Imperium is a stylish dual pane file manager for Windows and Linux
Many dual-pane file managers that we have reviewed are in some ways, a clone of Total Commander. That's not exactly a bad thing, but there are other file managers out there, e.g. the Terminal-based file manager LF or ExplorerXP, that may work as well for you.
Imperium is a dual pane file manager, sans the command bar / function bar. Well, technically there are three panels if you include the sidebar, which is sort of the help file, but it has other uses. For now, toggle the sidebar by clicking the button in the top left corner.
The left pane hosts the file tree, which lists folders and files. The right pane isn't another directory tree, instead it displays a preview of the selected image or document. There are many ways to get around in the program, you can use your mouse, or click the drive bar.
Hit Ctrl + J to brings up the Jump bar, which allows you to switch between directories or drives. Imperium's left pane has some semi-opaque buttons, the arrow keys can be used to navigate between folders. Of course, you can do the same with the keyboard shortcuts, backspace key to go up a folder, Alt + Left and Alt +Right, to go back or forward.
The menu button in the panel is used for basic file operations, as well as to open a command window among other options.
The file context menu has some useful shortcuts like copy paths, file names, create archives (ZIP, Tar, GZIP).
Imperium file manager supports tabbed browsing. Click on the hamburger button to open the tab menu, which lets you open and close tabs. You may use the hotkeys Ctrl + T, Ctrl + W to open or close a tab. Switch between tabs using the left and right arrow key. The tab list provides another way to jump to the opened tabs. Add your favorite folders to a Tab Group, this gets saved to the tab menu for quick access. Toggle the sidebar after you have created a tab group, and you'll be able to manage them from the panel.
You can type the path of a directory in the Jump panel to go to it, like C Downloads, the program will auto-complete the path. If it doesn't, select the folder using arrow keys, hit the Tab key.Â e.g. C Program Files Mozilla Firefox.
To search for a file in the current directory, just type its name or file extension, and Imperium will filter the contents of the folder and display the matched items. Press Ctrl + L to create a filter to only view audio files, executables, folders, images, etc. Ctrl + F opens the built-in search tool, and this supports wild-cards, so you can search for something like *.TXT. Or, you can use regular expressions, if you want to.
The search results are displayed in the sidebar (F1).
Click the gear cog icon in the top left corner for some additional functions that you can enable. The Command Palette contains handy actions, lets you Swap Panels, Show Clipboard contents (files), Toggle hidden files, full screen and zen mode (single pane UI). There's a light theme available, if you aren't a fan of the dark color scheme.
The Settings menu item opens the application's options, where you can configure the hotkeys, toggle some optional features. The travel-as-you-type setting, jumps to folders as you enter the letters, it takes some time getting used to.
Imperium is freeware, but not open source. It is available for Windows and Linux, but doesn't come in a portable version. The file manager looks great and works well for the most part, and even though it is mouse-friendly, there are a ton of keyboard shortcuts. The program is a bit slow to start and appears to lag slightly, which I think is because of the animations. The program's resource usage was around 115-125MB of memory and about 5% of CPU, though it jumped up to about 10% for a second or two, when switching to a different drive or a folder with hundreds of files.