How do I enter the License Key?

AB Commander prompts you to enter your license key when you run it: simply press the Enter License Key button on the Welcome screen and enter your licensing information into the form.

Alternatively, you can run AB Commander, and choose the Help - Enter License Key command from its main menu.

IMPORTANT: When entering your license information, make sure you enter your name and the license key exactly as they are shown on your order receipt, including all capitalization and punctuation. Otherwise, AB Commander may not accept the license key or may not register your information properly. You may wish to copy and paste the name and the key from our message into the form, to avoid typos.

Can I use the same license key to install AB Commander on several computers?

Yes, you can use the same license key, provided that you are installing it on no more computers than included in your license. Please refer to the file License.txt (installed along with other files of AB Commander) for the detailed description of the terms of using this software on more than one computer. For information on our site license and quantity discounts, please visit our Online Store .

How do I backup settings of AB Commander?

Use the Export settings command on the Tools menu to save all current settings into a file. (You can then backup that file as you usually backup the rest of your important files). Later on, if you want to restore the settings from the file, use the Import settings command.

Can I run AB Commander from a removable drive (for example, a flash drive)?

Yes, you can! After you have installed AB Commander on your computer, simply copy the files abcmdr.exe and abcmdr32.dll (or, if you use the x64 edition, copy the files abcmdr64.exe and abcmdr64.dll) from the installation folder to the removable drive, and then run abcmdr.exe (or abcmdr64.exe ) from there. If you want to have the User's Guide on the removable drive as well, copy the file abcmdr.chm to the removable drive, too.

How do I change the sorting order of the objects in the panels?

You can do it in the same way as with Windows Explorer, by clicking on the appropriate headers of the columns of the panels. For example, to sort the files by size, click on the Size column header. Clicking on the same column header again reverses the sorting order from ascending to descending and back.

Another method of changing the sorting order is by right-clicking within an empty area of a panel with the mouse, and choosing the Arrange Icons By... command from the shortcut menu.

How do I run AB Commander As Administrator?

If you have not disabled the User Account Control (UAC) of Windows 10/8/7/Vista, then when you run AB Commander, it starts executing with the restricted (standard user) rights, just like most other programs do. If at some point you need to perform an operation that requires the administrative privileges, you can use the Tools - Restart as Administrator command of AB Commander to restart it with the full administrative rights. When the administrative rights are no longer needed, you can return to operating back in the restricted mode by using the Tools - Restart as Standard User command.

If you require AB Commander to run elevated all the time, then you may want to modify the properties of the shortcut that you use to run AB Commander, to specify that the Run as administrator option should always be used when starting AB Commander. Note that if you run AB Commander as administrator, you will see Administrator in its title bar.

How do I run programs As Administrator?

You can do it by pressing the CTRL and SHIFT key simultaneously while double-clicking on the program to execute (or while pressing the Enter key to run the program). It would have the same effect as if you would have right-clicked on the program and selected Run as administrator from the shortcut menu.

What are the virtual folders?

Let's discuss the real (non-virtual) folders first. The real folders can be navigated to by entering a file system path into the address bar of File Explorer. The folders located on the hard drive of your computer have file system paths that start with a drive letter. For example, C:\Program Files is a file system path that points to a real folder. If you attach an external drive, it will have a file system path, too, but starting with a different drive letter. Or, if you connect to another computer on a network, you can navigate to the shared folders using the file system path in the format: \\server\share\folder\.... All such folders are the real ones.

There are folders, however, that do not have a file system path. The obvious examples of such folders are This PC, Libraries or Network. Even though you can open them in File Explorer or AB Commander and they look like other folders, they don't have file system paths, and therefore they are not real folders. They are virtual ones.

In some cases the same physical folder can appear as a real or a virtual folder depending on the way the device is connected to your computer. For example, if you connect your smart phone to the USB port of your computer, the contents of the SD card inside the phone could appear as a virtual folder. However, if you remove the SD card from the phone and insert it into the card reader (if your computer has one, of course), then the SD card could appear as a real folder, with its own drive letter.

Why does it matter? Because even though the real and virtual folders look similar, the way they function underneath is very different. For example, the Synchronize command of AB Commander can only work with the real folders, it cannot be used to synchronize files if one of the folders involved is a virtual one. Similar limitations exist for many other commands.

So, if you encounter a situation when a command of AB Commander suddenly does not do what you would expect, check that the folder you are trying to work with is not a virtual one. For example, you may need to remove the SD card from your phone and insert it into the card reader to make it appear as a real folder, to be able synchronize files with it.

Windows keeps rearranging the columns, help!

AB Commander tries hard to keep the columns of the file panels the way you've set them up. Sometimes, however, Windows takes control of them and rearranges them the way it thinks is better. For instance, if you connect a removable drive and navigate to it with AB Commander, suddenly Windows may change the columns to display "Date taken", "Resolution", etc., even though the removable drive contains no digital images. (That's a good illustration of a situation when computers are trying to be smarter than they need to be).

Anyway, if you are tired of manually rearranging columns after Windows messes them up, you may find the Store/Restore columns commands on the Panel menu of AB Commander of help. First, arrange the columns one last time the way you want them to be: hide the ones you don't need, unhide the ones you want, put them in the order that makes most sense to you. When you are done, choose the Panel - Store columns command to make AB Commander remember your columns. Later on, when you need to restore the columns the way you've set them up, just choose Panel - Restore columns (or press Ctrl+U), and your favorite columns will be instantly restored.

Keep in mind that the Store/Restore columns commands are available only if you run Windows Vista (or later). Also note that these commands can be used only with the file system folders (that is, folders that display the contents of your hard drives, removable disks, etc.) If you navigate to a virtual folder, such as Control Panel, or My Computer, the Store/Restore columns commands will not be available, because virtual folder often have different set of columns than those of the file system folders.

How do I synchronize the My Documents folder?

If you attempt to synchronize the My Documents folder with another folder on your computer, you may see the Nothing to do message, even though the My Documents folders contains documents that need to be synchronized.

The difficulty in synchronizing the My Documents folder is caused by the fact that it's not a "real folder", it's more of a virtual shortcut to another folder on your disk. That is, although it appears as a subfolder of the Desktop folder, its actual location is different: on Windows XP, for example, it could be C:/Documents and Settings/User/My Documents or similar.

To synchronize the contents of the My Documents folder you need to synchronize the actual folder where the content is stored (as explained in the paragraph above).

To quickly navigate to the actual My Documents folder, choose the Go to command from the Folder menu, select Documents in the list, and press OK: AB Commander will display the actual My Documents folder in its active panel.

How do I use AB Commander with Zip folders?

AB Commander supports working with the compressed files (such as Zip and CAB files) as long as the underlying operating system provides support for such files. For example, Windows XP provides "native" support for the Zip and CAB files that allows you to view the contents of such files as if they were folders. If you have not disabled such support (as described below), AB Commander will provide this capability as well.

Keep in mind that support for the compressed files provided by Windows is limited: although you can view the contents of such files in the panels as if they were folders, they are NOT real folders, and some operations (such as List/Synchronize/etc. commands of AB Commander) cannot work with files inside the compressed folders. You can, however, copy and move files between the compressed and regular folders using the drag-and-drop technique or the Cut/Copy/Paste commands, just like with Windows Explorer. You can also use the shortcut menu commands provided by Windows Explorer for the files within the compressed folders. AB Commander also lets you use the Copy and Move commands with the Zip folders, too, by simulating the Cut/Copy/Paste commands and using the Clipboard to transfer the files.

To use other programs to work with the zip files (such as BitZipper , etc.), you would need to right-click on the zip file and select the "Open with BitZipper" (or similar) command from the shortcut menu.

Zip folders is a great feature as long as the number of the zip files and the zip files themselves are not too large. The problem is, the built-in Windows code for handling the zip files is not optimized for the large zip files. As a result, when browsing folders filled with zip files, AB Commander may become slow to respond, while Windows attempts to open and analyze each zip file.

If you experience slow performance of AB Commander when browsing folders with large amount of zip files, you have the following options:

Not all files are displayed by AB Commander. Why?

One reason could be because you have set up a filter for the panel, that limits the kind of objects that should be displayed in the panel. Another reason could be that Windows itself is set up not to display the hidden files to the user. To modify this setting, choose Tools - Folder Options command of AB Commander (or open Windows Control Panel and use its Folder Options command).

I see a message that the contents of Windows Clipboard is not preserved. What does it mean?

Some commands of AB Commander use Windows Clipboard. For example, when you copy a file out of a Zip folder, the file transfer is performed through the Clipboard. As a result, if you have previously copied something onto the Clipboard (using the Copy or Cut commands most Windows programs have), then you won't be able to Paste that information after the file operation of AB Commander is complete. To alert you about a possible loss of the information you've put on the Clipboard, AB Commander displays that message.

May I give a copy of AB Commander software to a friend?

Yes, you may give the installation files of our programs to your friends and associates. However, you may NOT share your license key, if any, with anybody else. Please remember that the license key we provide you with are for your own use only. If your friends like our programs, please let them purchase their own license keys. To avoid possible confusion, please give out the original installation files that you may download from our web site.

There are several other simple, but important conditions which we impose on further redistribution of our products. Please refer to the file License.txt in the folder where you have installed AB Commander for the complete description of our distribution requirements.

How can I get a printed version of this guide?

This user's guide is available online in the printer-friendly format: 

Simply open the link above in your web browser and use the web browser's Print command to print it out on your printer.

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