QT TabBar

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QT TabBar creates tabbed windows within Windows Explorer (similar to tabs in Firefox and IE7). It comes with a number of nifty features including a favorites function for launching folders

and applications, groupings of folders that can be opened together, tooltip preview functions for a number of file types, and others. It is also highly customizable and hotkey-enabled.

There are categories of users who will like this program: (a) those who think that the tabbed windows in Firefox and now in IE7 are the best thing ever, and wonder why tabs aren’t featured in every

single program that’s ever created, (b) users who work with a lot of windows/folders and can use tabs in windows explorer to better organize their desktop and reduce clutter, and finally (c) everybody else; which is to say that I think this program will appeal to most everyone.

In fact, there are quite a number of cool features which will make navigating/browsing your folders much easier and more interesting. Here are my notes on some of these:

  • Customizable Tabs: the program options give you a significant degree of control over how the tabs are presented and what they look like.
  • Folder Favorites: called ’groupings’. You can create a single ’favorites’ entry for a a group of folders that you can use to open these together. You can access your ’favorites’ through the “QT TabBar standard buttons” which can be displayed within the explorer toolbar.
  • Preview tips: hovering over a number of file types creates a little preview window, including text files and images.
  • Subfolder tips: a little arrow becomes visible under folders that can be clicked on in order to navigate/preview the directory tree structure within it (you can optionally also view files within the tree structure not just folders – see screenshot). This is one of my favorite features, although I might also mention that, in my experience, navigating through a lengthy tree of folders containing many files caused the program to become rather slow and unresponsive.
  • Launcher for applications: from within windows explorer folder. Drag an app icon to the QT TabBar toolbar and it will give you the option to save it a ’favorite’ that you can easily access from within the the toolbar.
  • Folder memo: i.e. the ability to create a note that is attached to any of your folders. This is similar to HOBComment except it does not support files and the memo cannot be displayed as a column within the ’details’ view. Noted are stored in a centralized location and the folder has to be deleted manually if you uninstall the program (see the enclosed manual).
  • Installation: see the enclosed html manual for instructions (very simple process).
  • Hotkeys: every single function that this program offers can be controlled using hotkeys. Run the “QTShortcutKeyEditor.exe” executable (included in the download) in order to customize these.
  • Recently visited: maintains history of visited folders that can be used to quickly go back to any folder you were recently working with.
  • Password protect folder: works well but does not survive terminating the program and/or uninstalling it.
  • Other functions: quite a number of these including windows transparency settings, a search box within explorer toolbar, keep folder topmost, locking a folder, copy path to clipboard, and others.

I ran this program for a fairly short period before realizing that QTTabBar’s many functions together provide a significant overhaul of the explorer navigational experience. Most operations can be performed by right-clicking a tab, but you can also embed a number of standard buttons within the explorer toolbar that make using this program very simple and straightforward. All in all this is an extremely well-designed and powerful program and an invaluable upgrade to windows explorer. I highly recommend it.

Version tested: 1.0.1.6

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista (.NET Framework 2.0 required for XP).

Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 419K).