Access and Manage Your Files (and Folders) From The Windows 8 Start Screen With My Explorer

If you are new to Windows 8, you probably have discovered that you have to get to the desktop level of Windows 8 to access the file explorer that is built into Windows 8. In previous versions of Windows, the built in file management utility was called Windows Explorer.  In Windows 8 it actually is called “file explorer”.

What I was looking for was a way (or a Windows 8 app) to get to my files and folders from the level of the Windows “metro” Start Screen without leaving the metro interface. I started my search through the Windows Store and soon found several file management apps (that I tested). Also, to point out here, the Windows Store is still new; therefore, the quality and number of apps available to Windows 8 is still on the low side, but that number is increasing rapidly.

The app I ended up going with, at this time, to access and manage my files (and folders) from the metro interface is called My Explorer.

My Explorer

With My Explorer you can perform the following functions:

  • Browse your computer, network locations, removable devices, homegroup computers and media server devices
  • Manage favorites and recent groups
  • Manage your files and folders (cut, copy, paste, move to, copy to, rename, recycle and delete)
  • Snap the app to the side to use it as a fast file opener/switcher
  • Pin folders to Start for fast and direct access to selected folders
  • Use the share option to interact with other apps (i.e. e-mail attachment)
  • Customize the look and feel of the app

The restrictions to all Windows 8 applications that affect My Explorer are:

The following folders are not accessible to any Windows 8 application: System folders (i.e. program files); hidden and protected folders and files; executable files (i.e. exe, js)

It is not possible to launch files that depend on other files (i.e. complete webpages, the ones that save an html file and a folder with its images)



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The Simplest Way to Print A List of Filenames In A Folder

Have a large listing of music files, movie files, picture files, etc…?  I bet there has been the occasion that you wished there was a simple way to get a printout of those listings. There is and it is with Directory List and Print.

Directory List and Print

Directory List and Print requires no installation (is a portable app) and is a must-have on your flash drive. There is a FREE version, as well as a Pro Version.  I have found the FREE version to be sufficient in most cases.


  • Selection of directories to be listed by a tree structure.
  • Selection of directories by entering the path as a text string.
  • Drag & Drop of directories (or a file) from Windows Explorer.
  • Integration of “Open in Directory List & Print” in the directory context menu of Windows Explorer.
  • Direct selection of important system directories as “My Documents” etc.
  • Listing of sub-directories and/or files and looping through sub-directories (recursion).
  • Update file list automatically or manually.
  • Display of last modification date.
  • Display of last modificatione time.
  • Display of file size.
  • Display of file name with or without directory path.
  • Display of file names with or without file extensions.
  • Indication of number of entries of files and directories in the list.
  • Print directory listing, direct printing of corresponding list.
  • Export list into other programs by copying to the clipboard. The corresponding data will be organized in columns and separated by tabs so that the list can be pasted directly into Excel ™ as a table.
  • Open the list directly in Microsoft Word™ and Excel™.
  • Support for connecting and disconnecting network drives.
  • Automatic saving of display options when exiting the program.
  • Start program with a directory path as a parameter.
  • Portable Application, no installation necessary.



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Use Your iPhone, iPad or iPod as an External Disk with iPhone Explorer

I have had folks in the past ask me about methods to use to backup (or transfer) their files on their Apple products (such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod). I am no expert on any of those  products, by any means, but I do know that backing up or transferring (say music files) is pretty much a proprietary process (using apps such as iTunes, etc…).  Judging from the questions I am posed by owners of these products, those proprietary processes can be quite intimidating and apparently are confusing to the everyday user.

A FREE software application that I happened across, called iPhone Explorer, may be a helpful solution to the Apple folks out there, that will allow you to connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod to your Windows based computer via an USB connection. The benefit to this is that with this software installed, these devices in essence become an external disk where you will be able to browse the file structure of the device. There are other features to this software such as creating ringtones; however, the importance I am seeing here is the ability to access these Apple products via a non-proprietary method.

iPhone Explorer

I would be interested in hearing from anyone out there that has used this software to provide input on the usefulness of iPhone Explorer. I really like the concept here with this software.

With the iPhone Explorer can you look into the file system of your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and down- and upload files by USB connection, regardless of whether file format. Within this function can use your iPhone/iPad/iPod as “external disk”. The program supports also a direct access to the photos, emails, SMS, videos directories of the iPhone. Herewith can you photos, emails, SMS, videos and all other files easily and simple copy to the computer. The same function is also available for videos, music (from iPod-App) and ringtones. One of the highlights of the iPhone Explorer is the creating of custom ringtones for the iPhone. With the comfortable ringtone editor can you use MP3, WAV, AIFF and M4A audio file formats. The ringtone editor can milliseconds accurately cut. However the song length is not limited to 32 seconds as iTunes.

According to the website, the following Apple products are currently supported:

Apple iOS 3.1.x, 4.x and 5 firmware devices
iPad 2
iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 3G
iPhone 2G
iPod Touch
iTunes 10



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Windows Double Explorer for Windows 7

I could never figure out why Microsoft never offered a dual paned or tabbed view interface option in Windows Explorer. Managing your files and folders in those types of interfaces are so much easier to use; especially if you are a power user.

There are numerous third party options available; however, none really mimic the Windows Explorer interface, until Windows Double Explorer came on the scene. Windows Double Explorer is an open source utilitly that is engineered (for Windows 7) to manage two or more Windows Explorer interfaces in one application.

Windows Double Explorer

Windows Double Explorer also features a vertical or horizontal dual pane interface in conjunction with a tabbed interface. Once you have Windows Double Explorer up and running; and configured to your liking, I think you will become hooked.

Windows Double Explorer is currently in the beta stage of development and is engineered to work as a Windows 7 application.  There is no install to this application.  Simply download and run with it.


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Search Your Computer Blazingly Fast with UltraSearch

I have found that locating specific files and folders on the computer can be a daunting task; especially if you rely on the Windows based search function which is driven by an index.  Windows typically uses the index as a repository (or database listing) of your files and folders.  Indexing is a beautiful (and fast) process providing that the file (or folder) you are looking for is listed in the index.  If your file and folder is not in the index then the search process is noticeably slower and in my opinion can be a frustrating experience.

Personally, I use the Windows search process only when I have to; otherwise I resort to a third party software option such as UltraSearch.  The “cool factor” with UltraSearch is that it does not rely on indexing; instead it relies on the Master File Table (MFT) to spit out its’ results. In my testing this app was very easy to use and was incredibly fast for being a non-indexing search application.  Another plus is that there is a portable version available, as well as a full install version, that you can use straight from your flash drive.  The only condition to using this app on your PC is that your drives must be formatted using the NTFS file system (which is a Windows standard these days).  There are other file (and folder) search apps out there, but this one ranks up there with being blazingly fast. The current version of UltraSearch is in beta and can be downloaded from [ HERE ] .

UltraSearch Screenshot

UltraSearch searches files on local NTFS drives and provides the results within just a few seconds. UltraSearch does not use a previously built index or background process, it achieves its speed by working directly on the Master File Table (MFT) of the NTFS partitions. You can enter a file name or a pattern like *.exe and often will see the results already while typing. Additional information like size and last change date will be shown for the listed files. Moreover, the Explorer context menu is available inside UltraSearch.


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A File Backup Program Inspired by Star Trek

One of the fictional Star Trek innovations, back in the ‘60’s, was a machine called a Replicator that was capable of creating (and replicating) objects. In 2002, approximately 36 years after the show debuted, Karen Kenworthy developed Karen’s Replicator, that was inspired by the original Replicator that was featured on Star Trek.


Who is Karen Kenworthy and what is Karen’s Replicator?

Karen was the writer of a newsletter (called Karen’s Power Tools) that was featured in a national tech magazine called Windows Magazine ( Windows Magazine, one of my favorites, went belly up when it was sold to a larger publishing firm (which was a shame). Karen was also the developer of the Power Tools software (utility software) that was featured in Windows Magazine. Today, Karen continues to promote the newsletter and the Power Tools software on her very own web site called .

Back in 2002 when I was managing my Star Trek fleet of PC’s I needed a file backup program that I could setup and the user could launch a batch backup job by simply clicking an icon on their desktop (or run it at a scheduled time). This is where Karen’s Replicator came to the rescue.

Karen’s Replicator is a FREE file backup program that can be configured to automatically backup files, folders, even entire drives! Karen’s Replicator cannot duplicate objects (like in Star Trek), but it can duplicate files AND it does it very well. The files you backup will maintain the same file attributes and dates. After you setup and run that first backup, subsequent backup times are fast with minimal impact to your computer’s resources.


Today, in 2009, Karen continues to develop and improve Karen’s Replicator. It is not the prettiest backup program out there, but is an excellent example of a good software product that focuses, not on vanity, but on getting the job done. Today, seven years later after Karen’s Replicator came to my rescue, I continue to use it as a  backup option on my PC. It has never let me down… As a matter of fact, this article is my way of simply saying, “Thank You” to Karen Kenworthy. I encourage you to visit to explore all of Karen’s Power Tools.

Karen’s Description of Karen’s Replicator:

Automatically backup files, directories, even entire drives! Karen’s Replicator copies selected files from one drive/folder to another. Source and Destination folders can reside anywhere on your network.

Options include repeated copies at intervals as short as a few minutes, or as long as several months, copy only files that have changed, and the replication of folder and file deletions.

New features allow you to specify which files should not be copied, and also which days a file should be skipped!


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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#35)

image Each week What’s On My PC features links to articles (posted within the past 7 days) from the tech blogs that are on the What’s On My PC blogroll (at the sidebar of the blog).  If you are new or old to information technology and computers, these blogs are awesome resources for keeping in tune.

Canadian Tech News Blog
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Using your numeric keypad as a launcher…


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