Outside of iTunes, one of the most maligned applications that came with every Mac was and is the Finder– a combination launcher, toolbar, file finder and folder management utility. The Finder has always been a complicated beast and traced lineage back to the early days of the Mac. Over the years Apple seemed to ignore the Finder’s problems as it updated the Mac with more sizzle than steak.
Finder under OS X Mountain Lion and Yosemite is the best ever, but seems to have spawned a new generation of Finder replacement apps. At the high end of the feature spectrum is Path Finder, at the low end are a variety of add-on utilities for the Finder, and in-between are Finder replacements such as CRAX Commander (not to be confused with DCommander) which comes in two versions; a less expensive and somewhat crippled version for the Mac App Store, and one with a few more useful features, but priced the same.
CRAX Commander has a familiar Finder-like look so it’s instantly usable as a replacement. The key to a replacement utility is the feature list, and where Apple stays away from complexity, CRAX Commander embraces it with a wide ranging slew of features and functions.
Just like the Finder, CRAX Commander has multiple tabs and a dual-pane interface which makes it easier to transfer files from one folder to another. Unlike the Finder, CRAX has full user interface customization options, including fonts, colors, actions, and more. Even the Toolbar at the top is customizable, and in addition to tabs, there are bookmarks, and quick-click way to hide or display the panels, sidebar, and menubar to save screen real estate.
What CRAX brings to the table are a host of features aimed at more experienced users, including a built-in text editor, sFTP, FTP/FTPS, as well as SMB and AFP. For archives, CRAX handles ZIP, but also RAR, 7-ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, RPM, ISO and others. plus it can split and combine files, compare files and folders based on content, and rename multiple files.
CRAX has improved in recent years; more features, more stability, so obviously it’s a labor of love and support has been excellent. The question to ask is, ‘Why do I need a Finder replacement?‘
In reality, nothing really replaces the Mac’s Finder, but Finder-like utilities have a place because of a growing list of features for more experienced Mac users. The extensive feature list is what makes Path Finder popular among Mac power users, but CRAX has many of the more advanced features at about half the price. Thankfully, both come with a trial version, though the CRAX demo doesn’t have all the features available.