When comparing FreeCommander vs xplorer², the Slant community recommends xplorer² for most people. In the question“What are the best file managers for Windows?” xplorer² is ranked 7th while FreeCommander is ranked 12th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro 2 Pane Layout
Makes normal file operations (like move & copy) easy.
Pro Has a portable version
Because it's portable, you can easily move the folder with all your files to other devices.
Pro Powerful search feature
FreeCommander provides a search functionality that allows you to filter out results.
Pro Keyboard shortcuts
Has a good set of keyboard shortcuts enabled by default
Pro Very powerful set of file copying options
FreeCommander has a very powerful set of file copying options.
Pro Quick Navigation
Commonly used folders can be added and accessed using the favorites list -- in addition, physical and network drives can be switched to with a single click.
Pro Very usable and reliable Sync tool
Pro Very powerful Multirename tool
Pro Good all-purpose file manager
Pro Faster than most similar applications
It's hard to find a free or low cost alternative that is as quick, and stable, especially managing NTFS volumes on a remote NAS. It still freezes and chokes, just not as often as newer applications, like XYplorer, Free Commander, etc.
Pro Execute DOS commands
Pro Ability to save state
xplorer² gives users the ability to save the state, so the program will open with the same state the next time it's used.
Pro Free version available
There is a free version available, xplorer² Lite, for non-commercial use.
Pro Comprehensive functionality
Full search, sync files & folders, show folder sizes, robust copy, native file viewer, tabs within panes, very configurable display, command shell, bookmarks, etc.
Pro Supports TotalCommander plugins
Pro Browse Flat to view the contents of several subdirs as if they were stored in a single dir
Let's say you are located in a given subdir that has 5 subdirs. You can see the contents of all the files located in those subdirs as if they were stored in a single dir. Very useful when you want to locate files that you don't know exactly where they are located and searching is not an option.
Pro Scrap Area where you can drop files located in different sub directories to allow you to access them instantly
Let's say that today you are going to update a letter located in subdir X, continue developing a spreadsheet located in subdir Y, review a presentation located in subdir Z, review a project located in subdir W, etc.. You can drag and drop all these files to the Scrap Area and open and work with them, save them, open again, continue tomorrow and the files will be updated in their respective original locations. No need to navigate and navigate and navigate.
Pro 250+ file attributes that can be added as columns to view more file attributes
Pro Can create "tabs" of the most used sub directories that you can access with a simple click
Pro Copy/Move many simultaneous tasks
Can display the size in bytes of every folder listed in the current branch of the tree.
Pro Connects to network drives and cloud storage easily
Pro Mass rename capability
Con Only the 32-bit version is free
You have to make a donation to be able to download the 64-bit version.
Good facilities overall, but there's a bug that makes menus freeze and get stuck on the page.
Con Cluttered and dated UI
The user interface has an outdated look, with a lot of button and menu options that can be overwhelming.
Con It's easy to delete important stuff by accident
When you want to delete something, it will often highlight both a file and its folder. The whole folder is then removed if you don't de-select the folder manually.
Con Stagnating rate of development
Any improvements to the software are happening at a glacial pace which is making this software more and more outdated for a long time now.
Only a few minor improvements a year. User suggestions for improvements are routinely rejected or explained away. As for suggesting new features -- you'll quickly abandon all hope. Only realistic reason to visit their support forums is to read Kilmatead's posts -- for anything else prepare to be disappointed.
UPDATE (and slightly offtopic): Kilmatead seems to be no longer active on the forums, so the next best thing is xplorer2 blog which seems to often feature interesting technical topics.
The interface is essentially unchanged since its Windows XP days, with very little customization possible. Organization of features is convoluted, with some simple ones, like individual icons to quickly switch views missing. The stagnant cluttered design can make even long-time users drop the program.