Tired of Windows File Explorer? This app makes it way easier to navigate everything on your PC

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.

A young woman is working on a laptop in a relaxed office space.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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

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OneDrive is getting a glow-up, promising an optimized interface and power-packed features to help you navigate your files

Microsoft has given OneDrive a visual and functional makeover, rolling it out in an update for OneDrive personal users. 

The update was announced last month by Microsoft, promising a revamped OneDrive user experience with a revised sleek design and powerful new features. Now, the update is actually rolling out to OneDrive personal users.

The tech titan posted the announcement on its official blog and it’s begun the gradual rollout to users, stating that the changes will be available to all OneDrive personal users by the end of February. It elaborates that the changes are purposely designed to help users perform tasks more quickly in OneDrive, as well as find it easier to focus on their files.

One of the new features that users can look forward to is People View. This will show users their contacts with all of the files that they collaborate on together – so you don’t have to remember the names of files if they’re shared between you and a contact. Often, we can remember who we share files with or who shares files with us more easily than a specific file’s name. Additionally, users will be able to filter files by type, so if you want to see all the Word documents or Excel spreadsheets on your OneDrive, you can use specific Word or Excel filters while searching. 

 Additional OneDrive functionality 

Microsoft has also expanded the Add New button’s functionality to give users the options to both upload to OneDrive or to begin a new document. Being able to do either from a single button, Microsoft hopes this will make working on OneDrive more streamlined for users. 

It looks like these upgrades will apply to all users with a OneDrive account. You can access OneDrive on desktop with Microsoft 365 or online for free with a Microsoft account. In its announcement blog post, Microsoft also mentions that it’s open to feedback and you can provide your opinion in the OneDrive feedback portal. 

It’s a solid set of developments for OneDrive that Microsoft willlooks set to deliver for a better organized and faster serviceOneDrive, as long as these changes arrive on time. If Microsoft continues along this path for OneDrive, I could see OneDrive becoming more and more users’ choice of cloud storage. You may be able to see these changes already if you have OneDrive but everyone or should be able to access them before the end ofsome time in  February. 

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How fintech can help companies navigate this period of turbulence

The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot in recent weeks by different authors when talking about the ongoing pandemic – and it’s rather apt. In the UK at least, we have experienced no national crisis or event in living memory that compares. We are in uncharted territory, and as a nation are having to work together to flatten the curve of infection and lessen the pressure on our NHS.

While the coming months look to be challenging for business owners, early indications suggest that the picture is slightly rosier for a lot of fintechs. For example, DeVere reported a 72% increase in usage and, staggeringly, UK startup Glint App recorded a 718% increase in online gold purchases. Business is booming, and it seems that fintech companies, far from being in trouble, may well be one of the few kinds of business to emerge from the pandemic in a better position.

Given all of this, I would go so far as to say it is the duty of fintech companies to look at how we can best support other businesses through the difficult months ahead. Understandably, business owners are in distress due to the economic downturn of the last few weeks. In particular, the self-employed will need guidance and now is the time for fintechs to step up. Here are just a few ways in which fintechs could assist:

Continue to employ contractors

Times are definitely tough and the argument to reduce costs would make sense in normal circumstances. However, if your bottom line is not in immediate jeopardy, why not continue to give work to the contractors already under your employment and ensure important projects continue?

With millions at risk of falling through the government’s safety net and just under a million people having applied for Universal Credit in the last two weeks of March, you could be saving them a lot of heartache and stress, as well as taking pressure off an already overburdened benefits system. 

Realise the benefits of remote working

Unless you’re running a hospital, supermarket or other business that requires in-person working, you should already have your team working remotely. Once the initial disruption has subsided, are there any plus sides to continuing with the new normal? Arguably yes – meetings tend to be shorter and overheads connected with keeping a building open will be lower or even non-existent.

Furlough instead of letting go

The government has rolled out a new package of help for businesses to take away the need to let go of their staff. If your business activity has dropped or stopped completely due to the coronavirus, the government has provided means for you to continue paying your employees.

Be a great example of using tech to find solutions

If you’re the CEO of a fintech, chances are you already know your way around VPN and Zoom. Don’t assume that everybody is as clued up as you and be willing to share your knowledge with other companies who may be just getting started.

Consider payment holidays

If you are providing a subscription service to businesses, contractors or self-employed people, consider whether you can offer struggling clients a break from payments for a few months. After all, if your client goes out of business, they won’t be able to pay you anyway, in which case nobody wins.

Use your clout to effect change

If you happen to be running a successful business, you can be a powerful voice to help others. Consider reaching out to your local MP to lobby on behalf of businesses and the self-employed, both in your area and beyond. You could also team up with other businesses in your network and speak up together. We need a better deal for those people in danger of falling through the cracks because when it comes to a national emergency such as the one we’re currently experiencing, we really are all in it together.

Darren Fell is CEO and founder of Crunch

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