If you think that Windows 11’s File Explorer could be better, you’re not alone – and there’s a popular third party alternative, the Files app. The Files app (which despite its name, has no relation to Microsoft’s own File Explorer) just got an upgrade that makes it an even better tool for navigating your file systems, with the latest version of the app allowing users to navigate big folders more easily.
The Files app update 3.2 brings user interface (UI) improvements like a list view layout for files and folders, the capability to edit album covers of media files via folder properties, and support for higher quality thumbnails. Along with UI improvements, users can also expect many fixes and general improvements.
According to Windows Central, the Files app’s occasional instability while handling large file folders was one of the biggest user complaints with it and this update addresses that, too. The app should now be more functional when users attempt to use it with bigger file folders.
How the Files app measures up as a file explorer
Windows Central does state that it doesn’t think the Files app is just ready to completely replace the default Windows Files Explorer, but that “it can be a powerful and useful companion app.” It offers unique features that File Explorer itself doesn’t offer and, to many users, it’s got a sleeker look. This app is available for both Windows 10 and Windows 11, but the app’s performance can vary from system to system. Window Central writes of its own investigation of the File app’s performance and it does report that the app has issues with performance and stability on some PCs. You can check the full change log of what Files version 3.2 delivers if you’d like to know more.
Many users would like to see Windows’ old File Explorer include many of the File app’s features, and maybe Microsoft is watching. It recently released its own proprietary PC Cleaner app, a system cleaner tool that offers lots of the tools of popular paid third-party system cleaners for free. Also, Microsoft’s been at the receiving end of some heat both from industry professionals and competitors, as well as regulators in the European Union with its recent introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Offering tools like PC Cleaner and a souped-up File Explorer could be a way for it to win back some user trust and goodwill.
The existence of third-party apps like this is good for users two-fold because it can motivate first-party developers to improve their products faster, and it also gives users more choice over how they use their devices. The Files app looks like it sees regular updates and improvements, and definitely sounds like it could be worth users’ while given that it has no malware issues and if you get good performance upon installing it.
If you’d like to try out Files for yourself, bear in mind that it isn’t free: the app comes with a one-time charge of $ 8.99/£7.49, although thankfully there aren’t any subscription fees. You can download it directly from the Microsoft Store.