FAR Manager is an open-source Norton Commander clone, that is highly customizable


FAR Manager isn’t new, at least not to most geeks. It has been around for decades and is still actively being developed. The name stands for File and Archive Manager and can be used for basic file operations, and so much more.

It is a Win-32 console application, which means it has a text based interface. That’s why it looks like Command Prompt.

Speaking of which, you can use all CMD commands in FAR Manager. So, if you ever missed having to type commands for changing the directory like “CD D:Games” or copying files like “Copy C:UsersUSERNAMEDownloadsFar.exe D:PortableFAR”, go nuts.

Tip: Check out other alternative file managers for Windows such as Altap Salamander or Multi Commander.

FAR Manager Viewer and Plugins

FAR Manager is an open-source Norton Commander clone
While the application does support opening files in your default program choice for that format, it does have a built-in File viewer and Editor. To access it, use the F3 key, and it should open the text in the same window. Hit F6 to edit the document, as if you were using a command line Notepad. You can add support for more file types by using Plugins.

I wanted to side-step the topic, FAR Manager plugins, because there are “FAR” too many for me to suggest. But it is not easy to avoid the topic. Every thing you need from spell check, editor and file management enhancements, networking and security tools, macro plugins, etc., are available from the Plugin page.

The biggest highlight of the program, is perhaps the fact that it is highly customizable even without plugins. To access the program’s Settings, press F9 and use the keyboard to navigate to the Options that appear at the top of the screen. Or, right-click near the top of the window, to open the menu-bar with the options displayed in expanded view. You can change the interface options, colors, elements, set to open that you want to hide/display, basically anything you want to make the program look and function the way you want it to be.

While it is primarily optimized for keyboard shortcuts, FAR Manager does offer full support for the mouse, which you can use for scrolling, left-click etc. When you right-click inside the program’s window, you will see your regular context-menu, which has all the options from your Windows’ File Explorer. That’s not bad though. In fact, I think it makes it user-friendly for people who haven’t tried the program yet, or are unfamiliar with command line switches and commands.

FAR Manager is free, and open-source. It is available in a portable version that you can try on 32-bit and 64-bit computers.

Who remembers Norton Commander and Norton Ghost? They were amazing programs back in the day. FAR Manager is often referred to as a Norton Commander clone, but regardless of that it is a great File Explorer replacement.

Now you: Which text-based file manager do you like?

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