Full file system access discovered in Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile is a very different OS from previous versions of Windows Phone in one respect: it is a more full-featured OS. This feature should not surprise anyone as Windows 10 Mobile share the same kernel, some APIs, and other coding similarities with Windows 10 for PC, Windows 10 on Xbox One and even IoT. Logically, this should mean that Windows 10 Mobile can be pried open to reveal its internal file structure like a true OS. Think of Windows Mobile and Android, for instance.

Now, over at XDA, instructions have been posted on how a user can gain full file system access to Windows 10 Mobile. Posted by snickler, who is well known at XDA, the details are not for the faint of heart. However, those wanting to do this are likely already developers and those with more advanced coding skills. For regular consumers, on the face of it this does not do much except let you damage the OS.

Snickler notes in the forum thread:

"This guide uses the built-in SSH server on the phone that gets activated once you enable Device Discovery to give us TRUE full file system access. MTP doesn't truly give full file system access as there are files and folders that aren't accessible still."

To pull off the hack, you will need Astoria Tools/WConnect, djamol's Root Tool, PuttyGen, Pagent, and an SFTP program.

Besides the full instructions, some limitations were also posted. For the most part, however, this opens the doors for some real advanced hacking on Windows 10 Mobile as some of the system files can now be replaced or added to through this method. For a long time now, Android has enjoyed the hacker/tinkerer base at XDA, but Windows 10 Mobile may bring that forum back to its roots just yet.

We should caution, if you do not know any of those tools listed above, this is not something you should pursue. However, if you are a developer or tinkerer who likes to play, now is your chance.

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, Jeremy Sinclair, for the info and screenshots

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.