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This is Microsoft's new modern File Explorer for Windows 10X

File Explorer 10X
File Explorer 10X (Image credit: Windows Central)

File Explorer 10X

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

Microsoft is finally developing a new modern File Explorer, and it will be preloaded on Windows 10X when it launches later this year. This new File Explorer is a simplified, lightweight explorer for browsing your OneDrive or local storage, and syncing files back and forth between the cloud and your machine. It's a very early build of the new File Explorer, so hopefully, there's more to come in the future.

In this initial preview, the user is only able to manage and download files stored on OneDrive. It doesn't appear to support local file management yet, but hopefully that will show up officially in a future build. The UI is very similar to the OneDrive website, and that's by design. This new File Explorer is essentially a web app, with a few OS integration hooks here and there.

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File Explorer 10X

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File Explorer 10X

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File Explorer 10X

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File Explorer 10X

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File Explorer 10X

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File Explorer 10X

It has both light and dark mode support but doesn't yet appear to support spanning on dual-screen PCs properly. In the bottom right is a little status indicator that gives you an overview of your currently syncing files, locally and on OneDrive.

Microsoft hasn't outlined its plans for File Explorer on Windows 10X, so this app is a little confusing right now. Microsoft describes it as a File Explorer for OneDrive, but is that always going to be the case? Is Microsoft going to expect users to switch between two File Explorer's to manage cloud and local files? That would be a terrible UX if so, and is step backward in Windows 10X's goal of simplifying Windows.

Update: Someone smarter than me has done some poking around and discovered that yes, the new File Explorer can in fact browse local files as well. So it's likely that Microsoft really is building out this new File Explorer as the default and only experience for Windows 10X. Nice!

One thing is for sure; Windows 10X will have a modern, UWP-based File Explorer out of the box. Finally. What are your thoughts on this early build of the new File Explorer beta? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

66 Comments
  • I hope this file explorer gets to Windows 10 as well, not just 10X, because this looks clean af! 👌
  • Are you kidding? I hope not. They would only ruin file explorer. Current file explorer is perfectly fine.
  • Perfectly fine? Are you kidding. It only comes close to 'perfectly fine' if they include tabs, seperated dark mode from the rest of the OS, enhance file transfer speeds and make it more stable. Right now it still feels dated and I feel Microsoft hasn't done much development on it for years.
  • They have updated file explorer when they added awful Windows search into it. Now searching with file explorer is a buggy mess. No one at Microsoft can make proper software anymore. Enhance file transfer speeds? File Explorer can already do that with NVMe 4.0 Gen4.
  • I guess everything that comes to Windows 10 explorer is just a tag allong since the feature had been developed for 10X. It is only a "side-effect" that it comes to Windows 10.
  • ...and there it is. This comment will be amplified by the masses who refuse to adapt and upgrade as technology improves. Some people stopped using rotary phones only because they weren't manufactured anymore. My only echo in this comment is when what replaces the legacy is made worse by removing essential features, like the new Microsoft Photos, especially the print dialog. Removing useful functionality without an upgraded replacement for that functionality is not an upgrade.
  • it's terrible if you're using your fingers... not everyone uses a PC the way you do. that's why it's called Personal Computing...
  • Only if it's on par with featureset, or else you will get so many complaints. We want new UI for File Explorer, but without the sacrifice of features. We'll maybe not supporting plugins would be okay at least for me since they are really legacy feature that not many do use.
  • Ugh. I'd like two folder trees and lots of ways of modifying the info. It seems MS confuses 'simple' with 'less' Give options. Simple or advanced.
  • I hope it becomes an option. I love that now I can choose between the old explorer, the UWP explorer and the Windows 3.11 legacy explorer. I would love to see the 10X version to come as an option as well. Only they all should become better integrated.
  • It already is. This is the hidden UWP File Explorer that's been in Windows 10 in some state for some time. Google it. The Windows 10 version isn't complete mind.
  • So no tabs?
  • Yeah, certainly still basic at the moment. And Microsoft I think already knows many people wants it. So this is far from finish I hope.
  • I am glad it had finally been decided that the release of Duo is not held back anymore by Windows 10X schedule. It turns out that the decision was made because development of Windows 10X shows the slightest pace.
  • Looks nice. Does remind me of Dropbox's web UI
  • I think it's still too early to judge but at least they're taking a step.
  • This is not modern in any way. It is just a quick and dirty version of the old explorer, with most of the functionality from the old one hidden. It is still looking terrible for touch. Windows 7 was better, at least you were able to customize the sizing of various different controls so as to make it finger touch friendly, a feature that was removed in Windows 10.
  • It looks exactly like the UWP explorer that featured Windows 10 mobile. Was more than just fine for touch control.
  • Finally we have something at least. Currently it looks too basic and does not have pretty much like 70% of the features from File Explorer on desktop. No groupings, file metadata pane, advance copy/paste/move dialog box that was introduced with Windows 8 (especially that nice graph), CMD/Power shell support, network drives, local and attached drives, Recycle Bin, etc.
  • I would love the UWP Explorer to be like this
    https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co... But allow stuff like 7Zip, VSCode and VLC to hook into it
  • I suppose Creeposoft geniuses never saw Norton Commander. It is called Total Commander nowadays and it's been my "File Explorer" for like 20+ years now.
  • If you're the kind of fellow that uses Total Commander, no mainstream file manager is made to accommodate people like you. Total Commander is.
  • Agreed. But I see no reason for Microsoft to kill 3rd-party developments such as Total Commander. If that product fits you fine, install it, and there you go. Microsoft should not become Apple to overtake all market-space and then force you to become Apple itself providing no alternative.
  • Seems like quite a step backwards to me.
  • Then lucky for you "regular" Windows will be sold for a long time to come.
  • Man, they must be way behind if they are only that far into the file explorer. How long before the announcement that they are delaying the Neo until next year, followed by a cancelation of the whole project? It will get harder and harder for them to justify releasing a product that is so far behind and doesn't support ARM.
  • I guess the one or two sensible posts I saw from you were just a mirage and now we're back to the desperate negativity again. Do you have a sane family member who hijacks your account from time to time?
  • Right, it's strange. Every now and then something sensible and reasonable is written and then the other times it's like a completely different person has taken over the account
  • Bleached is a Google shill. If he can bash MS, especially in a way that helps Google, he'll make the post. He occasionally offers some neutral posts to appear objective, but just keep in mind his Google-centric point of view.
  • I use mostly Google services, but have been all Windows since the 90s. I want to see Microsoft succeed, but they are their own worse enemy. There is no reason 10X should be this far behind. It should have been completed years ago, but instead they were pursuing that whole WP/W8/WoA garbage. Instead of wasting resources on WoA, they should have been all hands on W10X. It should be ARM only, and launched years ago instead of WoA. Devices should have been Chromebook/iPad prices, starting around $250, so they could build a following. Instead, they will try to only go with with massively expensive dual screens and Intel. The devices will perform poorly due to Intel, be too expensive because of the hardware, and people will ignore them if they even launch. It is so obvious.
  • Literally came here to say this.
  • Im afraid Neo / Win10X would end up like Blackberry Playbook / BB10. "Too little, too late". Though QNX was very good BlackBerry had only themselves to blame on being late to the party with a half baked OS. The more Neo gets delayed the chances are more that it could get axed or end up running android. Forgive my negativity. I sincerely want Neo to succeed. IPad is getting better with multitasking, it's getting mouse support too. I wish MS could get serious about OS development and put in more effort. After all healthy competition is good for consumers.
  • "As always, Microsoft's communication on this matter is clear as mud... " They have no obligation to communicate anything yet, nor should they until the feature set is locked down. The last thing they want do is promise something that can't be shipped. Windows 10 X is unreleased, not even in alpha. The emulator is for developers. Final user facing features are still being built. I'm sure they will explain what we can expect at the appropriate time.
  • So, it is not even alpha, I see. Have you any idea how many years it typically takes for Microsoft to develop and release a new major Windows version? If this is alpha, it should be another couple of years for a finished product. But lucky for some, Microsoft is not the old Microsoft, testing is performed by end users and features are introduced on the basis of geek hackers votes. So, this is the product you are going to get, give or take.
  • Immediately I can see some design issues:
    1. No dark mode
    2. No touch friendly mode
    3. Cloud storage first operation. I would prefer a primary local storage, secondary cloud support model in real world use. Connectivity is still not aglobally ideally flawless infrastructure system. I have gave enough relevant number of moments I was happy to have relevant locally stored files, simply due to poor connectivity. If there is one big thing I wish was better with One drive in explorer, it's that the login is integrated in the app, and not require a seperate online download of a legacy login app just to get started. Bonkers in the end user experience, from a holistic comprehensive end user experience. Second wish would be faster syncing. I experience often that sending via email or cable connected file transfer seems almost faster at times.
  • 1. No dark mode
    How the flick do you see that from an image?
    2. No touch friendly mode
    This is literally the UWP explorer good for nothing but touch.
    3. Cloud storage first operation
    Wrong, this image shows a cloud-only operation. So you might as well say, cloud storage last operation. Which should already ring a bell for you if you are to jot down this.
    And at a second thought. Proper use of a 10X device might not even require local storage support. Local account is killed almost already even on Windows 10. Documents and Settings should be synced to the cloud anyways. WebApps and Store apps should not even require you to handle local storage that you have nothing to do with. I wouldn't be surprised if local storage support would not even come to this. If 10X is really for Enterprise, they should come basically with an enterprise OneDrive repository being capable to back up your whole system there.
  • Tabs or GTFO.
  • They need tabs in Windows 10, their productivity offering. 10X, not so much.
  • But Windows 10 X is still aimed for productivity uses, or at least I think it needs to be.
  • If you need productivity, why wouldn't you just use W10? Are there any issues with W10 when it comes to productivity?
  • I already have Windows 10 PC, so that's not my concern. Windows 10 X is, which is used on dual-screen devices like Neo.
  • Well, first of all, does it have a working search function? Because W10's is essentially unusable, to the point that I have Agent Ransack installed on every computer I use.
  • Jason, I can search via the Search box near Start or in the Search box in any Explorer window for any file on my system, on a network share, or in the cloud. Search spans file names and file contents. I don't see how it could be any better. Does it vary from person to person, or are you trying to do something different?
  • Because it is still better if you can do contextual search specific to that Explorer window and not do system-wide search everytime. If I want to do system-wide search and I don't know the exact location, I search using Start Menu. If I want to search something from the folder I already opened and including the subfolders, then I search in File Explorer window.
  • Thats how my w10 works .... You must have mods installed or services stopped ?
  • It would be nice if this was an app that microsoft can update apart from Windows. I would love to have all the current features adopted into this new one and expand on it to be universal across OneDrive apps. Talk about a future proof OS.
  • This is the hidden UWP File Explorer that's been in Windows 10 in some state for some time. Google it. The Windows 10 version isn't complete mind.
  • I think everyone should stop complaining, because this is in very early stages, and they specifically stated that in the release notes. It’s very minimal because this is the first beta. I think it’s amazing that we have a new File Explorer, am excited for the future, and think you all should be too. Our current File Explorer is clunky and outdated both functionally and visually, and I think a refresh would be amazing.
  • Where is the tree view? sort by file type? Folder properties with the global folder size? This is a toy explorer
  • Well hopefully they are still not thinking this is nearly done for version 1.0 since far too many basic features that is still missing.
  • "Microsoft hasn't outlined its plans for File Explorer on Windows 10X, so this app is a little confusing right now. Microsoft describes it as a File Explorer for OneDrive, but is that always going to be the case? Is Microsoft going to expect users to switch between two File Explorer's to manage cloud and local files? " I mean ... have you asked Microsoft?
  • Not looking like something I'd ever want to use. Mind as well just get an iPad Air/Pro.
  • If Windows 10X is going to be an OS not only clean of clutter but pressuring users into Bing, OneDrive, Office... etc... it will be DOA.
  • I like the look so far, but definitely feels bare bones. Hopefully they'll get it (close to) feature parity to the existing app, then replace it.
  • Its promising but development is sooo slow. Perhaps early days but spotted a 'secure replacement' for windows explorer named GhostVolt. It's all local system at the mo but if they move to the cloud this might be a winner.
  • I think that file explorer will be better in win32 because of the runtime service of UWP
  • Now only if we can see some sort of proper mobile HW to go along with all this...
  • Tabs! WE NEED TABS!
  • But this just a copy off of linux desktop file explorer.... Atleast off ubuntu..... I swear soon as games are properly supported in linux il drop windows on an instant. It is a gibberish 'soldered' platform now. Theyll soon have ads showing within the OS to maximize income.
  • The more I read about iOS 14.., the more I am convinced that Apple is planing an iPad desktop crossover. Consider: 1. Mouse support being added 2. ability to select the default internet browser (EU legal requirement for desktop OS To avoid monopoly legal case). 3. Up coming macs built on Same ARM As iPad instead Of intel chip. Sounds like the windows 10x killer to me...
    Can Microsofty handle it? They can barely even get people to use arm based windows devices with the longer battery life then intel...
  • As i can see on Windows 10x, that is only for OneDrive and that design is way much as in SharePoint, so it is not exactly a new design, moreover, there is a like file explorer on 10x and it looks ok. I hope we will have 2 and it will not endup with storing all of our data on cloud (OneDrive).
  • Regardless of my opinion, I can tell already most will hate it. It's not immediately clear where anything is at all coming from a ribbon layout.
  • As long as they don't force auto-sync to OneDrive it'll be an interesting update.
  • Not sure that I like the direction this is going. It looks like a stripped down version of the current one. I use the current File Explorer every day, and I like the functionality it has. I like being able to poke around the file metadata, tweak permissions and security settings, etc. Please don't give us a dumbed down version like the did with Photos when they killed Photo Gallery.
  • Microsoft should abandon all development of File Explorer and license Directory Opus as a direct replacement. Directory Opus is what FE should have been years ago. I use it every day. It has so many great features the best of which is the split screen display. Unfortunately, at the moment you still have to use FE when doing file operations from apps like Office.
  • Muito bom o visual .tem que focar para o sistema se adaptar para uma tela também tinha que libera uma prévia para testar em hardware real