Better ways to manage files

Better ways to manage files

Microsoft is a maddeningly schizophrenic company, which makes some of the best and some of the worst designed software in use on any system, on any PC, on any continent on this planet.

File Organiser is a photo-friendly, two-pane replacement for the crippled Windows Explorer, with additional help such as remembering your favourite folders, and automatically detecting attached cameras.

Windows Explorer (not to be confused with the web browser called Internet Explorer) is what opens when you click on My Computer or a folder, for example. It typically lists a bunch of folders or files for you to act on.

But some of the things you do with your files in Windows Explorer are awkward, convoluted or worse. Take the simple task of copying a file. Click on it, right click on it, choose Copy. Close Explorer. Find the folder you want to copy to, open Explorer, right click and choose Paste.

Why not have an Explorer with two Windows, one open in each folder, and just drag the files to copy?

Away back in the 1980s, a programming geek named Peter Norton realised all this and invented a file manager that showed two different directories (folders) at the same time, making for super-simple copying, moving and the like.

Peter Norton's other achievement was that he was the first real man (yes, some geeks are real men) to wear a pink shirt in public.

But his Norton Commander took much of the computer world by storm, and there were - and are - copies of his idea all over the place. But not at Microsoft, which has stuck stubbornly to the idea that if Bill Gates wanted you to see two folders at once, he would have invented the software, not that Peter Norton person.

FileOrganisernf (one word) is a fairly new, smooth, dual-pane replacement for the Windows Explorer.

The core program displays any two folders of your choice, allowing you to browse any drive and burrow down to the folders you want on the left and right side of the display.

If you tend to work by the calendar, as so many of us do, Nemo Documents is a terrific way to keep track of all the files you use on your projects.

And there it is, everything you need to do with files is in one window. Drag to copy, drag to move. Routine jobs like deleting are just as easy as in a one-window view.

Quit Windows Explorer, and when you start it again, it starts in the same folder as before. Quit FileOrganiser, and the next time you need it, it starts exactly where you left off. Plus, you can bookmark frequently used folders to get back to them at one click instead of having to navigate down the disk over and over.

There are a huge number of features with FileOrganiser. It is particularly tweaked to help with photo arrangements, for one thing. It has a terrific file-renaming module (great for giving names to groups of photos). It will help you find your big, file-hogging folders, and it will save file-folder lists in text or HTML form for easy printing or saving.

FileOrganiser advertises that it is portable. And it is, but it is really best to (a) install it on your main computer and then (b) copy the executable file to your thumb drive or whatever.

Either way, it is well worth a look. But the Nortonesque two-pane view is not the only superior file-managing choice to lame Windows Explorer.

Nemo Documentsnf is a one-page, one-window program with almost no other resemblance in form or style to Windows Explorer.

It's a program that "thinks" like many of us do, in a timeline, rather than in the folder-in-the-filing-cabinet way that almost all computer programs always force you into thinking.

Nemo Documents is quite different from almost any program. It has some resemblance to half a dozen different types. but it is a clone of none of them.

It's a list of your personal files - documents, downloads, spreadsheets, photos, whatever you work on. It's an illustration of why they call these blasted machines ifpersonalnf computers.

After you install, you tell the program where you keep your files. Nemo indexes those folders. It then presents them to you in a variety of ways, but mostly according to time - today, this week, this month, all of 2008.... and so on. The view is up to you, but the point is that you can remember about when you last worked on a file, and Nemo Documents presents it.

This is seriously superior to the Windows Explorer as a file tracker, of course. The search for files by name, for example, is almost instant.

But it allows you to do simple operations with files like copy, and it lets you choose the multiple folders you want Nemo Documents to monitor.

The program is heavier on memory than I like, taking up close to 200MB of RAM when it is fully open and idling. I would also like it a little better if you could search for text inside files instead of just file names - although there are fine, fast utilities to handle that task of course.

But as a file manager and searcher, Nemo Documents is unique. Anyone who thinks in time rather than location would be very comfortable with it.

There is a hyphen in the home page location of Nemo Documents, at (

The home page of FileOrganiser is (



The Setup.exe program you download from the program's open-source home page is about 4 megabytes, so it's an easy thing to get this file, click it and install.

If you must, click on 'View all files', then click on the latest update, at the top of the list. Choose to download the Zip file, and extract the two main files in there - FileOrganizer.exe and ExifTool.exe, to your portable drive.

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