From The Forums: Immersive Explorer for Windows

As shown with our previous installments of "From the Forums" features, it's clear that our members are very talented, and this deserves praise whenever we can, with a virtual high five and promotion to the main page.

Enter Immersive Explorer. This program, created by Neowin member link8506, is an alternative to Explorer in Windows 8, so it doesn't replace it and it doesn't even require administration privileges to use. Oh, it also works in Windows 7.

Immersive Explorer main view - Click to enlarge

Metro. Love or hate it, it's going to ship with Windows 8, and even though you aren't forced into the environment if you use tweak programs such as Start8 (which allows you to boot directly to the desktop) there are others that welcome it on their touch based devices, and for all the improvements made to Windows Explorer, such as the addition of the ribbon which makes it easier for tablet users to to manage files, it isn't quite that good for finger pointing.

Where Windows 8 lacks Metro style file management, this program comes up with the goods. Microsoft, are you taking notes?

File properties view - Click to enlarge

Description

Immersive Explorer aims to provide an "immersive" experience to the user by focusing on the content rather than hiding it behind useless icons and large window chrome and borders. It will also avoid the user from having to open different applications and navigate between multiple windows when doing things as simple as viewing a picture.

For example, when the user wants to see a photo, instead of opening Windows Photo Viewer in a new window, the photo will be displayed directly in the Immersive Explorer window.

Although it's not a Windows 8 "Metro application", it is designed around the "Metro" user interface guidelines. It will be optimised for touch-screens, but will offer a great experience for desktop users too (with features like scroll-to-zoom and keyboard navigation).

Immersive Explorer is based on Win32/.net/WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). It uses graphical hardware acceleration to display fluid animations and transitions, making it look more modern than the default GDI-based Windows file explorer. Note that it is not a complete replacement for the Windows Shell (it's just an alternative to Windows Explorer) and it won't even need admin rights to be installed.

As it is not based on WinRT, unfortunately it means that it won't work on Windows RT devices (but it will work on Windows 8 tablets like Surface Pro).

Feedback

This is version 0.1 of the program which was released just a few hours ago, you can offer your feedback and suggestions in this forum thread; or give your own virtual high five by either liking his post or replying to the topic.

According to the forum post, once you have this on your system you will be notified of updates, which are planned over the next few days. You can also check out the official website for this and other programs made by link8506.

Update: v0.1.1 has been released which will allow the program to run on x86 flavors of Windows as well.

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i have checkout this application i need bigger metro box because i have widescreen or you can put a option to do that!

Ibrahim Haseel said,
i have checkout this application i need bigger metro box because i have widescreen or you can put a option to do that!

yeah it doesn't look great on big screen. I will add a way to make the tiles bigger.

anyway good work. is this application is program using C++

link8506 said,

yeah it doesn't look great on big screen. I will add a way to make the tiles bigger.

that's not how it works. Microsoft wants metro only on UI menu doing all the thing metro will handy for tablets not for desktop.

I'm going to have to check that on my windows 7 rig when I get back home. It looks real nice. My only gripe is that the play/pause buttons are separate instead of being one conditional button, but for version 0.1, this is awesome.

XMac said,
I'm going to have to check that on my windows 7 rig when I get back home. It looks real nice. My only gripe is that the play/pause buttons are separate instead of being one conditional button, but for version 0.1, this is awesome.

for now the play pause buttons are just placeholders. They will be functional in the next version.
I will probably group the play/pause button together as you said.

wetworker said,
Hopefully someone creates a themeing utility so that we can create customs colors as well background image.

I will add theming/customization support, but it is not a top priority.
There will be background image support (displayed in a random way from the user's favorite pictures)

Nice and Good to here. Setup that papal account because i'll be glad to send some loot your way.

link8506 said,

I will add theming/customization support, but it is not a top priority.
There will be background image support (displayed in a random way from the user's favorite pictures)

I'd want a more Server 2012 manager and VS 2012 style interface but following the existing Start screen colour swatches.

Not working for me. I don't know why but when I click on it, nothing happens. I am on W8RP but still I tried installing .NET Framework 4 and it says its already installed.

gzAsher said,
Not working for me. I don't know why but when I click on it, nothing happens. I am on W8RP but still I tried installing .NET Framework 4 and it says its already installed.

was it a 32 bits version of Windows 8?
The version 0.1.0 had a bug preventing it from running on 32 bits systems.
I published a fix a few minutes ago.

link8506 said,

was it a 32 bits version of Windows 8?
The version 0.1.0 had a bug preventing it from running on 32 bits systems.
I published a fix a few minutes ago.


Yeah working now. Thanks.

Im on Mint 13 KDE right now and it is amazing. I love Windows 7, but only because the application developers still focus on Windows. If adobe and other serious vendors came over to linux it would actually be great. Ive heard the Steam crew are planning just that. Given that Android is Linux, i would say that while the "year of Linux" may never happen im pretty sure Linux will become the king.

Iridium said,
Im on Mint 13 KDE right now and it is amazing. I love Windows 7, but only because the application developers still focus on Windows. If adobe and other serious vendors came over to linux it would actually be great. Ive heard the Steam crew are planning just that. Given that Android is Linux, i would say that while the "year of Linux" may never happen im pretty sure Linux will become the king.

Unfortunatly, you're dreaming if you think Linux will become king.
There are far more Apple Mac desktop machines then there are Linux of any distro combined, even if its only in the lowe percentage still. Mac users do have steam already, yet its not risen as a gaming machine. OS X is more then capable of games, it has been for a long time yet develpers still focus on Windows only releases.

Don't get me wrong, I really love Linux. I used it for several years as my primary OS, its just that the communities and developers will have split views on somethings and actual development can go the wrong way at times leaving them to either backtrack or twiddle their thumbs until someone starts another project to fix the issues.

Oliver Weichhold said,
Migrate to Linux to do what?

Unless you're playing games you can do just about everything else in Linux. Personally I ran an experiment where I ran my business from Linux for one month, other than loss of productivity due to shortcut keys and learning curve I managed to do everything I did on windows without a hitch.

NyaR said,
Unless you're playing games you can do just about everything else in Linux. Personally I ran an experiment where I ran my business from Linux for one month, other than loss of productivity due to shortcut keys and learning curve I managed to do everything I did on windows without a hitch.

What type of business, lemonade stand? I don't care what operating system you use, Mac, Linux, or Windows, businesses do not say "I am going to try a different OS to run my business for a month" and do it. A company I used to work for took a couple of months just to plan an upgrade their SAP payroll system, and that was for a couple hundred employees and the planning/upgrade was handled by one of SAP's preferred consultants. Companies have internal workflow apps, internal and external web apps, purchasing apps, data that needs to be migrated, and more that all need to be upgraded, and switching over for a month as an experiment on a whim just does not happen. Even for smaller businesses, they use apps like Intuit for payroll, which I do not believe has a Linux version, nor a Linux equivalent.

So tell us, how many employees do you have, and which business apps do you run that so easily migrated to Linux? And why did you do it only for a month? If there was no problem migrating to Linux and everything ran fine, why wouldn't you want to stay on Linux rather than switch back?

nohone said,

What type of business, lemonade stand? I don't care what operating system you use, Mac, Linux, or Windows, businesses do not say "I am going to try a different OS to run my business for a month" and do it. A company I used to work for took a couple of months just to plan an upgrade their SAP payroll system, and that was for a couple hundred employees and the planning/upgrade was handled by one of SAP's preferred consultants. Companies have internal workflow apps, internal and external web apps, purchasing apps, data that needs to be migrated, and more that all need to be upgraded, and switching over for a month as an experiment on a whim just does not happen. Even for smaller businesses, they use apps like Intuit for payroll, which I do not believe has a Linux version, nor a Linux equivalent.

So tell us, how many employees do you have, and which business apps do you run that so easily migrated to Linux? And why did you do it only for a month? If there was no problem migrating to Linux and everything ran fine, why wouldn't you want to stay on Linux rather than switch back?

I'm sure NyaR didn't format his business PC and put linux on there and say, ok no more existing business accounting, lets start fresh. I've done consulting for a few companies and we always always run a dual system for several months, even on upgrades like the payroll system. When we're happy its working, we'll intergrate each product step by step to ensure we can roll back any changes quickly so as not to disrupt anything we might have overlooked (such as a delayed manual data entry for a payment, for example).

I know one plumber who runs his busines from Linux, he moved because his PC only had 2gb of ram and Windows 7 just wasn't fast enough for him.
He keeps near all his records in excel spreadsheets, and open office was a direct replacement for him. Apart from that, he was using email, facebook and a few other online services.

NyaR said,

Unless you're playing games you can do just about everything else in Linux. Personally I ran an experiment where I ran my business from Linux for one month, other than loss of productivity due to shortcut keys and learning curve I managed to do everything I did on windows without a hitch.

Of course, the same learning curve applies to most software, not just the OS. Larger companies will hire out training for upgraded products such as moving from one version of Microsoft Word to the next, even if the changes are minimal they want their staff to beable to use the software without getting stumped on something simple for a few days until someone manages to explain how to do it properly.

But the same can be said for Metro. Metro itself is very strange for someone who is used to a start menu, without at least some basic instructions on how to get back to the start screen, how to open multiple copies of the same classic desktop applications, how to switch and close metro apps etc. Even down to shutting the PC off at home time.
Much of that same learning curve from Metro can be applied to someone switching to Linux from a Windows PC, or even Mac OS > OS X.

I've seen it a lot when people want help moving to Linux. They hear great things about it and may even know people who use it all the time. A bit issue, far more then the learning curve of use, is sometimes learning what the names of the apps they want to use are. Of course there isn't Microsoft Office on Linux, you can use Wine to run it but then you wouldn't know that either if you were new to linux, nor would you know the common replacement is Open Office.
This same problem also works when people try to move from one mobile handset to another. Iphone fans will beable to tell you the best apps to do such and such, but give them an android phone or Windows Phone and chances are they'd be stuck trying to find apps to do even the most basic tasks for a few weeks until they find their feet.

NyaR said,

Unless you're playing games you can do just about everything else in Linux. Personally I ran an experiment where I ran my business from Linux for one month, other than loss of productivity due to shortcut keys and learning curve I managed to do everything I did on windows without a hitch.

One month we made an office building out of cardboard boxes. It required less air conditioning and the employees felt more free, being able to make new door openings with a box cutter.

They even got more work done without having to worry about turning on/off lights opening and closing doors.

Of course the rain and wind eventually ruined the business, but I think cardboard it the future of buildings.

(This is how you sound to anyone with any real Linux or IT experience. Yes it is that freaking goofy.)

I'm a web developer and IT, S-Corp. I have two contractors and no employees.

My work, other than local pc repairs, resides in the internet. The operating system is an environment to work in, it could be linux, mac, hell I could probably get by with BeOs.

Instead of using winscp I used filezilla, instead of using photoshop I used gimp, kompozer instead of dreamweaver, instead of using Kingsoft office I used Libre office. Dropbox, firefox, thunderbird, teamviewer worked fine.

Why did I switch back? Overlooking the software licenses and quality of software available I simply work faster in Windows. Had I, at a young age, been using a Linux rather than a windows one the entire experiment could be flipped and I would go back to using Linux. In any case the Apple OS is considered a viable business product, there's many tech businesses which rely on it, are they also running Lemonade stands? I don't see much difference between the Apple environment and Linux one, both have unfamiliar hotkeys, shortcuts, and behavior but I can get my stuff done all the same.

I don't see why you get kicks from trying to talk down on me like I'm running a lemonade stand. The operating system is only an environment, you can accomplish the same goals in different environments by different methods. End result is the same. Put down the glass of haterade and have a warm cup of stfu instead, then go back to trolling political forums on a tech site you lamer.

nohone said,

What type of business, lemonade stand? I don't care what operating system you use, Mac, Linux, or Windows, businesses do not say "I am going to try a different OS to run my business for a month" and do it. A company I used to work for took a couple of months just to plan an upgrade their SAP payroll system, and that was for a couple hundred employees and the planning/upgrade was handled by one of SAP's preferred consultants. Companies have internal workflow apps, internal and external web apps, purchasing apps, data that needs to be migrated, and more that all need to be upgraded, and switching over for a month as an experiment on a whim just does not happen. Even for smaller businesses, they use apps like Intuit for payroll, which I do not believe has a Linux version, nor a Linux equivalent.

So tell us, how many employees do you have, and which business apps do you run that so easily migrated to Linux? And why did you do it only for a month? If there was no problem migrating to Linux and everything ran fine, why wouldn't you want to stay on Linux rather than switch back?

So if I understand correctly, this is not a real immersive metro app, just a metro-designed app for the desktop environment?

nyolc8 said,
So if I understand correctly, this is not a real immersive metro app, just a metro-designed app for the desktop environment?

Exactly

nyolc8 said,
So if I understand correctly, this is not a real immersive metro app, just a metro-designed app for the desktop environment?

It's a real Metro application, it's just not a WinRT app.

Neobond said,
I did say in the article that this is for people that appreciate Metro, jeez!

People don't like reading.

Mortis said,
This sucks just as much as the new start screen.

If this is the future of Windows, I will migrate to Linux, no doubt.


Forget Linux, goto Mac. Their new Mountain Lion is such an improvement, and runs so smooth, it murders Metro Crap!

Mortis said,
This sucks just as much as the new start screen.

If this is the future of Windows, I will migrate to Linux, no doubt.

It might suck, but at least people are trying to embrace Metro and make things flow better. Right now Windows is in a bit of a tangent on the transition from the classic widget desktop to the metro style.

Microsoft should have really overalled a few of their core apps to be as impressive as this immersive explorer.
Instead we got some half baked 'preview apps' that we're supposed to get excited about, but in reality, its left people asking... why upgrade, the metro apps provide less functionality then the existing apps.

I'm not a big fan of metro.. yet. Its very young and its going to take another 12 months before people get onboard and create some amazing examples of what can be done, and be useful in metro.

As it stands right now, left I'm wondering if I should have switched away from Linux back to Windows 7, or simply joined the iphone bandwagon and got a Mac.

Mortis said,
This sucks just as much as the new start screen.

If this is the future of Windows, I will migrate to Linux, no doubt.

Linux sucks big time. Why not sticking with windows 7 for a while and move to windows 9. That's what I did for Vista. I kept useing XP until 7 Came and then I moved to 7 from xp

S3P€hR said,

Linux sucks big time. Why not sticking with windows 7 for a while and move to windows 9. That's what I did for Vista. I kept useing XP until 7 Came and then I moved to 7 from xp


I tried Linux Mint 13 "Cinnamon" and it's a quite nice OS. Try it.
Of course, can't ditch Windows yet, as Windows 7 is just great.

S3P€hR said,

Linux sucks big time. Why not sticking with windows 7 for a while and move to windows 9. That's what I did for Vista. I kept useing XP until 7 Came and then I moved to 7 from xp


it's kinda mind boggling how every other Windows 8 metro hater says about sticking with Windows 7 until Windows 9 comes out. as if anything changes about Metro or it's existence in 9. if anything, it should only replace traditional desktop mode with time.

x.iso said,
it's kinda mind boggling how every other Windows 8 metro hater says about sticking with Windows 7 until Windows 9 comes out. as if anything changes about Metro or it's existence in 9. if anything, it should only replace traditional desktop mode with time.

They're possibly betting on "refinement". Once 8 is released and regardless of if it either does well or tanks, they'll improve and streamline things. It is going to be the first of its kind for Windows after all. Kinda like how some people skipped Vista and went to 7.. got the new stuff, but better. Not just the OS itself but third party support as well will probably be shaky at first. (Vista RTM video drivers anyone?) Took a while for some of the major programs to start supporting the new features in 7 as well, 8's going to be no different. By the time 9 is out it'll probably be a lot better off. (Or in the trash *cough*.)

-=MagMan=- said,

Forget Linux, goto Mac. Their new Mountain Lion is such an improvement, and runs so smooth, it murders Metro Crap!

On new Macs...

And yet it still can't even get the FPS out of OpenGL games as Windows NT. Sad.

Mortis said,
This sucks just as much as the new start screen.

If this is the future of Windows, I will migrate to Linux, no doubt.

The funny thing, is that Windows ALWAYS influences the other OS UI models, even Mac.

Notice as the web sites all around the world are becoming more 'Metro' and notice how even other platforms like Apple's OS X is adopting more simplistic UI visuals.

In a couple of years, instead of Linux Apps looking like bad Applications from the 1990's Windows era, they will start looking like Metro.

It is already happening with Metro skins for Apps and things like Metro GTK+.


So people that just hate Metro to hate Metro are screwed.

(Besides it is the same Graphic Design concepts used on virtually every type of information sign around the world, and how newspapers and magazines are designed and laid out.)

Metro has been all around society for over 100 years, and now people hate the way it looks? Ya, not so much as they like to complain.

I was looking at a Mucha print other day, and it had several of the Microsoft Metro UI constructs, of course it was a 100 year old litho, but hey, Mucha must now suck too right?

sagum said,

It might suck, but at least people are trying to embrace Metro and make things flow better. Right now Windows is in a bit of a tangent on the transition from the classic widget desktop to the metro style.

Microsoft should have really overalled a few of their core apps to be as impressive as this immersive explorer.
Instead we got some half baked 'preview apps' that we're supposed to get excited about, but in reality, its left people asking... why upgrade, the metro apps provide less functionality then the existing apps.

I'm not a big fan of metro.. yet. Its very young and its going to take another 12 months before people get onboard and create some amazing examples of what can be done, and be useful in metro.

As it stands right now, left I'm wondering if I should have switched away from Linux back to Windows 7, or simply joined the iphone bandwagon and got a Mac.

I have to agree with the part about Microsoft failing to do a better job with the Preview Apps and not using their premiere software products to showcase Metro better. AutoDesk is doing a better job with their fun App than anything Microsoft has provided.

In case people believe that there is not a separation between divisions in Microsoft, use this moment to go, oh ya, they totally work like different companies and have inner feuds as well.

The Web team, and Office team should do better, and Microsoft should drop full VS based Metro environments as well.

People need to see more of the 'wow' and less of the plumbing.

-=MagMan=- said,

Forget Linux, goto Mac. Their new Mountain Lion is such an improvement, and runs so smooth, it murders Metro Crap!

but OSX is outdated as it doesn't support a touch UI due to the fact the OS is based on 90's mouse input and UI element sizes that aren't suited for touch. And doesn't run on tablets. not to mention every computer is 3X more expensive than what it would be under windows/Linux.

those that don't like metro should stick to windows 7 as it remains the superior OS and has pretty much outsold every OSX version combined.

Max Norris said,

They're possibly betting on "refinement".

I'm talking about Metro UI and those who hate it's existence in new Windows. and the point is, Metro isn't going to disappear anywhere, be it Windows 9 or Windows 10.

Neobond said,
What's bad about it, it uses the Metro user interface guidelines? Just curious
Font-rendering (Needs more embedded Segoe WP) / Some styles of UI elements. Not hating, just stating an observation .

Xerax said,
I keep seeing bad Metro UI designs. I should release my WPF Metro Library.

Yeah! Why don't you show him how it's done! /s It needs some touching-up but I doubt your Metro WPF Library, whatever that is, might help him.

Xerax said,
Font-rendering (Needs more embedded Segoe WP) / Some styles of UI elements. Not hating, just stating an observation .

No worries it is version 0.1 and as a start it's pretty good. Best to reply in the forum topic so he can answer your feedback maybe? I just added that it would be cool if there's a proper tile that can be pinned in the Start Screen.

PmRd said,

Yeah! Why don't you show him how it's done! /s It needs some touching-up but I doubt your Metro WPF Library, whatever that is, might help him.

If you insist, this is a project I'm working on right now. Takes influence from Visual Studio 12. All custom in WPF.

http://u.xrax.me/RCBOXQ.png

Xerax said,

If you insist, this is a project I'm working on right now. Takes influence from Visual Studio 12. All custom in WPF.

http://u.xrax.me/RCBOXQ.png

As a developer myself I'm impressed I'm also working on a big project and got inspired by the Visual Studio 2012 UI lol

PmRd said,

As a developer myself I'm impressed I'm also working on a big project and got inspired by the Visual Studio 2012 UI lol

Ah, well I wish you luck , the VS12 UI is great .

Neobond said,

Wow nice, do email/PM me when you have a downloadable version?

I didn't know neowin endorsed modding games. But sure, I will take you up on that offer .

Xerax said,

Ah, well I wish you luck , the VS12 UI is great .


I didn't know neowin endorsed modding games. But sure, I will take you up on that offer .

Errr we don't, sort of misread the purpose of the app lol.

Xerax said,

If you insist, this is a project I'm working on right now. Takes influence from Visual Studio 12. All custom in WPF.

http://u.xrax.me/RCBOXQ.png

Doesn't look as metro as the immersive explorer tbh. Not sure what you're trying to get at but I don't think that screenshot helps matters.

Neobond said,
What's bad about it, it uses the Metro user interface guidelines? Just curious

Sometimes it is the little things that can drive purists nuts, especially if they have spent time learning the specific UI elements and rules at an encyclopedic level.

Xerax said,

If you insist, this is a project I'm working on right now. Takes influence from Visual Studio 12. All custom in WPF.

http://u.xrax.me/RCBOXQ.png

That's awesome. The wishful thinker in me wishes that someday we'll have a dark theme for explorer whose UI is similar to that of VS 2012. Nice work!