Krusader is one of those must-have computing tools that turns difficult or tedious computing tasks into easy, point-and-click operations. It's an advanced twin-panel file manager that's loaded with features.

When I made the switch from the Windows to the Linux operating system, I had a short list of program requirements. This list was a match to critical computing procedures I relied upon in Windows. I quickly discovered that Linux offers numerous twin-panel file managers, but very few have the power built into Krusader.

One of my favorite Windows file managers was Norton Commander. Years after using it, I found even more features in a program called "Power Desk." That program set a high standard to match when I began searching for an equivalent Linux file manager.

One of the great joys of Linux computing is the variety of installed programs that come with different distributions. Krusader is available in most of the popular distros' package management systems. See the list on the download page here.

This location also provides basic steps for installing Krusader in distros that do not include it in the resident package manager. If you are new to the Linux desktop, this lack of a uniform installation routine like Windows uses can be a deal-breaker.

One of my favorite uses for Krusader is managing archives. I receive attached files compressed in many different file compression formats. With Krusader, everything I need to work with archived files as well as a variety of graphic image types is right there on the toolbar.

I never have to track down a decompression app or waste hours figuring out manual commands. Instead, Krusader lets me transparently view archives as if I were viewing a directory on the hard drive. Sure, other Linux apps do the same thing, but Krusader puts that function along with many others all in one place.

Krusader unpacks and packs files using nearly every file format known to Linux. For instance, it supports formats for ace, arj, bzip2, deb, iso, lha, rar, rpm, tar, zip and 7zip. Plus, it handles KIOSlaves such as smb:// or fish://.

It's the ease of use that I really love about Krusader. Linux, like Microsoft Windows, provides multiple ways of doing the same task. With Krusader, multiple ways of doing a task are bundled within the menus and displayed buttons.

For instance, I store data on several primary thumb drives. These drives sit in USB sockets of whichever of my array of computers I am using, so all of my data is readily at hand. To keep tabs on remaining free space, I click on the Tools drop-down menu and click on the Disk Usage function. I then browse to whichever drive or hard disk directory I'm using and click OK. Krusader shows a multi-colored graph with the space each file consumes and the total space in use.

Similarly, dozens of file maintenance tasks are simply handled through point-and-click navigation. For example, I store backup copies of all my critical files on each computer -- desktops, laptops and netbook. Using Krusader, I display the file location on the hard drive in the left-hand panel and the file directories of the large-capacity external hard drives or thumb drive on the right-hand panel. Then I click Synchronize Directories in the Tools drop-down menu to sync both locations.