I am starting to dislike the Finder. Does anybody know of a good Finder replacement, something Unixy or Nexty which will still work with all Mac OS X applications?

  • 5
    How Unixy? Terminal is about as Unixy a Finder replacement as you can find!
    – Daniel
    Mar 29, 2012 at 21:00
  • Something that works like WindowMaker or CDE for example. Mar 30, 2012 at 7:40
  • I actually do use Terminal for a lot of my tasks. It is most of the time easier and faster.
    – CoffeeRain
    Apr 2, 2012 at 19:50

9 Answers 9


When it comes to alternatives of Finder, there are two major alternatives.

First, you have TotalFinder. It looks a lot like the normal Finder, but it can do so much more. You can copy/paste across windows, you can work with tabs or dual screen,... It's my personal favorite. I've been using it for many months now.

The second alternative is PathFinder. I don't have any personal experience with this software, but when I take a look at their website, it has some cool features too.

So, my advice is to check those two options and I can suggest you TotalFinder!

  • TotalFinder is for the average user while PathFinder is for power users and included lots of Command Line goodness.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    Apr 2, 2012 at 19:22

Terminal might sound like a cop-out, but it's as Unix-y as it gets, loaded with Command Line Goodness. To better integrate into the Mac experience, be sure to check out the open command, which can launch applications, or open files using their designated application.

enter image description here

  • That's a nice answer! A bit difficult, but once you get the hang of it, you'll love it!
    – Michiel
    Mar 29, 2012 at 22:38
  • I am wondering whether X11.app could be used as a Finder replacement. Mar 30, 2012 at 10:36

I'm a big fan of ForkLift (free trial, $30). It isn't cheap, but it's well worth it.

It's basically a souped-up version of Finder for power users.
I recommend that you try out the beta of version 2.5; it's stable and has some features that the stable version is missing.

A few of my favorite features

  • Dual-paned windows
  • Tabs
  • Store commonly used 'workspaces'
  • Save and mount remote connections
  • Work with archives without unpacking them

One especially Unix-y feature is the ability to create 'tools', which are shell scripts to run on selected files. enter image description here


As @DanielL said, Terminal can be a great solution, however I wouldn't use the default Apple terminal for this, I would run TermKit since it has a nice graphical interface despite its terminal-ness. Using terminal commands and typing in the name of each file loses the 'finding' aspect of the Finder, where emphasis is placed less on exactly where the file is, especially on Mac OS Lion. While tab-completion partially fixes this, it still has a lot to catch up on.

This is TermKit


I use both TotalFinder and PathFinder.

For general Finder-type things, I find TotalFinder very similar to the Finder with the major benefit of Tabs (yeah!) and Dual Mode, where you get two Finder windows side-by-side. This is great for moving files between folders.

PathFinder has many more advanced features: You have 4 panes (2 on each side of the PathFinder window) that you can customize. I have mine to show:

1) Processes - showing all open apps

2) Selection Path - showing the full path to the selected file/folder

3) Recent Documents

4) Recent Folders

Below your PathFinder window you can set up various options, too. I have mine to show:

1) Info - similar to Get Info for the selected item

2) Preview - which is, well, a preview of the selected item

I have barely touched the full features of PathFinder. Check out:


for more details about AppleScript and developing for PathFinder.

Bottom line: If you want a simple enhancement to the Finder, I would suggest TotalFinder. If you are a scripter or programmer, I would go with PathFinder.


You may find this post interesting:

5 Alternatives to the OS X Finder (It includes descriptions with some pictures)

Sumarizing the post:

3-Disk Order
5-Path Finder


Perhaps not what you had in mind, but for something "terminal like," I use Alfred, which is (IMHO) the best-of-class in application launchers. The basic version is free, but I liked it so well I sent them $45 or so for their deluxe enhanced version family site license plus lifetime free updates. There are other price-points, as well.

In practice, you hit a hot key and start typing the name of an application, document, script, website, email, whatever, and it presents you with a list of ten things it thinks are close matches. You then pick one using mouse or hot keys. It then "learns" your abbreviation, and moves your choice to the top of the list next time.

It does lots of other stuff, as well, such as keystroke folder navigation.

I loathe crawling around the Finder for stuff, and don't even like using the Dock. With Alfred, I drive about 50% by keyboard.


For NeXTy try RBrowswer It is really a ftp client but the file browsing works like NeXT's file manager including shelves


That the question! We use the Finder to organize and retrieve our files. What means "Finder replacement", something like TotalFinder, PathFinder, …, or a really new way to manage our files? I mean, a new concept able to replace the Finder main function : managing our information.

If that is the question, if you AskDifferent, the following may interest you. I must be honest, I am also the developer of this new concept. But if you know any app that looks like mine, let me know.

The Finder use the Space to organize our files. The Space is divided into subspaces, or folders. As an alternative, or in addition to the Space organization, this new concept use the Time to organize our information, as we do with our brains. All day I record with my 5 senses lots of information. Will I have archive them in folders? No, I simply move the TimeCursor of may consciousness to remember. Like us, this new concept uses a temporal navigation rather than the spatial navigation (like the Finder) to retrieve information.

Here is a presentation of the new concept.

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