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are you using a desktop environment? i've had no trouble with kde's konqueror and gnome's nautilus as file managers. i've used xfce's, but i don't like the interface as much. if you're not using a desktop environment, xfm is a good file manager. i've seen screenshots of xfe, and it looks sort of interesting - kinda reminds me of the windows 9x file manager.
i usually just stick to the command line, not sure why though. i guess it's just faster and i'm used to it or something.
Krusader is my first choice. I like a twin panel file manager, this one looks a bit like windows commander. As well as file managing it also has FTP capability, partition mounting/unmounting and can connect to and manage shared files. It needs base parts of KDE to run
Thanks guys. I'll check those out. The reason I didn't state a desktop environment is that my final choice of file manager might determine which DE I end up using. I've tried KDE, Gnome and XFCE. I'm still undecided.
mc (Midnight Commander) is very powerful and runs in a virtual console as well as a terminal window in X11. It's fast and efficient, and it keeps you independent of any DE.
Konqueror, not only because I like KDE. Good features are tilable windows (in many ways) and preview options. On my big machine I have collections of photographs, eg, and Konqueror shows me previews of the photos. Konqueror is very configurable and well integrated with other KDE apps (but can run standalone, of course). One specific feature about it, that I like is the simple and flexible way in which you can assign applications to file/MIME types. Eg, I changed the default editor to KVim and the default application for XML files is NetBeans (Java IDE).
Somebody mentioned ROX: This is IMHO not only a good file manager (not as powerful as Konqueror, maybe, but also not nearly as heavy), but also the best looking one of all. It reminds me of my good old RISC OS days... ;-)
DFM is another good, lightweight option. It teams up perfectly with window managers like Oroborus and a panel like fspanel (f** small panel). You get a complete desktop at under 500kBytes with these three apps!
I think ROX is terrific - small, fast, efficient and simple. And it gives you a complete desktop environment with Gnome-like panels and the ability to put shortcuts on the desktop, thumbnails for pix etc. I've tried loads and would not give up ROX.
In case of X failure I use vfu or midnight commander on the command line - the first being similar to but simpler than the latter.