Windows 10 Has a Secret UWP Version of File Explorer

Ben Stegner 31-05-2017

With the arrival of the Windows Store in Windows 8 and its refreshing in Windows 10, users of Microsoft’s OS have had two sources for downloading programs. You can either download standard desktop software from various websites, or grab Store apps for a streamlined experience Desktop vs. Microsoft Store Apps: Which Should You Download? Should you get your Windows apps from the Microsoft Store, or use traditional desktop programs? Here are the main differences. Read More . While most people are used to normal programs, tablet and touch users might prefer Store apps thanks to their simpler interfaces.


Even if you you don’t consider the File Explorer as an app that needs a replacement The 10 Best Windows File Explorer Extensions for File Management If you use Windows 10, you're using File Explorer. Try out these handy extensions to get more out of File Explorer! Read More , you might want to check out the hidden Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of the File Explorer. While it makes sense that Microsoft would make a UWP app for the tool, it’s currently inaccessible unless you know where to look.

Thankfully, it’s not hard to find. On a computer with the Creators Update, open a File Explorer window, then click inside the address bar. There, paste in this location to open the app version of the File Explorer:

explorer shell:AppsFolder\c5e2524a-ea46-4f67-841f-6a9465d9d515_cw5n1h2txyewy!App

The modern version of the File Explorer comes complete with a standard UWP aesthetic. It’s a bit limited, as you can only browse drives on your computer, not network locations. Copying and pasting is clunky, and there’s no Quick Access menu which makes browsing slower.

Thus this isn’t a File Explorer you’ll want to use regularly. We also experienced some hanging when testing the app, so it’s not finished or stable. It’s still interesting to check out, though, as a future version could become the standard way for browsing files on Windows.

If you’d like to make a shortcut to this so you don’t have to paste the above every time, right-click on a blank spot of your desktop and choose New > Shortcut. Paste in the line above for the location, then press Next and give it a name. Then you’ll have quick access whenever you want to try it again.


Not sure what all this talk about apps is? Check out our explanation of the Windows app terminology Are You Confused by the Windows App Terminology? Did you ever wonder what's the difference between an application, program, or software? Or whether that Windows app is metro, modern, universal, or plain straight? You're not alone. Let us clear things up! Read More .

Did you know this was hiding inside Windows? Is there any chance you’d use it over the default File Explorer? Let us know what you thought of this in the comments!

Related topics: File Explorer, Windows 10, Windows Tricks.

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  1. vijer
    August 6, 2018 at 7:13 am

    UWP File Explorer is hidden for a reason, it's is garbage. I'm sure there are coders in primary school that could have written that. You shouldn't even mention this app exists.

    Another Microsoft fail . They should spend less time with Edge and work on fixing File Explorer, printing, Control Panel, to name a few.

  2. Lee
    January 21, 2018 at 9:42 am

    What Windows needs and has always needed is a multipane/tab, multimedia file explorer with a user configurable actions menu, that supports through click, drag and drop:
    * copy
    * move
    * rename
    * merge
    * delete
    * fast operation
    * with/without (user discretion) verification of any operation
    * separate pane for preview
    * multimedia
    . > image
    . > video
    . > sound
    . > fonts
    . > text
    . > office document
    . > supports long path and file names
    * user specified function/app per file type:
    . > execute
    . > edit
    . > print
    . > run
    . >
    . > ...
    . >
    All commercial, freeware and FLOSS file managers all fail
    Both explorer and this new abortion are giant steps in the wrong direction.

  3. Dave Clark
    June 1, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I drag and drop the My PC icon from the Start Menu onto the Desktop and instantly get a better and less clunky File Explorer than this. I point it out to everyone I show Windows 10 to. Still, I have a Shortcut to this on my Desktop, just for something to play with, if nothing else. And, the My PC icon works on any recent version of Windows.

  4. Davin Peterson
    May 31, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Note that this only works on builds after the Anniversary Update.

  5. LordDaman
    May 31, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    It's not really a secret per say. That's the file manager from windows phone 10. Why it's included in the desktop version is beyond me, but it's nothing new

  6. Ian
    May 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Why even mention this if it is both difficult to use and inferior to the already feature-poor native file explorer? Seems like a waste of cypberspace.

  7. Fred Biles
    May 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    No, I didn't know this was hiding inside Windows. There's no chance that I'd use it though. Neither it nor File Explorer are feature rich. I use SpeedCommander 16 Pro as a replacement but there are several excellent alternatives out there with many more features and a higher level of sophistication.