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A modern file explorer is now available, but it's not from Microsoft

Files Modern Explorer Lede 4
Files Modern Explorer Lede 4 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Files, a modern file explorer, is now available through the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab).
  • The app has a layout that lines up well with Windows 10 and supports several features for everyday use.

Files, a third-party file explorer, is now available through the Microsoft Store. The app aims to deliver a file explorer experience that's more in line with modern devices and Windows 10. It features a tabbed layout, Fluent Design, and several features for everyday use. The app is available for free through the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab).

Yair Aichenbaum, the developer behind Files, announced the availability of the app earlier today. Files has been available for some time in preview form but is now generally available with version 1.0.

Here's everything that's new with v1.0 of the app, as found in its GitHub release notes:

  • Enabled search inside of hidden directories
  • Added an option to search unindexed items
  • Drive Widget details are now hidden when they are not available
  • Allow different layout modes and sort directions for individual directories
  • Implemented a dual pane feature

This app is a modern take on the Windows file explorer. You can navigate to file locations with a mouse and keyboard or touch, and the app looks more natural on Windows 10 than the default File Explorer. Aichenbaum admits the app isn't a full replacement for the native Windows 10 File Explorer, but some people might be able to swap over. I use it for certain tasks on my PC and use it more when I'm on a tablet due to its touch-friendly interface.

I first took a look at Files when it was in preview last summer. I've used it on and off since then. I've known the developer for quite some time and speak with him regularly about Files. In fact, I suggested one of its features that's now within the app, the ability to drag and hold an item over a tab or folder to then open that location. The feature allows you to place files into a specific location within a folder with touch.

Files Onedrive Controls

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of my favorite features in Files is its ability to handle OneDrive files. Like with the native File Explorer, you can select which OneDrive files are stored locally or free up space by having them only appear on the cloud. This wasn't supported when I first took a look, and it's a must-have feature for me.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

11 Comments
  • My first impressions are excellent. Will try this out over the coming weeks.
  • Another, similar Fluent-theme file manager I like is called RxExplorer.
  • I love it and I use it a lot. It is exceptionally wonderful and smooth.
  • I've been using Files for a while myself. I'm glad it's now updated to 1.0.
  • Quick question: does anybody know if you can manually trigger a OneDrive sync?
    That is *my* must have. ;)
  • Hmmm. I was expecting the article to at least mention privacy concerns of not addressing them fully.
  • In general it is open source so you can check the code and compile it yourself. However no one grants that the version from the Store is from that code and it IS strange that it requires the internet connection that shouldn't be required by the file manager (OneDrive connection is handled by the operating system, you don't log in). OK after viewing the code it seems that it is done for analytics so it is likely ok. But I agree that in the sensitive tools as file manager is you shouldn't have an internet connection.
  • Wow, that is absolutely beautiful. I wish there was an easy way to set it as the default file manager app. Only thing missing is a preview/details pane. Other than that, amazing!
  • Happy to see it go to the Microsoft Store after beta testing it for a few months.
  • After using it for a while, I am not a fan. The old is better.
  • Regarding the article title: almost goes without saying. Almost any file explorer not from Microsoft would be more modern. In one respect I guess that can be good--keep it (the built-in explorer) simple and basic; in another it's not so good--usability suffers. Well, there are a good number of 3rd party explorers available that have been around for decades--some free even. This looks like a good candidate for PowerToys treatment.