Norton Commander

Norton Commander
Norton Commander 5.51.png
Screenshot of Norton Commander
Original author(s) John Socha
Stable release 5.51 / July 1, 1998
Operating system DOS
Type File manager
License Proprietary

Norton Commander (commonly shortened to "NC") was a prototypical orthodox file manager (OFM), written by John Socha and released by Peter Norton Computing (later acquired by the Symantec corporation). NC is a file manager which provides a text user interface on top of DOS. It was officially produced by Symantec between 1986 and 1998. The last DOS version of Norton Commander, 5.51, was released on July 1, 1998.

A related product, Norton Desktop, a graphical shell for DOS and Windows, succeeded Norton Commander. It came in two variants, Norton Desktop for DOS (NDD) and Norton Desktop for Windows (NDW).



Captain Norton, the Norton Commander mascot (note his trademark cap and white gloves, used in NC 5.51 *.ICO files)

Norton Commander is considered easy to use based on its constant view of two file manipulation objects at once. After starting the program the user sees two panels with file lists. Each panel can be easily configured to show information about the other panel, a directory tree, or a number of other options. At the bottom of the screen, Norton Commander displays a list of commands that are extended on demand by the CTRL and ALT keys. Thus, without heavy use of the mouse (although mouse functionality was integrated around version 3.0), the user is able to perform many file manipulation actions quickly and efficiently. Additionally, it also includes a built-in text file viewer (invoked with F3 key) and text file editor (invoked with F4 key).

Long filenames

Windows 95 included a new graphical shell called Windows Explorer, while the operating system itself introduced Long filenames (LFN).

Symantec released Norton Commander 5.51 to support long filenames using the standard Windows APIs. In order to preserve LFNs while working in real mode, Norton Commander 5.51 required the use of a Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) utility. Norton Commander did not have native support for LFNs in real mode and would truncate them.

Despite the decline in its use Norton Commander was very popular during the DOS era and it has been extensively cloned.

End of life

According to former Peter Norton Group developer Mark Lowlier, after Symantec had acquired Peter Norton Computing, Symantec had speculated Microsoft Windows would be a success, so the key PNC resources had been diverted, while new programmers for Windows platform were hired. Enrique Salem (who eventually became Symantec's CEO) lead the development of a File Manager and Program Manager released as Norton Desktop for Windows.

Norton Commander for Windows

Norton Commander for Windows was a Windows 95 variant of the classical DOS file manager.


Version 1.0 was first released in 1996. It supported both Windows 95 and Windows NT.

This version fully integrated with Windows features such as the Recycle Bin and Quick View. Quick View feature was supported via the included basic Quick View Plus.

Version 1.02 added Windows 98 support.


Version 2.0 was released in 2000. It supports Windows 2000 and functions under Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Installer included Network Utilities, Norton Commander Scheduler, and the Norton Commander.

Network Utilities allow for viewing devices and systems on network, connect with remote system, map network drive, monitor the network and more.

The Norton Commander is little changed from previous versions, and includes file compression/de-compression of various formats, network utilities access, disk cleanup, compare files and folders, manage FTP connections, and more.

The last Windows version of Norton Commander was 2.01.

Norton Commander for OS/2

Version 1.0 was released in December 1992. It supports OS/2 2.0 with HPFS or FAT file system.

It does not include command prompt found in other versions of Norton Commander.

In June 1993, Symantec lowered the price of Norton Commander for OS/2 to $49, but that did not prevent it from end of life.

Norton Commander inspired software

There are several programs that follow the style of Norton Commander. Examples are:

There are also other non-OFM software inspired by NC's look and feel, such as archivers, viewers, hexadecimal editors and more. Mostly these are DOS tools. Examples are:

  • Commandline ACE archiver for DOS and Windows, and is the only existing OFM compressor that supports LFN
  • Hiew hexadecimal editor
  • Pksmart EXE packer for DOS
  • RAR archiver for DOS and Windows


See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Norton Commander — est un gestionnaire de fichiers fonctionnant sous DOS. Cet utilitaire a connu un grand succès à la période Ms Dos. Destiné à simplifier les opérations de gestions de fichier, qui autrement ne se faisaient qu après de nombreuses commandes écrites… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Norton Commander —   [Abk. NC, nach Peter Norton], ein unter der Leitung von Peter Norton entwickelter und in seiner DOS Version 1986 erstmals vorgestellter Dateimanager, mit dem sich Verwaltungsoperationen mit Dateien und Verzeichnissen (z. B. Kopieren, Löschen,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Norton Commander — У этого термина существуют и другие значения, см. Нортон. Norton Commander Norton Commander v5.51 …   Википедия

  • Norton Commander — Der Norton Commander (meist verkürzt NC) ist ein Hilfsprogramm für die Verwaltung von PC Dateisystemen (Dateimanager), das in seiner Grundkonzeption einer ganzen Gruppe von ähnlichen Programmen Pate gestanden hat. Geschichte Entwickelt wurde das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Norton Commander — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Norton Commander — package of computer utility programs used to manage files (produced by the Norton Corp.) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Norton commander — …   Википедия

  • Norton Commander — (unter DOS:) Hilfsprogramm zur Verwaltung von Dateien …   Acronyms

  • Norton Commander — (unter DOS:) Hilfsprogramm zur Verwaltung von Dateien …   Acronyms von A bis Z

  • Norton Commander (motorcycle) — Norton Commander Manufacturer Norton Motors Limited Also called P52 (police), P53 (civilian) Production 1988–1992; 253 units produced in total …   Wikipedia

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