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Power users, especially Linux: great file manager(s)?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by MoodyBlues, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    I've tried more file managers than I can even recall. NONE--other than the now off-limits ES--provided all the features I want.

    So I thought I'd ask for suggestions. If any of the following is unfamiliar to you, you might want to move on. :)

    I need [* or very strongly want]:

    - full network access, including external drives

    - case sensitivity

    - * ability to view Android system [without being rooted]

    - cloud access

    - * no-confirmation-needed delete option

    - delete means delete

    - ability to generate APKs from installed apps

    - tabs or sidebar entries for multiple locations open at the same time [I prefer sidebar]

    - * persistent connections to network drives

    - * ability to change multiple view options at once, i.e., 'grid/list/detailed' and 'sort by' and 'image preview size' and...

    I'd like to have:

    - user-changeable icons [not to be confused with icon sets]

    - silent completion of tasks, such as moving directories [when successful; I only need to hear about it if something fails]

    - file preview sizes large enough for these old eyes to see easily

    Basically, just think Linux. That's what I want--intelligent, uniformly predictable, logical, silent operation. Of course, no ads. Price is not a concern--functionality is.

    PS I know someone will ask, 'why don't you list the ones you've tried?' Because I don't remember them all! And I'd rather not find, copy and paste a million entries from my Play purchase history. Plus, since none has had all the features I want, they shouldn't be among those recommended. So there's no point listing them.

    dontpanicbobby, MrJavi and mikedt like this.

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  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    I've only ever used the stock file managers that comes with the phones and tablets I've had. As long as they can view and change drives, folders, files, and can move, copy, delete, and rename files, that's it.

    Can't really comment about using cloud storage as I never use it, mainly because of censoring, and copyright restrictions, and other ToS BS.
    #2 mikedt, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    tommo47, MrJavi and MoodyBlues like this.
  3. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Well, shit! :eek: I got up expecting to find a slew of recommendations and find...nothing... :(
    tommo47, Xavier Black and mikedt like this.
  4. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I can't help as I don't browse network drives from my phone so know nothing about those capabilities even on the file managers I have installed.

    I actually don't use file managers at all with Linux. I prefer command line navigation: with tab completion I can move through my filesystem much faster from the command line than all of that scrolling and clicking stuff, and it also works when running remote terminal sessions (I've never had the patience for GUIs or X forwarding from a remote cluster, just give me a terminal session and I'm fine).
    Davdi and MoodyBlues like this.
  5. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    On my computers, I do heavy-duty stuff at my trusty CLI, @Hadron, but there are times I need to see file previews (images, mostly) to make decisions. As a KDE user, and by personal choice, Dolphin is my default file manager.

    But here we're talking about Android file managers--and I do, A LOT, access my computers from my Android devices. All day, every day. That network drive housecleaning project I've been working on for ≈8 months--all done from my Moto Z² Force on my bed. I have two desktop computers literally just six feet away...but I access their drives from my phone. My laptops are in other rooms; I rarely touch them either. :)

    Anyway, I think I may have found something that will work for me. It's called MiXplorer Silver, and cost $4.49. I've only been playing with it for 20, 25 minutes so far, so I can't be sure yet, but from what I've seen thus far it's looking good.

    It connected effortlessly with all of my computers, and its settings let me do things I like, such as not have a recycle bin and have previews I can actually see. I'll report back when I know more.
    mikedt likes this.
  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    @MoodyBlues you mentioned about "case sensitivity" as a file manager requirement. But Android's own file system isn't case sensitive AFAiK, even though it does run on a Linux kernel. Although if an Android file manager is accessing network shares that do use a case sensitive file system, then that's what it does?

    FWIW Apple MacOS file system isn't case sensitive either, and that's a UNIX.
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  7. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    You really had me going there--for a moment! :eek:

    Just long enough to try this:


    Whew! *wipes forehead*
    I'll have to do some experimenting.
    Yes, I know it's a UNIX, but I don't know about its case sensitivity. I'll know more after I call my daughter...
  8. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    You're definitely right, @mikedt, on the Mac part. I honestly wouldn't have believed if I hadn't 'seen' it for myself. [That means I told my daughter what to type, she did, and it confirmed what you said.]

    Learn something new every day!
  9. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

    I use x-plore, it does the things you're looking for, personally I've been very happy with it
  10. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Do you have its Play Store link? There are so many apps with similar names, I'd like to be sure I'm looking at the same one you're talking about!

    ETA: I found this X-plore File Manager; is it the one you mentioned? If so...nope! It doesn't correctly handle case. That's a deal breaker in my quest...
    #10 MoodyBlues, Apr 21, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  11. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

  12. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    I used to use ES for years, the paid version, but have changed to Solid Explorer, paid version.
    Still not what you want, but close to it. Keep us posted...
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  13. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

  14. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Same here. ES was the best and was my go-to file manager...and then the shit hit the fan, and you know the rest. Mine was paid, as are the vast majority of my apps, and it pisses me off that I paid for something I can't use. :mad:

    Solid is okay, but it's pretty far down in my order of things. I rarely use it. Before ever reaching for it, I start with the simply-named Explorer. It does most of what I need, AND it lets me assign my own icons!

    Here's a shot from it showing a test I was doing on one of my computers, using different case for three copies of the same file. See those beautiful icons? They're Linux icons I found decades ago, and have carried with me from computer to computer. I never get tired of them!


    You can assign your own icons for any or all of things like folders, documents, images, videos, and so on.
    Xavier Black and Dannydet like this.
  15. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    I wish a developer would create a file explorer just like ES, that did the things it did, but without the "phone home to China" and stealing your personal information.... Ugh.
    Davdi, Xavier Black and MoodyBlues like this.
  16. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    Me too, @Dannydet, me too. *sigh*

    I was reading the log file from one of the file managers I'm trying, and its contents confirmed my suspicion that it was programmed by, and for, window$ users. One glaringly obvious reason: \\\system76all

    BACKSLASHES!! :eek:

    I wish I wasn't so far removed from programming. I'd learn how to create Android apps, and make a file manager exactly as I want.

    What I can't understand is why developers who are creating apps for a Linux, Android, don't respect its rules. I know that idiotic window$ has never had true case sensitivity, but don't these developers know that Android does? :thinking:

    And beyond that, don't they realize that people may be using their apps on Android, but accessing Linux computers? Yeah, yeah, I know, Linux supposedly has a tiny share of the desktop market. :rolleyes: But those millions of Chromebooks students around the globe are using...they're Linux. And 100⅝ of the top 100 supercomputers on earth are Linux. Do they really not see the possibility of people using Android to collect data, then sharing that data with Linux computers?

    Anyway, if I find a 'perfect' file manager in my quest, I'll certainly share my find here. Wish me luck! I'm trying a lot of them...
    Xavier Black and Dannydet like this.
  17. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    Please keep us posted on your quest, @MoodyBlues!!!!
    Solid explorer is working for me but if there's something better I'll jump ship!
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  18. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

    Mikedt above is correct in that android is case insensitive, although interestingly, the file managers will remember the case of your file, but you can't copy another file of the same name into the same directory; your screenshot above is just software trickery. Check out these three screenshots, #1 is three test files on the computer, three different files, same name but different case. I copy, then paste them to my phone. #2 shows where I pasted those three files, but note that the files are now all the same file, the 29 byte file, each file has overwritten the last as the paste operation occurred. I move away from that directory, and then come back. #3 shows only one file there now.

    Attached Files:

  19. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Same behaviour as MacOS (which is a Unix derivative). But it's not "file managers remembering the case of your file": use a terminal and you'll see the cases as well.

    The funny thing is that you'll find posts in places like StackExchange explaining that this is because FAT32 doesn't support case-sensitivity, which would make sense for files on microSD. But you get the same behaviour in the internal storage (which is ext4), as I just confirmed using a terminal emulator, despite what those posts claim, so that cannot be the whole story.
  20. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

    Android will remember the case of the file, but otoh you can't have two separate files with the "same" name, regardless of case. In MoodyBlues screenshot above, his three feather files are all pointing to the same file. If he were to take a completely different image file, name it "cRoWn_fEtheR.jpg" and the copy it into that directory, he'd run into problems. I suspect that if he cleared that app's cache, or use the stock file manager that came with his phone, he'd see one file in there. The app is obviously keeping a separate dbase as he is customizing his icons within that apps scope.
  21. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    First, I'm not a he. :)

    Second, what you're calling trickery is the very root of any *nix system: a command line at the actual file system.

    Third, what were you saying about different files? With case-different characters? Here you go!


    The three feathers were not 'pointing' to the same file; they ARE the same file. And that was irrelevant, as its point was to show how Linux is case sensitive.
    tommo47 likes this.
  22. Trom

    Trom Android Enthusiast

    Interestingly, I can't duplicate that, even using "explorer", see screenshot. What does the stock file manager that came with your phone display in that directory? Screenshot_20200423-094859.jpg
  23. Milo Willamson

    Milo Willamson Android Expert

    Well as far as file managers go I tend to just stick to Drive, and just dropbox for some heavy moving into the Moto z2 force, you can do whatever you can just move and have stock piles up different foiders, I had this for several months ongoing now, and you can really move into different shifted files like system, I believe .
  24. tommo47

    tommo47 On Yer Bike, In Yer Chair
    VIP Member

    Hi @MoodyBlues

    I did see this at the time but didn't respond for the same reasons as @mikedt ie apart from ES, which, like most people, I used until it went to a bag of sh**e, I've only ever used the stock file managers which have always met my needs. So I couldn't offer anything meaningful.

    MoodyBlues likes this.
  25. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
    VIP Member Thread Starter

    I never use it. I don't even have it in my app drawer! It was pathetic...couldn't even connect to networked drives. I mean it didn't even offer that option. So, yeah, I don't know!

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