When comparing xplorer² vs fman, the Slant community recommends fman for most people. In the question“What are the best file managers for Windows?” fman is ranked 5th while xplorer² is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose fman is:
Windows, Mac, and Linux are supported.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 250+ file attributes that can be added as columns to view more file attributes
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 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 Execute DOS commands
Pro Flexible search function
Search based on numerous file attributes. Search in ranges. Search inside files. Save search parameters for future use.
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 Free version available
There is a free version available, xplorer² Lite, for non-commercial use.
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 Supports TotalCommander plugins
Pro Copy/Move many simultaneous tasks
Can display the size in bytes of every folder listed in the current branch of the tree.
Pro Can create "tabs" of the most used sub directories that you can access with a simple click
Pro Mass rename capability
Pro Connects to network drives and cloud storage easily
Pro Lifetime license available
Pay once, get all future updates. Standard version licenses are also available.
Pro Works on all operating systems
Windows, Mac, and Linux are supported.
Pro Simple to use
Pro Makes finding commands *by name* easy
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.
Con No (text) file viewer
Con No explicit bookmark support for directories
It though remembers the visited directories and allows to search in this list in most-recently used order and by name.
Con Mainly for key-board-orientated users
The interface is most naturally navigated by arrows and keystrokes. The target market is software developers.
Con Has no menu bar
Hence it is not well suited for visually orientated users which find or remember commands by using a mouse and a menu. Even the fman's hero Sublime Text uses a menu bar.
Con Requires email address to download
Doesn't say what it will do with this data. It is in contrast to the new laws in Europe where only necessary information is allowed to be collected. A download should not require an email address.
Con Still quite buggy
So, for example, sorting only is remembered if triggered by command and not be clicking the table column header using the mouse.
Con Settings can't be found by the GUI
You need to know which files to edit.
Con Default dark theme
No choice between dull-dark or fresh-light.
Con No portable bundle available
On Windows only a net-installer is available.