Phlox: use “f2” in XP to rename files without overwriting file extensions


Phlox is a small program for Windows XP that runs in the background and tweaks the “f2” button when used to rename a file in Windows XP, such as to select only the file name without the extension (similar to Windows Vista).

If you read the description above and did not understand what this program does, consider the following:

  1. The function in question is clicking “f2” while a file is selected (and assuming the file extension is visible and not hidden). In XP this will select the file name including the extension to allow easy renaming (try it and see). In Vista it behaves a little differently whereby the file name is selected but the extension is not, making it possible to type in a new name without over-writing the extension.
  2. Phlox provides this same behavior as in Vista when pressing f2 in XP.

More notes on this program:

  • Can be enabled and disabled through the program’s icon in the system tray.
  • While it works really well in general, I noticed at times that it becomes less responsive and might stop working and require a program restart (a bug, perhaps?)
  • Memory use: approx 5 megs. Not a lot, but it seems that something like this should have been smaller.

Wish list:

  • The ability to hide the program icon in the system tray.
  • Bugfix: for those occasions where it seems to stop working, mentioned above.

The verdict: if you’ve known about this function in Vista, (or Mac or Linux OS’s) and thought that it would be useful, well… there you have it. My only criticism is the 5 megs in memory, not because it is a lot necessarily but because it may be big enough for many people to choose to opt out. (If you use Autohotkey, you might want to look into the Autohotkey script mentioned here that does the same thing as Phlox).

I’ve had this program installed on my machine for 24 hours now and I must say that after a while using f2 starts becoming second nature (and is rather useful).

Version Tested: 1.0

Compatibility: Windows XP.

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. 1.0 of the program here.

  • No… In XP it does select all the filename including the extension…

  • Mihai

    The installer doesn’t work for non-administrator Windows accounts…which sucks

    I wonder why developers make stupid installer for small programs (like this one), rather than provide a standalone exe

  • I guess they make installer for a program like this to put easily the application in the start group. Most users doesn’t know how to do it.

    I remember that qttabbar had also that function, among others, but it is bad in memory and cpu usage.

  • Intrinsic

    Should be much much smaller indeed. As an example currently for me Directory Opus 8 is using 1.2mb(this of course goes up though depending on what you are doing, but only upto around 9mb if i open a stack of listers) Physical mem, does what this does and has a bazillion(slight exhaggeration) other features as well.

    Nuff Said.

  • tun

    I think ‘pitachios’ has that feature.

  • fred

    ah the joy of not using the old buggy & slow explorer… with xyplorer i have this implemented for years! as well as using keys up or down to loose selection and get cursor at begin or end of filename (extension excluded, of course), so easy to add suffix that way!

  • >I guess they make installer for a program like this to put easily the application in the start group. Most users doesn’t know how to do it.

    You don’t need install for that, there are some single-executable programs that simply offer you to create shortcuts and such on first run. Works great.

  • Mothman

    Woah. Uses way too much memory for what it does.

    Also, xplorer2 lite has this function built in, and is a pretty good explorer replacement.

  • Midas

    I confirm that pitaschio ( provides this funcionality — among many others — for a measly 2.2 MB memory footprint.

  • Toni

    a utility that you have to keep in memory all the time just for doing that? Seems a waist to me.

  • Topis

    Works great on my XP!
    No problem with the installer and now when I push f2 it doesn’t overwrite the extension anymore!
    Great soft!

  • I guess they make installer for a program like this to put easily the application in the start group. Most users doesn’t know how to do it.

    Bulk Rename