A Free Windows File Manager for Power Users

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In this post I would like to finish my trilogy about MultiCommander. You can find my previous posts about this file manager here and here. Today I want to describe those features and capabilities of MultiCommander that will make power users fall in love with it immediately.

Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Multiple Copy/Move Threads

MultiCommander allows you to create multiple data copying/moving threads.

add-to-queue

Add to queue

These threads can run in the background while you keep working with MultiCommander.

Multiple copy threads

Multiple copy threads

If the copy/move operation takes a while, MultiCommander notifies you with a sound effect when the operation is complete.

Quick Launch Bar

quick-launch-bar

Quick Launch Bar

You can add programs to the Quick Launch Bar by simply dragging and dropping.

Once the program is added, right-click on its icon and select Customize… from the drop-down menu to change its name, icon and possible launch parameter.

You can also add your own user-defined commands to the Quick Launch Bar. Simply right-click in the bar’s area and select Insert User Defined Command from the drop-down menu. To add more commands to the list of user-defined commands, go to Configuration > User Defined Commands.

In case you add a lot of programs to the Quick Launch Bar, you may want it to have its own row. To achieve this, go to Configuration > Core Settings….

In the Core Settings window, tick the Quick Launch Bar (Entire Row) option located at Layout > Application layout > Toolbars.

Work with Selections

I already described the many ways you can select items in MultiCommander’s panels in a previous post.

Additionally, you can also save your selections to files with the .lst extension.

selections

Save Selection to file…

To do so, go to Edit > Save Selection to file….

You can use the saved selection file later to load the selection via Edit > Load Selection from file….

The same selection saving and loading operations can be done using the computer’s memory.

Compare Items

Items visible in the left and right folders can be compared using the Ctrl+F10 keyboard shortcut or via Edit menu item. MultiCommander can select all items that are duplicated, missing, or that are the newest. You can define whether only folders, only files, or both should be compared.

Convert Text File Formats

In MultiCommander, you are able to convert text files between Windows, Mac, and Unix formats with one click. To do so, go to Tools > Text Tools.

convert-text-files

Text Tools

Pack/Unpack Items

To pack selected items using MultiCommander’s internal FS-Zip archiving tool, use the Alt+F5 keyboard shortcut or go to File > Pack files…. To unpack an archive, use Alt+F6 or go to File > Unpack files…

Bulk Rename Multiple Items

To rename multiple selected items, go to Extensions > Multi-Rename.

Multi-Rename

Multi-Rename

You can use RegEx (regular expressions) to find and replace character strings in the filenames and extenstions. You can also save your renaming rules to profiles and load those profiles again later.

Find Files and Search Within Files

MultiCommander allows you to not only search for files but also to search for text within files. Again, you can use regex for greater effectiveness.

Both actions are accessible via File > Find Files…, Extensions > File Search, or the F3 keyboard shortcut.

search

Find Files

Change Item Properties

I already published a post regarding the use of MultiCommander as a tool for bulk changing file/folder date and time.

MultiCommander can be used in the same way to bulk change other attributes of files and folders, such as read-only, hidden, archive, or system.

Remove EXIF Data from Images

To remove EXIF data from selected images go to Tools > Picture Tools > Strip EXIF Metadata from pictures.

Remove Metadata Tags from Audio Files

To remove metadata tags from selected audio files, go to Tools > Audio Tools > Remove Metadata Tags from audio files.

Scan IMDb and RottenTomatoes for Movie Information

To scan selected video files for movie information online, go to Tools > Video Tools > Scan for Media Information.

scan-media-information

Scan Media Information

Work with Links

You can create links via Tools > File Links > Create Links…. You can create hardlinks, softlinks (junctions), symbolic links, and shortcuts.

This way you can also learn the simple differences between these four kinds of links.

Hardlinks can be created only for files. The hardlink and its target must be located on the same drive. A hardlink is basically a direct copy of the file.

Softlinks or junctions can be created only for folders. A softlink can be created across hard drives.

Symbolic links can be created for both files and folders. Even non-existent files can be linked. Links can be created on networks, too. And the link path may be relative.

MultiCommander will make your life much easier by showing the targets of links directly in the file system browser panels.

Show targets of links

Show targets of links

The various links are differentiated by the capital letter in parentheses: [J] means junction and [S] means symbolic link.

When a link’s target path is too long and you can’t read it, use the Ctrl+F11 keyboard shortcut to make the panel full-width. Pressing Ctrl+F11 once more will make the panel go back to its original size.

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Delete Files

When deleting a link, you have a choice whether to remove the link only or to remove both the link and its target. The default choice is to remove the link only and leave the target alone.

Network and FTP

To browse networked drives or FTP connections, use the Alt+F1 and Alt+F2 keyboard shortcuts.

device-drop-down-menu

Device drop-down menu

Alt+F1 drops down a menu of devices above the left panel. Alt+F2 does the same for the right panel.

All other available locations, such as hard drives, connected portable devices, the Desktop, Favorites, etc. — will all be listed in the drop-down menus, too.

Browse Windows Registry

MultiCommander also allows you to browse the Windows Registry as another drive.

Again, use the above mentioned Alt+F1 and Alt+F2 keyboard shortcuts to easily access the Windows Registry.

Browse the Windows Registry

Browse the Windows Registry

Favorites

You can create and use your own favorite locations. To show the Favorites window, press Alt+Back.

There are three available categories for favorite locations: Quick Paths, Favorites (same as in Windows Explorer), and Web.

favorites

Favorites

Use Ctrl+0 up to Ctrl+9 to go to a quick path you saved.

You can add your own locations to all three categories via Ctrl+N for new path/URL and Ctrl+F for new folder.

add-new-favorite

Add New Favorite

Location History

To browse the history of location you visited in MultiCommander, use the following keyboard shortcuts:

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Location history buttons

  • Alt+left arrow to go back in history
  • Alt+right arrow to go forward in history
  • Alt+down arrow to show the history as a list of locations

You can also right-click on the location arrow buttons or left-click on the location history button to bring up the list of your historical locations.

Disconnect Drives and Connections

To disconnect a portable device or a network connection, open the location you wish to disconnect and click on the Disconnect / Eject / Remove Device icon in the upper right corner of that panel.

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Disconnect/Eject/Remove Device button

Create and Verify Checksum Files

MultiCommander allows you to create and verify checksums of files. To do so, go to Extensions > File Checksum or to Tools > File Checksum.

A checksum file is used to verify whether the authenticity and integrity of files has been corrupted since the checksum’s creation.

MultiCommander can create an SFV (simple file verification) file and an MD5 (message-digest algorithm) file.

File Security

MultiCommander can be run in both user and administrator mode. Administrator mode can be also launched from inside MultiCommander via File > New > MultiCommander as Admin.

When running with administrator privileges, there is an [Admin] tag shown at the beginning of MultiCommander’s window title bar.

An admin can take ownership of file and can set file/folder permissions for all users. To do so, go to Tools > File Security.

MultiCommander can help you in finding locked handles, files and DLLs (dynamic-link libraries) via Tools > Find open/locked files….

find-open-locked-handle-file-dll

Find open/locked Handle/File/DLL

File Type Setup

You can use Configuration > File Type Setup… to define what programs to use to view, edit, and run for which file types (extensions).

Additionally, you can define what icons should be shown with specific file extensions.

File Type Setup

File Type Setup

Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

MultiCommander gives users a wealth of keyboard shortcuts. All of which can be customized to meet your individual preferences. To do so, go to Configuration > Keyboard Customization.

Access to Control Panel

All Windows Control Panel items are accessible directly from within MultiCommander’s menu bar at Tools > Windows Control Panel.

Extensions and Plugins

MultiCommander has lots of extensions and plug-ins. You can manage them via Configuration > Manage Plugins and Extensions.

Extension/Plugin manager

Extension/Plugin manager

MultiCommander creates a virtual file system layer via which it operates. This allows it to have two types of file system plugins: devices and containers.

Devices add new prefixes to the virtual file system, such as FTP:, REG:, and NET: — so that the user can browse, for example, the Windows Registry as if it was another drive.

Containers are used to browse structured files, such as ZIP or RAR archives, and present them to the user as a folder with files in it.

Commands, Aliases and Scripts

MultiCommander is the most versatile file manager I have ever encountered.

You can create your own buttons (via Configuration > Button Editor), commands (via Configuration > User Defined Commands), aliases (via Configuration > Manage Aliases), even scripts (also via Configuration > User Defined Commands) — literally anything you can think of can be done.

To familiarize yourself with MultiCommander’s custom commands, read up on them here.

Final Words

MultiCommander is a godsent for developers, programmers, and users who want more features and more access.

For users, the full 300-page documentation of MultiCommander is available here. For developers, the SDK (software development kit) is available here.

And what’s more, Mathias Svensson, the author, is a great guy and will answer even the most ridiculous questions with great care.

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