Better Explorer 2 Alpha Looks Like Explorer In Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
May 6, 2012
Updated • Nov 10, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

Microsoft has long been criticized for not updating the Windows' operating system default file browser with features such as tabbed browsing, a second file pane or yuck, a ribbon interface. Back in 2010 when I reviewed Better Explorer for the first time, it did not offer much besides a tabbed browsing interface that allowed you to open multiple folder locations in the file manager at the same time to switch easily between them.

Better Explorer 2.0 Alpha has been released about a month ago, and after testing it for some time, I have to admit that the program has improved considerably. Before we take a closer look, I'd like to point out that the new file manager version comes with a ribbon interface. If you like it, great, if not, you probably have stopped reading by now. If you have not, note that you can minimize the ribbon just like you can in the Windows 8 Explorer.

When you launch the program for the first time after installation, you will notice that it has changed a lot in comparison to the first version released nearly two years ago. You'll obviously see the ribbon interface at the top, the new bread crumb path, or the search, which all have been integrated into the file manager. What you will also notice is how well everything looks in the interface, thanks to the clean fonts and the slightly larger font size used by Better Explorer.

better explorer 2

The ribbon lists the majority of features and controls the program offers. Here you can clone tabs, copy paths, handle a variety of file operations, or change view modes quite easily.

The file manager supports tabbed browsing which you can use to quickly switch between open folders. While not as comfortable as two folder panes next to each other in many regards, it is still something that the standard Explorer does not offer.

When you look in the program settings, you will notice that you can set the program to become the default file explorer of the operating system. This only works  for the shortcut Windows-E, and the icon itself yet. Another interesting feature is to integrate third party copying software support, Teracopy for instance, in the program from the preferences.

If you like the way Windows Explorer looks like in Windows 8, or if you like ribbons, or the font that Better Explorer 2 is using, then you may want to take the program for a test run. Keep in mind though that it is still an alpha version, and that it is not intended for productive environments.


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  1. Anonymous said on May 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    after uninstalling it the [win]+[e] shortcut dosent work anymore :-(

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Did you restart the computer?

  2. Henk said on May 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

    This ALPHA release got me in to big trouble (Win7 Ult 64). I installed it and let it be the default explorer. When I switched accounts on my laptop the program kept running into a program error (‘pKun invalid value’). Then I uninstalled it and had no explorer at all… Even explore.exe was gone… I solved it by returning to a system restore point…

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

      I agree, they have to resolve the issue. You need to uncheck the box that makes the program the default file browser first, before you uninstall.

  3. Boris said on May 7, 2012 at 4:15 am

    However, huge plus. Only one Better Explorer window. Every new window that is created by
    ” Win – E” is captured as new tab. However, windows launched by “Recycled Bin” app in status bar still opened as Explorer windows.

    1. Bioo said on May 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

      It’s an ALPHA, it’s for TESTing. Report bugs to the author…

  4. Boris said on May 7, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Already encountered few bugs.

  5. smaragdus said on May 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

    In my opinion a ribbon-mutilated and a .NET-infected app cannot be neither good, nor better.

  6. Boris said on May 7, 2012 at 1:36 am

    I wish it was much more snappier. You can feel switching between folders are happening with delay. Opening “Better Explorer” also goes with some delay. Also “Recycled Bin” should be present in left panel in each mode, not only “Show all” mode. Anyway, should be possibility to remove/add modules like Libraries or Favorites or “Recycled Bin” or others.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 7, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Are you using a 64-bit version of Windows? They mentioned in the FAQ that it is slower right now because it is using 32-bit dlls.

      1. Boris said on May 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

        Yes, I am using 64-bit windows. That explains it.

  7. Rick said on May 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Required .net 4.0 Full not just client? I guess the developer isn’t too interested in people giving his work a whirl.

    1. Bioo said on May 7, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Do you know what is an ALPHA ?

  8. Pau(us) said on May 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Looks much better, with outer word looks like one improvement.

  9. Morely the IT Guy said on May 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    It has the “ribbon.” Ergo, it won’t get tried here.

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