When comparing ConEmu vs XYplorer, the Slant community recommends ConEmu for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for Windows?” ConEmu is ranked 13th while XYplorer is ranked 23rd. The most important reason people chose ConEmu is:
You can configure a plethora of settings, including shortcuts and aesthetics (background image, transparency, colors, and fonts) per software.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Highly customizable
You can configure a plethora of settings, including shortcuts and aesthetics (background image, transparency, colors, and fonts) per software.
Pro Can be used with any shell
ConEmu allows running CMD, PowerShell, Cygwin, PuTTY, TCC/LE, etc.
Pro Tab support
ConEmu allows the user to create tabs (Win+W by default) for separate instances of the terminal window, allowing them to have both multiple shells and multiple instances of the same shell open. The user can also set up a startup directory for each tab and run each tab as a specific user or rights.
Pro Explorer integration
ConEmu integrates well with Explorer.
Pro Highly configurable hotkeys
Hotkeys allow the user to easily trigger an action and can be configured to their liking.
Pro Run DOS applications with DosBox
If you have both ConEmu and DosBox installed, you can run DOS applications (and games) within a 64-bit OS environment.
Pro Progress Bar integration
ConEmu permits the user to check up on the progress of an operation with a quick glance at the taskbar, without needing to bring the app to the foreground.
Pro Useful status bar details
Not only does the status bar show detailed information out-of-the-box, it can be configured for your specific needs.
Pro Integrates with FarManager
ConEmu was originally designed as an updated front-end specifically for the FarManager, which means it has increased functionality.
Pro Free and open source
ConEmu is licensed under New BSD which is a class of very simple and liberal software licenses.
Pro Actively developed
ConEmu is under active development. Updates roll out almost daily with bugfixes and new features.
Pro Dynamically resize the window
You can change the width and height of the console window without having to reset your session.
Pro Run simple GUI apps within a ConEmu tab
With -new_console and -cur_console switches you can run simple GUI apps in a ConEmu tab (or split).
Pro Search in console input/output history
ConEmu supports searching in all text that has been printed or entered in the console history.
Pro Supports borderless mode
To put ConEmu in borderless mode:
Set Main -> Appearance -> Frame Width to 0
Pro Box selection
ConEmu offers multiple, configurable ways of interacting with text, including an ability to select text in a rectangular way.
Pro Auto discovers your shells
Zero config gets you all your installed shells.
Pro Transparent, Quake-style mode
You can set up ConEmu as a transparent, Quake-style console by following these instructions.
Pro Supports Jump Lists
ConEmu allows pinning commands to Jump Lists (available in Windows 7 & 8; accessed by right-clicking the application in the taskbar), giving you quick access to common tasks and configurations.
Pro Built-in screenshot tool
The screenshot tool allows the user to capture their computer desktop or anything shown on their computer screen in a static image file.
Pro Closest replacement for iTerm2 users
Supports many of the features that iTerm users have become accustom to (like multiple tabs, highlighting, configurable scroll bars, decent support for themed color pallets to support basic/solarized/etc.).
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 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 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 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 Portable file extensions
Associate file types with other portable applications on your USB stick.
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 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 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 Custom columns
Create custom columns to display all kinds of info snippets or even interactive links and buttons.
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 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 Community support
Extensive and active support forum with unusually quick, thorough, and friendly assistance.
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 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 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 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 FLAC as well as MP3 Support for Metadata and Previews
Most are MP3 only.
Pro Nuke button
Files and folders can be "nuked" without needing to go through the recycle bin.
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 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 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 Exhaustive list of previewable archive formats
Works with help of 7zip, even a portable install works.
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 Safety belts
Configurable options to prevent accidental file movements or deletions.
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 Bad scrolling support
The mouse wheel scroll doesn't transfer to terminal applications by default. It moves to the blank space instead of scrolling actual text content. This is especially true for ConEmu where there doesn't seem to be a way to make it work better.
Con Default look is somewhat unpleasant
In order to get a more pleasant look and feel, you may need to customize ConEmu yourself.
Con Poor performance with WSL
Con Screen scrapes from real console
ConEmu always runs the standard Windows console - ‘real console’, but it is hidden most of time.
This adds overhead, introduces another layer of complexity, and frequently creates irritating strange glitches (lost keys, messed up spacing) for heavy users.
Con Only simple, black and white emoji
It's not much, but is sad we can't get colored emojis. May change soon, I'm working on a PR.
Con No remote connections
A terminal emulator should emulate a terminal, i.e. a local input/output device to a remote computer. ConEmu can only run local processes in a window (albeit nicer than the local command shell window).
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 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 No plugin support
Con Poor touchscreen support
While an option exists to scale up icon sizes to improve touchscreen support, the program does not pan and scroll intuitively.
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.