What you need to know
- The third-party file manager app "Files" just received an update to version 2.5.
- The update brings back the acrylic backdrop look that was briefly removed from the app.
- Files V2.5 also adds support for swipe navigations with a touchpad or touch screen.
Microsoft has some major improvements in the works for the built-in File Explorer on Windows 11, but you don't have to wait until later this year to use a modern app to manage your files. A third-party file manager, simply called "Files" already has an interface that fits in on Windows 11, and it just received a major update.
Files V2.5 brings back the acrylic backdrop that was removed when the app migrated from UWP to WinAppSDK. The update also adds swipe gestures for navigating the app. The gestures work with touch screens and touch pads.
The team behind Files also added some features that streamline workflows that rely on Git repositories.
This third-party file explorer has many features people have requested for years from the built-in File Explorer on Windows. It has tabs, column view, file preview, and a customizable interface.
Files V2.5: What's new
Acrylic backdrop material
We heard the feedback loud and clear: users want the option to set the backdrop material to Acrylic. This feature was removed when we migrated from UWP to WinAppSdk but over the last few months these issues have been resolved and we’re happy to announce that Acrylic is available again.
Swiping gestures for navigation
Swiping gestures allows users to navigate in Files with ease. Swipe from the left to go back, and swipe from the right to go forward. These gestures are compatible with both touch screens and touch pads.
Manage repositories natively with Git
We added a couple of Git features to Files that make it easier to work with Git repositories.
- The branch name is now displayed on the status bar
- Checkout remote branches, and switch between local branches from the branches flyout
- Pull commits from remote repositories using the ‘Pull’ button on the status bar
- Create new branches
- Track changes with the Git columns in the details layout (coming soon)
- We plan to add more Git features in future updates, so stay tuned!
SeerPro is a popular app for previewing files and documents with a single press of the space bar. We’re excited to partner with SeerPro so users with SeerPro can now use this feature from Files. Learn more here http://1218.io/.
Files V2.5: Changes and improvements
Preview and Details pane
- The preview and detail panes are now separated into two. Users can switch between the two panes using the new pivot control. Additionally, the preview will now stretch to fill the available space in the pane.
- Improved the layout when the preview pane is in the horizontal orientation.
Display and edit metadata of multiple files
Display and edit metadata of multiple files in the properties window. Previously it was only possible to edit metadata for a single file at a time.
Windows Central take
I've covered Files for years, dating back to its early preview in 2020. The app is now on version 2.5. It has steadily gained new features and had its performance improved over the years. Last year, Files won a Microsoft Store app award, which I think it more than earned.
I wouldn't be surprised if some look at it and assume it is a default app on Windows. It's attractive, looks like it belongs on Windows, and often includes features before the native Windows File Explorer.
The only complaint I see about Files is that it can lag at times or not perform as quickly as the built-in File Explorer on Windows. I use a much quicker PC than I used to, so I can't say what performance would be like on an everyday computer. In my testing, Files is quick, fluid, and adds functionality that I wish the Windows File Explorer had.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.