Having tested the various file management programs a little more thoroughly, I’ve ended up with a fifth favorite: Total Commander. The main features are more or less the same as in the other programs (two panels, tabs, ftp client and archive support integrated, almost unlimited configurability, great keyboard support, etc.), but it works more smoothly, it is quicker, and doesn’t crash, which all the other programs have done on some occasion or another. But what is probably the greatest advantage is the active user community. Not only does that mean that a host of plugins for any possible task is available for TC, but when a lot of people rever a program with almost religious sentiments, that is usually a sign of quality (it is also a sign of a lot of people having too much time on their hands, but that’s a different matter).
The one disadvantage is that it is shareware, not freeware. Some would say: why pay for something when you can get (almost) the same for free. Others would say: the extra features and the general quality is worth $30. (Others again might say: I can live with the nag screen).
Among the other programs I recommended, I’ve switched the order of the two top contenders. In the end, the lack of a good favorite handling and some other things made me abandon FreeCommander, much as I liked it, and go back to FileAnt. It didn’t seem to do any bad things to my system files after all, and the AntHill — quick links to your favorite folders — proved really useful.
That gives the order:
1. Total Commander