Windows 10 revisits 1990: Now you can run Windows 3.0's open-sourced File Manager

Microsoft open-sources its first graphical file management application for Windows.

Video: Microsoft plans to lure Linux distribution maintainers with new open-source tool

Microsoft has open-sourced Windows File Manager, its first graphical interface for managing and accessing files, which debuted in its 1990 Windows 3.0 release.

Microsoft dropped File Manager after Windows NT 4.0 in favor of Windows Explorer, but Microsoft developer Craig Wittenberg has now dusted off the old file manager and updated it to run on Windows 10 machines. The source code for File Manager is available on Microsoft's GitHub page.

File Manager has a dual-pane view with various directory branches on the left and folder contents on the right. Instead of using MS-DOS command lines, it allowed users to move, copy, search, delete, and name files and folders.

Wittenberg copied File Manager from Windows NT 4.0 source in November 2007 and has made a "very limited set of modifications" to enable File Manager, also known as WinFile.exe, to run on Windows 10.

For Windows NT 4.0 Microsoft rewrote 16-bit File Manager as a 32-bit application, while Wittenberg's work enabled it to run on 64-bit Windows with Visual Studio (VS) 2015 and 2017 support. This version of the source code is referred to as "original_plus".

The current master or version 10 of File Manager contains a few tweaks that suited the way Wittenberg has been using File Manager over the past decade. However, he says he hasn't substantially changed the design or structure of it.

See also: Microsoft SharePoint: A guide for business professionals

For example, File Manager version 10 for Windows 10 has VS OLE drag-and-drop support, while Ctrl+C, Ctrl+ X, Ctrl+V map to today's shortcuts for copy, cut, and paste rather than the older Ctrl+C for changing drives.

Users can also specify a date range in File.Search to limit the files returned, which are ordered by date rather than name.

The source code is free to use under the fairly unrestrictive MIT License. Microsoft says anyone can contribute to the project so long as the person also grants Microsoft the right to use those contributions.

windowsfilemanager.jpg

File Manager has a dual-pane view with various directory branches on the left and folder contents on the right.

Image: Microsoft/Wikimedia

Previous and related coverage

Windows 10 security: Microsoft patches critical flaw in Windows Defender

Just scanning a specially-crafted file could lead to a totally compromised Windows machine.

Windows 10 warning: Beware staff planting cryptominers on work systems, says Microsoft

Microsoft now sees over 600,000 PCs exposed to coin-mining malware each month.

Windows 10 bug: Microsoft fixes issue that broke USB, built-in cameras, keyboards

Microsoft has addressed a USB and onboard device bug it introduced in its February security update.

Windows 10 on Arm: HP Surface-like 2-in-1 is up for pre-order but will cost you $1,000

HP is ready to ship its first Always Connected PC based on Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon 835 processor.

Will my computer run the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update? (TechRepublic)

The next big Windows 10 patch is nearly here, and it's loaded with new features. Find out here if your machine is eligible for the update.

Windows File Explorer gets a multi-tab look like Apple's Finder (CNET)

File Explorer's tabs could make dragging and dropping easier. It's part of Microsoft's more ambitious Sets interface due this fall.