Original Windows File Manager (winfile) with enhancements for Windows 10

Windows File Manager (winfile) is reborn!The program now comes with enhancements for Windows 10. Microsoft Windows File Manager is the graphical user interface (GUI) through which end users could see and manipulate files and folders on early-version Windows computers.

File Manager proved to be a powerful and intuitive move away from the traditional DOS command-line interface (CLI). Users could view the computer’s directory structure in a left window, while the file and sub-folder contents of the selected directory would appear in the right window. End users could then move, copy, rename, print, delete and search files and folders. Users could also define the attributes (the permissions) for files and folders such as read-only, system, hidden or archive, and make associations between files and applications. Windows File Manager also allowed users to format disks and manage network file sharing.

Filename formation proved to be a major limitation of Windows File Manager, which supported only traditional DOS-type 8.3 filenames. Extended filenames longer than 8 characters and supporting spaces displayed in File Manager appear truncated with a tilde and a number in the last two spaces. For example, a filename like Official-real-computers.doc would appear in File Manager, such as Offica~1.doc.

Windows File Manager (the WINFILE.EXE) was included with Windows versions prior to Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, but is no longer in service. The file management function in Windows 95/NT 4.0 and later versions were replaced with the Windows Explorer interface accessible through the My Computer icon.

Windows File Manager (winfile)

Last year, Microsoft released binaries and the source code, licensed under the MIT License, for an improved version of File Manager able to be run on Windows 10. This version included changes such as the ability to compile in modern versions of Visual Studio, the ability to compile as a 64-bit application, and numerous usability improvements.

In summary, winfile v10.0 has the following changes:

  • OLE drag/drop support.
  • Control characters (e.g., ctrl+C) map to current short cut (e.g., ctrl+c -> copy) instead of changing drives.
  • Cut (ctrl+X) followed by paste (ctrl+V) translates into a file move as one would expect.
  • Left and right arrows in the tree view expand and collapse folders like in the Explorer.
  • Added context menus in both panes.
  • Improved the means by which icons are displayed for files.
  • F12 runs notepad or notepad++ on the selected file.
  • Moved the ini file location to %AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\WinFile.
  • File.Search can include a date that limits the files returned to those after the date provided; the output is also sorted by the date instead of by the name.
  • File.Search includes an option as to whether to include sub-directories.
  • Ctrl+K starts a command shell (ConEmu if installed) in the current directory; shift+ctrl+K starts an elevated command shell (cmd.exe only).
  • File.Goto (ctrl+G) enables one to type a few words of a path and get a list of directories; selecting one changes to that directory. Only drive c: is indexed.
  • UI shows reparse points (e.g., Junction points) as such.
  • Added simple forward / back navigation (probably needs to be improved).
  • View command has a new option to sort by date forward (oldest on top); normal date sorting is newest on top.

Microsoft released winfile app in the Microsoft Store for free in late January 2019. More details on GitHub.

Hope you find this useful.

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Obinna Onwusobalu, MCSA MCTS MCITP, has studied Information & Communication Technology and is a keen follower of the Windows ecosystem. He runs a computer software clinic. He says, it's best practice to create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system.

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