Throwback Warning! Microsoft’s vintage File Manager program, which originally shipped with Windows 3.0 in 1990, has been ported to Windows 10 and is available for free from Microsoft. Here’s how to get it.
Manage files before file explorer
In versions of Windows earlier than Windows 95, you had to use a special application to copy, move, and delete files within Windows itself. In Windows 3.x this application was called File Manager.
Even after Windows 95 integrated file management features directly into the Windows shell – by creating Windows Explorer – some die-hard fans still used File Manager because they preferred the concise, tree-based interface.
Some of those File Explorer fans are still around, and three years ago one of them took Microsoft’s open-source version of the original Windows 3.x code and turned it into a modern version of File Manager for Windows 10.
The interface for the modern file explorer is basically the same as the old version. You can sort files with toolbar buttons, manage drives and folders in multiple sub-windows, and even format drives – but this time it supports 64-bit Windows, long file names, and other modern conveniences.
How to Get the Classic Windows File Manager
Microsoft maintains File Manager as an open source project under the MIT license on GitHub. You can download it from GitHub as a ready-to-use EXE file (Winfile.exe), and it’s even available for free from the Microsoft Store.
It’s all the fun of file management in Windows 3.0 without the baggage of MS-DOS. Just run it and you’ll think it’s 1990 again – even if you weren’t there the first time. Lots of fun!
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