Microsoft confirms File Manager coming to Windows Phone 8.1 in late May

Microsoft's Windows Phone leader Joe Belfiore made a significant announcement during his Reddit AMA session today, and it's one that's been a long time in coming. A File Manager feature will be added to Windows Phone 8.1 in the near future.

Belfiore confirmed this news when someone asked him specifically about this topic as part of the AMA session. He stated:

*** YES *** We are doing a File Manager for WP8.1! I know a LOT of you are looking for this (thanks for the tweets, I've read them all). In fact, I've been running a build of it on two of my phones for the last week or so and it's getting to pretty good shape.

He even provided some screenshots which were uploaded to Imgur. The images show that users will be able to create new folders from within the operating system and search inside folders for specific documents. It will also allow users to move folders to an SD card.

The File Manager feature is scheduled to be released for Windows Phone 8.1 users sometime before the end of May, according to Belfiore. It certainly will be a huge new addition for people who use the OS,

Source: Reddit | Images via Imgur

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Ramcee said,
Maybe a retarted question, but will this allow us to install custom build apps from desktop for example?

I doubt this will support our enable sideloading.

Enron said,
Is it possible to delete a system file by mistake or is this just for documents?

it's not wm6.

on wp7/8 everything is sandboxed, so the users have no access to the system internal structure.

so no, this file explorer will not let you browse through system folders.

trojan_market said,
Honestly it should have been there since beginning. But better late than never I guess.

blah blah blah
didn't need it
blah blah blah

as we move WP8.x closer to W8.x then yes the need returns.

On screen buttons, no dedicated camera key needed now and offering the OS for free. But it's necessary in order to attract OEMs since they can now just slap WP on their existing Android devices and call it a day. Also things like the notification center and now this to attract droid fans used to these features on their phones. Once WP gets enough market share, they can start calling in the shots again.

It seems MS finally understands it can't limit product design when there are competitors that offer viable alternatives. The changes in their approach this last year are radically. I wonder who of the old executives was responsible for the old politicy. It has to be someone who is now gone because this is a different Microsoft.

NyaR said,
They didn't have a file manager before? I don't even

You could manage files from within specific apps. So a picture app had access to pictures both on the phone and on OneDrive. And Office had access to documents both on the phone and in the cloud.

It was easy to use but limited for more advanced users. They could have added a file manager that was easy to find for users that wanted it but not mandatory for casual users. Happy to see that they are now open to such things. 8.1 is very different from WP8. At this speed I'm curious to see how WP9 will look. Also hoping to see some changes to the modern file managers in Windows 8.2. It really needs a favorite / most uses section.

iOS and Android don't have native file managers... WP has had third-party file managers with limited functionality. This is fully native and fully-functional... therefore ahead of the game ;)

NyaR said,
They didn't have a file manager before? I don't even

I know right? iOS has had it for 6 years....oh, wait. Hmm.. Well Android has had one built in for... oh.

Hmmm. It's almost as though WP will be the first phone with a native file browser. Troll elsewhere.

Doesn't matter if the app is native or 3rd party. What matters is how it functions and performs. There are a lot of great file mangers, which are fully functional and then some, available for Android.

NyaR said,
They didn't have a file manager before? I don't even
I still fail to see why you need one.

OneDrive app has its own manager, music/office/photo hubs/apps can handle their own files just fine.

And you get the ultimate file explorer of all when you connect it to your computer...

Crimson Rain said,
I still fail to see why you need one...

I guess simply for people who don't want to plug their phone into their computer at all.

Crimson Rain said,
I still fail to see why you need one.
...

How about adding a .pdf to an email "REPLY".
Adding a file manager would also presumably enable file pickers to be used from within apps too.

So.....

siah1214 said,

I know right? iOS has had it for 6 years....oh, wait. Hmm.. Well Android has had one built in for... oh.

Hmmm. It's almost as though WP will be the first phone with a native file browser. Troll elsewhere.


Not really.... WM had it years ago, well before iOS, Android and WP.

j2006 said,

I guess simply for people who don't want to plug their phone into their computer at all.

But what are you gonna do with file manage without connecting to your pc if you can already manage them from phone/music/office hubs?

deadonthefloor said,

How about adding a .pdf to an email "REPLY".
Adding a file manager would also presumably enable file pickers to be used from within apps too.

So.....


That's a fault in wp8 design (esp the email client).

File picker != file manager.

There is already file picker for photos. Just needed to expand that...

For the record, I'm not opposed to the idea but I genuinely just wanna know the use cases.

Once USB OTG is supported, only then there is some use cases. Even then, with some improvements in the respective hubs, it becomes unnecessary.

Crimson Rain said,
.....

I'm with you.
Seems like WP wants to break hubs though, not fix them.
That's my issue.
As we move more toward Windows like functionality, people will expect windows like functionality.

Dot Matrix said,
Windows 8.1 needs this.

What for? You have Windows Explorer which works perfectly. Or are you talking about a WinRT-like UI for it?

It has it already. The OneDrive app can be used to manage files on the local computer.
Or you can use Windows Explorer which is 1000 times better.

mrp04 said,
It has it already. The OneDrive app can be used to manage files on the local computer.
Or you can use Windows Explorer which is 1000 times better.

Not on my Surface it's not.

Sure it is. You just need to know what you're doing.

Open the One Drive app. Then use the down-arrow selector at the top to select "This PC" instead of "One Drive".

link8506 said,

As others said before, the Skydrive app can act as a local file explorer since Win8.1.

If you don't like it, I have created an open source alternative to the Windows Explorer as a WPF app (not WinRT). At least it runs in windowed mode :)

http://www.julien-manici.com/immersive_explorer/

That doesn't help at all. I'm still on the desktop, using windowed applications on a tablet.

Dot Matrix said,

That doesn't help at all. I'm still on the desktop, using windowed applications on a tablet.

Then maximise the windows.

Dot Matrix said,

That doesn't help at all. I'm still on the desktop, using windowed applications on a tablet.

I don't understand your problem.

you have the native, full screen WinRT SkyDrive app which can act as a local file explorer.

you have the native Windows File Explorer on the desktop.

and, on x86/x64, you can use third party file explorers such as mine if you want a MetroUI-style file explorer.

what more are you expecting?

Dot Matrix said,

That doesn't help at all. I'm still on the desktop, using windowed applications on a tablet.


Seriously though, just use OneDrive's local file explorer.

link8506 said,

I don't understand your problem.

you have the native, full screen WinRT SkyDrive app which can act as a local file explorer.

you have the native Windows File Explorer on the desktop.

and, on x86/x64, you can use third party file explorers such as mine if you want a MetroUI-style file explorer.

what more are you expecting?

Problems:

1) The desktop stinks on tablets. No one should be using that, ever, unless docked.
2) OneDrive application is missing file explorer features, aside from the basics.
3) OneDrive application isn't even intuitive. Who do you think would think to look there for file explorer features?

Dot Matrix said,

1) The desktop stinks on tablets. No one should be using that, ever, unless docked.

What is so wrong with it? It works just fine on the Surface 2 Pro.

Dot Matrix said,

Problems:

1) The desktop stinks on tablets. No one should be using that, ever, unless docked.
2) OneDrive application is missing file explorer features, aside from the basics.
3) OneDrive application isn't even intuitive. Who do you think would think to look there for file explorer features?


Personal preferences: I interact with my Tablet with the pen and I have no problems using the desktop.... Since XP Tablet OS.

TIL OneDrive can function as a file manager. One issue I notice though is that it will open some files (like images/videos) using some fullscreen viewer instead of my desktop default. Also it needs a built-in function for extracting archives. At least zip files.

What are your "default programs" set to? If they're set properly (Control Panel, type "Defaults" into the search box in the upper right), I'd think you'd get the desktop apps. By default, Windows 8.1 (prior to Update 1) set the full-screen Modern RT apps as defaults for images and video. You can change these to Windows Media Player and Windows Picture Viewer for desktop experiences.

pmbAustin said,
What are your "default programs" set to? If they're set properly (Control Panel, type "Defaults" into the search box in the upper right), I'd think you'd get the desktop apps.

My default for videos is MPC-HC and for pictures it is XnView. For the videos I found that if its an mp4 file, OneDrive opens it internally. For MKV, it launches MPC-HC as expected. I don't really have other video filetypes so I cannot test more thoroughly.

Awesomesauce! WP must push push push!

I've actually seen more WPs in the past week than I have in months; everyone using them seems to be quite happy, but the lack of apps is still acknowledged.

They are at 250K now and all the major ones are there. I used one for a month for testing and there was nothing that I felt I was missing.

Great feature to have. Surprised WP doesnt already have it.

Curious of you will be able to access PCs on the network and xfer between them. I use ES File Explorer on Android and is is great to be able to access my PC files. I also can xfer files to my Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Drive accounts.

Android doesn't even have one built in by default.

But it seems Microsoft is finally opening WP up a little which is great!

mrp04 said,
Android doesn't even have one built in by default.

But it seems Microsoft is finally opening WP up a little which is great!

Could not agree more! Lets open WP up a bit more as well =).

mrp04 said,
Android doesn't even have one built in by default.

No and no need to have one by default since there are several really well made, and free, file managers for Android in the store. It is just surprising to me WP didnt already have this feature.

techbeck said,

No and no need to have one by default since there are several really well made, and free, file managers for Android in the store. It is just surprising to me WP didnt already have this feature.

I've been told there's file managers in the store for WP as well though I haven't looked for any. The need isn't that great, at least for me.

George P said,
I've been told there's file managers in the store for WP as well though I haven't looked for any. The need isn't that great, at least for me.

True, a lot do not use it but lots do. I use mine all the time tho xferring files to/from my PC and cloud storage. Nice to have one app that does all of that so i dont have to have separate cloud apps installed.

Pocket File Manager for WP is an excellent file manager. It also has support for OneDrive and Network Drive Storage and supports fast file transfers between devices using WiFi.

mrp04 said,
Android doesn't even have one built in by default.

But it seems Microsoft is finally opening WP up a little which is great!


Never used Android but ... I had it on my WM devices. Finally is back..

techbeck said,
.....

blah blah blah
isolated storage
blah blah blah
Not needed
blah blah blah

That said, now that they're making one, I suppose this means devs will be able to write to more than their own app's isolated storage.

deadonthefloor said,

That said, now that they're making one, I suppose this means devs will be able to write to more than their own app's isolated storage.

Is that really a good idea though? Keeping the apps isolated enables greater protection and automated backups of data, clean removals, etc. If you enable apps to write anywhere, you then end up with the potential where you app doesn't remove all of itself when it's uninstalled, or it breaks other apps.

One other way to consider it I guess is that this is for the user only, and the operating system is still responsible for aggregating and organising the data stored around the storage system for its apps.
What I mean by this is, a Music app can't just decide willy nilly where it wants to place its stored music, it lets the OS decide, but the user can move it around and the OS keeps track of where all music is on the device and simply presents this simple list as a list of files it can potentially use for playback.

The pictures app actually is designed around this philosophy.

Ideas Man said,
...

I agree, however users I know won't buy in without file system access. Like somehow you're taking their rights away.

Picker for these locations should be a available to developers at least, not direct file system APIs