I am on a mission to replace Far Manager, which is a Windows file manager that I really love, and have used for over a year. Far Manager is a text mode file manager that has been in development since the 1990s. It is a lot like Norton Commander, which I used briefly in my DOS days. I like how fast the UI is, how easy it is to navigate the filesystem, and also how easy it is to read the file and folder names in text mode.

Unfortunately, it has a few drawbacks that have been driving me crazy. First, opening Visual Studio Code from it, which I have to do all the time, will often mess up the UI and require a restart. Second, the keyboard shortcuts—many of which I have memorized—are bonkers. The left and right shift keys act as completely different modifiers, and the left and right control keys act the same way. This is not a problem for my standard ANSI keyboard, but I am trying to move to an ortholinear keyboard which doesn’t have two shift keys or two control keys, so some of the functionality I rely on is inaccessible.

Today I found another orthodox (two-panel) file manager that runs on Windows, has a full graphical UI, and is very, very customizable. It’s called Double Commander. Life Far Manager, it is free, and it has the two-pane interface I love. Unlike Far Manager, you can customize nearly every part of the user interface, including all the keyboard shortcuts. I was able to pare down the default toolbars to a minimum, color the interface to have white text on a navy blue background, and learn the few keyboard shortcuts I need to know without any trouble. Prior to learning about it today, I thought I had tried all the orthodox file managers for Windows. Double Commander is my favorite of the bunch.