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Microsoft's original File Manager now open source, and it runs on Windows 10

If the shiny modernity of Windows 10 has you down and you're looking for a blast from the past, now you can add a little vintage Windows flair to your PC. Microsoft has open-sourced the code for the original Windows File Manager, which initially debuted with Windows 3.0. And yes, you can compile it and use it with all versions of Windows, including Windows 10.

Available now on GitHub (via The Verge), File Manager definitely serves up a healthy dose of nostalgia. The code was copied by Microsoft's Craig Wittenberg from the Windows NT 4 source tree in November of 2007. There are two versions of the source code available, dubbed "original_plus" and "current master." Original_plus is essentially the File Manager as it existed in 2007, but with small modifications, so it compiles with Visual Studio and will run on current Windows. Current master has been enhanced with Wittenberg's own set of custom tweaks.

We may be on the eve of the next big update to Windows 10, but the open source release of Windows File Manager offers a chance to take a nostalgic look back in time. If you want to give it a shot, pixelated icons and all, you can grab the source code from GitHub now.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • Why? Only thing i can think of is to make Google's job easier in their quiet to a viable OS
  • For preservation, documentation and to let people tinker around with it. I'm sure Google can develop an OS just fine without this source code.
  • They can't, well not until now.
    They use Unix based file system.
  • What's wrong with having some old software on your computer to just have some fun with?
  • Hopefully no vulnerabilities or buffer overflows are found.
    Google could find a flaw and don't notify Microsoft and sell exploit to hackers to damage Microsoft reputation.
  • ReactOS & Wine guys should take a look at this. :)