When comparing cmder vs XYplorer, the Slant community recommends cmder for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for Windows?” cmder is ranked 7th while XYplorer is ranked 23rd. The most important reason people chose cmder is:
Cmder builds on [ConEmu](https://code.google.com/p/conemu-maximus5) console emulator, by adding enhancements from [clink](http://mridgers.github.io/clink/) (such as bash-style completion in cmd.exe and PowerTab in powershell.exe) and optionally extending it with [msysgit](http://msysgit.github.io), that brings Unix tools to Windows.
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Pro Minimal and portable version available
There is a portable version of cmder available which is just 10 MB in size. It can be put on an external device, like a USB stick, and run off it. There's no installation required.
Pro File explorer integration
Cmder can be added to the right-click menu, allowing the user to start a terminal session from the selected directory with a "Cmder Here" command. The functionality can be enabled by opening up a terminal with administrator privileges, navigating to the Cmder folder and executing
.\cmder.exe /REGISTER ALL.
Pro Has built-in Quake style drop-down mode
This is an extremely useful mode whereby the console hides and shows on ctrl+~ similar to a gaming console. This feature is inherited from ConEmu.
Pro Works nicely with command line applications
Such applications include CMD, Powershell, and MinTTY.
Pro Monokai color scheme
Cmder pretties up the default look of ConEmu using Monokai color scheme out of the box and allows flexible color and transparency schemes, including custom out-of-focus opacity.
Pro Integrates with graphical applications
Portable GUI applications can be integrated directly into the interface of the terminal emulator.
For example, it's possible to integrate ST3 with cmder by moving the portable version of ST3 to
/cmder/vendor/ and editing alias file in
/cmder/config/aliases to include
subl="%CMDER_ROOT%\vendor\Sublime Text 3\sublime_text.exe" $1 -new_console:s75V. Now writing
subl in the command line will open ST3. The alias of subl can be changed to whatever's needed and similarly, the
-new_console option's parameters can be changed to alter how the text editor integrates with the terminal emulator. It can be horizontal or vertical splits of varying sizes or tabs, etc.
Pro Works with VS Code, Hyper and IDEs
Cmder can be used with popular editors such as VS Code, which delivers aliases and clink as well as its color scheme to VS Code.
It can also be used without ConEmu and Hyper as an alternative terminal emulator, which makes customizing the UI through NPM plugins much easier.
Pro Highly flexible
Pro Works with ZSH and Oh My ZSH through WSL (using ubuntu 18.04)
Set ZSH as shell using "chsh" command, and launch the console using "ubuntu1804" command.
Pro Works with WSL bash.exe
CMDer works great with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Just change your startup task to point to the bash.exe file.
Pro Frequent and regular updates
Bugfixes and new features are released frequently. Additionally, XYplorer can automatically check for updates and has convenient download and update functionality built-in.
Pro Extremely configurable
There are literally hundreds of ways you can customize this software. All the settings can be contained in a single configuration file, so you can easily create "profiles" as well.
Pro Very reliable
It's small and fast, has lots of features, and helps you get your work done faster.
Pro Lifetime license available
XYplorer probably has the best "bang for the buck". It surely has its cons but considering what one gets for a "small" one-time investment, probably no other comparable feature rich product offers a better license.
The lifetime license ($63.95) includes all future updates for free, lets you install on any number of computers, and includes the portable version.
Pro Numerous filtering, sorting, and highlighting methods for files
Create rules and configurations to quickly identify and locate specific types of file and display them in various ways.
Uses a very flexible scripting language that you can do many things with it. After learning it, one can get many other tools replaced in favor of a single centralized, extremely customize-able command center, plus writing one own's personal routines to fully perform finely-tuned file management. However, doing basic things like stringing together common renaming and moving tasks takes very little knowledge. Scripting is easy for beginners, is supported by the developer and the community, yet can be incredibly deep and powerful.
Pro Custom toolbar buttons
With its powerful scripting ability and the easily accessible menu identifiers, creating customized commands and toolbar buttons provides yet even further levels of usability specific to your needs.
Pro Dual pane
Manage files with two panes which can be arranged horizontally or vertically - and each can have multiple tabs to boot. You can also easily save and reload open tabs as tab sets.
Pro Easy to use
XYPlorer, in spite of its complexity and completeness, is very easy to use. Features are obvious. And where they're not obvious they can be discovered easily. An example is the ease of "Jump to Setting" which helps you effortlessly find which of many settings you're looking for.
Pro Logs plenty of actions for undo/redo
Up to 256 actions are logged and can be looked up and undone later in case of a mistake. Undo/Redo works even across sessions (i.e. after closing and restarting the app).
Pro The catalog: an all-purpose area that can be customized for all of your needs
An all-purpose area that you can customize for all your needs. It can be a list of favorite directories, run scripts, replace the directory tree, be a program launch pad, and so much more.
Pro Thumbnail viewing for images is both fast and customizable
If you're a photographer, wannabe photographer, or you just take a lot of photos, XYplorer is a great file manager for working with images. Combined with the Mouse Down Blow Up (MDBU) feature, previewing photos is very easy.
It doesn't require you to install it on your computer, allowing you to run it directly from a disk or from an USB flashdrive.
Pro Quick audio preview
Can listen to audio files very easily with a single mouse click on the file icon. This includes FLAC support.
Pro Portable file extensions
Associate file types with other portable applications on your USB stick.
Pro Extensive metadata
Mark files with colored labels, tags, comments, as well as multiple columns with user-defined metadata for everything from ratings, urls, and whatnot.
Pro User interface is extremely customizable
XYplorer's user interface can be customized in almost every conceivable manner, from size and placement of various frame elements, to fonts, colors, toolbar buttons, if you can think it, you can probably do it.
Pro Custom columns
Create custom columns to display all kinds of info snippets or even interactive links and buttons.
Pro Customizable keyboard shortcuts
XYplorer is great for heavy keyboard users. Its many keyboard shortcuts are also fully configurable. Additionally, XYplorer offers multiple ways to navigate to file system using only a handful of keys. That said, one can do things with a mouse like press an icon in a custom column to run a script on the corresponding file or folder. Mousers are happy too.
Pro Developer is active in the forum as well
While other competitors only offer a "community" forum where the developers are absent, in XY's forum the developer answers questions personally, quickly, and consistenly.
Pro Faster than Windows Explorer ever thought of being
This is faster than Windows Explorer when combined this with TeraCopy. Currently, it is present in the right-click menu, but you can drag and drop it to copy with Windows File Explorer.
Pro Easy to organize lots of files at once
Known as Branch View in XYPlorer. Select a folder or multiple folders and select Branch View to get a flat file view of the selected folder/s with files only, folders only or both. Alternatively, select Branch View to get a flat view of the current folder. Results can then be filtered, sorted, organised, moved, copied, renamed etc accordingly.
Extremely useful if you have a lot of files to organise.
Pro Community support
Extensive and active support forum with unusually quick, thorough, and friendly assistance.
Pro Separate 32 and 64-bit context menus
This is very useful for accessing some context handlers or when using the portable version across several systems.
Pro Custom file and folder icons
Add a custom icon to a set of files or folders based on file type, location, name (or part of name) for example: all files named XYplorer to have 'icon x' or all folders that contain the word XYplorer in the name to have 'icon y', size, date, name length, path etc.
You can customize an infinite number of icons for an infinite number of files and/folders or even just a single one based on what ever combination you want.
No extra files are created like with other programs that place an icon in each directory. The customized icons are stored within the "Icons" folder of the XYPlorer directory while the list of customized file/folder patterns as well as which particular icon to point to are stored within XYplorer
It's set and forget as all file/folder icon associations are applied globally. Meaning that all new files or folders that match your predefined pattern or instruction if you like will automatically be displayed with your chosen icon.
Customized icons are also very very flexible. It's so easy to add, remove, change and fine tune your settings to your liking. To turn the customized icons on or off is simply a matter of pressing the handy toggle button.
Further flexibility comes with the ability to turn on or off individual custom icons with a simple tick box.
It is a bit of a learning curve to get the pattern (instruction to select certain files/folders to be associated with a particular icon) just right. But as results are immediately visible, it makes it easy to adjust accordingly to exactly what you want. There are some examples of these patterns included within the "Customize File Icons" UI or settings box to get you started by selecting the "I" button. A more extensive list is available in the XYPlorer help file.
Once you get the hang of it though, the same patterns can be applied to other customizations in XYPlorer for example color filters or Ghost filters.
Pro Long path names supported brilliantly
Windows File Explorer, over time, will eventually allow you to create path lengths, usually accidentally, that are "very long" (ie too many characters based on Windows standards).
And then, out of nowhere, you no longer have full functionality available to the directories and files in that long path.
- eg: you won't be able to open a file, or rename it, or copy it, or delete it, etc.
In order to regain full functionality available to the files/ directories in that "long path", you have to go and manually shorten the "long path" length by deleting characters in filenames, directory names, etc,
In other words, Microsoft will "allow" you to break the rules (.. ie in most cases without warning ), but then won't support the broken rules.
This is where XYPlorer is super useful -- especially when you move big chunks of data from A to B -- you no longer have to care about long path name issues.
Pro Search and virtual folders
Its search ability and functions combined with a multitude of file actions and the ease of creating virtual folders is a major time saver.
Pro Folder sizes shown
Folder sizes and amount of files within the folders can be shown. This is very useful when trying to work out where the HDD space has gone.
Pro Per-user license
Just one license covers all of your computers.
Pro Clean, uncluttered interface
Clean and uncluttered interface, easy to concentrate on the files and folders that you need.
Pro Extremely versatile renaming.
Renaming can also be combined extremely easily in basic scripts for chaining and combining the strengths of the different types of renaming available. Can also rename based on metadata.You don't really need to "learn scripting" to chain a bunch of renaming commands. Multiscripts can even give you a menu of your chained renames - with nested menus if desired. It takes very little knowledge to be able to do this. One can even run such a script by drag and drop.
Pro Asynchronous copy and move operations
It's possible to queue copy and move operations so that multiple large copy/move operations don't interfere with each other (disk thrashing) and you can continue working with the program.
Pro Supports correction of illegal file and folder names
Easily rename a folder to make it legal. Search for dangerous unicode characters. Rename all files to ASCII if you wish.
Pro Preview files
From documents to audio and video. All files can be previewed from within the program and without the need to open other software packages. This is a very useful feature when working with multiple files.
Pro Can use system, XY's custom copy routines, Fast Copy, and Teracopy interchangably without scripting
Can save any set of command-line options with a friendly label. Switching is as easy as right-clicking on a button.
Pro Branch view
Can show all files in a folder and all of its subfolders at once.
Pro Can replace Windows Explorer
So that folders are automatically opened in a new tab of XYplorer rather than on Windows Explorer when called from other softwares.
Pro Nuke button
Files and folders can be "nuked" without needing to go through the recycle bin.
Pro Option to disable lazy drag-and-dropping
A good practice to improve your workflow and eliminate accidental unwanted file movings to places! Brilliant!
A no-click preview to quickly see folder contents, pictures, videos, pdf, office files, archives (zip, rar...)...
Pro FLAC as well as MP3 Support for Metadata and Previews
Most are MP3 only.
Pro Let's you select files by typing any word in the current directory
In windows file explorer when you want to select a file of the current directory, you have to type exactly the same name from the start of the file. In xyplorer you can type just part of it.
Ex: filename "resume_work"
With xyplorer you could just type work and it would show the file being marked (this is configurable).
Pro Exhaustive list of previewable archive formats
Works with help of 7zip, even a portable install works.
Pro Dark mode
Latest beta-release introduces the "dark mode" that we already know from other software. It's auto-computed based on the current colour-settings and has 51 shades of darkness. Can be activated with a simple checkbox, no further tweaking required!
Pro Has more features than any other file manager
I have used almost all the file manager's available today including opus, speed commander, total commander, f man, xplorer2, tabbles, etc. but none of them can compare with it in easy usage, features or customization. The author updates it very frequently and has added many users requests.
Pro Fast and powerful search
Searching is extremely fast and thorough - no matter if you're looking for items by name, attribute, content, or trying to find duplicates (either with a selected hash or byte-to-byte).
It allows you to search within your files, looking for specific terms, including wildcards and regular expressions.
It also supports regular expressions and filter/sort your search results by file size, file modification date, etc.
Can save complicated, often-used searches easily as "Search Templates" to reuse, tweak, or use in a script.
Can set to instantly narrow a list as you type, or highlight if you prefer, with multiple options such as "Prefer Beginning of Column" or use currently sorted column.
Supports Standard wildcards, Boolean, and Regex.
Pro Mouse Down Blow Up feature
Mouse Down Blow Up is a quick file preview that pops up when you mouse-down on the icon or thumbnail of a file, and disappears on mouse-up.
Con Issues with non-unicode characters
'ls' command can have issues with non-unicode characters such as cyrillic. As of 1.1.2, 'dir' can be used as a substitute that will properly display non-unicode characters. Unfortunately, it's an issue with msysgit that isn't being officially addressed (a workaround is available) thus no official ETA on the bugfix is available.
Con Slower than ConEmu
Con Not as portable as advertised
Even though cmder is advertised as a "portable terminal emulator for Windows", it's not adequately minimalistic to be considered truly portable. In fact, one of the dependencies required to use it is the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015.
Con Issues with escape codes
Sometimes it doesn't interpret terminal escape codes correctly and the output gets mangled using tmux over ssh, for instance.
Con The portable (mini) version does not have UNIX commands
UNIX command support is only available for the full version.
Con Lots of conflicts with OS keybindings
By default, things lke ctrl-w will close your window unexpectedly when using nano or trying to delete a word in bash.
Con Very slow
Scrolling in vim lags the screen and can crash.
Doesn't do internal multitasking so often you sit there waiting and waiting and waiting for the window to come back.
Con No FTP support
XY doesn't support FTP, SSH, FTPS, etc.
Con Often unresponsive or crashes
When using features like preview the or other "advanced" features the program often reacts very slow or even crashes completly.
Also when browsing many files the program does not like that and can really bog down.
Con No plugin support
Con No working high-dpi support
XYplorer will not properly scale when working in a mixed configuration consisting of both Full-HD and high-dpi screens.
Con Status bar not customizable
Users cannot customize the status bar.
Con No themes
You can customize toolbars, but there are no themes available.
Con Separate tree for each panel is missing
The possibility of having a separate tree for each of the 2 panels is lacking.
Con No support for Windows libraries
You can't access your libraries through this software.
Con The free version has been discontinued
Although it has just been discontinued as of 10th January 2017, it is still available for download at https://www.xyplorer.com/free.php.
Con Cannot display files as grouped
Especially in thumbs view it would at times be nice to be able to group the files in the display. Sometimes it might also be nice in others views as well.
XY is only able to sort the files in the display but not able to group, though it does support arbitrary sort order and advanced link types.