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Do-it-all file tool

Take command of your files with this intuitive open-source freeware.

We're big fans of open-source, cross-platform, portable freeware, especially when it's in the form of an especially flexible and useful tool like muCommander. It's a Java-based file management utility that handles just about anything you can throw at it: ZIP files (all kinds), FTP, ISO, SFTP, SMB, NFS, HTTP, e-mail messages and attachments, browser bookmarks, themes and skins, and much more. It offers full credentials management, keyboard shortcuts, compatibility with Apple platforms, checksum calculation, and some 20 languages. Since it's an open-source project, it's evolving new features and capabilities all the time.

This program's fully customizable, skinnable interface features two identical panes with a modified tree view that opens directories when you click on them. The two-panel design is more than a mere layout, though; it's the heart of muCommander's functionality. An expanding file-browsing button on each panel's left corner anchors the file directory field and the main tree view, while a series of icons controls most functions, including handy extras like a Properties icon right on the toolbar, a Send By Email feature, and a Reveal In Explorer command that opens the target file or folder in Windows Explorer. The unique Mark function lets you search for, mark, and unmark specified files by filename and extensions for further actions. This tool is easy to use but does a lot and has many options, so we just started by browsing to one directory in the first window, another directory on a physically separate disk in the second window, and selecting some files to copy. We clicked the Copy button in the bottom-edge toolbar, which features frequently used commands thoughtfully labeled with their keyboard shortcuts. A copy dialog appeared with yet more options. We clicked OK, and muCommander instantly copied the files to the specified target directory. A simple start, to be sure, but a good introduction to muCommander's extensive capabilities as well as its competence in performing them.

This is an expandable, evolving, efficient, intuitive, and powerful file-management tool that does much more than a brief review can summarize. The outcome is clear, though: our highest recommendation.

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