Last Updated: November 4th, 2011

When we found Medieval Software's new app called Dual File Manager XT yesterday, we jumped on it right away due to its 2-pane support. Ever since the '90s, 2-pane "orthodox" file managers like the Midnight, Norton, Volkov, and most recently Total Commander have been an absolute necessity on any computer I use.

In fact, once I install a Windows OS nowadays, Total Commander is the first program that follows. Those who try 2-pane file managers can't (or rather shouldn't want to) go back to the conventional Explorer-style layouts - the level of productivity they bring is unparalleled.

Total Commander for Android

But let's come back to Android - after we posted the Dual File Manager XT, 2 people (Wr3ck and Martin) brought to my attention the fact that Christian Ghisler, the developer behind my favorite Total Commander, has been actually working on an Android port for quite a while now. Yes, Total Commander for Android is not only real, but already quite impressive, and yes - it has root support!

Christian Ghisler wrote in and said:

"Thanks for the nice review. :-)

After the death of Windows Mobile, Total Commander for Android is my new hobby project - that's why it's 100% free!"


Here are some of the features of Total Commander:

  • 2 panes - of course
    • 1 pane at a time: you can switch between them by using the big button with 3 arrows or get them in sync by using the button with 2 = signs
    • 2 panes at the same time: there is also an alternative 2-pane layout that shows 2 panes at the same time, just like the desktop version - handy for large screens, especially on tablets
    • settings for separate portrait/landscape configurations - for example, show 1 pane at a time for portrait and 2 panes for landscape. Brilliant
  • a home screen with shortcuts to the most commonly used directories - SD card, photos, downloads, file system root; there are also shortcuts to custom directory bookmarks and the app manager
  • copy/move/rename/delete/new folder (of course)
  • sorting of files and dirs
  • apk handling
  • zip/unzip with encryption support; unrar with multi-volume support
  • multiple file/dir selection (via tapping on icons or advanced)
  • history
  • search
  • built-in text editor
  • file/dir property modification including recursion
  • configurable button bar, just like in the desktop version. The buttons can:
    • change directory
    • launch app
    • view file app
    • send to app
    • run shell command
    • run internal command
  • built-in app manager
  • tablet-optimized
  • custom file associations
  • ignore list
  • hide/show hidden files
  • custom font, style, size, and color support
  • image thumbnails
  • option to go full-screen (no notification bar)
  • resume support in case a large download gets interrupted
  • multi-lingual (English, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hellenic, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian)
  • plugin support - there are currently 3 plugins available (FTP and FTPS, Windows Networking - LAN, and WebDav)
  • I'm sure there are more features that I haven't found yet or forgot to mention - I'm so overwhelmed by how mature and useful Total Commander already is, it's kind of shocking it hasn't hit mainstream yet

Of course, since we're talking about Total Commander and not some random manager, you shouldn't be surprised that when we think sorting, Total Commander thinks SORTING, and when we say find files, Total Commander straight up slaps us across the face. Have a look yourself.

2 Panes

wm_snap20110723_090555 wm_snap20110723_085938 wm_snap20110723_085955



While you can't drag and drop yet, note the presence of proper Honeycomb-style menu items on the top right.


File Selection and Sorting

wm_snap20110723_090215 wm_snap20110723_103803 wm_snap20110723_090526

Directory History, Property Modification, and Search

wm_snap20110723_090114 wm_snap20110723_095443 wm_snap20110723_090544

APK Handling, App Manager, and Text Editor

wm_snap20110723_090158 wm_snap20110723_095651 wm_snap20110723_104203

Button Bar

wm_snap20110723_104413 wm_snap20110723_090336 wm_snap20110723_090340

Root (!) and Archive Support

wm_snap20110723_090640 wm_snap20110723_090916 wm_snap20110723_090230


wm_snap20110723_100057 wm_snap20110723_100138 wm_snap20110723_100149

Extensive Help and Settings

wm_snap20110723_090413 wm_snap20110723_090605 wm_snap20110723_090621


As you can see, Total Commander, while still in beta, is already incredibly detailed, functional, and robust. Frankly, it blew my mind - the app hasn't even been in the Market yet, but in my opinion can easily beat out any other app manager out there, especially considering root support.

As if that's not enough, Total Commander is ad-free and free of charge for life. Can it get any better than that?


Total Commander is not yet available in the Market, but you can download the latest version from here.

The detailed changelog is available here.

As always, discuss your impressions in the comments and let me know if I missed anything.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Jaymoon

    Wow! My mind is blown! Downloading now...

  • Sketis

    I'm waitng for the only filemanager I ever use. Directory Opus. Been using it since the Amiga... :D

    • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

      I help write Directory Opus. (Nice to see it mentioned here! :)).

      The Windows version keeps us busy, and Android has lots of good file managers already (including this one, from the look of the article), so it's unlikely we'll make an Android version of Opus, at least any time soon. Sorry. :)

      • Christoph Wagner

        Thanks for that awesome tool, been using it since v8:)
        And I don't think an Android version would work considering the amount of space it would need to actually give all the options available in the win version:)
        Keep on releasing that awesome product^^

  • http://www.anivision.org Xcom923

    WOW I gotta say when I saw this I had this feeling that I could not explain then I saw "nerdgasm"....yup that sums it up pretty well

  • Elvis

    Looks amazing, downloading noe

  • ruben

    I have been using Astro since my G1. It is the first app I install on any new phone even if it has a file manager. Then comes Root Explorer. I believe they have finally been replaced. This app is everything you need and a bit more. As always, thanks AP.

  • http://www.mdknight.net Ish

    I guess I really am the only one not impressed. It has not nice features, but the interface didn't quite catch me and feel outdated. I think Astro and Dual File Manager XT both just get things done more comfortably. Either that or I'm just not half the geek/nerd I once was.

  • Wr3ck

    Nice article Artim... don't forget to say who brought this up to you. Glad you geeked out on it just like I did once I found it when it was just private beta

    • Wr3ck

      Ugh, just noticed that you did put me in the article, sweet, my edit button is not working now so I can't delete requesting a shout out but thx, glad I brought it up!

  • Phil

    Not too shabby so far although I agree with Ish that the interface could do with a little work. I'm not uninstalling Estrong yet.

  • Prophet Zarquon

    I prefer fewer permissions, even from a file manager, but they're reasonable and given the source, I'm not exactly worried.

    Aesthetics aside (it's got more blank spaces than I'd like, more text per screen please) I'm getting it simply for the single-to-dual portrait/landscape switching. Dual when I need it, more details when I don't.

  • Carlos

    why does it require internet connection??
    Just wondering.

  • Mike

    It is a very nicely designed file manager. I'm just having a small issue, It won't let me copy my bootanimation.zip into the system/media folder(its required for my phone). Am I doing something wrong

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I found the same issue and alerted the developer. Root Explorer supports mounting as r/w on demand, but TC doesn't seem to offer this option just yet. I'm sure it'll be added soon.

    • Sleeepy2

      You need to add a new short cut for an internal command (119 Remount). Works perfectly.
      Already uninstalled Astro and Root Explorer. 1 app to rule them all.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        Brilliant. Had no idea this internal command already exists.

      • Ralfie

        Im also uninstalled Root Explorer.. TC rules now on my Android devices! :)

  • alanthemanofchicago

    So, everyone thinks the single-to-dual thing is "new on Android" - Meanwhile, I've been using Ghost Commander for 6 months, and it has had this feature the whole time.

  • Timeline

    Brilliant - I've been using TC since it was called Windows commander; then used it on WM but was sad it wasn't being developed further. now I have an android device and am overjoyed to find total commander here too. I'm glad Ghisler changed to Android earlier in anticipation so he could program TC for me :-) :-) :-)

  • Gerhard

    I've been using the old Norton Commander when it was a DOS application (giving away my age), switched to Windows Commander as soon as it was available and then later the WM version and have never gone back. As a matter of fact, I struggle using Explorer since I never spent any real time in it. The first thing on any of my new devices that support it is Total Commander. Having an Android is great news indeed.

  • Robin

    wont open. said "this pre release has expired," then close.

  • Android Drawer Team

    Hi guys just want to share to you our site http://www.androiddrawer.com/. You can download total commander there too.