If there’s one feature I’ve ever wanted to see come to Windows, it’s tabbed browsing in Windows explorer. While some may not see the big difference between switching windows and switching tabs (I suppose that would include Microsoft, considering they’ve yet to include such a function even in the soon-to-be-released Windows 8) anyone who has gotten used to tabbed browsing on the web or on Linux-based OS’s will be able to appreciate having the same abilities while browsing files.
Thankfully, out of the clutter of unstable and abandoned beta apps which fail to really accomplish the same thing, one new piece of software has emerged that aims to fix this absence for Windows users.
Though not yet a perfect solution, Clover 2 does a fantastic job of bringing a very Google Chrome-like experience to Windows Explorer.
The application itself is tiny (2MB download, 6MB once installed) and has a RAM footprint equal to that of its installed size–very acceptable. Installation is quick and easy, and the program starts to do its magic immediately upon completion. After that, you’ll get all the tabbed browsing you want, complete with familiar keyboard shortcuts and a bookmarks bar for locations on your hard drive.
Most of the issues still present in the software come for Windows 7 users, and with an active development team, hopefully these bugs will be squashed soon. As of right now, though, all that the Windows 7 libraries icon sitting on your taskbar can do is launch a new tab; you can’t get a thumbnail preview of the window or even tell if Explorer is currently running or not. One other problem that affects all compatible OS’s (Windows XP and up, 32 and 64bit) is that only one full window of Explorer is allowed. Though not a big issue, I do kind of like to have multiple tabs in multiple windows so I can kind of categorize what I’m working on at any given moment.
Even with the imperfections in the software, if tabbed browsing in Explorer sounds good to you, then give Clover a shot. It’s freeware!
UPDATE: As it turns out, you actually can have multiple tabbed windows with Clover! Drag one of your tabs to an empty area on your screen and a new tabbed window will be created. Cheers!