When you just switched from Windows to Mac OS X you will be on the lookout for versions of the software you used on Windows for Mac OS X. While many programs have a Mac version, some don’t and you will need an alternative.
This is my collection of software alternatives for those who are switching from Windows to Mac. I hope to be able to devote some time to bring this collection up to speed soon.
Looking for WinRAR for Mac? There is none. Well, there is a command line only WinRAR for Mac OS X, but do you really want to fool around with a command line these days? I assume if you used WinRAR with Windows, you expect a graphical user interface for it.
While there are still some WinRAR alternatives I haven’t checked out, after having tried quite some of them already I am currently using SimplyRAR v1.10.
It’s close enough to WinRAR, can split archives, password protect them and test archived files. That’s pretty much the basic toolset I expect when working with RARs. And it’s free.
There are quite few nice applications that can extract RAR archives, some of them really fancy, but the idea to use one app to extract RARs and another one to create RARs just doesn’t appeal to me. Like WinRAR, I like to have one application for that and unless I find something better, SimplyRAR works just fine.
File management under Windows, when you work with files a lot, is for me unthinkable without Total Commander. Back in the day it used to be called Windows Commander and true to it’s name it isn’t available for Mac OS X.
While I like the Finder I also look at it like I do look at Windows Explorer: nice for occasional file handling, but when dealing with lots of files, different drives and tons of directories I just need more. Split view, main commands on function keys and tabs: those are the basics for proper file management for me. I really want a file manager that comes as close to Total Commander as possible.
Meet Disk Order 3.2.3. This is as close as it gets to Total Commander for Mac OS X. It isn’t a perfect copy of Total Commander, but nothing else gets even remotely closer to the “original”.
I initially planned to write a lot more about Disk Order, what it can and cannot do, how it handles FTP or RAR, how it works in most situations compared to Total Commander, but in the end I figured that it would be a waste of your and my time. After having looked into a lot of file managers for Mac OS X (among which were the usual suspects such as Xfolders, ForkLift 2, Path Finder, Xfile and a couple more) I will just save you the time and tell you to download Disk Order and try it (30 days trial). I have been using Disk Order for over a year now and it was worth every cent of its $29.95 price tag.
If you are hell bent on a free alternative, muCommander is your best choice. It just isn’t anywhere as good as Disk Order, but if you look at it as a modern Norton Commander for Mac rather than a Total Commander clone it is pretty good. It really depends a lot what you used Total Commander for, but if you used it a simple NC replacement anyway you should like muCommander it a lot.
Should you however not really need a Total Commander equivalent for Mac OS X, but only something that will give you dual mode/split view and tabs and you like the Finder except for those shortcomings, you should have a look at two interesting apps that will alter your Finder accordingly: TotalFinder ($18 / 14-day trial) or XtraFinder (free).