If there’s one part of Mac OS X that receives the most criticism, it’s the Mac’s ancient Finder.
Mac power users have long decried the Finder’s instability, clunky interface, network dysphoria, and hereditary ties to Mac Classic.
For average or new Mac users the Finder quickly becomes inadequate.
If you have a problem with the Finder on your Mac, replace it. What problems? And why is it worthy of replacement?
The Finder is ancient, yet, along with the Dock, it’s the center of a Mac users daily experience. It’s where you go on a Mac to find files and applications, and connect to other Macs or servers.
Apple provides some basic support for the Finder, but otherwise seems to treat current Finder development and performance as an ugly cousin.
The Finder has a bad memory and often forgets preference settings. The Finder crashes regularly. The Finder hangs when a network connection hangs (and sometimes just out of habit)
It’s arguable that the Mac’s Finder is easier to navigate and use than Windows Explorer, but that doesn’t say much. Over five years ago ArsTechnica’s respected John Siracusa blasted the Finder’s shortcomings, and offered more than a few suggestions to enhance the Mac’s highly visible front lawn.
In the years since, the Finder has been dressed up (say goodbye to brushed aluminum, hello plastic and cover flow) with each new version of OS X, yet clearly falls short of performance expectations.
Mac users who date back to the previous century know that Apple’s approach to the desktop has not changed much, yet word is floating among those in the developer community that the next version of OS X, Snow Leopard, may have a completely new Finder.
If that sounds good to you and you, too, notice the Finder’s shortcomings, then you can replace it today with a true power Finder called Path Finder.
I’m probably more of a Mac power user than the average Mac user, therefore, I look for features and functions that make my Mac life easier, faster, more efficient, and less troublesome.
Path Finder bills itself as the Finder reinvented. While I don’t know what the Finder will be like in the next version of OS X, I know that Path Finder adds plenty of performance enhancements, features I can use, yet all wrapped in a familiar setting.
In other words, Path Finder looks like the Mac’s Finder, but performs like an application designed for users who want more, need more, demand more. That’s what Path Finder does.
First, think of Path Finder as a file browser, application launcher, management tool, and home to the most used utilities. Path Finder is faster than the Mac’s Finder, and, in my experience, more stable, yet familiar—the learning curve is gracious and kind.
The new Path Finder has a very handy dual pane browser, which usually required multiple Finder windows to be open to accomplish the same tasks. If you like the eye candy of Coverflow, you’ll find it in Path Finder.
The basics are there. Quick Look, so you can see inside files without opening a Mac application. In fact, everything you do in the Finder you can do pretty much the same way in Path Finder.
It auto detects other Macs on the network, allows screen sharing and cover flow, yet provides an integrated image editor, as well as cut and paste capability beyond that of the original Finder.
There’s a built in text editor, custom settings on per-folder basis, a reload feature, a built in terminal, a bookmarks bar, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and sorting beyond with the Finder provides.
Your Mac comes with zip file compression built in. Path Finder also comes with an integrated Stuffit engine for more advanced archiving ability.
If you like the tabs in Safari and Firefox, imagine even more and better tabs in the Finder. Sorry, the Finder doesn’t do tabs but Path Finder does.
The Mac’s Finder toolbar can be customized, though few Mac users know how or take advantage of it, because it’s difficult (add the Desktop to the toolbar—if you can, you’re an experienced, power user).
Path Finder’s toolbar is a breeze to customize and has many more options.
The Finder is all about navigation and organization. Path Finder expands on that by providing more sorting options, more preferences per folder, even custom fonts. The sidebar and toolbar look familiar, yet Path Finder comes with extra shelves for better file and application organization.
If you love your Mac, but find a few problems with the Finder, Path Finder is a worthy, effective, and powerful alternative, but is easy to use since it looks and feels like the Mac’s Finder.
Even better, you get a chance to use Path Finder for 30 days to get a good feel for the extra features, functions, and capabilities, without paying a dime.
What’s missing in Path Finder? If anything, not much, though it adheres too much to the original Finder’s look and feel, while adding a long list of features which make Path Finder the center of your file and application management efforts.
If you love iMovie and the current Finder in OS X, great. You’re like most Mac users. Path Finder is more like Apple’s Final Cut Pro for file management. Powerful. Intuitive. Performance oriented; almost professional vs. generic.
I have a handful of Mac utilities I’ve used for many years and Path Finder is among them, and used every day. Do you have issues with the Mac’s Finder? Share your experience in the Comments section below.