Classic Shell

Get enhanced functionality in Windows Explorer with this handy utility

classic shellOver the past few iterations of Windows, the UI has changed a great deal, between Window XP, Windows 7, Windows 8.x and Windows 10, there’s been only some very basic consistency in the user interface. Depending on where you work, the industry you work in and the size of your company, you may or may not have had to deal with any of those changes. Let’s face it, many IT departments simply lock you into a version of Windows and run THAT until it can’t any longer.

When changes come to the way Windows operates, looks and feels, user productivity can tank. In those cases, users spend more time trying to figure out HOW to do something than actually doing the task at hand. It’s at times like those that I really appreciate tools like Classic Shell. It’s a UI – or shell – modification tool for Windows, and it works with Windows 7, 8.x and Windows 10.

Classic Shell is freeware that improves your productivity, enhances the usability of Windows and empowers you to use the computer the way you like it. With it you can customize the Start Menu with multiple styles and skins; get quick access to recent, frequently-used, or pinned programs; as well as find programs, settings, files and documents. You can also customize the Start button in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

You can also customize Windows Explorer (formerly File Manager). In Windows Explorer, you can customize both a custom Toolbar and the Status Bar. You also get the ability to customize the Caption and Status bars in IE.

Conclusion: I’ve been using Classic Shell on my work PC for about two and a half years now. It’s an awesome application, and one that I would highly recommend to anyone running a “modern’ version of Windows (anything from Windows 7 forward). The customizations if offers for both the Start Menu and Explorer make both of them a LOT easier to use, especially if you’re using a version of Windows NEWER than Windows 7.

I personally think that the application is worthwhile simply based on the modifications it makes to Windows Explorer. While the application is free, it really adds value. In fact, it adds more value than some paid shell enhancements I’ve played with over the years.

There are a few down sides, however. As of this writing, the app hasn’t been updated in over eight (8) months . Its last update came on 2016-07-30. Currently the app also supports the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but users of the Creator’s Update may have compatibility issues. If you plan on updating to the Creator’s Update – and all Windows 10 users will – then you should use the Classic Shell Utility to remove the app prior to updating Windows 10. If you don’t, you may have issues with both the app and your PC after the Creator’s Update is installed. I am assuming the utility will be updated to support the Creator’s Update, but I can’t find any information to either confirm or deny that anywhere as of this writing.

download Classic Shell

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Explore your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch files with i-Funbox

Apple has always advocated letting the OS and the device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) manage where it wants to put files. Many Apple advocates continually ask me why I care WHERE the computer puts data as long as its, 1. Backed up, 2. Available to my programs. The Windows Camp, coming from a DOS point of origin, is exactly the opposite. Serious Windows users want near total control over where and how their data is organized. This is one of the reasons why many Windows users will appreciate i-Funbox. Its an iDevice tool for Windows and Mac.

IFB01

i-Funbox allows users to take Total Control of you iDevice’s file system. With it, you can manage files on your iPhone or iPad just like you do in Windows File Explorer. You can easily transmit files and folders to your computer with the app’s optimized file transfer and browsing. I-Funbox now fully supports iOS 6.x as well as Asian/ Long filenames.

You can install and backup all of your applications, This is especially important if you’ve got a custom app that you want to install, like something for work, which may be unsigned. You can also access an app’s sandbox area, giving you access to application created documents as well as the ability to upload audio or video to 3rd party players. You can also export iTunes managed content. The nicest part of all of this is that using the app doesn’t require an installation of iTunes.

The secret sauce is that i-Funbox makes your iDevice function like a USB storage drive. You get access to the storage you need when you need it, as well as all the other benefits. This is a great app and its free price tag, no jailbreak or iTunes required status make this a must have for just about any iDevice owner. Novice users need to take caution, however, as the average user isn’t meant to access the file system directly and you might move or delete something that you shouldn’t.

Download i-Funbox for WindowsDownload i-Funbox for Mac

 

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Manage the contents of local and remote hard drives with PowerDesk Pro

Keeping a handle on your files and data can be a chore, especially if you’ve got data going to multiple places.  Its not as easy as it sounds. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like PowerDesk Pro. It’s a file management tool for Windows.

PowerDesk Professional is an easy, fast and smart way to organize and manage your files – digital photos, MP3s, web images, etc. on your PC. PowerDesk Pro gives you more features and functions than the standard Windows file manager with tools to search, edit, delete, copy, move, sort, zip, label, view, and convert your files and data.  In just a few clicks, you can use PowerDesk Pro to completely customize your PC.

PowerDesk 8 Professional completely replaces Windows Explorer with a wide array of File and File Management tools that let you perform many of the functions found on digital cameras or MP3 music players as well as your PC. You can use PowerDesk FTP to view and manage FTP sites as though they were ordinary folders on a local or networked drive. Once you’ve set up your favorite FTP sites, you can connect with them in a single click; and PowerDesk now supports Secure FTP.

Keeping files synchronized between shares is also easier with PowerDesk’s Sync Manager.  You can compare and synchronize the contents of any two folders. This is especially useful for work on files that are shared between two computers, it’s also useful for backing up and making archived versions of your files.

You can use its Size Manager to show you where and how the space on each of your drives is being used. PowerDesk also enhances the standard Windows Open and Save dialog boxes by adding a selection list for previously opened files and folders. It also provides a file viewer pane that supports over 150 file formats.  Its Archive Manager easily compresses and expands files from over 30 popular compression formats. You can use it to view archive contents and extract selected files with a simple drag and drop operation. Its File Finder quickly locates forgotten files. You can search by keyword, file type, size, or date range and see the results displayed in a single-line reference.

read full review | download PowerDesk Pro

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Multi Commander the complete Windows files manager

Windows Explorer was never an option for managing files due to its single pane interface. Therefore many private developers have released other file managers resembling with Norton Commander concept featuring double pane interface for a faster browsing experience.

Multi Commander is another double pane files manager that wants to become as popular as Christian Ghisler’s Total Commander. Being developed by Mathias Svensson, the program brings some interesting new features dedicated especially for the hard-core users. Each windows pane receives a folder tree option and customizable tabs. These tabs can be set on opening any folder in order to ensure fast access to the most favorite locations on your PC.

Compared to its direct opponent, Multi Commander brings also an extensive number of free built-in plug-ins such as: support for various archive formats (ex.: .zip and .rar), FTP access and a Registry Viewer and Editor. Latest version of this program brings also customizable file colors and a new listing including information from IMDB and RottenTomatoes.com for your movies saved on your hard-drive.

At the moment Multi Commander 1.10 is available for free for Windows XP, Server, Vista and 7.

download Multi Commander

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ES File Explorer for Android

In my epic search to find the most awesome file browser for an Android device, I’ve stumbled upon many programs. But after a couple of weeks of trying most stuff out there, it is in ES File Explorer that I found peace of mind. At least of now…

But why makes it so special? Well, besides regular file operations like cut, copy, paste, delete, etc.; multiple file select; and managing your SD card as well as your internal phone memory structure (with limitations if your phone is not rooted of course), EStrongs offers a bunch of handful tools that really help you with your day to day phone operations.

ES can access local shares inside your network via wireless simplifying interactions between your PC and phone by a lot! No need for cables anymore when transferring files and you can do it anywhere in the range of your WLAN.

In the latest version ES also offers Bluetooth and FTP access, making transfers between devices as easy as you would use a regular network.

Also included are a zip viewer/extractor, a video/audio player, an image and text viewer, and a bunch of on-demand downloadable plugins like Task Manager, Security Manager, Bookmark Manager and more.

ES File Explorer can be found here http://www.estrongs.com/en/download.html (official website) or on the app marketplace.

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