Windows 10 Universal File Explorer update hints at interesting future

When Microsoft launched its touch-centric Windows 8 for the desktop, it was met with a great deal of resistance to the radically different way of interacting with desktops. Microsoft has since then stepped back a bit and offered the familiar traditional Windows desktop again. It has, however, flip-flopped between touch-based and non-touch UIs. Case in point is the telling lack of a touch-based file manager on Windows 10. Things, however, seem to be changing with some surprising updates to the UWP universal File Explorer that might be setting the stage for the ever-elusive Project Andromeda foldable device.

This touch-friendly UWP-based universal File Explorer actually isn’t new. It was part of Windows 10 Mobile and eventually came to the Xbox One and even HoloLens. Last year, it sneaked into Windows 10 version 1703 but you had to use some tricks to actually use it.

In the latest build for the upcoming Windows 10 version 1809 release, the Universal File Explorer is getting its first update in a very a long while. More interestingly, it is getting features that make more sense on devices with at a mouse or stylus rather than a touch-only interface. It also brings features to the UWP app that are only found in the legacy Windows File Explorer.

The Universal File Explorer, however, is still hidden in version 1809, signifying it’s still not officially meant to be used on the desktop. Windows Central’s sources claim that the reason for the update is not Windows 10 desktop but Windows Core OS. That’s the leaner version of Windows that’s meant to be used in the Surface Hub 2, the HoloLens 2, and, of course, the Surface Phone/Andromeda. Windows Central does have a guide to enable the app, in case you prefer using Windows 10 in its tablet form.