I hate Windows Explorer. Back on Windows 3.1, Microsoft included a serviceable GUI clone of the legendary DOS file manager, Norton Commander. But with the advent of Windows 95, the simple, customizable, two-column File Manager was ditched in favor of Mac-style folder windows. This sucks for a myriad of reasons, and maybe one day I'll write a 5000 word essay on the subject. Suffice to say, I've been eager to find a better file manager.
And I found it.
As I'm not the only computer operator seeking a file manager that actually helps me manage files, there are many Explorer substitutes available. Most of them are descendants of the Norton Commander (NC) and open-source clone Midnight Commander (MC) design, which I love, and I tried a ton of them. The best of the lot, by a long shot, is Servant Salamander.
Servant Salamander is a fast Win32-native app that is instantly usable and easy to configure. It uses a mere 8MB of RAM, and has none of the flashy UI and embedded web browser garbage that pollutes so many modern Windows apps. All of the key bindings you would expect from NC and MC are in place, plus a bunch that should have been there to begin with. Forget the mouse, as you can run the entire app from the keyboard. Need to view a file? Press F3. Need to copy it? Press F5. View another drive? Alt-F1. Etc. And once you launch the Servant, you'll never need to open Explorer again.
If you want to try (and buy!) Servant Salamander, download the latest version 2.5 release with the file-viewer add-on. And welcome yourself back to the days of happy computing.