Saturday, November 30, 2013

PowerUp Tip: FreeCommanderXE + Total7zip Plugin

I think I am clearly on the record with my admiration and love of the freeware Windows file manager FreeCommander.

I have lot & lots of additional alternative freeware file managers as well. Each has its own spin. Some are single EXE files and others have options to open a bazillion multi-pane windows.

But I find I use FreeCommander almost exclusively.

If you weren’t aware, there is a “beta” version of FreeCommander out as well, FreeCommander XE. I’ve been using this one and found it super nice. It has a number of features that the “current” version of FreeCommander doesn’t offer. It updates pretty often so I’m checking back weekly to see what the latest version is and use it.

It comes in both an “installable” and “portable” version…just like the original. I prefer using this build.

If you want to get “crazy” you can download the FreeCommander Portable package (over at and then replace the application contents in the <path-to-location>\FreeCommanderPortable\App\FreeCommander folder with the FreeCommander XE program files instead.

Works like a charm.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.  Back in 2009 (has it been that long?!) I wrote a post Minor manual tweaking of freeCommander where I updated the stable version of FreeCommander (hereafter referred to as FC) with newer file compression binaries for some minor improvements in the file archiver feature FC supports.

You can still follow that post and do most of those tips, grabbing needed binaries from this DelphiZip Dlls link and this one WinRAR archiver as well.

But the new FreeCommander XE version (hereafter referred to as FCXE) builds use some different features for handling compressed files.

By default FCXE supports ZIP, JAR, and WAR file formats for unpacking.


That’s quite fine for most folks, but being a power-user, I often encounter many, many other types of compressed file formats that I want to view the internal contents of (before extracting). One of the most comment are RAR archive files.

After poking around a bit, I found a combination of tips in the FreeCommander Forums that pointed me to an awesome solution; the Total7zip plugin for Total Commander!

It took a while to work out the details using a combination of tips from both threads and get it to perform smoothly but now I can browse and extract an amazing number of compressed file formats from within the FCXE application.


You will almost certainly need to tweak the steps below to fit your own FCXE installation & environment.

  1. Download and unpack the latest Total7zip plugin package for Total Commander;
  2. Under your FreeCommanderXE application location, create a “Plugins” folder…if not already there.
  3. Under that one, create a “wcx” folder.
  4. Under that one, create a “Total7zip” folder.
  5. Copy all the files\folders unpacked from the Total7zip RAR file from step 1 into that folder created in step 4.
  6. In that folder that you just copied all the files into, look for the file “total7zip.template.xml”
  7. Save a copy of it as “total7zip.xml” in the same folder.
  8. Open it up with your favorite text editor, we need to make some changes.
  9. Line 6 says “<path path_7z_dll="" path_7zG_exe="" />” by default
  10. Inside the double quotes (“”) insert the full path to each of the referenced files. For example, on my system, line 6 looks like this:
    <path path_7z_dll="C:\Standalone Apps\File Folder Tools\File Managers\FreeCommanderXEprealfa\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\7z.dll" path_7zG_exe="C:\Standalone Apps\File Folder Tools\File Managers\FreeCommanderXEprealfa\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\7zG.exe" />
  11. Line 7 says “<path64bit path_7zG_exe="" path_7z_dll="" />”
  12. Inside the double quotes (“”) insert the full path to each of the referenced 64-bit files. For example, on my system, line 7 looks like this:
    <path64bit path_7zG_exe="C:\Standalone Apps\File Folder Tools\File Managers\FreeCommanderXEprealfa\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\64\7zG.exe" path_7z_dll="C:\Standalone Apps\File Folder Tools\File Managers\FreeCommanderXEprealfa\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\64\7z.dll" />
  13. There are some additional settings you can tweak if you wish on line 8. Check out the “Readme.rtf” file in there for details. One of the most popular recommendations is to set the “awaysWait7zip” value to “1”.  Here is what I have for my line 8.
    <compression save="1" sfx="7z.sfx" updateSfx="0" askByContent="0" askByContentTimeout="1" alwaysWait7zip="1" extractToTempCount="1" deleteToRecycleBin="1" keySimpleMode="-1">
  14. Save the modified “total7zip.xml” file.
  15. Copy your modified “total7zip.xml” file into the same folder location where your “FreeCommander.exe” file is located. (This is very important! Until I found that second forum thread tip, I still kept crashing when I tried to “pack” a file with FCXE)
  16. Now launch your FreeCommander application.
  17. On the menu-bar, go to “Tools”, “Settings”, and then select the “Archiver plugins” item.
  18. Use the “bar+” icon in the top right to add a new entry to the list.
  19. Browse to the location of the “Total7zip.wcx” file and select it. It should be under the “Total7zip” folder you created in step 4.
  20. You will now see it listed beneath the default “fcZip” entry.
  21. Uncheck the “fcZip” & “fcRar” items. (updated 2016-05-01 hat-tip to anonymous commenter)
  22. Check the “Total7zip” item. Then click on the “Total7zip” row to make sure it is highlighted.
  23. Add the list of supported archive types you are interested in under the “FileExtensions” form field. You can add as many or as few of the supported Total7zip ones you want. I added the following. Note that they are separated with a period symbol “.” and not a comma:
  24. I don’t do this, but if you want to create “self-extracting (SFX)” archives then browse to the location of the binary you want to use. To keep things simple, I just kept the default provided FCXE binary “FCSFXStub.exe” which is located in the same location as the “FreeCommander.exe” file.
  25. Under the “Supported options” drop down, make sure it shows “Supported options (735):”.
  26. Click the “Apply” button.
  27. Click the “OK” button.
  28. On the menu-bar, go to “Tools”, and select “Save Settings”.
  29. Done!

Your configurations panel should look something like this, though the application paths will be specific to your system.


I’m sure there are a whole lot more tips and tweaks and tricks you can do, but these were more than enough for me.

Being able to browse directly into an expanded set of archive file types is a super time saver for me.

Hat tips to the original form thread posters and contributors for setting me on the correct track!


Claus Valca


Björn said...


Thanks for this guide, helped a lot!

Just one remark: alwaysWait7zip must be changed to "1".

If you don't change this from "0" to "1" Freecommander will crash every time you try to create an archive.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claus Valca,

You save me a lot of time by sharing this info with me and all us.

Thanks a lot.


Unknown said...

Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

3. Under that one, create a “wxc” folder.


Claus said...

@ Anonymous -- Good catch!

fixed to "create a "wcx" folder"

Thank you for taking the time to alert me.


--Claus V

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for this manual!

FCUser said...

Thanks a lot, Claus,
really helpful manual, that will save a lot of time in the future. Your instructions were very helpful in part thanks to the examples you included, otherwise it'd have been quite difficult.

Anonymous said...

Can browse but not copy, unzip, etc. Any fix for this?

Claus said...

@ Anonymous - Are you having issues with copy, unzip, etc. with the core (base) FreeCommander application? If so, then I would try two things first:

1) Try to download and run the FreeCommander XE Portable | PortableApps version as a standalone program. It should give you a good test to see how the program runs. Hopefully this version will give you all the core functionality.
2) In some cases you may need to run the application with "administrator" rights in order to perform certain file actions. If the account you are running is already an admin account then that may not make a difference.

If the issue isn't with the "core" program but with the Total7zip plugin tweaks I've outlined here, then you will probably need to delete the "wcx" folder\sub-folders and start all over again. I recently upgraded to a new version of FreeCommander and ended up having to go through all these steps again (it was a shift from a beta x64 version to the current x32 public release). I had all my xml files mixed up and it took me quite a while to get them all set back in place and working smoothly again.

Hope these tips might help.


-Claus V.

David S said...

Thanks a lot, this article saved me a lot of time.

Just one note. In step 25 I can choose only "Supported options (0)", however it still works well.

Anonymous said...

Hello Claus,

thank you very much for this tutorial, it helped me a lot. I still have one issue:
When i start Freecommander and zip a folder with the "Pack..." Shortcut(Alt+F5) and click "Run" to start the packing, i get a error that says that the path "C:\Program Files(x86)\FreeCommander XE\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\64\7zG.exe" is wrong. That is not the case, my .xml files and settings are right. Also when i open the settings(Tools->Settings...) and save with no changes, the packing suddenly works with no error. Still, the next time i open FreeCommander the error occurs again.

Do you have any ideas?

Claus said...

@ Anonymous - I'm not really certain.

I've gone back and tested mine for compression function. I usually use my installed version of PeaZip ( ) for the few file-compression needs that I have rather than this configuration of FreeCommander. It's really all the un-compressing support that I use this for.

Anyway, my build (as listed above in the post) isn't having any issues with zipping up a folder in any of the supported format versions.

I'm not sure if you typed in the path you left in the comments or copied it.

"C:\Program Files(x86)\FreeCommander XE\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\64\7zG.exe"

If you did copy it there might be a problem.

There should be a space between "Files" and "(x86)". So corrected line should read:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\FreeCommander XE\Plugins\wcx\Total7zip\64\7zG.exe"

Check the line in the options as well as in your XML page to make sure you didn't forget to add the space.

Let me know if you have any luck.


--Claus V.

Anonymous said...

> Uncheck the “fcZip” item.

Not the "fcRar" too?

Claus said...

@ Anonymous - Hmmm. Seems that the "fcRar" entry has appeared now via a later freeCommander XE build that was there when I wrote this post.

I've rechecked my FC settings and found that the "fcRar" line was also unchecked and my Total7 unpacker setup still works great.

So yes, I'd make sure that both "fcZip" and "fcRar" are both unchecked.

I'll update the steps to bring it current for that item.

Thanks for the comment/tip.


--Claus V.