With the evolution of Windows from the Windows XP to Vista and now to Windows 7 we have seen many improvement/refinements in the Windows explorer to boost productivity of the end users. However, as all of us know one thing that hasn’t changed for some strange reason is that there are still no tabs allowed in Windows explorer! It means if a user wants to open an other directory in Windows explorer but still want to keep the current directory open he has to open another explorer window and navigate to the desired directory. If you want to do heavy duty work with file and folder management in Windows and wants to keep many folders open at the same time you are basically forced to use many explorer windows and that mean the taskbar will soon become cluttered with all these explorer windows (in Windows XP only as in Vista and 7 you may enable taskbar grouping feature). Bigger problem is that navigation between different open explorer windows becomes cumbersome in that case.
Users that want to get rid of this limitation of the Windows explorer have an excellent option in the form of a free application called QTTabBar. Originally this application was coded by Quizo for the Windows XP but now a new developer has taken the responsibility to port his application to the Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is still in alpha and but works remarkably well. With the latest alpha version I haven’t experienced any problems so far.
So, coming back to the main feature set of this application it is basically an explorer shell extension that after installation adds the ability of multiple tabs to opened in single explorer window instead of being forced to open multiple explorer windows to view/keep open multiple folders at the same time. This is the core feature of the QTTabBar but that is not all because this application offers far more that this! For example it allows to get quick mouse hover previews for many popular image formats in Windows (also for text files), allows you select only the name of file when renaming a file excluding the extension part, real-time search as you type filtering of the listing of the files and folders in the current explorer view/tab. Other features include saving the currently opened tabs as a tab group to be reopened as a unit at some later time.
Advanced users will be happy to know that most of the features and different aspects of the functionality of the QTTabBar is highly configurable. Application also has an extensive support for the windows shortcuts and you can assign shortcuts for almost any operation in the Windows explorer. There are so many other features to explore but I going to leave them to you to explore! Give this a try for few days and I am sure you will come back impressed!
I am using this application now for many years (at first started to use the version from the original developer Quizo for the Windows XP). I can tell you one thing with certainty that this specific application simply has no peer! Of course there are some other applications floating around the net that allows to create the tabs in Windows explorer but they are pretty rudimentary both in terms of features set as well stability. Also, it should be considered that this application can do far more than just adding tabs to the explorer (although this is its core feature) to ensure that you get maximum productivity when interacting with Windows explorer.
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