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■ Frequently Asked Questions

This section is organized thematically in major topics accessible from the menu on the left. Please use your browser's search command (e.g. Edit | Find on page <Ctrl+F>) to locate a keyword relevant to your question.

A. Download and installation problems

A1. The primary download link doesn't respond

Please try the one of the alternative download locations →

A2. What are the minimum system requirements to run xplorer² ?

xplorer² will run in a basic trim on all win32 platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/ 2003/Vista/Win7/8/10), however a subset of its features depend on windows services that may or may not be available on all PCs. In many cases you can get full functionality by installing a recent version of Internet Explorer.

ToolbarsWindows 95 with Internet Explorer v.3 or better
ThumbnailsWindows 98 or NT4 with Active Desktop update
File commentsWindows NT4 (NTFS formatted partitions)
FTPInternet Explorer v.3
Zip foldersWindows ME or XP (for 2000 see FAQ B4)
Audio/VideoWindows Media Player v.6
Column handlers  Windows 2000 for extended file information
Text filtersWindows 2000 or later. For PDF see FAQ D3
Show in groupsWindows XP
Ribbon toolbarWindows Vista
Early Windows 95 users can install the common control update to get basic toolbars without installing internet explorer.

A3. I've just received my registration key, where do I type it?

If you are running xplorer² use the menu command Help | Activate with key. The program will restart in administrator mode so you can paste your registration key in the opening screen. If you can't see this screen check FAQ A11

A4. My key is not accepted all I get is an error message

Please copy/paste the key as you have received it via email. If you continue having problems please contact support quoting the exact error message reported by the license manager.

A4a. I get the error "This is not an unlock key for your xplorer² version" or similar

Please make sure you are using the correct key for your installed xplorer² version. Old v1.x keys won't unlock any later versions, and likewise 2.x keys won't work for v3.x (see the upgrade guide). If you bought a professional license make sure you are running xplorer² professional (and vice versa if you bought an ultimate license). You can check which version you are running using Help | About menu command.

A5. Do I need administrator privileges to install xplorer²?

To get the full range of install options you must run the installer and the license manager (Help > Activate with key menu command) in full administrator mode. If you do not have user rights to install programs on your computer please contact your system administrator. Also see FAQ A18

A6. I want to try xplorer² but it asks for a registration key when I start it

This is by design. To continue on a trial basis, click on continue button. You have 21 days of free evaluation and a further 10 days with a few extra nags. Once you buy a key you won't see any more nag messages.

A7. xplorer² stopped working before the 21st day of the trial

Have you installed xplorer² on your machine before? If so the trial has most probably expired, since it counts from the original installation date. If it is a fresh installation there could be some problem with your system clock; please submit a problem report for further information.

A8. Do I get any free upgrades at all?

Your single user license entitles you to customer support and free upgrades for one year. From then on you may incur surcharges for future xplorer² upgrades. For peace of mind please consider the lifetime upgrade assurance.

A9. I can't find the main help file

xplorer² comes with a large user manual available as a separate download. Please place it in the same folder where xplorer² is installed (usually c:\program files\zabkat\xplorer2) so that it is available from Help | Contents. You can get it here→

A10. I ordered xplorer² hours ago but have received no key yet

Normally when you order by credit card you get your key immediately. Sometimes due to essential credit card checks, orders can be delayed 1-2 days. You can avoid most such delays if you use a "good" contact email address — as opposed to a hotmail/yahoo account. A valid email will also ensure you will stay informed on future developments, bugfixes etc.
If you have a strict spam filter the registration email may blocked — please check your spam mail folder.

A11. I got my key but xplorer² doesn't ask for it when I start

The most likely cause is that you are running the lite version of xplorer² (check Help | About dialog). The professional version is a completely different program, and is the only one that accepts registration keys. Please download the "pro" version and install it separately.

A12. How can I become an affiliate partner?

If you are a webmaster or other person skilled in sales you can earn up to 40% commission by promoting xplorer² sales. To register as an affiliate please follow this link.

A13. I'm an existing customer; how do I upgrade?

In general you can just download the latest trial version from the website and install it on top of your existing xplorer² (no uninstall required). This will ensure your old settings and registration information is preserved. Note that if you have an older registration key you cannot use it a later version, please refer to this upgrade guide.

A14. How can I stay informed on xplorer² developments?

To keep up to date with new releases, upgrades, tips and tricks and other useful information just send us your email address. Nearly every page in the website contains a yellow box where you can enter your details for this purpose. Alternatively you can subscribe to the RSS feed. You can also follow us on twitter follow @zabkat.

A15. Does xplorer² require online activation?

No. xplorer² never "calls home", neither during registration nor during normal use, unless you explicitly check for product updates (Help menu). But please observe the fair usage terms in the license agreement.

A16. I can't buy a license

We accept payment through several secure outlets. If you can't access a certain order server, try our alternative ones→

A18. I need a portable version of xplorer²

xplorer² standard version can be a handful to use in many computers due to its registration tests. For a small fee you can get your own truly portable edition that can be run anywhere without special user privileges and without leaving traces in the registry or anywhere else. For more details see this page→

A19. Does xplorer² work on 64 bit windows?

For 64 bit windows please get the special 64 bit xplorer² build from this page →
If you have some old 32 bit shell extensions you'll need the 32 bit xplorer² version too, which also works on vista/W7/W8/W10 64 and windows XP 64.

A21. Do I need a separate license for xplorer² 64 bit?

No. The key you buy for xplorer² unlocks both the 32 and 64 bit version. One key is also good enough for all installations you make both in real and virtual machines, as long as you observe the one key, one user rule.

A22. How do I setup my ultimate edition on a portable USB stick?

For easy step by step instructions please refer to the documentation →.

B. File management

B1. How can I map a network drive or format disks?

There is no dedicated menu command in xplorer² to perform such operations since they are available through clicking with the right mouse button on certain filesystem items and invoking the command from the standard shell context menu that appears. The items in question are located either on the desktop or in your "My Computer" folder. So for instance:

B2. Why can't I format a floppy disk?

Windows will refuse to format a disk that some program have a lock on. A certain recipe for disaster therefore would be to be browsing the root "A:\", and then hit <Bksp> to access "My Computer" where the floppy disk icon resides (bearing the Format context menu command), since xplorer² current directory would still be on the floppy ("My Computer" is not a filesystem folder). There are many workarounds that one can imagine, but the easiest would be to go upwards to "My Computer" from another root drive as e.g. "C:\". Naturally you should also make sure that no other program is accessing the floppy drive too.

B3. I can't delete a folder from the tree

This is another issue related to resources being in use. If you are browsing a folder in one of the list view panes then it is considered "locked" and you can't permanently delete it. So please make sure you are not browsing the folder in any program, including within xplorer². On the other hand you should be able to delete a folder to the recycle bin without problems. If you must delete from the tree you have to check "Don't lock browsed folder" box in Tools | Options | Advanced, but note that it will have repercussions in command line execution (no current directory).

B4. How can I have zipfolders on Windows 2000?

All you need is a copy of zipfldr.dll as it appears on a windows ME system, and its dependencies dunzip32.dll and dzip32.dll. These DLLs aren't redistributable so you'll need to find them from somebody that has ME installed. Copy everything into your system32 folder and register the main object using:
regsvr32 zipfldr.dll
But beware: this DLL is a bit quirky and does not behave 100% — which may explain why microsoft did not include it in the original release of win2000...

B5. I can't create (paste) hard links

Hard links are only supported for NTFS partitions. Hence windows 9x or NT with FAT32 partitions, floppy discs etc are not covered. Even for NTFS partitions there are limitations; the files thus linked must reside in the same partition. It is not possible to place a hard link in e.g. "C:\" for a file located on a mapped network drive.

B6. I can't set file comments

This is another advanced feature that can be used only on NTFS formatted partitions. You can't set comments e.g. for files on floppy disks and other FAT32 media. On the other hand you can set comments for all folders and microsoft office documents, even for FAT-formatted media.

B7. I get a warning about stream loss when I copy files with comments

Since file comments most of the time rely on NTFS, when you copy files to non-NTFS media comments will be lost. Windows is warning you in advance for this potential loss of information. If you want to transfer files on e.g. a floppy without losing the comments please use Actions | ADS | Bundle to go command. After the transfer to the target NTFS folder, use Actions | ADS | Unpack bundle to restore the files.

B8. How can I tell if my hard disk is NTFS?

If you are running windows ME or earlier 9x, then your disks are definitely not NTFS. If you are running on NT4/2000/XP/Vista/W7/W8/W10 you'll need to check your drive properties: browse "My computer", right-click on the drive letter in question and select properties. The formatting (file system) will be shown near the top of the page.

B9. How can I disable default ZIP folder handling?

To turn off this feature you need to unregister the DLL that "simulates" zip files as folders. Just run this command: regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll from within your system directory where this DLL is kept (%WINDIR%\SYSTEM32). Then just allow your archive program to take over the ZIP file associations. However keep in mind that by disabling the default behaviour you miss out on features xplorer² offers within zipfolders, like content preview, thumbnails, comparisons etc. For windows vista there's a registry workaround. For windows 7 you must change access permissions to a registry key too.

B10. Why does xplorer² stay in memory after I quit?

If you have associated xplorer² with your filesystem folders during installation (see FAQ C1) then by design the process xplorer2_UC.exe remains in memory so that next time you click on a folder it will respond quickly. If you want to permanently exit xplorer² then use File > Exit menu command.

B11. Can I browse and search within other compressed archives?

Sure, you just need to install a shell extension and then you can browse into 7Z, RAR, ISO and many other archive types, in the same fashion as with ZIP "folders". This requires windows XP or later.

C. User interface

C1. How can I make xplorer² the default application for all my folders?

During installation you can tick a checkbox to have xplorer² open all filesystem folders when you click on them (replace windows explorer). There are a few folders that are "virtual" and cannot be associated with xplorer² in this fashion (e.g. My Computer); you access these from within xplorer² instead.

C2. I can't see previews for some image files

There are a couple of possible explanations. If this only happens to large image files (above 1MB) you may need to increase the thumbnail size limit found in Tools | Options | General. If the problem isn't size-related and started after you installed a program, your registry may be corrupted. Please see KB article 192573 for more details.

C3. When in zipfolders I can't see previews of some files

Given that extracting files from archives, FTP and other slow folders is rather expensive, xplorer² has a default limit of 512KB; files above this size won't be extracted and hence won't be previewed. To increase this limit use Tools | Options | General.

C4. Doesn't xplorer² support path autocompletion?

xplorer² does support autocompletion but not like windows explorer. You start typing part of the path and then press <F1> key a few times till you get the name you are after. Insert a backslash \ to start a new subpath etc. If you prefer explorer-style autocompletion please check the relevant box in Tools | Options | Advanced.

C5. I can't see thumbnails for all M/S Office documents

Some office applications like PowerPoint automatically include previews in their files, hence ".ppt" files always have thumbnails visible in xplorer². Other applications like Word need some coercing for including previews in ".doc" files. You'd have to use File | Properties menu in Word, and check "Save preview picture" box in Summary tab. On the down-side the file size may increase a lot. If you are only interested in plain text previews, xplorer² can extract text automatically from Office documents, if you have windows 2000 or later.

C6. xplorer² eats up a lot of RAM when previewing photos

xplorer² caches the bitmaps of items you preview either in the quick viewer or as thumbnails. This may lead to high memory consumption when you are browsing folders with a lot of pictures. To reclaim memory you can refresh the folder contents using <Ctrl+R>. The memory will be released when you browse another folder anyway.

C7. I love the extended file information; are there any more columns?

xplorer² will automatically integrate with any shell column handlers you install for your windows explorer, even for windows vista and 7/8/10. As a sampler you can try the following free shell extensions.
You can even use the new metadata in file searches! Please note that we are not affiliated with these programs and make no claims for their stability etc.

C8. I have windows XP and can't see HTML previews

Most likely you've fallen victim to microsoft's security panic introduced with XP SP1. You can bring order to your PC with a simple registry hack described in the forum. You can also switch to the Native preview tab.

C9. How can I print folder contents?

You can't print directly from xplorer² but you can extract the information you see as text using Edit | Copy Columns menu. This puts the selected items in the clipboard which you can then paste into any program e.g. Excel and print from there.

D. File search

D1. I can't find files within some folders

Some folders like "Temporary internet files" are automatically blacklisted from searches, since most of the time you don't need them. If you want to add more folders in this no-go list or regain access to previously blacklisted ones, please edit the registry key:
HKCU\Software\ZabaraKatranemia Plc\xplorer2.global\Find Blacklist
after you quit xplorer².

D2. I hate the default Windows Find command in the lite version

The "lite" version lacks the powerful find files command of the "pro" xplorer² and by default <Ctrl+F> will launch Windows Find dialog. If you don't like — or even don't have — this system service you can associate your favorite external find program, setting the registry value szExtFindFiles. See registry.txt for more details.

D3. How can I search for text inside PDF documents?

xplorer² can search and preview plain text within Office documents and Adobe PDF. You only need to check "Search all files" box in Find Files dialog. If you can't extract text from PDFs, you must download and install a component from Adobe

E. Known problems and "features"

E1. My namespace extension X doesn't work with xplorer²

It is unfortunate that many 3rd party NSEs are designed only with windows explorer in mind. Such extensions will run into trouble when accessed from xplorer². The symptoms vary according to the level of compliance of NSEs to the shell model, so you may read some folders but the details are wrong, or you can't manage items, or you can't read from a virtual folder at all. We consider these products to be at fault for such problems, not xplorer². Properly designed NSEs — like most of the microsoft ones — will work without a glitch.

E2. FTP folders show incorrect details

The FTP namespace extension provided by Internet Explorer — which xplorer² taps into — is arguably not the best NSE designed by microsoft. There are a number of small glitches, including file dates being doubly-adjusted for timezone, autorefresh playing up, etc.

E3. I can't access my remote FTP folder

When you type a ftp:// address in internet explorer, you are prompted for your account login details. As far as we know this exchange is not documented and cannot be used from xplorer². The workaround is to include your login information in the "path" as such:
The obvious downside is that you expose your passwords in plaintext.

E4. FTP doesn't seem to work at all

xplorer² uses Internet Explorer for FTP folders. If you type a FTP URL (ftp://...) in IE and doesn't work or it returns a webpage-like listing, xplorer² can't read it either. Some times you can improve FTP through IE's Tools | Internet Options | Advanced: "Enable folder view for FTP" and "Use passive FTP". Please contact your administrator for further details.

E5. Zip files inside zipfolders open in windows explorer

Although xplorer² will properly read subfolders within zipfolders, it can't open embedded zip files. There is no known workaround.

E6. Recycle bin won't autorefresh

Recycle bin is one of the few virtual folders that doesn't play by the rules, so autorefresh will only work when you permanently delete files from it. For all other cases (e.g. after restoring files) you will have to do a manual refresh with <Ctrl+R>.

E7. I cannot see all context menu items on 64 bit windows

Welcome to 64 bit hell. Shell extensions like context menu handlers are DLLs that need to match the 32/64 bit format of xplorer². You can install the dedicated 64 bit xplorer² (see FAQ A19) but unless all your extensions are 64 bit you may miss a few. For more information see this blog article.

E8. I cannot eject my USB drive

When you are browsing a removable drive or USB stick with xplorer², it locks the active folder (current directory) so the drive cannot be ejected. The simple solution is to browse away to a different folder e.g. C:\ and then the drive will be released. Another possibility is to right click on the USB drive letter in the drivebar and choose Eject from the context menu. If you still have problems fully quit xplorer² using <ALT+X> then eject the drive.

E9. I cannot watch any xplorer² demo videos

The documentation relies heavily on demo videos that show you how to get things done with xplorer². These play in your internet browser, but require the shockwave flash (SWF) plugin which is a free download. The easiest way to watch a video would be to use Internet Explorer or Edge browsers which already have this plugin installed and updated with all the security fixes.

E10. Demo videos show with poor quality

If your display settings use Large text (or high DPI), your browser will probably zoom all content and xplorer² demo videos will look funny. To improve the video quality press <Ctrl+Minus> keys to zoom out slightly (or hold Ctrl while you turn your mouse wheel).


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