Explorer Cover Flow
Explorer cover flow is an extension to windows explorer. It is actually a toolbar (or toolband) but it doesn't look like one, so who cares? It is written in Visual Basic 6 (Yes, I know!) using GDI+ and DirectX 8 on Windows XP SP3.
(This image also includes the FreeStyler toolbar by KSoft and FindeXer)
Download has moved here
New in v 0.1.0.5:
This version is identical to 0.1.0.4 except it has an option to only load the Icons and Thumbnails that are actually within the viewport. This uses far less resources and seems faster than the earlier versions. This is also the way it works in "Finder". This option is seleced as default. If you check "Load all Icons and Thumbnails at once" it will work exactly as 0.1.0.4. If you don't care about this option, don't bother to upgrade.
New in v 0.1.0.4 (Please see this post for more details):
- Speed optimizations.
- Thumbnail extraction in background threads.
- Anti-aliased text.
- DirectShow playback.
- 256x256 icons for exe and ico files.
- Mouse wheel scrolling.
- Mp3 cover art.
- Customizable icons and icon packages.
- Rewritten Settings app.
- "One-step" installer.
New in v 0.1.0.3:
- Workaround for DirectX hibernation/standby bug.
- Optional Scrollbar
- Optional Full Screen switch
- Optional Continous playback (Start playback in a directory with media files and it will play through all)
- Settings application (Sizes of backbuffer and textures can be changed)
- Preview of images, videos, folder content, pdf-, Office- and OpenOffice-documents.
- Mouse navigation. You can actually throw it from side to side like you do on the iPhone.
- Keyboard navigation with left, right, home, end, space, enter, F5, a-z and 0-9 keys. Use Shift, Ctrl or Ctrl-shift with left and right keys for moving 10, 20 and 30 steps.
- Spin-to file properties on single-click or space bar (double-click will launch files or open folders).
- Playback of videos and audio files.
- Background rendering.
- For some reason the tab key won't let you set focus to the cover flow (but you can step out of cover flow with the tab key). Use the mouse.
- No refresh after cut or delete from verbs menu. Use F5.
- Browsing within a folder within a zip-folder may look funny. Browsing within a zip-folder within a zip-folder may look even funnier...
- Some media files may not play. Make sure to get the necessary DirectShow filters. FFDShow is highly recommended. Older versions of Cover flow uses the Windows MCI-api, so which files will play or not depends mostly on which CODECs you've got. It should most likely be able to play wav, mp3, wma, mpg, avi and wmv files without any problems. For some reason MCI sometimes stops rendering video to the target window when the window is moved while playing.
- 64 bit compatibility. The 64 bit explorer does not seem to recognize this toolbar. 64 bit operating systems comes with a 32 bit explorer, it might work with that...
- Your computer shouldn't be too old, though I have seen it doing pretty well on a Dell Dimension 2400 with almost no graphics memory. Start out with small texture sizes and backbuffer size on computers with limited or no video memory.
- The real speed bottleneck is extracting preview images from the shell on the fly. Uncheck "Use thumbnails" in the settings app.
After several attempts to make a working MSI installer I reverted to the the good old VB-installer from the days of Windows 95.
First of all: Make sure to completely remove previous versions before installing! Go to Control Panel->Add/Remove programs. Shut down all instances of Explorer before you hit remove! On Vista it may be a good idea to install the latest VB runtime package before attempting to install Cover Flow.
Version 0.1.0.4 is a self-extracting zip. Just run the exe and click your way through the installation process. If you install on Vista you will probably get some warnings about replacing newer files, keep your new versions).
For older versions, Unzip the downloaded file to a temporary folder (not the root of a drive), run setup.exe, Select a location (not the root of a drive) and click the BIG button to start the installation. You may then delete the temporary folder if you wish.
Now start or restart Explorer and right-click a toolbar. Unselect ”Lock toolbars”. Select ”Cover flow”. If you wish, you can now adjust the height of the cover flow window or change the order of your toolbars.. Finally select ”Lock toolbars”.
If you don't see the ”Cover flow” item on this menu or if it is grayed out, there can be several reasons:
- Hopefully you just need to activate ”Cover flow” from the Internet Explorer (yes!) extension manager. Try that first.
- You don't have DirectX 8 or GDI+ properly installed. (DirectX 8 should be included in the DirectX 9 end user runtime package from Microsoft, try running dxdiag.exe to test your DirectX version)
- Some obscure VB runtime file is out of date. Install the latest VB runtime package.
Changes you can make:
- You can replace the files “loading.gif” (animated gif) and “unknown.png” to give it your own look BUT keep the image dimensions, it has to be 64x64 and 256x256 ! If you have some better looking files it would be nice of you to upload them to this thread.
- In version 0.1.0.3 there are also png files for the scrollbar and the full screen button that can be replaced. The dimensions are important for these files as well.
- Unselect the cover flow in the toolbars menu and shut down all instances of windows explorer. Uninstall from the Control panel “Add / remove applications”.
Ideas and bug-reports are welcome but I will respectfully ignore demands of immediate support, updates or bug fixes whenever I wish.
Edited by vemod, 01 May 2010 - 10:34 PM.