File manager

The classic 1990 file manager is remade for Windows 11

The first iteration of managing your files and folders has been remade and released for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users, giving you a useful alternative to Windows Explorer.

The File Manager first appeared in 1990 with Windows 3.0, where it was the only way to add, remove, and manage your files and folders. But following the appearance of a graphical user interface and Windows Explorer with Windows 95, it was finally retired in 1999.

But some users loved the control the file manager gave them, and that control is something that seems to be missing or hidden with Windows 11 in Explorer.

With File Manager, almost all functionality was discoverable either through an icon at the top of the window or when you right-clicked on a folder, but in Windows 11 currently some functionality, such as the Command Prompt and “Copy”, are displayed via a context menu or in an Options menu at the top of the explorer window.

Thanks to the source code having been published in 2018, this rewritten version was led by Microsoft Azure architect Craig Wittenberg, you can drag and drop files into the app, as well as a search function, and much more. You can download it from GitHub or directly from the Microsoft Store to use on your PC to manage your files like in 1990.


Analysis: what is old is useful again

Using the file manager in 2022 through Windows 11 is, to forgive me a sentence, going through a window to 1990. Although the appearance of this file manager may be overwhelming for some users, who may be accustomed to a more elegant appearance for a user interface, the features it offers are very useful.

Whereas in recent years, with Windows Explorer, you had to go to the taskbar or another application to access some of the functionality that exists in a file manager context menu, such as “Run”, “Move ” or ” Go to ‘Directory’. Each function is accessible with a few clicks, and thanks to the tree structure of your files and folders, you get a better overview of where your content is located, as well as how you can manage these files on several hard disks for example.

File Manager in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

But it also shows how much computer interfaces and methods have evolved in 30 years. It would be unimaginable now to start Microsoft Edge via a command line, for example, or use physical media such as floppy disks to play God of War in 8K.

Looking at Explorer in Windows 11, there are a lot of things that could be influenced by File Manager. Including different view options to show folders and what they contain more clearly, as well as the ability to cycle through multiple windows in an Explorer window rather than separate windows, would be much more useful than what we have now.

With the next major Windows 11 update, Sun Valley 2 On its way, there’s still a chance we could see more improvements to Windows Explorer that take everything the file manager still does so well, and repackage it for a 2022 audience.