Free Software

FILE MANAGER – Files 3.1.1 (Best Free Software)

Best Free Software – programs that won’t cost you a thing

Only two months after its last major version, this brilliant alternative to File Explorer has been updated again with more new features and improvements.

These include a ‘smart extract’ option for compressed archives, which makes it easier to unpack the contents of ZIP, RAR and 7z files. Right-click an archive and select ‘Extract here (Smart’) in the Extract menu, or left-click it and press Ctrl+Shift+E and the program will then choose the best way to extract the contents. If the archive contains only one item, Files will extract it to the current folder, but if there are lots of files, it will unpack them to a new folder. This saves you having to create a new folder manually, and stops your folders becoming cluttered with extracted files.

Another handy new feature lets you open folders in new tabs simply by dragging them to the ‘New tab’ button. Previously, you had to right-click a folder and select ‘Open in new tab’. To enable this option, click the Settings cog in the top-right corner of Files and choose Folders. Scroll down to the Behaviours section, select ‘Opening items’ and switch on ‘Open folders in new tab’.

A new system-tray icon shows you when Files is running in the background. To set Files to start with Windows, minimized to your system tray, go to Settings then Advanced and switch on ‘Open Files on Windows startup’ and ‘Leave app running in the background when window is closed’.

When you download Files from, be sure to click the tiny ‘classic installer’ link. Clicking ‘Download Files’ opens the Microsoft Store, where the app costs £8.99. The EXE file may ask if you want to install 7z Setup SFX, but this is just the name of the Files selfextracting archive, so don’t panic.

1 Use the new ‘smart extract’ feature to save time when extracting the contents of ZIP files. Right-click a ZIP file, or other compressed archive, and choose ‘Extract here (Smart)’ in the Extract menu – or just press Ctrl+Shift-E.

2 Files now lets you open a selected folder in a new tab simply by dragging it to the ‘New tab’ button on the toolbar. You can also select multiple folders and drag them to the button to open them all in separate new tabs.

3 Updated sorting options in Files allow you to prioritize files over folders – at its default setting, it does the opposite. Click the Sort menu and select ‘Show files first’, to make the program list show files above folders in the current view.

4 You can also group items by day, which allows you to see all the files and folders you created or modified on specific days. Choose ‘Group by’ in the Sort menu, click ‘Date created, or ‘Date modified’ then select Day.

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