Microsoft commits to a file manager app for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft commits to a file manager app for Windows Phone 8.1

Summary: Microsoft is building a file manager app for Windows Phone 8.1 and is hoping to get it into the Windows Phone Store by May.


Microsoft is planning to deliver a File Manager for Windows Phone 8.1.


Joe Belfiore, the Vice President of Windows and Windows Phone User Experience, confirmed that the file manager is coming during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on May 2.

"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," Belfiore said.

He added that Microsoft is hoping to get the File Manager into the Windows Phone Store "HOPEFULLY by the end of May."

Windows Phone 8.1 is currently available in Developer Preview form. Anyone (whether actually developing Windows Phone apps or not) can get the preview bits for their Windows Phone 8 devices by signing up as a developer.

Belfiore also posted a link to six screen shots showing off the File Manager.

Windows Phone users have been vocal in their requests for a file manager for Windows Phone.

During the Reddit AMA, Belfiore also said that Microsoft is talking with Snapchat about getting that application on Windows Phone. He said an updated Facebook app should be available by June for the platform. The updated Facebook application will include performance improvements, support for full-width photos in the newsfeed, and the added ability to see photos and comments simultaneously, he said. 

Belfiore also fielded questions from users who are unhappy with Microsoft's feature rollout pace, its not-so-functional music support, its decision to change how it handles integration with regard to its hubs, and more. None of his answers to these questions revealed any deep, dark secrets, but they're worth a read by those trying to understand the twists and turns of Microsoft's mobile strategy.

Update: Microsoft has added a User Voice feedback site specifically forCortana, its digital-assistant that is part of Windows Phone 8.1, Belfiore said during the Reddit. Belfiore also confirmed that Microsoft is planning to make Cortana available beyond the U.S., starting with the U.K. and China. More voices in other languages for Cortana is on the roadmap, as well. 

Topics: Mobile OS, Microsoft, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • There are two file managers in the store already

    i use pocket explorer which seems to be up to the task and is free of charge.
    • yea but

      You have to imagine that MS will be able to incorporate the things you might actually need a file manager for. You know, oddball things like selecting a file to attach to an e-mail, upload to a website, weird stuff like that.
      • Us WP8/.1

        users can only hope. The sooner the better.
      • It should already be possible with 3rd party apps

        The new Windows Phone 8.1 API should allow 3rd party devs to do all of that.
      • upload to website

        That's already possible.
      • oh well, the beginning of the end for cool 3rd party apps

        Try OneExplorer, it does email attachment and all that good stuff. Yes, 3rd party apps theoretically can do that but MS deliberately prevents applications from accessing the [documents] folder on your device. This is somewhat of a sad turn of events because many of these applications which are basically handicapped by appstore rules will fizzle out in favor of the free FileManager Microsoft provides.
        • uhg

          that is not a limitation in the sense of "we aren't going to allow it because we want to screw people over". Stop with the FUD.

          It is done as a security measure.

          As for 3rd party apps, there will always be someone who can make something rather decent that people will continue to use,, the poorer apps will fizzle out.

          Some of the better File Managers have access to Music, Pictures, Video etc.
          Pocket File Manager does see Doc's that are created in the Office Hub. New ones that are saved.

          So, the limitations (as so many like to wrongly accuse), are really not there.

          there is a trade off, security versus convenience, MS opted for Security.
          I applaud them for it.

          With that said, I would like to see App Authentication, so that some apps can be granted the access one wishes.
  • Microsoft is building an enterprise phone again...

    Microsoft is finally building an enterprise phone to replace the original Windows Mobile & Blackberry phones... which is a smart move. This is probably the phone they should've started with, but they chose to go the consumer route first. Either way, it's good to see they're targeting a market that might be more receptive to them... since consumers have pretty much ignored the OS (well, except for about 5% of us). :)
    • Many would argue they went too much the Apple route.

      They followed to closely in Apple's footsteps with WinPhone. With the app store business model (70/30 split) to the way apps are vetted. And just the simplicity of the phone. Belfiore went as far in saying how 'a phone should not be a PC'. Pointing out the mistake they made previously with WinMo (shrunken-down Windows) and their new direction with WinPhone. Are they slowly reverting?

      Anyway I think they forgot who their core customers are, and they are not Apple customers.
  • (Note to Microsoft:) Great!

    Now can we get off our high horse and actually allow downloading of media files - specifically MP3's - from websites and use them with the media apps like a big-boy PC?? Seriously, guys. It's 2014. People still pirate music. Yet you still can't seem to understand that legitimate websites do have music downloads available for purchase (or for free), and this stuff is just plain broken. iOS is the same. Android, well, that's a mess for other reasons. Guys, this needs to work so that website owners can sell music and media to mobile users without having to go out of their way to develop a restrictive app. Maybe if you take the initiative and offer an HTML music store across the board, and support basic media file integration into your mobile media player libraries, then it would allow for rapid development of media stores that offer more competition. Maybe even Apple would support other platforms by making the iTMS available on other devices. After all, Android is eating Apple's lunch on market-share, and Apple isn't making a cent off the platform, yet we hear all the time of content producers not getting along with Apple's licensing terms, and Apple is still making tons of exclusive contracts. Take your competitors problems, and turn it into your advantage.

    Also, WTF is with OneDrive integration with Xbox media services? We were told that music auto-uploading to Cloud Collection would happen shortly after Windows 8's LAUNCH. That's NOWHERE now. I have music on my OneDrive account (they are iTunes downloads for albums not available from Xbox Music - another issue altogether), and I can't cue up a playlist from OneDrive on my phone to play in the Xbox Music app, except to play one song at a time - on a Windows Phone 8.1-loaded Lumia 920! It's completely frustrating!
  • Good As ES File Explorer ?

    Es file explorer on Android is brilliant, hopefully Microsoft have looked at that and picked up a few pointers.
    Alan Smithie
  • network shares

    Does anyone know if it will be able to browse network shares folders? I love this feature in es file explorer to stream directly from network.
    • That would be nice feature

      We'll have to wait and see.
  • a first for MSFT: listen to customers

    after years of hubris based development, humbled MSFT, having lost consumer and relevance finally listens. will it be too late? possibly but if they are to make a come-back, listening to your customers needs to be "first".
  • Go Microsoft.

    Shows that Microsoft is listening to her customers.
  • Updates for this app?

    How, When will we get updates to know when this app is available? Any guestamates as to when it will roll out?
  • BlackBerry has had for over a year

    My BlackBerry has had this for over a year, probably longer, but wouldn't know, as previously I was stuck with a low quality Windows Phone.