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■ xplorer² v3.0 now with (optional) ribbon toolbar interface
There are two kinds of people in the world, those that hate the ribbon and those who love it; there is no middle way. I used to be on the naysayers camp, why with its waste of space and lack of customization, but one must admit that it brings some order to programs with tons of commands like xplorer². Just look at the unwieldily mess that is xplorer² menu bar, and then compare it to the ribbon: commands logically organized in groups, the most frequently used commands easily accessible, and their variations available as split-button menus. Yes it gets some time getting used to but it is worth the trouble. Don't forget to watch the ribbon demo video available in Help > How do I? menu command (or click on the question mark at the right end of the ribbon). To turn off the ribbon use the leftmost "File" tab and you will get the traditional menu bar. But times move on chaps, and let's try to move along with the flow, it's not all bad nonsense <g>. xplorer² is the first major file manager that sports a ribbon UI — controversially!
This is a major upgrade and the ribbon is only the surface. There are more substantial changes under the hood (see the full changelog here), but to mention just a few:
- Redesigned mass rename function. Many were complaining that xplorer² bulk rename was too plain, to put it politely, so it was redesigned to cater for search and replace modes, as well as the old "replace whole name" mode. We are particularly proud that such a plain interface packs so much power in it. Think of it that you are doing search and replace in a text editor, only for renaming files. You can insert/remove parts of the file name using the character range special token $[start:length], and there's a file attribute token that allows you to insert any piece of file information as part of the name (e.g. album artist or what have you). There will be a more detailed blog article about the bulk renamer but for the time being please refer to the documentation
- Faster more responsive native preview. The native preview tab is now threaded, which means that when you click on a large XLS file you won't block xplorer² for ages until the file loads. Moreover the previewer is more efficient if you load the same type of document in a row — you will notice the speed improvement in the second read. Finally now you get full and accurate HTML previews, even thumbnails, a feature that microsoft callously removed back in windows XP SP2.
- Fast search dialog. The fast search command in Tools menu (I wonder where this lies in the ribbon? :) gets a user interface that dictates where to search for your keywords. That could be "everywhere" or a combination of other properties like Name and Tags. Ultimate version license holders will notice the blazing speed when searching for text in file contents.
- Better autocompletion. xplorer² always supported autocompletion in all sorts of input fields but only those that read manuals would be aware of it (you needed to press <UP> key to fetch a completion string). Now you get a drop down list that shows you possible completions like you are used to from internet browsing. Now everybody will perceive and take advantage of this time saving feature!
- Character length column. A new stock column (available when you right click on the column header of a detailed view pane) called Characters will show the total path length of files, including all parent folders. You should beware filenames becoming too long, anything close to 260 characters will spell trouble.
- Transfer speed graph. The robust copy progress dialog has a plot control that shows you the instantaneous transfer speed in MB/sec as a function of time. Not really necessary but will help the time pass during large copy operations. Anoraks can maintain records of peak speeds, categorize their hard disks in order of swiftness and all sorts of record keeping joy <g>
I know it's not what you would like to hear first thing on a New Year's Day, but this latest xplorer² version is not
a free upgrade for existing license holders. Any sustainable business needs return customers, so 3 years after the last paid-for upgrade, loyal customers are asked to reach for their wallets. Everyone
will need to obtain a new unlock key for v3.0, but many people will get it for free
The upgrade process is as painless as can be; you just try to purchase a new key then xplorer² should guide you in case you are entitled to a free or discounted upgrade. Here are a few possibilities:
- Click on Secure online order button in the opening "nag screen"
- Use the Register command under License management menu (leftmost "File" tab in the ribbon)
- If you have the old school menu, use Help > Register program command
The upgrade will be easier if you install v3.0 over your existing one (in the same folder), so xplorer² can recognize you have an older valid license file in there. Alternatively you can upgrade semi-automatically using this form — but you'd need to dig up that email with your full unlock key.
We trust that you'll find the new upgrade worth the price, and wish you a happy and productive new year!
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