One area that doesn’t get an awful lot of attention with each new release of OS X is the Finder. Sadly, as the plethora of Finder add-on tools proves, that’s not because it’s perfect. Unfortunately, there’s usually a price attached to gaining extra functionality, but the good news is that it’s not always the case.
If you’re looking to give Finder a much-needed shot in the arm for free, check out XtraFinder 0.8.4. Since we last featured it, the tool has grown to fill even more gaps left by Finder, including the addition of multi-tabbed Finder windows, making it easier to work with two or more separate locations on your hard drive.
If you’re an existing XtraFinder user, upgrading to version 0.8.4 isn’t quite as simple as it was previously. You first need to uninstall your existing build before installing the new one – do so by opening the XtraFinder menu under Finder (or on the menu bar) and choosing Uninstall XtraFinder. Once removed, install the new build.
By default, XtraFinder enables a number of useful features, such as adding “Copy to” and “Move to” options to the context menu that appears when right-clicking a folder or file. Other context-menu options include “Show Hidden Items”, “Refresh”, “New File” and “Launch as Root”, all of which can be selectively enabled or disabled via Finder > XtraFinder > Preferences > Add items to Finder menus.
XtraFinder also provides options for arranging folders on top of files in Finder windows, a spring-loaded Path Bar for quicker navigation around your drives and an option for quickly viewing two Finder windows horizontally or vertically. You’ll also find an option allowing you to cut and paste files for quick-fire move operations.
But one of the most attractive options in XtraFinder has to be its support – experimental at present – for tabs. This allows you to quickly switch between folders and drives within a single Finder window, and you can easily copy or move files between tabs too. As its experimental, it’s disabled by default, but you switch it on simply by opening Finder > XtraFinder > Preferences and ticking “Tabs (experimental)”.
This is an app in constant development, so we’re confident it won’t be long before Tabs are considered a permanent feature – we certainly didn’t run into any problems with them. We’re also pleased to report that XtraFinder 0.8.4 is fully compatible with Mountain Lion, although you may need to disable the Gatekeeper feature to use it.
XtraFinder 0.8.4 is a freeware download for Macs running OS X 10.6.8 or later.