufo96fr.htm
Windows 95/NT (Text Mode); Shareware - $35; Uses external
Zip/Unzip; Built in Viewer/Editor.
Contents of FILE_ID.DIZ-
FAR v1.50 (release) for Windows 95/NT
The File and ARchive manager, text mode
- This version is SHAREWARE
- NEW! "Process list" plugin
- NEW! Interface changes in FTP client
- Long file names support
- User defined view modes
- File descriptions and highlighting
- User menu, file associations
- FTP client, network browser
- Task list and control
Freeware File Manager
I haven't tried this one yet, available for Win95/98/NT, OS/2, and
Byte Manager -
DOS; Uses External Zip; Built in viewer, uses DOS editor.
Shareware, has a real cool viewer.
Description from FILE_ID.DIZ:
BM, more than a powerful file utility! Low disk space required,
excellent performance, rational features. WIN'98 compatible,
- Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, OS/2; Shareware - $39; Internal Zip;
V.2.12 for OS/2 and Win9x/NT. v2.12 released June
File Commander is a 32 bit text mode file manager and shell that
allows you to locate, copy, move, delete, view, edit and execute
your files in a quick, convenient and customizable manner.
It's main display provides dual directory view panels that may
serve as source and destination of a copy or move operation or just
two different views of your files. A panel may also be used to view
a directory tree, drive statistics or may be turned off altogether,
making visible the output of previously executed commands.
A command line is also provided and operates in conjuction with
the directory panels to make it much more powerful than a regular
CLI including pasting file names from the panel, a command history
recall window and command completion from history.
Volkov Commander -
One of the original clones, written entirely in
assembler! v4.05 released June 2000.
Description from the homepage:
Volkov Commander (VC) is a great clone of the well-known Norton
Commander by Symantec. It's a DOS based file manager, which in the
eighties set the standard. This standard is still valid for most
file managers after so many years. VC is no 100% exact clone of
this tool, but it uses most of the features lots of users have made
friends with. Its visual appearance and controls are nearly the
same, but have been enhanced and improved in a number of
Note: Beta version currently supports Win95/98. Latest official
release does not.
Star Commander -
"Giftware". I haven't tried it yet. For all you Commodore
Description from the Homepage:
The Star Commander is the ultimate DOS shell that can handle the
image file formats of the C64 emulators for DOS, it copies files
and disks between the PC and a Commodore 1541/1571/1581 drive,
optionally in turbo mode, and also converts several popular
Commodore archive formats. It is a comfortable, user-friendly and
fast giftware program with online help and is very similar to The
Norton Commander and The Volkov Commander.
Commander - DOS; Freeware; View contents of Zip
files;Internal viewer and editor.
- This is probably the best DOS clone I've seen. No long file
name support for Windows 95/98. Now freeware, source code also
Owning Dos Navigator means that you own an award-winning file
manager, powerful text Editor, Archive Manager, Serial Link,
Spreadsheet, Calculator, Physical Disk Editor, powerful Terminal
with, Phonebook, Floppy Disk Formatter, Environment Editor, File
Uneraser, CD Player, Disk Image,Unpacker and even Tetris!
DirTree - A DOS NC clone, free. The page is in German.
Commander - DOS; Shareware $10; Still
A DOS NC clone.
Jet Commander- DOS/Windows 95, OS/2; Shareware
- $39; Internal Zip; Internal Viewer/Editor.
Has file color coding.
Controller - A DOS based NC Clone. I can't find a
homepage for this one, but here is a link to one of the many places
on the net that has it. There is a description
I don't see any mention of a price on this one, so I assume it to be freeware.
A DOS and Unix Commander, be aware that you need to compile it yourself!
I tried it and it works, a basic commander, but the great thing is that the
source code is included.
Note from the author:
Gram's Commander. Freeware, source code, I wrote it years ago but
it still works, compiled on DOS with Borland C, and on UNIX systems.
- Linux, Unix, OS/2, Win 95/NT; Freeware; Built in .tar/.gz;
internal viewer and editor.
I have used the Linux version of this. It is available for
almost every platform.
X Northern Captain
- Runs under X-Windows. Looks very good, does not appear to have
as much functionality as Midnight Commander.
Krusader - A very good
Commander for KDE 3.
More Linux OFM Links
I haven't tried these, but here are some more:
* TK Commander
* foXdesktop http://foxdesktop.sourceforge.net/
* File Runner:
* Akkord Advanced KDE Commander
A couple of Emacs NC clones!
* http://relativity.yi.org/el/mc.el - A Midnight Commander
clone for Emacs.
- A NC emulator for Emacs.
muCommander - muCommander is the first commander written in Java.
It runs on any platform that supports Java2 v1.3 or up (Windows, Mac OS, Solaris, Linux...). Current
version is 0.1, though it is perfectly usable.
If you have any information to add to this page, please
email me and
fill me in!
Thanks to Juhapekka
Tolvanen for his contributions, especially the Linux
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