Tag Archives: ab commander

Integrating AB Commander with Universal Viewer

AB Commander comes with a built-in image viewer that lets you quickly see the images on your computer directly, without opening a dedicated image viewing or editing application. To view an image in such a way, just select its file in AB Commander and press Ctrl+I.

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The image viewer of AB Commander can display the most common image files, such as JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and TIFF, but what if you want to view files of other types, such as PDFs or DOCs, without opening the regular PDF viewer or Microsoft Word? There are several third party file viewers that can be used to view such files, and you can set up such an application as an external viewer within AB Commander.

Let's show how to do that using Universal Viewer as an example of such an external viewer. (Note that as of this writing, Universal Viewer comes in two flavors: the Free and the Pro.)

First, you need to download and install Universal Viewer on your computer. If you have chosen to download the free version, pay attention to the optional software it may offer to install in addition to Universal Viewer itself: if you don't want the additional software, decline the offer.

After Universal Viewer is installed, the next step is to set it up as the external viewer of AB Commander: choose Tools - Options from the menu of AB Commander, select the Viewer tab, and press the Options button next to External:

Then, enter the path to the external viewer application, and also specify "%1" in the Command line parameters box (%1 is the placeholder for the selected file, and it needs to be enclosed in the double quotes to allow for the files with spaces in their names to be passed to the viewer application correctly):

That's it! From now on, if you want to view a file using Universal Viewer, select the file within AB Commander and press Ctrl+Shift+I:

Good luck!

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AB Commander 8.5 certified for Windows 8

We've just released an updated version 8.5 of AB Commander file manager. This version was submitted to the Windows 8 Application Certification and we are happy to report that it passed the tests and is now officially compatible with Windows 8.

Besides the compatibility with Windows 8, this version offers several minor improvements and fixes, such as:

  • The Duplicate Current Tab command, the tooltips that show the full path, and the tabs, and several other improvements.
  • A new option: Invoke Go to Parent folder when double-clicking on empty space.
  • The horizontal scroll bars now automatically appear or disappear as needed on the Folder bars.
  • ... and a few other little things

As before, AB Commander 8.5 comes with a free 30-day license for you to try it out before purchasing it.

Happy file managing!

AB Commander 8.4 released

A new version 8.4 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

This version features a new Quick Find command that you can use to search text files for specific text fragments you are interested in. (The built-in Windows Search command is still available as the alternative/external quick finder.)

As usual, the trial version of AB Commander comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your AB Commander within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

AB Commander v.8.3 released

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We've just released an update to AB Commander, version 8.3. This update offers several improvements:

  • The Rename and Delete commands are now faster and handle the selection of the files better: after a file has been deleted or moved, the next file is automatically selected for you, minimizing the need to scroll, if you have a large number of files displayed.
  • A new option to show the Re-establishing/Closing Connections messages has been implemented. When AB Commander is starting and attempting to connect to the network shared or drives, the connection to such network folders can take a rather long time. Previously, AB Commander did not display any visual indication about the process, and that could leave the user wondering why AB Commander did not display its window fast, as it usually does. Now, AB Commander shows a progress window informing the user that AB Commander is trying to re-establish the connection. A similar message is also displayed when AB Commander is shutting down and attempting to close the network connection that takes longer than usual. We hope such messages offer better user experience. However, if you don't like seeing such messages, you can turn them off using the Options command of AB Commander.
  • Better handling of some unusual situations that previously might have caused AB Commander to crash.
  • Several minor improvements and corrections have been made: the Free Space indicator is now displaying the result with an additional decimal point; the Quick Editor no longer prompts you to restart as Administrator when you open a text file located on a CD-ROM drive, etc.
  • As usual, if you have purchased your AB Commander license within the previous 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge: just download the new version and install it over the previous one. If your one year of free upgrades has already expired, you can purchase the new version and receive the automatic 50% upgrade discount. If you have not purchased a license yet, feel free to download AB Commander and give it a try: it's free for 30 days!

    How to repair Windows desktop icons with AB Commander

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    Sometimes something happens and Windows starts displaying wrong icons on the desktop. For example, you might have upgraded an application and the new version came with a new and improved application icon, but you still see the old icon on the Desktop. Or, a blank or damaged icon image appears where a perfectly good icon was displayed before. Does this sound familiar?

    The most common reason for the problem with the icons is the corruption of the Windows icon cache. If you don't know what icon cache is, it's a special file that Windows uses to keep copies of each icon handy. When Windows needs to draw an icon, it uses the copy from the cache rather than retrieving the icon image from the original application file. It makes Windows draw the icons much faster.

    UPDATE: With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft changed the rules of the game: the icon cache is no longer stored in the IconCache.db file described below. Read more: How to repair the icon cache in Windows 8/8.1

    The location of the icon cache file depends on the version of Windows that you have. In Windows 7 and Vista, the icon cache file is:


    In Windows XP the icon cache file is:

    C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\IconCache.db

    So, what to do if the icon cache file became corrupted or damaged, or if Windows did not replace a copy of an icon in the icon cache with a new image of the icon for some reason? The solution is simple: you need to force Windows to rebuild its icon cache! The easiest ways of doing that is by deleting the IconCache.db file. If that file is missing, Windows will build it from scratch. However, deleting this file is tricky: it turns out that Windows keeps a copy of this file in the RAM memory, and if you delete it, with will create a new copy of this file from it's RAM copy, without refreshing the icon images!

    To prevent Windows Explorer from recreating the old icon cache file, you can do the following:

    1. If you have not done so already, make Windows display the hidden files and folders. To do so, choose the Folder options command from the Tools menu of AB Commander (or open it from Windows Control Panel), select the View tab, and change the option:

    Make Windows display the hidden files and folders

    If you don't like Windows displaying the hidden files and folder, you can change this option back after completing the steps below.

    2. Use AB Commander to navigate to the folder where the IconCache.db file is located (see above for the possible locations):

    Locate the icon cache file with AB Commander

    (If you have just enabled the Show hidden files option, you may need to press F5 in AB Commander to refresh is window and make the hidden files and folders to appear in the file listings.) Delete the IconCache.db file, and keep AB Commander window open, do not close or minimize it, you will need it a bit later.

    3. Now end the Windows Explorer process. To do that, start Windows Task Manager (by, for example, right-clicking on an empty space of Windows taskbar and selecting Start Task Manager from the menu). Select the Processes tab and right-click on explorer.exe in the list. Finally, select End Process from the menu:

    Use Task Manager to end Windows Explorer process

    The icons on your desktop will disappear, but don't panic, they will be back in a minute!

    4. Finally, restart the Explorer process. To do that, switch to AB Commander window, enter explorer in its launch box, and press OK:

    Start Explorer with AB Commander

    Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
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    (You could also start Explorer using the File - New Task (Run) command of Windows Task Manager.) Your desktop icons should be back.

    The above procedure should force Windows to recreate its icon cache file from scratch. If you don't see the IconCache.db file right away, don't worry, it will appear after you log off and log back on to (or restart) Windows.

    UPDATE: If you use Windows 8 (or newer) the above procedure may not work. In such a case, you need to use a different procedure. Read more: How to repair the icon cache in Windows 8/8.1

    If you want to link to this article, you can use this HTML code: <a href="http://www.winability.com/repair-windows-desktop-icon-cache/">How to repair Windows desktop icons</a>

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    How to show drive letters first in AB Commander and Windows Explorer

    Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
    User rating: 4.8/5
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    As you probably know, Windows assigns a drive letter to the each drive that your computer has. If you open the Computer folder (or, if you use Windows XP or Windows 2000, the My Computer folder), you should see the list of the drives currently attached to your computer. By default, Windows displays the drive letters after the names of the drives. Since AB Commander uses the same internal engine to display the contents of the folders as Windows itself does, the same convention is true for the way AB Commander displays the names of the drives: it shows the label first, followed by the drive letter:

    The default display of the drive names used by AB Commander and Windows Explorer

    It’s possible, however, to change this default behavior and make both AB Commander and Windows Explorer display the drive letters before the drive names. In fact, there are even more possibilities: you can make the drive letters to be shown before the names for the network drives only, and you can even hide the drive letters altogether!

    Below are the links to the registry files that make the necessary changes in the Windows Registry. Note that there are two separate sets of files: one for Windows 8, 7, or Vista, and another one for Windows XP or Windows 2000:

    For Windows 8, 7, and Windows Vista:

    For Windows XP and Windows 2000:

    To use a registry file, right-click on its link, and choose Save Target As (or Save Link As, or a similar command) and save the file somewhere on your hard drive. After that, open the link directly from the folder where you have saved it, and confirm to Windows that you do want to import the information from the file into Windows Registry. Finally, to see the change in AB Commander, restart it. For example, if you’ve imported the DriveLetters-Before.reg file, then the list of the drives should now look like this:

    The drive letters are shown before the drive names

    To see the result in Windows Explorer, log off and then log back on to Windows. If you want to return to the default way of displaying the drive letters after the drive names, use the DriveLetters-After.reg file.

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    AB Commander updated to version 8.1

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    We’ve just released a minor update 8.1 to AB Commander. What’s new in this version:

    • An option for the internal Quick Editor has been added that allows you to enable or disable the warning message displayed when you attempt to open a write-protected file with the internal Quick Editor.
    • When you sort files by clicking on the columns in the file panels, AB Commander no longer scrolls to the previously selected item.
    • A problem has been corrected that caused AB Commander to navigate to the parent folder when changing to the Details view.

    As always, a free 30-day license is included with every download, give it a try!

    Setting up the external text editor for AB Commander

    Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
    User rating: 4.8/5
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    As you probably know, AB Commander comes with a built-in text editor that you can use to quickly edit text files. It’s easily accessible from within AB Commander: just select the text file you want to edit or view, and press the Ctrl+Q key combination. The text file will open in a separate window, offering the basic file editing capabilities:

    In addition to the internal text editor, AB Commander also offers a way to set up an alternative text editor for use in cases when the capabilities of the built-in editor are not sufficient enough. By default, the external text editor is set up to run Windows Notepad. (Try it: you can open a text file with the external text editor by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Q). Notepad, however, does not offer much more than the built-in text editor. If you really want to have a powerful text editor at your fingertips, you may want to change the external text editor from Notepad to something more advanced.

    There are many text editors available (a quick Google or Bing search should reveal many of them). One of the more popular ones is Notepad++, a free and open source tool that offers many advanced text editing features, including syntax highlighting, tabbed user interface, plug-in support, etc.

    To set up Notepad++ as the external text editor in AB Commander, choose View – Options from the AB Commander menu, and select the Editor page:

    Click on the Options button next to the External choice, and then enter the path to the Notepad++ executable into the box:

    Keep in mind that on your computer Notepad++ could be installed into a different folder than shown. For example, if you have a 64-bit version of Windows, then Notepad++ would most probably be installed under the C:\Program Files (x86) folder. You can always determine the correct path by analyzing the properties of the shortcut to Notepad++ that you use (on the Desktop or on the Start Menu):

    Another option you have is which editor (internal or external) you want to be the preferred one (that is, accessible via the Ctrl+Q keyboard shortcut), and which one alternative (accessible via the Ctrl+Shift+Q combination). You can choose that on the Editor page shown above.

    Happy text editing!

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    Is “Wipe the content” the same as “Secure Delete”?

    Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
    User rating: 4.8/5
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    If you've been using AB Commander to manage your files and folders, you've probably noticed the Wipe the content option available on the Delete window (that appears when you choose the Delete command from the menu of AB Commander):

    The Delete file window with Wipe the content option

    You've been probably wondering, why would you need that option? Isn't the Delete command supposed to do that by itself?

    To understand the need for this option, let's consider what happens under the hood when you delete a file. If you use Windows Explorer to delete a file on a drive that has a Recycle Bin on it, then the file is not deleted at all! Instead, Windows moves it to the Recycle Bin, giving you (or someone else who gets hold of your disk) the possibility to restore the file you've "deleted". The same happens when you delete the file with AB Commander and select the Move to the Recycle Bin option on the Delete window.

    If you do not select the Move to the Recycle Bin option (or, if the file is located on a drive that does not have the Recycle Bin), then the deletion occurs differently: instead of moving the file to the Recycle Bin, Windows marks the blocks of the hard drive space occupied by the file as available for use by other files. That is, even though the file disappears from the file listings, its content still remains on the disk! That's what makes the undelete programs possible: they work by analyzing the internal structures that Windows keeps on the disk and use that information to reconstruct the files deleted in this way. If the file has been deleted only a few minutes ago and you have not created any new files yet, there is a good chance to undelete the file in this way. However, keep in mind that even if you yourself didn't create any files, Windows could do that silently in the background, and thus overwrite the blocks of data on the disk that used to belong to the file you've deleted.

    In any case, the important fact about deleting a file without moving it into the Recycle Bin is that the content of the file is not getting destroyed and there is a possibility to reconstruct it (or a part of it), even after the file has been deleted. What if the file contains sensitive information that you want to actually be destroyed? That's what Wipe the content option is for. If you select this option, then before deleting the file, AB Commander wipes its content by writing constant bytes over the actual data the file contains. This way, if someone gets hold of your disk and uses an undelete program to recover the file you've deleted, the recovered file would contain the bytes written over by AB Commander when wiping the file, rather than the original content of the file.

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    The bytes used to wipe out the content of the files depend on the number of passes you select next to the Wipe the content option. If you select 1 pass, then AB Commander replaces each byte of the file content with 0. If you select 3 passes, then AB Commander overwrites each byte 3 times. The first pass uses the byte 0x55 (which happens to have the binary representation of 01010101), the second pass uses the byte 0xAA (or 10101010 in the binary presentation), and the third pass uses the byte 0. Of course, keep in mind that using the 3-pass wiping takes 3 times as long to complete.

    "Why don't you call this option Secure Delete then, like many of your competitors do", you might be wondering? Well, because "secure" is a strong word and we would rather use it only when something is really secure. Unfortunately, there are situations when the Wipe the content option may not produce the intended result. For example, if the file you want to erase is located on a SSD or a flash drive, there is a good chance that the drive controller uses the wear-leveling techniques, to extend the useful life of the device. It means that when the content of a file is overwritten, the new bytes may be written to a block of the drive's space other than that of the original file. In such a case, even if you select the 3-pass wipe option, each pass would be written to a new set of the drive space blocks, and no wiping of the content would actually occur. Calling such an operation "secure" would be very misleading.

    Even if the drive does not use the wear-leveling, there is a possibility for the original content of the file to leak even after its content has been wiped. For example, when you save a file after editing it, many programs do not write the new content directly over the exiting data. Instead, they first create a temporary file, write the new content in it, and after making sure the file has been created successfully, they delete the original file, and rename the new file back to the original. (It may all happen in the background, without you noticing it). The result is, the previous content of the file is still available on the drive, even if you don't see it. If you wipe the content of the file you've just saved, you would wipe only the latest version of it, while the previous version would still be available for the undelete utilities to recover. Again, we would not want to use the word "secure" for the option that may provide an insecure result.

    OK, if secure delete of files is not reliable, what should you do if you really want to make sure the file cannot be recovered no matter what? Well, the only 100% option is to physically destroy the drive. (Although that may not be easy: if you ever tried to disassemble a hard drive you know what I mean!). If physical destruction is not an option, the next best thing is to securely erase the whole drive. Go to the web site of the manufacturer of your drive and search for a secure erase utility in the Downloads or Support section: you may find such a utility offered by the manufacturer tailored specifically to your drive.

    The third best option is to do a "full" (rather than "quick") format of the drive, using the Windows drive formatting tools. (See Windows Help for more information what your version of Windows has to offer in this regard). When Windows does the full format, it erases every part of the drive, including any previous versions of the files that might be lying around. While it may not stop a determined forensic analyst, the full format should prevent the regular undelete tools from recovering your files.

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