What you need: Saladin; Any Windows version (XP to 10)
Time required: 30 minutes
Saladin is a new free program that offers a better alternative to Windows/File Explorer. It has a useful dual-pane window and options to set each pane to open in any folder on your PC. Its best feature, however, is the option to bookmark folders you use often, so you can access them with just two clicks. You can drag and drop files from one pane to the other to move them quickly, and open and convert zipped files without a file-compression program.
Before installing the program, you need to find out which system (32bit or 64bit) your PC uses. To do that, right-click Computer (on your desktop, Start menu or File Explorer), click Properties, then look at ‘System type’ 1 in the System section 2. To install the program, go to www.snipca.com/25072, click the download link for your PC version in the ‘Latest version’ section, then close any window that appears.
Open the downloaded setup file, click Yes, Next, tick to accept the T&Cs, then click Next again. You’ll now see the option to install the program for all users on your PC 1 or for your user account only 2. Select the one you want, click Next 3, Install, then Finish. The program doesn’t open automatically after installation, so open it from its desktop icon, then close the About Saladin window. In the next window, you’ll see two panes and a toolbar at the top with several options.
By default, both panes open to your C Drive, but it’s easy to change this to another location. First click the Settings icon 1 . In the pop-up window that appears, click the folder icon beside the pane you want to change 2, navigate to the PC folder you want, then click Ok 3. Alternatively, if you want to open the panes at their last location, tick the ‘Remember last directories on exit’ box 4. Click Apply 5, then OK to confirm your changes.
It’s a good idea to bookmark folders you use often. You can then access any bookmarks you create from either pane with just two clicks. First navigate to the folder you want to bookmark by clicking through the drives/folders in the left or right pane. Next, click the Bookmarks icon 1, then click Add Bookmark (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+D). In the pop-up menu that appears, name the bookmark 2, ensure the directory path is correct 3, then click OK 4.
You can bookmark as many folders as you want for quick access in either pane. Click the Bookmarks icon to see them listed. If you want to rename or delete any bookmark you create, click the Bookmarks icon 1, then Edit Bookmarks. Here, select the relevant bookmark 2, then rename 3 or delete it 4, then click OK 5.
Click Saladin’s Home button 1 at any time to return to the Home folder you set up in Step 3 and the Parent Directory icon 2 to go back one folder. The History button 3 lists all folder locations you’ve recently visited for quick access. Double-click any file within Saladin to open it in its default program. The icons at the top left let you paste, cut and copy files 4 from one pane to the other. Click Refresh 5 if you don’t see any files in a folder, or if you’ve just added files that aren’t yet showing up in Saladin.
In File Explorer, revealing hidden files requires a few steps, but in Saladin you just click Hidden 1. Saladin’s Panels category has two icons. The Same Directory icon 2 changes both panes to the location of the selected file. Alternatively, the Swap Panels icon 3 swaps the file locations between both panes. Right- click any file in your folders to see a context menu 4 that’s similar to File Explorer.
Saladin lets you preview and tweak photos. First, select your image, then click the View button 1 (or press F3). In the preview window, you’ll see options to zoom in and out 2, rotate the image 3, add a black background 4 or show more information about the file 5 (including size, image format and ideal print size).
Saladin can also handle compressed files, meaning you don’t need a separate file-compression program such as PeaZip or 7-Zip. Simply double-click any zipped file, then click Run (for setup files) or Extract All (for photos). It’s also easy to create a zipped file. Press Ctrl, click to select the files you want to compress 1, then click Pack 2, name the zipped file 3, then click OK 4.
Click Search 1 to find items in the folder you’ve navigated to. In the window that opens, you can type specific search terms. Alternatively, type *.jpg or *.doc, for example, to see a list of all JPEGs or DOC files in your selected pane. To open a file in File Explorer, select the file, then click Explore 2. If you find the top panel distracting, click the Collapse Toolbar icon 3 to hide it. Click the About Saladin icon 4 for more useful info.